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Old 04-26-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
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2003 OEM glass convertible top installed on an 01 Boxster

For those wondering if a 2003 factory glass soft top and frame will work in a pre-2003 Boxster, it does. Today, my friend Maurice and I removed my old plastic windowed top from my 2001 Boxster, and bolted in a complete 2003 factory glass top and frame sourced from a wrecked Boxster. It is a direct plug and play bolt in. For pre-2000 cars, the top relay and top transmission microswitches that tell the top how to cycle are different, so there's a bit of extra work in order to make that work. For 2000, 2001, and 2002 model year cars, it is plug and play bolt right in and operate.

The advantage of swapping in an OEM vs. GAHH or other aftermarket version top is that the OEM version accomodates a larger glass window without sacrificing engine access from the top because of the 4th bow in the frame. The GAHH aftermarket tops have to stretch over the pre-2003 3-bow frames, and thus, the glass area has to be smaller, and there's extra pressure put on the glass as it folds.

Before...my 01 with the plastic window:


Getting ready to unbolt the old top and frame:


Marking the v-levers/push rod prior to disassembly so that we know exactly where to reconnect when putting in the new top:


Old top completely out:


New top in, and looking great:


Interior shot with full headliner and glass window:


Couple more:



And a video of the working 03 top on an 01 Boxster:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGCKcRrmR_c

Hope you enjoy the pics and video!

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Old 04-26-2009, 03:21 PM   #2
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What's the difference in weight between the old and new tops?

What did the newer top and mechanism cost you?
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2000s
What's the difference in weight between the old and new tops?

What did the newer top and mechanism cost you?
We didn't weigh the two tops prior to doing the swap, but I can tell you they both don't feel very heavy. Easy to pick up by yourself with no assistance because of the lightweight magnesium frame. I paid $700 for the complete top and frame.
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxtaboy
We didn't weigh the two tops prior to doing the swap, but I can tell you they both don't feel very heavy. Easy to pick up by yourself with no assistance because of the lightweight magnesium frame. I paid $700 for the complete top and frame.
Cool, cheaper than a GAHH and full engine access.
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:30 PM   #5
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Nice job!

Were you tempted to paint the rollbar since you had all that access?
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:17 PM   #6
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wow...$700 only awesome!
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddb
Nice job!

Were you tempted to paint the rollbar since you had all that access?
haha...well, it was like 90F degrees out at the time or something like that and I was hot, so no...didn't even think about the rollbar. lol. But yeah, that would be a great project.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:57 PM   #8
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Congratulations. This is a modification I would like to make to my car.

Where did you find your top?

Do you have any suggestions for searching?

I think I have a couple of years of life in my top, so I can afford to be patient.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinH1990
Congratulations. This is a modification I would like to make to my car.

Where did you find your top?

Do you have any suggestions for searching?

I think I have a couple of years of life in my top, so I can afford to be patient.
Thanks. I got my top from someone locally who wrecked their car, but the top was undamaged, and wanted to part their car.
My friend who helped me put the top on also just sourced an 03 complete top and frame from a dismantler for a similar price to what I paid. I would check salvage yards every so often because unfortunately people do wreck their boxsters. Finding an 03 or 04 is just a matter of being persistent in your search, and checking with these salvage yards every month or so. Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:22 AM   #10
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I got two words for that:

NICE!!

My plastic window is nearly perfect the canvas is good as new but I now have a nickel size cut in the plastic. grrr....Time to start calling the salvage yards.
How many hours did this swap take? I have a friend who is pretty handy to make up for my incompetence. Although I did just complete the mother of all kitchen cabinet refinishing projects. I need an Advil.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
I got two words for that:

NICE!!

My plastic window is nearly perfect the canvas is good as new but I now have a nickel size cut in the plastic. grrr....Time to start calling the salvage yards.
How many hours did this swap take? I have a friend who is pretty handy to make up for my incompetence. Although I did just complete the mother of all kitchen cabinet refinishing projects. I need an Advil.
Thanks. Well, being that this was the first time we tried this, we took our time, and it took us from start to finish about 3 hours, but that was because first, we noticed that a clamping rail on the b-pillar of the top had snapped, so we had to replace that first. Getting the old top off was pretty easy. There are only 3 bolts on each side of the frame that hold the top on the car, but you have to remove a couple of trim pieces near the b-pillar that protrude over the base of the frame where the bolts are. That takes about 10 minutes each side, but is pretty easy. Then after putting the new top in, you have to make minor adjustments to the positioning so that everything closes and opens properly without being off. What I mean by that is that there is some play in the positioning of the frame where the 3 bolts are on each side where you can actually move the frame forward/backwards up or down before tightening the bolts, and also the positioning of the pushrods that connect to the top from the transmissions. If you tighten the 3 bolts when the frame is too forward, the top latch hook will touch the windstop between the roll bars when you cycle the top. If the pushrod length is not just right, the ball caps will pop off when you operate the top. However, it's all very straightforward, and we could probably do the job now in under 2 hours.

If you end up sourcing an 03 or 04 top, feel free to PM me, and I can give you some pointers on the install (my friend who helped me put the top on actually is the one with the expertise, so I can put you in touch with him for some helpful tips). It really is a plug and play bolt in, provides a pretty large window, and doesn't limit access to your engine from the top (there's a built in strap on the top that helps hold the back of the glass window up and away from the engine cover when you need access), so I think it's a no brainer over the GAHH top if you can find one. The one thing I hated about my old plastic windowed top was that I never quite knew when it was too cold out to put down the top in fear of the plastic window cracking (which it did one day). This solves it.

Nuther pic to show you how nice and big the window is...oh, and there's PORSCHE engraved in black letters at the bottom center of the heated window.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:35 PM   #12
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quote: "oh, and there's PORSCHE engraved in black letters at the bottom center of the heated window."

That settles it!

I have to do yet another "hack" to my '01. Time to start calling the salvage yards......
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper
quote: "oh, and there's PORSCHE engraved in black letters at the bottom center of the heated window."

That settles it!

I have to do yet another "hack" to my '01. Time to start calling the salvage yards......
Hehe..it's pretty cool actually, because you can see it when you look out the rear view mirror when you're driving. LOL
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:01 PM   #14
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Boxtaboy.......................I hate you.

Time to source a new top and frame
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriGem2k
Boxtaboy.......................I hate you.
LOL. Ok, here's another pic of the top for you to enjoy then.

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Old 04-28-2009, 04:39 PM   #16
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is it possible to get a glass window and just have it sewn/retrofitted into the top of a 2000-2002 top? i would think not because my plastic window actually folds in half when the top goes down.... does the frame mechanism of the 03-04 top actually open/close differently such that the top just lays flat rather than get folded???

i would assume you can't just retrofit a glass window into where the plastic one is on a pre-03 top...

my rear window is still pretty good, but there is one small spot near the edge where I can see it discolored and starting to crack... it sucks b/c 99% of my window looks flawless/clear and this one darn spot is cracked. "Out damn spot!"

my top is relatively new - it was replaced by the dealer a few years ago under an extended warranty - too bad htey dind' tput in an 03-04 top and save me the timehassle... now I want to do this..

i can't tell you what a PITA it is to have to fold the window every time i want to drop the top. being able to just drop the top and no "chop" needed would be NICE
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 23109VC
is it possible to get a glass window and just have it sewn/retrofitted into the top of a 2000-2002 top? i would think not because my plastic window actually folds in half when the top goes down.... does the frame mechanism of the 03-04 top actually open/close differently such that the top just lays flat rather than get folded???

i would assume you can't just retrofit a glass window into where the plastic one is on a pre-03 top...

my rear window is still pretty good, but there is one small spot near the edge where I can see it discolored and starting to crack... it sucks b/c 99% of my window looks flawless/clear and this one darn spot is cracked. "Out damn spot!"

my top is relatively new - it was replaced by the dealer a few years ago under an extended warranty - too bad htey dind' tput in an 03-04 top and save me the timehassle... now I want to do this..

i can't tell you what a PITA it is to have to fold the window every time i want to drop the top. being able to just drop the top and no "chop" needed would be NICE
You can't have a glass window sewn into your current top because the glass has to be small enough to fold. This is because of your 3-bow frame used for the plastic window. If you cut out the plastic window, your glass window would need to be bigger than the plastic window that used to be there. The 03 and 04 tops have a 4th bow in the frame which allows for a larger window that nicely folds flat (without having to fold in half), and thus fits perfectly under the clamshell.

The aftermarket makers like GAHH, Robbins, and others make a top that incorporates a smaller glass window that folds, but because it is stretched over the older 3-bow frames, there is a lot of pressure put on the window itself because the folding point is not optimal. The 3-bow frame was made to accomodate a plastic window that folds in half, as you know. GAHH has improved upon their design to at least prevent the glass from separating from the seams, but their window is still smaller in size than the OEM top's window, and to me, looks like a mail slot. The other issue is that because the 3-bow frame really is meant to accomodate a plastic window that folds in half, with the aftermarket glass window top installed, you have less access to the engine from the top because the glass window doesn't fold in half when held up to get to the engine. The OEM top folds up and out of the way because of the 4th bow in the frame that will allow the window to pivet up.

I totally agree with you about the hassle of having to get out of the car to do the chop. Not only does it look kinda retarded when others are looking at you, it is a pain to have to get out of the car. With a glass top, you no longer need to do that. Oh, and your dealer probably replaced the fabric part of your top, not the frame, and that's why they could not put the 03/04 glass soft top fabric on your car...it wouldn't fit over your 3-bow frame. In order for them to give you an 03/04 glass top conversion, they would have had to replace your frame too, which adds another several thousand dollars to the equation...which is why the best/cheapest way to get this done is to source the 03/04 top and frame from a wreck.

What bothers me is that Porsche waited 6 years (model years 97-03) before they finally offered the Boxster with a glass top. That is kinda pathetic...even cars like the mini, beetle, mustang, MR2, and Chrysler Sebring came standard with a glass window, but not on a Porsche. They should at least now offer an option to retrofit the 03 or 04 top on previous models, because it obviously works, but no- they would charge you about $8k for the new top with frame if you order it, so the only cost effective way to do it is to source thru a salvage yard.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:16 AM   #18
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Thanks for sharing.
Great top, wheels, exhaust - car!
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:28 AM   #19
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Great job. Great price. I'm jealous.........
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:39 AM   #20
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Great Job!
I had heard the tops where interchangeable, but you are the first person I have heard of who has actually done this. When my plastic window breaks I will definately be doing this.
Do you know if it will work on a '99?
And what relays do you need to replace, do you have the part numbers?
Thanks!

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