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Old 03-10-2010, 05:59 AM   #1
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............pop, and there goes my plastic window

I bought this car in september of 2009 and had folded the top up and down numerous times without issue! Over the winter i wanted to fix the windscreen from rattling so I folded it half way and hear a crack and noticed a 2mm crack behind the drivers seat in the window by the edge of the canvas. So today i decide to fix my lexan screen and so far so good, then 'bang' passenger side of the window splits. Time for a glass top unless I can swap an '03-04 top into my 97 which I doubt

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:18 AM   #2
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The glass back top uses a different style subframe, so you cannot simply buy a factory glassback. You can however, find aftermarket glass back tops for sale, some have been reported to obstruct the mechanicals a bit in the service mode as opposed to the plastic back. If the canvass is in good shape, cheapest option would be to visit a marine canvass shop, trust me the back window of the Boxster is a walk in the park next to some of the work I used to see on Searays, maybe you'll get lucky and they can just do it on the car. I don't know where ajax is but if you're near Cape Vincent US side, call weatherstoppers, that guy is very talented.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:21 AM   #3
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You can put a 2003 or 04 OEM top with glass on your 97, as long as you get one complete with the whole top frame (it's a 4-rib frame, not 3, which the pre-2003 models came with). Here's a pic of my 01 (in silver with an 03 top), and my friend Maurice's 97 (in blue with an 04 top). It's a direct swap for the 2000, 2001, and 2002 model yr. cars (you just unbolt your whole top with frame, and then bolt in the new one), but you can still make it work with the 97, 98, and 99 models, if you do a little extra wiring work so that the top knows when to stop cycling when you operate it. Not difficult at all. Just contact Maurice (his handle on this board is "schoir"), and he can walk you thru what's needed to get it done. The tough part is finding the 03 or 04 top. I got mine directly from a guy who wrecked his car, and decided to part it out for only $700 bucks; my pal Maurice got it from a dismantler in the Northeast for only a little more.

It's by far my best mod because I no longer have to worry if it's too cold to put the top down and since it's OEM, there's no restriction to the top of the engine cover when you need to get in there (there's a built in strap to hold the glass window up when you put it into service position), and the glass area is still large for a clear view of what's behind you. The plastic window also makes the car look dated to me, so I was glad to get that cracking piece of shower curtain looking like thing off the car (yes, my plastic window also cracked in mid 50s weather).

If you want to see how the conversion actually works once done, just look at this video we took right after bolting in the 03 top on my car. Works like it came like that right from the factory!

Video after 03 factory top conversion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGCKcRrmR_c

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:22 AM   #4
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my rear window tore as well. two nickel width cuts that penetrated completely.
My downfall was mostly likely lowering when the temp was below 60. Big no no.
I really don't want to do the glass upgrade because my canvas is spotless. I've taken very good care of it with Raggtopp treatments and cleanings. I'm also not crazy about the limited access of the glass retrofit. I've searched for an OEM unit from a dismantled car but those go fast and the canvas is rarely in as good a shape as my car. I also prefer the far wider visibility of the plastic window. My plastic is crystal clear. I'd rather put the $1200+ for a new glass top and labor towards major maintenance like suspension, clutch or new wheels, tires, paint touch ups, Nav, etc. I've done top replacements on other cars and they don't always turn out perfect, things get loose requiring fiddling every time you lower or raise. I'd rather avoid all that.
Maybe I can find someone to do the plastic swap for a recession buster price.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:25 AM   #5
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Sorry guys... that hurts!

Yep, below 60 degrees is risky.

My car is stored top up and before I lower it for the season (my car is a sunny weather car so the top stays down most of the season except for washing and service) I close the car up and run it with the heater on full. Outside, just before I lower it, I go over the outside of the window with a blow dryer so it's nice, warm and pliable. Window is perfect, clear, flexible.

But, it's also now 12 yrs. old, so I'm fearing any day now...

Cheers!
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
my rear window tore as well. two nickel width cuts that penetrated completely.
My downfall was mostly likely lowering when the temp was below 60. Big no no.
I really don't want to do the glass upgrade because my canvas is spotless. I've taken very good care of it with Raggtopp treatments and cleanings. I'm also not crazy about the limited access of the glass retrofit. I've searched for an OEM unit from a dismantled car but those go fast and the canvas is rarely in as good a shape as my car. I also prefer the far wider visibility of the plastic window. My plastic is crystal clear. I'd rather put the $1200+ for a new glass top and labor towards major maintenance like suspension, clutch or new wheels, tires, paint touch ups, Nav, etc. I've done top replacements on other cars and they don't always turn out perfect, things get loose requiring fiddling every time you lower or raise. I'd rather avoid all that.
Maybe I can find someone to do the plastic swap for a recession buster price.
Perfectlap:

I might be able to help you out.
Send me a PM. Your PM box is full.

Regards, Maurice.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil bastard
Sorry guys... that hurts!

Yep, below 60 degrees is risky.

My car is stored top up and before I lower it for the season (my car is a sunny weather car so the top stays down most of the season except for washing and service) I close the car up and run it with the heater on full. Outside, just before I lower it, I go over the outside of the window with a blow dryer so it's nice, warm and pliable. Window is perfect, clear, flexible.

But, it's also now 12 yrs. old, so I'm fearing any day now...

Cheers!
I thought I was the only one using a hair dryer on the back window
Top down weather is short enough in Minnesota. I cant wait for 60 degrees!
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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My top plastic window cracked this winter also. Guess there's a window virus running around. I got an estimate from the Porsche dealership to replace the plastic...$1000, ouch. Went down the street to top shop, he's done 3 so far this year...$450, reasonable. While at the Porsche dealership, I asked about the glass window and I was actually speaking to a mechanic who was replacing an issue like mine. When you need to service the engine they actually have to remove the top because the glass window will not clear like the plastic, which adds more cost if you ever need to use a dealer. Food for thought here.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jcb986
....
While at the Porsche dealership, I asked about the glass window and I was actually speaking to a mechanic who was replacing an issue like mine. When you need to service the engine they actually have to remove the top because the glass window will not clear like the plastic, which adds more cost if you ever need to use a dealer. Food for thought here.
That's only true with certain aftermarket glass-windowed tops. Much less of an issue with the '03 or '04 OEM retrofit.

Regards, Maurice.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:39 PM   #10
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AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH....... Notice my car on the right.. Top down. My windows are always cracking.. Show offs......... This is my third plastic. I should just find a glass one at this point. 600 a pop to have that f'!@# fixed. I am just jealous, sorry for my rant.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:51 PM   #11
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during summer i apply the plastic lubricant as often as possible from the outside and inside. so far no issues....and do it as part of my winter storage prep. i also lubricate all outside plastic trim pieces.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:57 PM   #12
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What lubricant do you guys use?

Thanks
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcb986
My top plastic window cracked this winter also. Guess there's a window virus running around. I got an estimate from the Porsche dealership to replace the plastic...$1000, ouch. Went down the street to top shop, he's done 3 so far this year...$450, reasonable. While at the Porsche dealership, I asked about the glass window and I was actually speaking to a mechanic who was replacing an issue like mine. When you need to service the engine they actually have to remove the top because the glass window will not clear like the plastic, which adds more cost if you ever need to use a dealer. Food for thought here.
That's not food for thought. That's just incorrect information given to you by your dealer. They take the whole top and frame off because they can charge you more labor and because they are not crafty enough to figure out how to get around a small issue. Yes, the aftermarket glass tops give you less access to the engine because they don't fold up as much due to the 3-bow framed roof that it is put on, but it still has plenty of room to get to the engine if they know how to get the back of the window to stay up. This is easily done by using a rope or strap to tie it up. See below pic of aftermarket Robbins top that comes with such a strap:


If you get an 03 or 04 OEM top with the 4-bow frame (which allows better folding of the window), it opens up in the engine service position just like the 03 and 04 cars, without any restriction, and the glass window is held up with a built in strap that is much more integrated than the aftermarket strap solution. Here's my 03 top in the open position when I changed out my dirty air filter:


IMO, no matter how you cut it, getting glass (whether OEM or aftermarket) is the way to go. It allows you to never again have to worry if it's too cold out to put the top down, you never have to get out of the car to make sure the window folds right, you never have to polish the window to make sure it stays soft and without scratches, less risk of vandalism damage with glass, while also updating the look of the car.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by JAAY
AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH....... Notice my car on the right.. Top down. My windows are always cracking.. Show offs......... This is my third plastic. I should just find a glass one at this point. 600 a pop to have that f'!@# fixed. I am just jealous, sorry for my rant.
I will gladly trade my 03 top for your 3.4L engine, Jay!
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:30 AM   #15
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My rear window has a small crack on each side where the canvas meets the vinyl and you can hardly see out of it.

I have been looking at new materials to replace it with and TexinŽ DP7-3007 TPU seems to be the latest and greatest.

I have found one place in California that sells it and I am waiting on a price from them, I will post the info when I recieve it.

http://tpe-u.com/tpu/emea/en/markets/automotive/docId-2399237/Heckscheibe_des_BMW_Z8_Roadster.html
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landrovered
My rear window has a small crack on each side where the canvas meets the vinyl and you can hardly see out of it.

I have been looking at new materials to replace it with and TexinŽ DP7-3007 TPU seems to be the latest and greatest.

I have found one place in California that sells it and I am waiting on a price from them, I will post the info when I recieve it.

http://tpe-u.com/tpu/emea/en/markets/automotive/docId-2399237/Heckscheibe_des_BMW_Z8_Roadster.html
IMHO, as long as it's plastic, you'll always worry about it cracking. If I couldn't easily find an 03 or 04 top, I'd go the alternative and just buy an aftermarket top for $600, consider a self install with the great instructions shown below, and be done with it. No more plastic window cracking worries...

Top replacement DIY:
http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/replacingthetop-adiy

Link for aftermarket glass windowed soft top for $599 (not really true what they say about OEM look (maybe Mustang or S2000 OEM look), but Porsche's glass window has a seal around it, but still:

http://www.autotopsdirect.com/Boxster-Glass-Windows-s/97.htm
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:15 AM   #17
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My top is fine, the PVC has leached out of the clear vinyl. No sense in replacing perfectly good canvas when I can get the window replaced a lot cheaper.

The advantage of TPU is that it is a different type of plastic that is not PVC. When was the last time you saw a PVC window that the menufacturer said could be washed in an automatic car wash?

This stuff looks pretty scratch resistant and not subject to the inherent shortcomings of PVC vinyl.

I say it is worth a shot.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:30 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by landrovered
My top is fine, the PVC has leached out of the clear vinyl. No sense in replacing perfectly good canvas when I can get the window replaced a lot cheaper.

The advantage of TPU is that it is a different type of plastic that is not PVC. When was the last time you saw a PVC window that the menufacturer said could be washed in an automatic car wash?

This stuff looks pretty scratch resistant and not subject to the inherent shortcomings of PVC vinyl.

I say it is worth a shot.
Of course, it's your car, so if you think it's worth it, more power to ya. My only thought is that: 1) of course glass is more durable than even TPU, 2) it updates the look of the car (what convertible these days comes with a plastic window?, and 3) unless you replace the plastic window portion yourself, an installer will still charge you $400-$450 to sew in a new window, so you wouldn't be saving yourself that much in the long run, as a glass window will still outlast the TPU. One poke of a pencil thru the TPU window by a vandal, and it's done. JMHO.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:34 AM   #19
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I would agree with you if I was not buying a Zeintop. The ragtop is going to be in a backup role if it ever goes back on the car at all. So in the mean time I am looking for a cheap fix.

I have a local upholsterer who is quite talented and quite reasonable (case of beer kind of thing) so it makes sense in my situation.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:46 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by landrovered
I would agree with you if I was not buying a Zeintop. The ragtop is going to be in a backup role if it ever goes back on the car at all. So in the mean time I am looking for a cheap fix.

I have a local upholsterer who is quite talented and quite reasonable (case of beer kind of thing) so it makes sense in my situation.
Just do the research prior to putting one of those Zeintops in. IMHO, there's a lot of effort involved in getting them to work in the car, and unless you love the look so much, probably better off just sourcing a factory hardtop, which doesn't require you to remove your clamshell and trunklid to fit.

http://www.ppbb.com/phorum/read.php?6,1500708,1500708#msg-1500708

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