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Old 04-04-2009, 08:25 AM   #1
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Boxster Convertible Tops

Just wondering what other forum users recommend in the way of convertible top vendors for a '01 Boxster S. My top recently developed the dreaded "crack" in the green vinyl rear window and now leaks water even with tape on it. I saw convertibletopguys selling them for $632 and installation manual for $10 (I'm a DIY). Their tops are German A5 Sonnenland canvas. A master tech. told me factory tops are the safest bet as they include all hardware, but they are pricey. Has anyone replaced their top due to worn canvas and/or cracked window? I would appreciate any suggestions.

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Old 04-04-2009, 04:17 PM   #2
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For a fellow Tennessean, I would have to stick with my guns and go OEM, but that's just me.

Some may disagree, but I firmly believe you get what you pay for and I'd rather not have problems develop over a non-OEM variant and then have to pay additional $$$ to either re-work or replace it again.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
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I have not yet had to replace my top, but it seems there is not a huge difference between the different top brands. OEM would work, you could also get a GAHH top and upgrade to one with a glass window.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:39 PM   #4
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I got my convertible top from ebay.. and it is the same as factory. I have an appointment to have it installed this Thurs. by Pete who lives about 30 mins away. I paid 275.00 and I am paying another 410.00 to have it installed. I have a cracked rear window and my top is roughly 5-7 yrs old. I opted for the vinyl rear window because I have a hard top for the winter and rarely ever drive it when it's wet or cold outside. If you interested in the guys info to buying the top please contact me
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:42 AM   #5
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I have a 2000 and had a similar crack in the plastic back window. Water leaked in and actually made the carpet wet below the drivers seat. (so a leaky window is more serious than just cosmetic).

I purchased the GAHH window with glass top and defroster. I could not be happier. The quality is excellent and the car looks better and newer with the glass window. Also, I use the defroster often in Florida in the morning when my plastic window would stay foggy for hours. I called GAHH and used one of their local installers so if anything goes wrong, they will repair it for free, including labor. Total price last fall for top and installation, about $1200.

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Old 04-05-2009, 08:51 AM   #6
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And for lots less money

you can take the top off and a boat canvas repair shop can sew/glue a new plastic window in for around $3-400. TN has lakes and thus boats so there are going to be places around. Ask the local PCA folks for recommendations or as at dealers.

There are lots of Do It Yourself guides http://mike.focke.googlepages.com/thetop-itsmaintaince%26replacement
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:38 AM   #7
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Boxster Convertible Tops

Thanks Mike! Actually I've checked w/ several top installers and boat canvas places and they all say that replacing the whole top is the best option. They admit that no matter how well a new plastic window is sewn in, it invariably WILL leak at some point. I have a friend who's been a Porsche certified master tech for over 30 yrs. and he had a very reputable installer sew in a new window and it leaked so he just bit the bullet, bought a factory top from ebay, and installed it himself (about 10 hrs. labor). I think I'll just buy a factory top and use your very useful R&R instructions and DIY. Only the factory tops come w/ new seals, stripping, etc.; that's why I shy away from aftermarket. Does anyone know where I can buy a black factory top (A5 German Sonnenland canvas)? I've checked ebay but no dice.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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cold top operation warning

I have a '99 and last year it was time for a new top. The plastic window cracked. The fabric was looking old. You really need to be aware of the dreaded cold top opening threat. I'm in Texas and it's not uncommon to get a warm day in the 70's in winter. If you leave the top down over night (and then the air cools down to the 40's) when you go to put the top up in the morning, crack! I was warned of this by the dealer and it still happened to me. Albeit the top was nine years old. You need to be sure that you operate the top with a vinyl window when the plastic is warm. 60 degrees and above is my guess. The vinyl becomes brittle when cold. So if you have the top down during a warm day. Put it back up if the temps are going to drop over night.

In any event I replaced the top with a local and excellent trim shop in Fort Worth. The guy does great work in his small shop. He used a GAHH top with German canvas and didn't chage me too much for installation. I think the whole job was about $1,200. Probably breaks down to $500 for the top part and $700 for his labor. It came out fantastic.

Cox trim shop was the shop I used in case any members in the DFW area are looking for a top. I opted for vin yl window in stead of glass since the first one lasted 9 years. It was a little cheaper. It looks stock. And of the glass window versions I has seen retrofitted, the window area looks too small to me. Just my opinion.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:52 PM   #9
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Boxster Convertible Tops

El Stevano,

That's EXACTLY how my window cracked. I was guilty of raising top several times last yr. in sub-50 weather even though I could tell the vinyl was getting brittle. And I was too lazy to do the "chop" when retracting the top. I've learned my lesson and when I get a new top, I will NEVER operate it below 50 degrees and will always push the window midway through retraction.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:47 PM   #10
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My experience...

I opted to go with a replacement vinyl window. I will pick it up this week and will post some photos. I didn't like the green tint so I went with a smoked "glass" tint thinking it would look better with my black boxster.

In brief:
- hand sewn doesn't seem possible. Every pro I spoke didn't want to touch it and said it would leak anyway. Although I am tempted to take one for the forum and try it. (Maybe if someone has a old top they want to donate to the effort.)
Cost est: $150 ...$100 Vinyl and $50 for the proper sewing needles/thread/etc

- removal of the top with frame. Pretty easy to remove the top with the frame - but the pros want it off the frame (just fabric) so they can sew it with standard machines and frames.
Cost est: $500 ... $100 Vinyl and $350-$400 to sew on (add 1 hour labor if you have someone take the frame off for you)

- removal of the fabric top. The best way to go for a DIY. Just take the top to a canvas or auto convertible top shop. Lowest cost, 2 hours of labor to sew and the cost of the vinyl. If you need a pro to take off the convertible top you might as well get a whole new top - since the labor to put on a new top is less than taking off and putting back on the old one.
Cost est: $200 ... $100 Vinyl and $100 Labor to sew

- new top. Best way to go if your top is old or you don't want the hassle. Prices vary widely (like 100%) for both the top and labor.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:34 PM   #11
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You can check out germanautotops.com for replacment tops. I think the sites still being updated, so you can call them with any questions at (818)766-9511. The
A5 sonnenland canvas is the factory original canvas, and it is made by haartz. German auto tops is running a sale which is alot cheaper than what they have advertised online. GAHH is great, but you can purchase the same quality top for almost half the price from German auto tops. Also Ebay offers some great tops, just search boxster convertible top, and you can see some sellers do offer oem factory canvas.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by anytops
You can check out germanautotops.com for replacment tops. I think the sites still being updated, so you can call them with any questions at (818)766-9511. The
A5 sonnenland canvas is the factory original canvas, and it is made by haartz. German auto tops is running a sale which is alot cheaper than what they have advertised online. GAHH is great, but you can purchase the same quality top for almost half the price from German auto tops. Also Ebay offers some great tops, just search boxster convertible top, and you can see some sellers do offer oem factory canvas.

I have tried most all tops. GAHH is by far the most consistant with fit. Their new glass window is great. No seam and piping and the seal is guaranteed for life. You can look in the center bottom of plastic window for their logo. They stand behind their product. Sometimes the cheap comes out expensive.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Peter Serbanica
I have tried most all tops. GAHH is by far the most consistant with fit. Their new glass window is great. No seam and piping and the seal is guaranteed for life. You can look in the center bottom of plastic window for their logo. They stand behind their product. Sometimes the cheap comes out expensive.

Most people dont know this but the reason why GAHH now offers a lifetime warranty is because they had hundreds of those tops returned because the adhesive around the glass window was not holding the window in place. They lost alot of money and had to refund alot of angry customers their money back. Imagine buying a $700 top and paying $700 for installation and having your glass window fall out. I know this for a fact and I wouldnt be bad mouthing GAHH. They are a very reputable company and their products are awesome. But you can get the same quality from other manufacturers for almost half the price.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:31 PM   #14
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I will be replacing my top in the next year. The elastic bands on the sides don't pull the top in place when it's going up and down and it's a pain in the arse to drop AND raise... but it's in fairly good condition otherwise.

I will pay whatever the GAHH installer requires for one reason:

When (probably not if, but when) my new GAHH glass window top requires adjustment or the seam for the glass window separates or if any other factory or installation defect should arise, I will be able to drive it straight over to the installer and have it done for free. He will be reimbursed by GAHH directly.

Buy any other brand and have an indy shop install it for you and you may be paying them to swap out a bad top for a new one on your dime. The other top manufacturers, such as Robbins, make good tops and warrant materials for five years... but not the labor to yank off the old top and put the new one on for you in case of a warranty claim.

GAHH was the first to offer a glass window replacement top for older Boxsters. It took them about a year and a half to get the window seam design right and they should not have released the product without long-term use on test cars. But that was four years ago. A lifetime warranty on a convertible top is simply unheard of due to the use and abuse a top takes day in and day out.

I'm with Peter on this issue. I'll go with a double priced GAHH top the first time than pay it out later, and possibly more than once. I just wish Peter lived close by so I could get him to do my installation for me.
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:12 PM   #15
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I had a friend use a top from www.cabrioworld.com it was a really nice quality glass window unit for his 1999. He installed it himself and he's really happy with the results. I would recommend the top, but no way I would install it myself after seeing what he went through.......he's got more skills than I have.
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:55 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour
I'm with Peter on this issue. I'll go with a double priced GAHH top the first time than pay it out later, and possibly more than once. I just wish Peter lived close by so I could get him to do my installation for me.

But the warranty is not on the top the warranty is on the seal around the window.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:04 PM   #17
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In any case you guys are right GAHH is so far the only company that stands behind this product and pays out of pocket to make sure it works. But the only reason why is because they have to give people this much assurance to buy their products. I mean not only do they offer a lifetime warranty on the seal, they also offer to pay any labor fee's and they have that acoustic a5 canvas which they claim is $200 more that they give away for free. If you had any more intelligence you would ask yourself why would a company be offering all of these incentives? The reason why is because this top was origianlly a flop and it cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. And now just to regain some trust in their products they are offering these crazy incentives with their tops. Most of their other products are top notch, but if you dont really care about this glass upgrade top then I would definatley say go with either Robbins, Ez-On, or German Auto tops. I would definatley suggest to stay away from Germanex that company is just garbage. Their user name on ebay is diamondmall. They dont offer any warranty once you buy their tops your screwed.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:00 PM   #18
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My top was replaced under waranty from porsche because of the cracking issue in plastic window. Manual says don't lower top below zero, dealer told me don't do it under 40. it was probably around 45 when it cracked. They replaced it but made me sign a document saying it was operator error and not a defect. I think they don't want it to be on their quality reports to keep there numbers up. I signed what ever, seeing how I only had another 2000 miles left under waranty anyway. Well 2.5 years latter and the top cracked again this time it was around 75 degrees out. I was sick of splitting windows and doing the chop. so I replaced mine with a robins top with glass window. it took me around 7 hrs to take old top off and put new one on. this was in the fall it was great all winter but..... come spring when we hit 80 degrees the glue heated up and seperated around rear window. I called robins and they said they had some bad glue that went out. They sent me a new top and they would of paid to have it put on if I would of had a shop do it. It only took me about 5 hrs the second time to change it. The new top now has 1 summer and a winter on it and it seems to be great. I love the defroster in the winter. The glass window takes some getting use to because it is smaller to view out of than the plastic. best part is no more chop it fold that stupid plastic window. Anyways Gahh arn't the only ones robbins will take care of you. I got mine from tops online around $700 shipped to my door.

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