The Porsche Boxster has distinguised itself as a truly affordable choice to its cousin the 911. The Boxster features a finely balanced engine and quickly became part of the Porsche legend. After more than a decade in production, the classically styled Boxster remains a serious luxury roadster and a huge hit with drivers.
The first-generation Boxster (the 986) was first introduced in 1996 as a 1997 model. In 2000 the S version was introduced with a larger, more powerful engine, however there was no change to the convertible top or top frame.
In 2003, the Boxster received a styling update, including updating the rear window from plastic to glass. This required a new convertible top pattern to be designed and the inclusion of a glass window as standard. The 2003 and 2004 models were reasonably similar.
UPDATING THE LOOK OF THE 986 BOXSTER
To update the look of the original Porsche Boxster, the Convertible Top Aftermarket designed a glass window option for the 1997-2002 Boxster. 1997-2002 Boxster Glass Window tops, like the new models, have a smaller rear window to allow it to fit into the top boot. Glass windows are generally slightly tinted to match your front and side windows and has the embedded defroster glass wiring and a new wiring harness to connect it to the existing electrical system.
HOW DOES THE GLASS WINDOW FIT?
The Boxster glass window is a DOT approved aftermarket window with the safety emblems and includes embedded defroster wiring and a wire harness kit to connect it to the vehicle’s electrical system.
Like the newer Boxsters, the glass windows for the 1997-2002 Boxster are smaller than the plastic window.
This is necessary since the larger plastic window folds when it is retracted into the top boot. Glass window size is 35.5″ wide by 12” tall to allow it to fit into the boot properly.
The trade-off is a slight loss in visibility because of the size and a big gain in clarity in your rear view mirror looking through glass compared to a plastic window that will discolor over time.
The great thing about a convertible on the Chrystler Sebring, or any automobile for that matter, is that it allows you to literally transform your car and your driving experience whenever you want. The Chrysler Sebring convertible, from the time it was originally introduced in 1996, was extremely popular and became the best selling convertible in the world during the years 2001 – 2005. Currently Chrysler is on its 3rd generation of the Sebring. The Sebring convertible tops of first two generations are the subject of this article.
SEBRING 1st and 2nd GENERATION CONVERTIBLE TOPS
The first generation Sebrings were the model years 1996 through 2000 and were available in three trims, the JX, the Jxi, and the Limited edition. The Limited was available from 1998-2000 only. The convertible top frame for all of the first generation years and models is the same. This opens up the option of replacing the convertible top with either an upgraded material or a more economical material than originally came with the vehicle.
In 2001, Chrysler introduced the second generation Sebring, which in later years was offered as the Limited Edition, LX and LXi trims. For the year 2001 through 2006 the top frame was a little larger. But, like the first generation, Chrysler Sebring convertible top for the years 2001-2006 in both Sailcloth Vinyl and Twillfast canvas will fit all trims for those years.
Originally, the JX and Lx trims came with a Sailcloth Vinyl material which is a two ply composite made of a PVC sailcloth grain outer layer bonded to a polyester/cotton inner lining. And, the Jxi, Lxi and Limited edition trimss came with an acoustically enhanced Twillfast, a three-ply composite made of acrylic twill weave outer fabric, an elastomeric inner layer and a polyester/cotton lining fabric. There is a significant difference in both cost and quality of Sailcloth Vinyl versus Twillfast Cloth.
What’s good about this is that as long as you select a first generation or second generation convertible top replacement for your Sebring, you can substitute either material on any trim of Sebring. That means, that depending on your budget, and what you want to achieve with your restoration, there is going to be a convertible top replacement solution for you.
SEBRING CONVERTIBLE TOP DESIGN
For all model years from 1996-2006, the Sebring Convertible top is a classic two-piece design. A two piece top includes a window section and a main top section. The window section includes, obviously, the glass window, which is bonded to the fabric that attaches to the top frame independently from the main top section.
The key characteristic of a two-piece convertble top design is the overlapping quarter panels. That is, the main top section overlaps the window section in the rear quarters. A one-piece style top has the window bonded into one complete convertible top with no overlapping panels.
The window section is the more complex assembly of the two-piece Sebring convertble top. It includes a heated glass window with embedded defroster wiring and electrical connectors, a metal tacking attachment bracket that is used to secure the window section to the vehicle and to secure the main section to the window section.
The window is bonded to the material. In this image the material is Sailcloth Vinyl, which on the inside is a polyester/cotton blend. There is also additional support material and excess material along the top and bottom of the window section that is stapled to the convertible top frame.
After a well built convertible top has been fitted to your car, you will find the resulting product appearance and quality indistinguishable from a brand new original top. The windows are DOT certified and feature an emblem to assure compliance. The convertible top fits to the original headliner, which you may reuse if your headliner is in good condition.
There are a lot of suppliers of Sebring convertible tops online and the quality is not always the same. Also, a higher price online does not necessarily mean a better product. Look for a supplier that you can trust to provide a high quality product, fast shipping, great service, and a great warranty all at a competitive price.
Although your new convertible top fabric does not promote mildew growth, mildew can develop on dirt and other substances if they are not removed, particularly in warm weather climates. A maintenance program of regular cleaning is recommended. Automatic or hand washes will not harm your convertible top, however, DO NOT USE DETERGENT on canvas fabrics. Most convertible top manufacturers and the supplier of the convertible top fabrics recommend using RAGGTOPP™ Cleaner and RAGGTOPP™ Protectant.
RAGGTOPP™ Protectant was specially developed for the true convertible top professional and enthusiast to protect and maintain their fabric, vinyl soft tops and plastic windows from harmful elements. The number one factor in deteriorating convertible tops is acid rain, along with U.V. rays, smog, tree sap, bird droppings, salt, tar , dirt, grease, and grit. All these elements contribute to the weakening and failure of convertible tops.
RAGGTOPP™ Protectant is the future of convertible top protection. Over three years of product testing has produced a polymer formula that creates a superior protective barrier that micro-bonds to the convertible top and protects it from the elements of nature and man.
To do the job right, use a natural horse hair convertible top brush such as the RAGGTOPP™ Natural Horse Hair Convertible Top Brush for Cloth & Vinyl Convertible Top Cleaning.
First produced in 1989 as a 1990 model, Miata (MX-5) is now in it’s third generation of design.
The original factory soft top, referred to as an OE Style top, was a 2 piece design with the window section zippered into the top deck section. The window was a clear plastic. The top deck was made with a deck seam down both sides and had quarter panels that overlapped the window section. Original material was 38oz Cabrio Vinyl in black and tan. In 1991 Mazda offered an optional removable hardtop.
The MX-5 was completely redesigned for 2006. The soft top is a non zippered 1 piece design without the deck seams and overlapping quarter panels. Cabrio Vinyl in black and parchment as well as Stayfast Cloth in 848 Black and 2944 Brick are the material choices.
GLASS WINDOW UPGRADES
When opening your convertible top you should not have to push the rear window section down by hand. Although you cannot see them without removing the top or headliner, there is a pair of nylon tension straps that pull tighten together when open the top which allows the rear window bow to retract enough so the window and rear of the convertible top clear the top lid without you have to do anything by hand.
These tension straps will lose their elasticity over time or the front or rear loops may break. Failure may cause damage to your convertible top and void your warranty. So, we recommend replacement when you change your BMW convertible top.
Although it may be possible to reuse your existing tension straps, we highly recommend you purchase new straps when replacing a convertible top for the BMW 3 Series.
Used tension straps are subject to stretching over time and will wear out faster than your new convertible top.
Replacement straps are relatively inexpensive and can only be accessed by removing the headliner and top so it is a good idea to get new ones. Failure may cause damage to your convertible top and void your warranty.