Convertible Boot Woes

It’s finally sunny here in Washington. With the new power steering installed, the roads are calling. Top down, practicing social distancing to the sound of the engine. But the cover to the top (the boot) won’t fit. This is harshing my buzz.

My first thought was that it’s a bad part and just too small. I have bought a lot of TMI upholstery parts and never an issue, but I figured this must be a random one off. The sides fit fine, but the center front to back is too short.

I left it in the sun for the afternoon to warm up, but it still wouldn’t reach. I was even taxing the button holes trying to make it work, thinking it just needed to stretch a bit. Not happy with the part, I left a review on NPD where I got it from. I need to find another since this just isn’t going to work.

Rick from NPD emailed me about my review. He indicated they have very high customer satisfaction on these parts and suggested maybe I was installing it wrong. I have to admit that was a little frustrating, since there isn’t much to the installation, particularly with no moving parts in the center of the car. But, that did get me thinking maybe the top installers assembled something incorrectly.

When I had the new top and well liner installed, it came back looking like this. I have to admit, I think it looks great, but since it was so long since I dismantled it, I didn’t notice the key detail which is causing the issue.

Notice that the stainless retainer trim is on the passenger side of the trunk divider. I wondered if maybe it was supposed to be on the trunk side, bringing it maybe half an inch closer to the deck lid. So I tried to find pictures.

Back to a previous restoration source, Alex’s blog on his 68 convertible comes through. He shows the following picture on his top post (linked here). This seals the deal for me. Mine is installed wrong.

Now, I can understand why they would install int on the front. Physics and leverage say it’s a much smarter and stronger way to mount it. Unfortunately, Ford chose differently.

I put it on the back side. Unfortunately, I now have holes on the front side from the screws. They won’t be visible with the seat installed, but it’s a thing. The screws also slightly protrude. I checked with the original screw length, and the new ones I bought are identical, so I guess that’s just how it is.

With the trim installed from the back, ready to fit the seat, then try installing the boot.

Once it’s installed, it fits snug, but it fits, as I would expect. No stretching out of button holes or curling of the edge as it tries to pull itself free. Looks like it should, supporting the idea that the part is good, but it’s installed wrong. Who would have guessed? Besides Rick.

In the end, it’s a small thing, but I thought I would share some pictures and provide an example to those who follow. You really can be installing something as simple as a boot cover wrong. Thanks to Rick@NPD for following up on negative reviews and trying to make them right. It sucks to hear you’re doing it wrong, but it’s worse to leave a bad review because you are doing it wrong. Even if in this case, I farmed it out and it came back wrong, I should have done my research and verified the details before complaining.

All good now. Back on the road before the rain starts again.

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