Hard Top Noises

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Supporting Contributor
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Jul 15, 2002
Now that it is winter and most people with hard tops have them installed, can anyone give me feed back as to some noises I hear when going over rough roads or bumps. It almost sounds as if the top is bouncing however I don't think that is possible. Any ideas on how to eliminate the noises since my dealer says there is no adjustment on the latching handles.

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It actually IS possible for your top to be bouncing....IF you didn't explicitly follow the instructions for installing the hardtop.

If you try starting the header screws with the latch levers other than at the halfway point, the screws will likely not seat properly and you will be turning the screws but not tightening the front of the top.

The top will seem secure if you push up on it, but there will be lots of play in it when you drive it. If the screws at each end of the header are not completely tight (can't turn them anymore), then fully loosen them, move the latch levers to the mid point and start the screws in again, give each a couple of turns, push the lock levers all the way forward and finish tightening the screws. Once everything is tightened down, there should be little noise.
I have re-installed my hardtop for the winter (exactly by the book) and I too have been having a lot more noise--a cracking or groaning sound. It is definitely louder than when the car was new. My guess is the colder weather makes the rubber gaskets (seals) harder and they don't flex as much. I also installed the tape kit and maybe this is contributing to the problem. I'm going to take the top off in another week or two and check for damage.
I just got my Bird in October, and the top has never been removed once. I, too, noticed that everytime I drive it over small bumps it makes like a cracking /squeaky sound. I live in Oklahoma, so maybe the cool weather here does have something to do with it... Since I'm here, how long does it take to post registration on your Bird on the " registry? " I did it about a week ago. Thanks Guys!
I've been posting about this "creaking and groaning" problem for a long time. It started happening to me after I had the car a few months. I know I have followed the hard-top installation instructions explicitly, and I've tried just about everything. One thing that seems to have helped a bit is spraying a silicone lubricant up into the area where the front screws are located. I don't know why that would help, but it did, although certainly not completely.

I live in San Francisco, where it doesn't get very cold by national standards, so I'm not sure whether the temperature makes a difference or not. It almost seems as if, with my car, it just happened over time.

Good luck to all of you. I know the creaking noise can just about drive you crazy!

-- Paula
As a update to my hardtop noises I have discovered that the top is not rattling at all, it is the inside cover over the soft top that is vibrating and causing all my noises. We held it down and over the rough bumps it was absolutely quiet. If anyone has any indeas on how to hold the inside cover down, please let me know. I was thinking about velcro strips at the edge. Thanks
Just wanted to post a up to date on hard top noises. i located the cause as being the attached cover over the convertible, it vibrates and rattles. to fix it i simply placed the corners of the cover under the plastic surrounding the top release lever. it has no effect on the fit of the top and eliminated all vibration and noises. if you did not own a t-bird you would not notice anything different. anyone with noises give this a try.
Sournote, your problem may be different then mine was. I would suggest you have someone drive your car and you sit in the passenger seat. Take the care to 60+ MPH and see if the cover is vibrating. If so hold it down and try riding over some rough pavement to see if the noises are gone. If so then I can give you several alternative items to holding down the cover if that indeed is your problem. Good Luck.
Some of you are saying that cold weather seems to have "agitated" this problem??????
This could be,when things are cold,they tend to shrink,it could be giving just a little bit extra play to move.

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