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Old 11-08-2023, 05:36 PM   #1
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Convertible Top Replacement

I need to replace the top on my 1997 Boxster. It had a plastic window which has cracked and faded. I have found a replacement top with glass window including frame in a salvage yard that was a replacement on a 1999 model. The salvaged one has a glass window. I have read some threads that indicate the glass window replacement will require modification of the top transmission for tight fitment. The salvage yard assures me all I need to do is take out three bolts on both sides, lift the old one off and bolt in the salvage frame and top with glass window. I had converted the old top to manual operation due to needing to do "the Boxster chop" anyway. Am thinking about trying to go back to automatic operation with the replacement top. The salvage yard is asking $1200. Any thoughts or advice from forum members with experience in doing this will be appreciated.

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Old 11-16-2023, 07:17 PM   #2
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I replaced the original top (plastic window) with an aftermarket top with glass window on my 01 S. I replaced only the top, not the top and frame. There was no need to modify anything to get a good fit. The fit is exactly the same.

The only caveat is that you lose a bit of underhood access when retrofitting a glass window top. It's not a major problem, but you won't get quite as much space for access.
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Old 11-17-2023, 01:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for the assurances exiledrebel, I hear you.....get the new top on before I draw any conclusions about the automatic operation. I have determined, by reading this forum, that on my 1997 Boxster there is a micro switch behind the B pillar that reverses the clamshell motor when the top is fully up so that will likely solve the mystery of the over stressing of the clamshell when operated with the top off. Early on my journey to get it powered again. Dealership was looking to charge me around $10,000 including a visit to the body shop to "scan" the body to ensure dimension between top transmissions was "to spec". That would have been about twice what the car is likely worth. The journey continues....
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Old 11-18-2023, 08:03 AM   #4
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I've read so many DIY Boxster replacement "stories" that a few years ago, when I wanted to replace mine (and with the glass rear window) I visited a few auto interior shops to see their work and chat.

It was well worth the experience. I went with the shop that had the most experience with Boxster tops.....all in it was about $1,100, done in ONE day and looks and works perfectly. Afterwards I was glad to NOT have attempted myself. My Boxster is 25 years old (98') which means the gears, cables, micro switches, and all the other parts are 25 years old too......so, for me, better to let an experienced professional do the job and just pay for it.
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Old 11-19-2023, 09:14 AM   #5
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To replace the fabric cover and the attached rear window, either plastic or glass, does not involve messing with the drive system, itís micro switches, etc. Although, yes, it only involves three bolts on each side to remove the top frame from the car, the top frame is so hard to handle on a workbench that it is easier to leave it on the car. Most of the work replacing the fabric is easiest to do with the top in service position.
Like anything, speed comes with practice. My first top replacement took a week, but now it only takes all day. A commercial top shop well familiar with Boxsters certainly could do a top replacement in one working day, and $1100 parts plus labor is not a bad deal.
One of my Boxsters had a glass window top when I got it. The glass window, inflexible, must be fairly narrow so as to fit behind the optional rear speaker box; also as a result there is severe flexure required at the top edge of the window, leading to early failure of the stitching there. For that reason I have since opted for plastic window tops. Rearward visibility is much better with plastic windows than with glass because of their larger area.
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Old 11-20-2023, 06:46 AM   #6
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I agree that the after market tops have glass windows which are smaller than the top with the plastic windows. In my case, I seldom if ever drive my "summer ride" with the top up. 99% of the time, the top is down unless I get caught in rain or until I drive to its winter indoor heated storage. I always store it with the top up.

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