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Old 04-24-2005, 11:54 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Glass window top for '97 to '02 Boxsters

My friend just replaced the plastic window convertible top on his '99 Boxster with a new glass window top. It looks great and he is really happy. A shop in Santa Clara called Premier Auto Tops did it in one day. They're phone number is (408) 241-7090. I can't wait to do the same.
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Old 04-24-2005, 01:06 PM   #2
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I have wanted to do this for awhile now, but was under the impression that the entire top and all linkage had to be replaced with the newer style, and that it would run at least 3,000.00 or so in parts alone. Is this true, or did they figure out a way to retro fit a glass window?
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Old 04-24-2005, 01:25 PM   #3
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Can you have your friend contact me. The local Boxster owners want to see this top in person.

http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=4503
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:55 AM   #4
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Smile

and maybe a photo or two for the east coasters?? thanks!
For anyone: the local Porsche dealer advised against going top down in cold weather due to possible damage to the plastic rear window. Open for anybody's thoughts on the topic - experience, minimum temperature recommendations, etc. SC has mild winters, and I enjoy top down driving is good even in DEC-FEB (with a hat).
A glass fix would be great...
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Old 04-26-2005, 10:38 AM   #5
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As a general rule of thumb, you always want to keep an eye on your rear plastic window when it folds and make sure its not binding. Mine binds (i.e. doens't fold straight) everytime i put it down, and I generally will not put it down unless it's over 60 degrees. I stop it half way everytime, get out and tap it in the middle so that it folds straight. The one time i Ignored it the binding will put a little gash in it as it tries to straighten itself out and eventually I can see that causing it to crack. Also the warmer it is out the softer the top is and the better it will fold. Glass would sure be a nice upgrade, even though it's about 1/2 the size of the plastic one....
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:24 AM   #6
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I called the Premier Auto Tops and spoke with the owner, Roth Schleck. Very nice guy. Told me the top was $2,000 installed, takes a full day of their time to install it, and that the top is made in the United States and isn't the top we've read about on Renntech from Wales that's $1200.00 shipped to a US address (plus another 4-8 hours of someone's time to install it).

Just thought I'd post this in case anyone was wondering how much it cost and where it was made.

If you ask me, 2 grand for a new top is too pricey for me on a 97. The non-chopping requirement would be wonderful, but frankly, I can get an aftermarket top installed here in Houston for $800.00. I'd rather spend that $1200.00 on a paint job or litronics.

Last edited by RandallNeighbour; 04-26-2005 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 04-26-2005, 02:20 PM   #7
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Only a Texen would say Whales instead of Wales....
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Old 04-26-2005, 03:05 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Top On The Way

I ordered a glass-window top from GAHH today for my 2000 Box . It was $960 + $84 (Gray) + shipping to NC. Total = $1094. They also sell a slightly less expensive glass-window top ($140 or $160 less). The installer gave me a quote for $520 to put the top on. So, I will have $1600 in the top, but I think it is well worth the cost for several reasons. 1) I wanted a gray top from the beginning to go with my white exterior and gray interior. I bought the car about 6 months ago and couldn't find everything I was looking for with the desired color combination. 2) I dislike being so careful with lowering the top with regard to ambient temperature and doing the "chop". What's the use of having an auto-lowering top if you have to get out of the car and whack the middle of the window? I feel like an idiot doing this in front of others. 3) I missed not having a rear-window defroster. My original factory black top is still in good shape, and who knows how long it would have lasted. I hope to have the top by Friday and to have it installed next week if I'm lucky. The shop won't pencil me in until I have the top in hand. I have other parts to install such as Litronics, etc., so I will post pictures when I get the car presentable for top-down season.



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Old 04-26-2005, 03:16 PM   #9
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If I'm remembering correctly, around 43-45 farenheit the plastic window undergoes a 'glass transition' which is to say the usually semi-malleable polymer loses it's compliance and flexibility, in the same way a summer tire turns into a solid hunk of rubber in winter. The plastic becomes rigid, and therefore brittle, raising the risk of cracking instead of folding. This condition gets worse with age, as the plastic 'dries', losing it's flexibility and yellowing. A friend, trying to bang snow off the roof of his Miata, shattered it's back window, which had already begun the UV ray depletion, was yellowed and stiff even in summer. I'm not aware of any products that prolong the life of the back window specifically, but plastic cleaner/polisher like Meguires kept my previous convertibles' rear window as clear and healthy through-out the 5 years I owned it. It outlasted the top.
BTW ToolPants, I don't feel stupid doing anything in front of others in my Boxster! Even crashing probably looks cooler in a Box'.
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Old 04-26-2005, 05:06 PM   #10
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Whales! Dang. I hate typos. I sure am glad we can edit posts. As a writer by trade, this is a huge no no.
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Old 04-26-2005, 09:46 PM   #11
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What's the difference between German Canvas and Sonnendeck Canvas? The Sonnendeck Canvas top w/ glass window is $820 vs. $960 for German Canvas top w/ glass window. At these prices getting one of these tops vs. getting another plastic window top installed seems a moot point IMO, go with the glass!
http://www.gahh.com/

Like Shortbus said the glass window looks a lot smaller than the OEM plasitic, so the blind spots are going to be bigger with the top up. The looks sort of reminds me of the new 350z convertibles. Guess that means you gotta drop the top more

I'm with dbb and his points about the plastic window - especially how it is annoying to always have to do the chop. That reason alone is enough for me to seriously consider this upgrade even though my existing top + window are still in good condition. I'd drop the top more if i didn't have to get out of the car and do the chop.

Can't wait to hear how the install goes and how you like it (for those of you doing this upgrade). I'm especially interested with someone doing it themselves, but it sounds like this is a job best left to a speciality installer who does installs like this for a living.

Thanks,
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:19 PM   #12
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I had mine done today. It'll run about $2k total with the glass window top at a good installer (good = good rep for quality and someone that stands behind the work). The regular top (same quality aftermarket - not OEM) runs about $1700 for the same installation. A cheaper shop can probably knock a couple hundred $ off each install, but I chose a good installer. My understanding is that the installation process is the same. Personally, I wouldn't take off a good plastic window top just to get a glass window, but if you do need to replace your top for any reason, I see no reason not to get the glass. I had a tear in my plastic window. It was very small and not growing - actually livable - I got out the krazy glue to ensure that the seam didn't crack and put a little clear tape on the plastic so water would stop leaking in and that worked fine for the full 6 month rainy season and I had no new problems with the top. However, that coupled with the fact that the previous owner beat up the top a little and my grey canvas was no longer the same color it initially was prompted me to be ready for a deal on a new one. The emergence of the glass got me motivated. I went for a black top this time.

I like the way it looks. No different than the OEM top in shape, and the same material as OEM. The window is smaller and sits lower - the best way I can describe it is to compare it to the old speedsters. It's not that drastic, but it does have sort of that look. Keep in mind that the plastic window covers almost the whole back of the top - it's pretty big. The glass is smaller and the fact that it's on a slant decreases the viewing angle, but I wouldn't consider it a reason to pass on the glass. I used to be able to see the top of the plastic at the top of my rear view mirror and the bottom at the bottom of the mirror (did you ever notice that the shape of the mirror follows the shape of the plastic rear window so all you see is a clear view?) - now I've lost the top and bottom fifths of that view. The window sits lower because the top folds at the top of the glass and the glass lays flat in the boot, bottom of the glass toward the rear of the car. The glass height is about size of the folded top in the boot, as a point of reference.

The only negative I can think of is that if the glass ever breaks a whole top replacement might be required. I guess someone could try to sew in plastic as a cheaper fix, but new glass can't be installed (that was also the case with my last convertible with a glass window and I believe it's true of all tops).

By the way - it looks to me like these things are going to be everywhere very soon. We've been waiting because we saw the one in the UK, but I think this style will be available all over the place in a month. You're going to start seeing these on the road.

Last edited by CA_Boxster; 04-26-2005 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddb
3) I missed not having a rear-window defroster.

ddb


DDB,
You might be looking at a few hundred dollars to wire up for the defogger.
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Old 04-27-2005, 06:15 AM   #14
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CA--

Can you post some pix of your car with the new top on?

Thanks
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Old 04-27-2005, 07:22 AM   #15
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larez2, if your existing top will fit my 97, I'd be interested in buying it from you if it's in good condition. PM me if you decide to replace yours.

I agree that glass window replacement tops will be everywhere in a few months, and the price will come down as well—competition is a good thing for us owners.
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Old 04-27-2005, 12:21 PM   #16
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I'll put some picks up when I get a chance.
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Old 04-27-2005, 02:09 PM   #17
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Hello CA Boxster:

Looking forward to seeing pictures of your top.

It's my understanding that all Boxsters are pre-wired for the rear-window defroster and it simply will plug into the new top. Was this not the case for you?

Did you order your top and take it to the installer or did you purchase it through the installation shop? I ordered my top directly from GAHH. I called 3 reputable installers in my area and received quotes from $520 - $600. I chose the shop whose work I've seen and his price happens to be $520. He will stand by his work and do a great job. My total will be around $1600 with the higher quality material including the premium for the gray material.

I tracked my top online and I may have it tomorrow. Now I need to work on an appointment for the installation. Even with the glass window it only weighs 13.4 pounds.

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Old 04-27-2005, 04:54 PM   #18
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I would doubt the pre-wiring on any pre 03 Boxes. Since they all had plastic windows up till then, don't see how the wiring would be there.

Make sense?

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Old 04-27-2005, 05:12 PM   #19
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DDB,
Sounds like you've got a good thing arranged. It was going to be about $400 for parts and labor (ballpark estimate) to wire up my 2000 Boxster. I suspect Mr. Lee is correct and the pre-2003 Boxsters don't have the wiring. The only reason I can think to have had it is if it was related to the hardtop.

However, I never actually looked. I guess it's possible Porsche threw in a few extra wires just in case hardtops were attached to the cars. It' worth a phone call to a dealer, I guess.

The shop supplied mine. I had actually called to ask if they were aware of these new tops and to see if they'd install one if I bought one on my own - it turned out that they were just starting to offer it themselves.
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Old 04-27-2005, 05:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucelee
I would doubt the pre-wiring on any pre 03 Boxes. Since they all had plastic windows up till then, don't see how the wiring would be there.

Make sense?


I think ALL Boxsters have the wiring because all optional hardtops have electric defrosters. It's my understanding that the rear defroster will be activated when you depress the button for the side mirror defrosters. So the connection should be plug-n-play. I will verify this hopefully next week.

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