Replacing billets on Wintec Isabelle

Has anyone replaced the front billet (not the Y system) on an Isabelle? I just bought a used one and the front billet is too short. Where it is attached at the top, there is some nylon strap folded over just above the fabric pocket, which may be part of the problem. Can anyone with an Isabelle tell me if that’s normal? If it is, then I need to buy a longer billet. Can they be owner-replaced or do I have to take it to a tack shop? BTW, this is an older model (2007).

I’m having trouble visualizing what you’re describing, and my Isabelle is even older, so maybe what I’m about to say isn’t relevant. The front billet is a point billet, so it’s supposed to be attached at the point of the tree. In my saddle, it’s screwed in between the gullet plate and the rest of the tree.

When you change the gullet plates, you have to open the front of the saddle, and pull the points out of their pockets. The point billets are drawn up through a hole in the bottom of the point pocket. What you’ve described (especially the folded over strap) sounds like when the saddle was put back together, whoever did it didn’t pull the point billet back down through the bottom of the pocket.

You might be able to just yank it down, but if you don’t want to try that (understandable), you can open the saddle to see if the billet is actually too short or not. If not, you can just pull the billet down when you put the saddle back together.

Thanks for the tip. I did not think of opening it up. I did try yanking it down but it was too tight. Maybe it will go through after it’s opened.

Ah, so simple! I opened the front as you suggested and the billets pulled easily down. They are now the same length as the back billets. I’m sure glad I did not pay a saddler to replace these!