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Convertible Top Window Repair DIY

 
Old 09-01-2010, 01:12 PM
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frisbee91
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Lightbulb Convertible Top Window Repair DIY

So I had been trying to find an inexpensive solution to repairing my convertible top rear plastic window. It was delaminating at the bottom corners, and it quickly got worse. I was quoted repair prices of $750 - $800, and top replacement (from GAHH) installed locally for $1500. I didn't want to waste $800 on an old top, plus I need to save $ for upcoming brakes, plugs, and clutch jobs.

After much research, I went with a DIY repair. This thread will document my experiences.

I ended up with doing a multi-step sewing and gluing process. The results aren't perfect visually, but it's better than it was, and it doesnĺt leak. I consider this a temporary repair until I get a new top in a few years. I think this will last until then. Besides, I am mostly top-down or hard top, so I can live with it. I'll post a full DIY write up below. Warning, the writeup is long.

Before & After Photos:
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:19 PM
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Default DIY Cabriolet Window Repair Writeup (Long)

Below is a link to my "Convertible Top DIY" repair write-up. Warning: it's a 10 page PDF.

Window Repair DIY.pdf

The repair is only a week old at this point. If you find this thread in the future and want an update on its longevity, PM me and I'll post an update.

Enjoy


Last edited by frisbee91; 09-01-2010 at 04:23 PM. Reason: added link to PDF Writeup
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:13 PM
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frisbee91,
Nice writeup
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:44 PM
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Fris, you are the man! I'm in the same situation and can't imagine parting with the $700 to fix this window. I'm going to give your method a try
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:40 PM
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Did you consider just coating the back of the threads with a little silicon? That should prevent the stitches from leakiing.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rwiii View Post
Did you consider just coating the back of the threads with a little silicon? That should prevent the stitches from leakiing.
I thought about that, but that would allow water to penetrate the canvas, and get into the space between the canvas and the window assembly. I was worried that it would get nasty in there. I'll see how the Porsche waterproofing spray holds up. The "Plastiseal" product is also an option.

Another thought... If your top is Navy Blue, I have about 4000 extra yards of thread . The color match isn't perfect, though. You could also try to find a darker navy thread for a better match. It's really hard to get a good color match when ordering on the internet. Black thread could work on a Navy Blue top as well.

Let me know if you have any questions, and be sure to post your results. Good Luck.

Note: there WAS a typo in my PDF. The stitch length I used was 3/16".

Last edited by frisbee91; 09-02-2010 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:18 PM
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I thought that was a wide stitch! Thanks for the offer on thread but I am black.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:06 PM
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does anyone know of a way to tint out the plastic window?
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:30 PM
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Fris, if I use Gorilla glue can I execute steps 3 & 4 at the same time and clamp once?
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rwiii View Post
Fris, if I use Gorilla glue can I execute steps 3 & 4 at the same time and clamp once?
Well, you COULD, I suppose. Honestly, getting the clamping arrangement right was tricky enough with one seam. If I were doing it again, I'd take the extra day and do one seam at a time.

Do the seam underneath first, then you can figure out how much the gorilla glue foams. Any excess mess underneath is hidden. Good practice for the second, more visible seam.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:39 PM
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Great write-up. I tried the Gorilla Glue between the canvas and the plastic window and it didn't hold. I'm going to try again with the E-6800.
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:24 AM
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Some of my spots held better than others and they were directly related to clampability. Re-glued and re clamped properly and things look good for now
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:04 AM
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It is ALL about the clamping. If you use the E-6000 (or E-6800) make sure you have your clamp arrangement worked out so you can get it in place in a few minutes. Practice once (or twice) putting your clamps on quickly before you apply any glue. Have a partner handy.
Let us know how it works!
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:58 AM
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Frisbee91,

Thank you for your very complete description of what it takes to do this dyi. I have the 2000 version of your car, exact same color. I think I will invest a day or two driving it around town gathering estimates for a repair shop to do it. If they are too high it will motivate me to do things exactly the way you did. Thank you again. Any suggestions after a couple of years use? Apterr
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:25 PM
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Arrow Window repair still good

Originally Posted by apterr View Post
Any suggestions after a couple of years use? Apterr
It's been about 8 months so far since I completed this, and the repair is holding up great. No leaks. In hindsight, the only thing I regret is using too much clear silicone at the end of the repair. Just a tiny bit between the edge of the fabric and the window would have been sufficient to seal the thread holes, but I used too much, and it doesn't look great. You can see it in the pictures.

I barely notice the stitching, and I think that it adds a lot to the strength of the seam. (even though it was a pain in the a** to do.)

I've polished the old plastic window with Meguiars PlastX a few times. It works OK to clear up the window, but it doesn't last. It's the kind of thing you need to re-apply. I'll probably end up re-polishing the window each time I apply wax to the car.

Anyone have better luck reviving an old plastic window more permanently? What did you use?
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