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Help! T-Tops sitting too high on 1981 Vette

alyevich

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15
Location
New Jersey
Corvette
1981 C3
Hi,
I am new to the forum.
Just bought a 1981 Vette and will be driving it home on Friday.
One issue that I see with the car is that the t-tops sit too high on outside edge and don't make any seal on those outside edges (towards the side above the windows). They sit properly towards the inside but not the outside.
I am wondering is there is a way to adjust this, or if they are possibly incorrect T-tops for this model year. My assumption, when I agreed to purchase the car, was that the tops were incorrect. But I have been trying to research this and cannot conclude anything.
The tops are etched as follows:
PPG
Safety Solarcool
Solid tempered
Coated
AS3 2615
DOT 18 M89.6

I would greatly appreciate any insight or expertise anyone might have.

Thanks,
Al
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2003
Messages
1,765
Location
Frankfurt/Germany
Corvette
1982 Collector Edition
Hi Al,
welcome to the CAC!

My first thought would be to take the plastic caps off (on the inside) to adjust the shims that are under the latches. It takes a good bit of fiddling around to get the just so, but i had to do that every time i got new ones.. As to the "correct" ones, someone else has to chime in. I dont know whether that type is correct for an 81..

Have fund with the car!


:w
-Stefan
 

bill81vette

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,316
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
1st,welcome to CAC!!!!!
be sure to check out the L-81 registry!!!!

2nd T-Tops...chances are these tops are the right ones for your vette.
I'm not quite sure what you are referring to,but my guess is,that they stick out a little near the back of the tops????
do the windows close properly and sit in the channels for them????
one thing you should be encouraged to get would be a factory service manual,as well as an assembly build manual...these are the bibles to adjusting and repairing our vettes...
good luck!!!!


If you could post a couple of pics of the vette as well....we love pics!!
 

6880 Mike

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
2,723
Location
The Bluegrass State
Corvette
1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
78-82 glass tops are essentially the same. Be very careful. The glass tops sit higher at the halo panel than the fiberglass tops. Get the assembly instruction manual (AIM) and do not exceed the limits specified. If you try to clamp the glass tops down too tight, you'll break one.

Sounds to me like you need to adjust the door glasses to the tops. The AIM has the best door glass adjustment procedures. Do not attempt to adjust the tops to the door glasses.

:)
 

damoroso

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
240
Location
Jax florida
Corvette
1981 Big Block
Al,

Welcome and congratulations on the 81! I've had the same problem with my tops, which are also PPG. I've had this 81 since January and it's the first one I've had with glass tops. I've learned a couple of things. First, glass tops were made by PPG and LOF. Popular belief seems to be that the LOF tops fit better and were of better quality overall. Since I have PPG tops and have never been happy with the fit, I'm willing to believe that story. Second, they can be tedious to fit correctly. My tops "wing out" at the rear pin attachment point, and the passenger side sits up higher in the front than the driver side, and doesn’t seal well. In addition there's always been a lot of wind noise from that side of the car. (Even with no one in the passenger seat!!! LOL) I fixed the sealing problem with some sticky backed weather striping from Home Depot. I put some on in the areas that showed gaps (shine a flashlight from inside the car around the seal, you’ll find the spots) and trimmed it as thin as I could to get a good seal and make it look as good as I could.

I finally got frustrated enough with the fit and as I looked much closer at the passenger top and it looked like whoever replaced the seal didn't remove all of the old seal. I ordered a new seal and when I removed the old one I found the frame had separated from the glass in the front inside corner. This makes sense since the top seems to "teeter" corner to corner. I’d suggest you check the fit, the adjustment and the frame. You may be able to adjust the top and window for better fit (the AIM is the resource to use here).

As I've not been happy with the overall fit of these tops, I ordered a new set from the Sun Roof Doctor (http://www.sunroofdoctor.com/) Monday, who uses LOF glass. They should be here tomorrow; we'll see how they fit. A 30 day guarantee should be plenty to see if they're better or not. If they are, I'll see if I can find someplace to fix the old tops and try to sell or trade them for fiberglass tops. Here in Florida, I'd like to have a set of fiberglass tops for the summer; the glass gets pretty toasty in the sun!!

Good luck, post some pics if you can!
 

damoroso

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
240
Location
Jax florida
Corvette
1981 Big Block
Okay, got the new tops late yesterday afternoon, and WOW! They're great! The tops fit with minor shimming, they sealed right up, no wind noise, no water leaks. It's really nice when parts are as advertised, I'd recommend Sun Roof Doctor to anyone!
 

Evolution1980

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
4,302
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Corvette
ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
Okay, got the new tops late yesterday afternoon, and WOW! They're great! The tops fit with minor shimming, they sealed right up, no wind noise, no water leaks. It's really nice when parts are as advertised, I'd recommend Sun Roof Doctor to anyone!
Hmmm...very interesting! Were your PPG tops original with the car? I never knew of this difference, but it's certainly interesting to hear about. I and other have tried for years to get the glass to seal properly. I've never been successful with mine. Tinkering with shims and even replacing the seals accomplished little or nothing.
 

damoroso

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
240
Location
Jax florida
Corvette
1981 Big Block
I don't know if the PPG tops were original or not, I'm not the original owner. I'm certain the majority of the problem with the top was that the frame had pulled away from the glass on the passenger side. The driver side never gave me a problem. Both tops did "wing out" at the rear where the pin goes into the switch plate, probably twice as much as the new tops do. And as I'd described, I had to add to the seal moslty in the front corners of the old top to get it to seal. I really don't like tops that leak!!!

The biggest adjustment I've had to do to the new tops is to move the windshield pillar weather strip up. There was about an 1/8 of an inch gap between the weather strip and the top's weather strip. I also had to adjust the passenger side door glass, as I'd adjusted it to fit the other top so it'd seal. The driver side fit with no adjustment.

So, if you know someone who needs or wants glass tops, I have one that's great, one that needs repair (not sure who can do it though) I'm willing to sell or trade for fiberglass tops!!

Hope that helps!
 

Evolution1980

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
4,302
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Corvette
ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
Thanks for the followup!

So, if you know someone who needs or wants glass tops, I have one that's great, one that needs repair (not sure who can do it though) I'm willing to sell or trade for fiberglass tops!!!
Advertise them here in the C3 Part For Sale section or try eBay!
 

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