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Reasonable Expectations on a Sedan Roof (--revisited topic)

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  • Reasonable Expectations on a Sedan Roof (--revisited topic)

    I think we touched on this briefly some before but I would like to re-discuss this again.

    What do you think is a reasonable expectation for a Fordor Sedan roof/top as far as keeping water out of the interior? This would be a vehicle with new wood and new top fabric however with the reproduction aluminum top mouldings. From your personal experiences, are we thinking;
    • -there should be no water leaks whatsoever,
    • -possible minor seepage or leaks during a heavy down-pour,
    • -or it is going to leak no matter what??

    Thoughts??

    .

  • #2
    My opinion is if they did not leak when new, then it should not leak now even with repo parts. I would think that the roofs were tight when the car was produced
    2 1930 Tudors

    Henry Ford said
    "It's all nuts and bolts"


    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Mitch.

      Even if the look isn't perfect, it should still be waterproof. My thought was when I decide to replace my Flex-Shot roof I will be laying down a piece of plastic before the actual roof material to insure that there are no leaks. Why would I spend the great expense to install a quality interior to have the inexpensive roof leak?
      "We do not stop playing because we grow old;
      We grow old because we stop playing ...
      NEVER Be The First To Get Old!" Pilfered from the MAFC SA Newsletter

      I JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID!!

      Comment


      • Big hammer
        Big hammer commented
        Editing a comment
        My experiences with plastics isn’t good, I’ve used as weed barrier that didn’t last, milk jug leaking oil, and sheets in the garage Disintegrate !

      • DaWizard
        DaWizard commented
        Editing a comment
        Sounds like I will be leaving my Flex-Shot top on for awhile!

    • #4
      I agree with Mitch also

      Comment


      • #5
        True Model A Experiences and Expectations?

        After (20)+ years of reading past Model A Forum messages, only a few Model A owners liked to post that:

        Their carburetor never leaked a drop of fuel; their engine does not kill when burning rubber off of all (4) tires on an abrupt stop with a Zenith carburetor; their engine's rear bearing never, ever leaks oil; shifting from 3rd to 2nd coming down hill on a steep hill at 65 mph is absolutely no problem; all of their five (5) tires hold exactly (35) pounds of air without adding air for at least (5) years; their original vacuum windshield wiper works well in a storm when pouring rain comes down at 12" of rain per hour, even while passing another car while driving up a steep hill; however,

        even though my Model A's are or were all guilty of all of the above at one time or another, for some unknown reason, my 1930 Briggs Town Sedan roof never leaked in the past (12) years.

        Other than that, I would have absolutely no idea why this roof does not leak, or who installed this roof years ago.

        According to the former Model A owners, (supposedly three (3) former owners), this Model A never spent one night out of doors.

        My best guess is that this present Model A roof was installed at the same time as it was partially, cosmetically restored without removing the body from the frame in about 1978 ...... maybe 40 years old ...... but still always parked under cover, and never parked out of doors in sun or any type of inclement weather.

        In my opinion, the sun's UV rays can cause more damage to any membrane roof than non-standing runoff water.

        Applying gravel on a bituminous membrane roof is only for UV protection to prevent the deterioration of the felt layers and adhesive bituminous materials between felts down below.

        Just for kicks, a new Model A roof covered with gravel for UV protection would probably last longer; plus, nobody would follow said Model A closely like tailgating.

        Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 04-25-2018, 11:51 AM.

        Comment


        • Jeff/Illinois
          Jeff/Illinois commented
          Editing a comment
          I like that idea of gravel on a Model A roof!!

      • #6
        Just to add a bit of vintage roof history to Reply #5 above, FWIW, my Dad, (born 1902), ran a repair garage/filling station from 1920 until 1932.

        When I bought my $25.00 Coupe in 1958, I told him my roof was leaking.

        He told me that was very normal back then because, (mostly after the Wall-Street crash in 1929), people used to drive up to his garage to buy gasoline where the wife or girlfriend was holding an umbrella over her and her well dressed husband/boyfriend while sitting inside the car every time it was pouring down rain.

        Comment


        • #7
          No leaks whatsoever. With all the modern slathers & goos available I could not see assembling a roof without them. Today's windshield setting urethane and body seam sealers make a leak proof install pretty easy. As for pinholes developing in the roofing material and sewn seams there are plenty of easy wipe on treatments for that, too.

          Comment


          • #8
            Brent: depending on year and if exposed fasteners, we've had issues as to type of sealer used under the mouldings. The same for setting the rubber type inserts say for a 160B and a few other models. Over the years, we've found that the weak link is the sealant . Some use urethane or paintable solvent type sealants. Another choice is what's in the Diablo A's club produced videos, available from the vendors, etc. I once had a 31 coupe with the masonite (Door skin/ carpet /fabric roof ) like in the videos , which was a solid and weather tight system installed before final painting and masked off. The chicken wire is omitted with the fabric glued down , though may be harder to replace. Due to condensation, air circulation, heat breakdown, etc. would suggest not using any separate loose plastic membranes.

            Comment


            • #9
              So far most agree that there should not be any leaks at all. Modern sealers are also mentioned to use when installing a top. What if any sealers were used when the car was assembled new? I'm thinking maybe no sealers were used
              2 1930 Tudors

              Henry Ford said
              "It's all nuts and bolts"


              Mitch's Auto Service ctr

              Comment


              • #10
                Mitch, the service bulletins show a Victoria top replacement and sealant applied from a bulb. Working on an orig. 1927 Chrysler sport coupe, we found a thin layer of a liquid type bituminous or tar like substance under the hidem. The top materials look very similar to those found on Ford cars but can't answer your question directly. We know of an upholsterer back in the 1950's who used bees wax to seal convertible tops seams ,etc..
                Last edited by plyfor; 04-25-2018, 01:39 PM.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Thanks Lewis, I forgot about those pictures in the SB. They call it a special sealing fluid...
                  2 1930 Tudors

                  Henry Ford said
                  "It's all nuts and bolts"


                  Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    I think they were like anything else,they were not supposed to leak but did.My grandfather sold them new,and he said the first thing to go was the gas guage.Sometimes the new car would have a gas-logged float from the factory.Shocks were close behind.Some were just leakers from the get-go.He sold a new late 31 steel top truck to his friend,the guy was tickled because it didn't rain all over the inside like my grandfathers 29.truck.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Mitch View Post
                      So far most agree that there should not be any leaks at all. Modern sealers are also mentioned to use when installing a top. What if any sealers were used when the car was assembled new? I'm thinking maybe no sealers were used

                      Two things. First, as mentioned above, while some might assume that they should not leak, I think some might erroneously compare this to expectations of a modern vehicle. I would need to go verify the date, but leaks are mentioned in the Service Bulletins in '28, and Ford already had the answer by offering a sealer they manufactured and offered to their dealers to sell. If leaks were not a common problem back then, -then explain why Ford went to the trouble of manufacturing a sealer and issuing a part number to their dealers to order it. Remember, Ford only had to warrant it for 90 days.

                      Second, no real sealer was initially used however the original mouldings were manufactured more robust than what reproduction mouldings are today. The same for the deck materials. The canvas was much more durable, likely due to the thickness. Today's mouldings are made from a soft aluminum so they can be bent and contoured to the proper shape. The issue is while they are pliable, they offer no rigidity or clamping force to hold the fabric down against the metal. The original mouldings when nailed down could clamp the material much more firmly.


                      While I agree the goal is no leaks, even with modern sealers, what are you saying is the expectation? If I were to hold a garden water hose directly above the roof decking and allow a steady stream of water to pour onto the top, are we saying that it should not have any leakage into the inside??

                      Comment


                      • Mitch
                        Mitch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        SB pg 390

                        ""A few complaints"" To me that means leaks were not common place

                      • Mitch
                        Mitch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        One would think if cars were having headliners and interiors ruined after delivery we would have certainly known about it.

                      • Mitch
                        Mitch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Not that it matters but what documentation mentions if sealer was originally used or not?

                      • BRENT in 10-uh-C
                        BRENT in 10-uh-C commented
                        Editing a comment
                        A few complaints back in the day was different IMO. People were not complainers like they are today. Society has changed where everyone like to 'gritch' about something. Even back then, think of the liability exposure is they said "We have had a lot of complaints." By them mentioning they are receiving complaints (--as opposed to other fixes in the Bulletin that they do not mention receiving complaints) tells me they were not all dry. By Ford marketing a sealer in a pint-sized cans to sell also tell you there is more than just a "few complaints".

                    • #14
                      When I brought my Tudor home, it spent its first night in the drive way before I could move it across town to my shop. The next morning we had a fairly heavy downpour. The cars has no interior except for front seats. I had a small wet spot in the middle of the rear floor. I could not find dampness on the underside of the roof. Once in the shop, I place a very bright halogen work lamp in various spots inside, turned off the shop lights and carefully examined the roof, but could see no light shinning through. The roof was replaced during the 20 year old restoration and looks perfect. Should I spray one of highly touted sealers on the underside of the roof before installing the headliner?
                      Last edited by slammin; 04-25-2018, 04:01 PM.

                      Comment


                      • Mitch
                        Mitch commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I would water test it to see what's up, before installing the headliner. Personally since your doing the interior over if the roof itself is bad then replace it. Mucking the canvas in this situation would not be the route for me

                      • BRENT in 10-uh-C
                        BRENT in 10-uh-C commented
                        Editing a comment
                        You also must remember the top material today that Miami Rubber manufactures is not as thick nor is it double coated as original.

                    • #15
                      I would.
                      "We do not stop playing because we grow old;
                      We grow old because we stop playing ...
                      NEVER Be The First To Get Old!" Pilfered from the MAFC SA Newsletter

                      I JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID!!

                      Comment


                      • #16
                        My roof does not leak, and it has been in heavy rain. My brother installed a new roof on my father's town sedan, and when he drove it down here from the Canadian border to attend a New England Meet, he drove the 300 miles in a hurricane, and it never leaked a drop.
                        Bill
                        http://www.brauchauto.com/
                        Eastern Connecticut

                        Comment


                        • BRENT in 10-uh-C
                          BRENT in 10-uh-C commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Bill, are both those cars using original mouldings?

                          I just tested this one by washing the car with a hose where we washed the top material however we did not intentionally hold the water hose over the top of the mouldings either. We did not get any water inside with a light washing ...however the owner did scrub the top with a steady stream of soap & water and he did get water inside.

                        • 2manycars
                          2manycars commented
                          Editing a comment
                          My car has the original side mouldings/drip rails, and repro steel front and back mouldings. I used seam sealer under the material, and under the mouldings. No leaks. My brother used repro mouldings, I think aluminum on the town sedan. Still no leaks.

                      • #17
                        My Sport coupe never leaked. It was in some hard rains.

                        Comment


                        • #18
                          All of the above suggestions and previous Model A roof experiences have lots of merit. Like installing any type of commercial roofs today, the roofing contractor's experience and standard of care is most important along with his knowledge of proper long lasting sealants ....... lots of today's offered sealants fail very rapidly.

                          Various specified modern types of sealants offered today in commercial construction or in any professional field can make a World of difference. UV resistance is one major concern; percent elongation and contraction with temperature changes is another, adhesion and cohesion is another.

                          If one is really interested, one of the better ways to test sealants is to provide sealant between metal joints located between two (2), twenty (20) feet long copper gutters ....... Wow ..... experience that movement!

                          It wasn't until the late 1960's that sealants were manufactured that met Federal Specifications FS TT-S-00230, where said sealants could seal the expansion and contraction that occurred in metal gutter joints.

                          Prior to the late 1960's all metal gutter joints were manufactured with metal "Z" shapes and contoured to fit and match the gutter profile. Dust and dirt got into the tight fitting "Z" and prevented leaks like the levees along the Mississippi River.
                          Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 04-25-2018, 05:22 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Mitch
                            Mitch commented
                            Editing a comment
                            With today's modern sealants a roof can be made tight even with inferior moldings.

                          • BRENT in 10-uh-C
                            BRENT in 10-uh-C commented
                            Editing a comment
                            You may be right Mitch. The issue is likely going to be that most bathtubs, windows, or roofs do not see the same degree of movement or flex that a Model-A body does traveling down the road. Therefore applying enough sealer while keeping the sealer hidden, --and keeping it stuck to the fabric & surroundings is likely the difficult issue. Not saying it can't be done, ....just saying I have one that appeared to have an issue. All we have done is tapped each of the moulding tacks and it appears it isn't leaking.

                          • H. L. Chauvin
                            H. L. Chauvin commented
                            Editing a comment
                            1. Simple today's, modern sealant experiment where, "True Faith follows Facts!" Get a tube of GE clear silicone sealant indicating meeting Federal Specifications FS TT-S-00230 printed on the label.

                            2. Get two pieces of sheet metal, may 4" x 6" x maybe 26 gage galvanized or Galvalume or finished with baked "factory" enamel on metal.

                            3. Apply clear sealant to metal, press metal together, and next day, get very brave and try submerging these glued metal pieces in a bucket of water for a week.

                            4. After one week of being submerged in water, try to see what type of force is required to pull these two pieces of metal apart .

                          • 2manycars
                            2manycars commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Black 3M seam sealer in a caulking gun tube works wonders.

                        • #19
                          Brent I am no expert on the subject if the cars leaked when new or not. I just find it hard to believe that they had a major issue with it. That would involve replacing lots of interior upholstery items in the first 90 days. These posts are just my opinions.
                          I would like to see the documentation you have to support if sealer was used or not at the factory. I know they asked the dealers to buy it for doing repairs but that could be unrelated. I did find this entire thread to be very informative
                          2 1930 Tudors

                          Henry Ford said
                          "It's all nuts and bolts"


                          Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                          Comment


                          • George Miller
                            George Miller commented
                            Editing a comment
                            If they leaked from new the interiors would have showed it. Some of my better A,s showed no sign of leaking.

                        • #20
                          H.L. is on to something. We use the GE silicon as mentioned in other posts to help hold the outer running board trim on as well as hubcaps.The non paintable silicon doesn't accept paint but there is a paintable version but that also may not hold up to automotive paints. A good paintable sealant is the 3m Ultrapro 8300 though the working time is quite short. We like the water based version which is the 8500 All Around type, and mouldings can be set in it due to its much longer working time and cleanup, before painting, etc..
                          Btw, attached is the orig. '27 Chry. roof. Note the similarity to the '28 Ford sport coupe and fabric, trim, etc. Couldn't find sealant under lower metal trim.
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #21
                            Hell would freeze over before I would ever use any type of RTV silicone rubber for this application. Only single stage moisture cure urethane sealants. 3M has a slew of them. Just ask your paint/body supplier for a cut sheet. Yea, I'm very opinionated about this. To each his own!

                            Comment


                            • H. L. Chauvin
                              H. L. Chauvin commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I like Mr. MikeK's suggestion of asking if ever in doubt: "Just ask your paint/body supplier for a cut sheet."

                              For step one (1) in trying any new product for automotive work, seeking advice from well experienced professional paint/body guys is a step in the right direction for doing something correctly and doing something once.

                              Many new products tested today by professional are later found to have entirely different advantages and even more specific limitations.

                          • #22
                            I cannot imagine them leaking when new, so they should not leak when rebuilt - repo or original stylle parts. I have put tops on a dozen cars in the last ten years and so far none of them leak. If done rightand carefully no stickum, messy glue or sillycone or urethane is necessary. Yes, on some of my cars I have used the urethane sealant. kenp

                            Comment


                            • BRENT in 10-uh-C
                              BRENT in 10-uh-C commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Hey Ken, then let's discuss what is 'do them right'. What do we feel is the right way in this?

                          • #23
                            Originally posted by MikeK View Post
                            Hell would freeze over before I would ever use any type of RTV silicone rubber for this application. Only single stage moisture cure urethane sealants. 3M has a slew of them. Just ask your paint/body supplier for a cut sheet. Yea, I'm very opinionated about this. To each his own!
                            I agree with Mike. Years ago a windshield installer from Canada posted that silicone next to metal promotes rust, so you should only use good windshield setting urethane sealers. After reading that it dawned on me that that's why I was seeing so much rust around windshields in the junkyard cars that used silicone as a sealer.
                            Last edited by Tom Wesenberg; 04-27-2018, 04:16 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #24
                              Am in agreement with Tom and Mike and not a fan of RTV except in a few circumstances.. I was not suggesting using silicon except in the couple of areas we've tried (post 20) successfully so far where it has not attacked the zinc trim or over powder coat. If it smells like acetic acid, then it can be corrosive and / or incompatible with some finishes and materials.

                              Comment


                              • #25
                                Our '29 Tudor was real watertight. I never drove it in the rain on purpose but the few hard downpours I got caught in, it was always dry as a bone. A previous owner had put a new top on, I think, in the late 60's. Maybe they had better material then. Still had the original rain gutters.

                                And like Brent stated, people today are not only big bitchers but whiners. That wasn't really the case in the Model A era. People today are not as 'tough' as our grandparents were. My generation included and I'm 63.

                                Comment

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