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convertible hardtop questions


Well-known member
Nov 1, 2001
southern california
1982 convertible (not factory) stock 350cfi auto
(1) does anyone know of a company that makes electric defogger grids, I want a grid made for my convertible hard tops rear glass window since my 82 already had a rear window defogger from the factory.

(2) were vette hardtops prone to warping the sealing area's on the windshielf frame have a gap between the weatherstripping and the sealing surface, I also have this problem on the back of the top where it seals on the decklid underneath the the rear window, or am I dealing with just old weatherstripping, the stuff on the top seams kind of flat and not very flexible.

(3) my decklid has the recievers for the soft top, were the hard tops different and could this cuase any of my sealing problems.

(4) on the side of the hard top seems to be brackets that look like you would bolt it to the front side of the decklid, is it safe to operate car at highway speeds with these bolts missing.

(5) headliner where can I buy the velcro looking things that hold the headliner material to the top, I have corvette catologues but never have seen this item listed.

(6) do any of you have a soft top frame that you want to sell for a reasonable price I looked on ebay but they want like anywhere from 600-800 for one of these I dont want a show condition one just one that can be used

I have never seen one that does not leak. If you find one, wait a while and it will leak soon.

The design is defective as there are issues with the drain channel all around the edges of the lid, and the top itself depends on the gasket/weatherstip taking up any difference between the top and the lid all the while keep it adjusted so it is not so tight you can't release the latch, yet tight enough to keep the rattles and leaks out.

Maybe you can post a pic of the gap/misalignment you speak of. I assume it is possible yet risky to actually bend the top frame a little.

See what you think of this. I am going to spray black truck bed liner material on my convertible lid to fit the inner portion of the lid that is covered when the top is up. This will give it a neat look, and keep the scratches down, especially when we give the homecoming queen a ride up there while she waves at the crowd.

The main mounting difference is that the decklid for a car ordered w/ a hardtop will have three holes versus two. One of the mounting bolts goes up through the center hole in the deck lid into the top like the outer two. There were also hold down straps (I'll scan a pic of this from my owners manual tonite and post it for you) on the verticle part of the lid where it meets the door that should hang down and have bolts as well; these may be what you mention in question 4. Mine doesn't have these and I've only seen a few cars that still had them but they are supposed to be there. In addition to overtightening of the pins/bolts making it hard to pull the release, this can also cause the w/s to split, hence more leaks.

If your weatherstipping is hard, it must be either old or the wrong stripping, mine is soft as a baby's bum.

Is your hardtop a Smooth Line repro or a GM top? I've heard of fit problems with Smooth Line tops, more so than the GM ones.
third bolt ??????? this probably cure my problem as on the back of the top where it meets the decklid it seems to bow in the center ..... perhaps this third bolt would pull that area down but I see no such bolt on my hard top ...... as for whether its a GM or a repro I dont know but I strongly believe its a GM unit somewhere inside of it, it had a date code for 1971 my interior headliner for it uses plastic stuff kinda like velcro to retain it and the headliner itself is three pieces and they are like foam like you would find in a dash pad and covered with vinyl, any other help identifying it would help ..... as for the weather stripping its almost flat and very hard, when I bought it of ebay it was advertised as a original top but who knows .... it does however sound like my decklid is definately a soft top only decklid can it be converted easily ?????? these bolt holes on the side that you were speaking of is what my question was about
68 and 69 hardtops used only the 2 attaching points in the back...same holes as the convertible top. In late 69, they added the third bracket in the center, and drilled an extra hole in the decklid. All decklid fiberglass is the same for convertible and hardtop. The only difference is more/less holes and mounting points. In addition, the hardtops had metal tabs on each side, behind the windows. These tabs were designed to take a hex bolt which screwed into a special "nut" placed on the side of the decklid. This was for extra retention. The front attachment for HT and ST is the same. All of the headliners warp after some time and the velcro gizmo's don't hold it anymore. New weatherstrip will help your fit problem, but I see you have a convertible "conversion". When the conversion was done, things might not line up as the factory built cars did. Hope this helps. Chuck
Originally posted by ChuckG When the conversion was done, things might not line up as the factory built cars did. Hope this helps. Chuck [/B]


Minor change of subject here. We had a 1954 Corvette for a number of years back in the 80's. It had sat in a warehouse for at least ten years before my Dad bought it with the top down. The car was as original as it gets including the top. That son of a gun would not stretch back down on the car. We put it in the sun, we used heat guns, we weighted it, you name it, we tried it to get it to lock in place. In the end, my Dad in favor of originality made some adjustment to the top so that it would latch, but the rear bottom bow would not touch the deck lid.

I think the car is actually in Saudi Arbia now, but the whole time we had it that top was a big mess. How about yours?
I looked at my hard top today and in the center of the back of it there looks like there was something mounted there as there are 4 pop rivets and the outline of a bracket or something ..... so I guess this missing center bolt is why my top refuses to seal good in the back .... do any of you have pictures of this missing center bracket ?????? oh and the writing inside the top says 12- 15-1970 its written on the drivers side area behind the door glass and has some scribbling above it like initials
69MyWay. Never had that problem with my 54. It was a project when I bought it. There were just reminants of the old top on the frame. Did a frame off over a 6 year period, and put on a new top. BTW...just put another top on it a few years ago. Those old tops are canvas. Most I've seen dry rot, and any attempt to stretch them just pulls them apart. My "new in 1988" top had dry rotted somewhat by 1998. All of the threads began to pull out along just about every seam. Helped a friend with his 62 a few years ago. The vinyl top had been down for years. To make a long story short, he was never able to restretch his vinyl top either.. Chuck
Topless...sounds like you have a 71 top which should have the center bolt. Can't help with a pic...my 69 does not have the center bolt. Chuck

Better late than never, here's the scan from my 71 Owners Manual. The pic shows the rear of the driver-side door and the decklid with the top and mounting bolt. I added some text and arrows for clarification. I don't have a shot of the center bolt but at least this shows you what the other two holes that I think you were referring to in question 4. I had to reduce the pic to keep from clogging up the site but if you'd like I can email you a clearer pic, just let me know via email or PM.

Also, here is the section of the owners manual covering the hard top:
The optional removable hard top is attached at eight points, all reached from within the car. Free all attachment points before removing top. The three header latches are released by pulling down on handles. The two mounting tab attachment bolts are located below the lower front corners of the rear window. Finally, the three rear bow attaching studs are released by removing the retaining nuts beneath the compartment lid. A special wrench is provided in the glove box to remove any of the attaching nuts and bolts....

- Eric


yes my top is setup like that for the side bolts, thank you for the pic.

if anyone else has a diagram of the center rear bolt and bracket for the hard top I sure would appreciate it


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