Vinyl Top Removal - 04/08/2015

I put the Lemans outside last week because I wanted to put it into daily use and see how it handles it. It handles it great by the way. The first day it rained. Came out, no water inside the car. Sweet! Drove to work, came home, raining, wipers on without issue. Next day we're fine as it was dry. Last Friday it was on the street and it rained horribly all night. Came out the next morning and there was a puddle in the driver's floor. That was annoying, turns out it was slowly dripping from the trim at the A-pillar (leaky windshield). No big deal, not a lot of water anyways. Put it up by the garage where it's all flat and it rained all day again. Came out and it was literally pouring water inside the car from the rearview mirror. And dripping from the back window. I put the car in the garage and put the large fan on it to dry it off (trunk stayed completely dry during all of this by the way). Pulled trim off windshield and I can push the windshield out with my hand, it still has the factory butyl seal and you can see where it failed finally. Oh well. I peeled back some spots on the vinyl because the back window was leaking too and they put urethane OVER the vinyl and glass. This meant that water would be trapped in the back windshield area! And it did. So it rotted out the back part of the window track and the filler panel. Ugh. At least I know, after 2 days of the fan blowing on the car the trunk filler panel was STILL wet, so was the urethane area of the rear window. So unless the car sits with a heat lamp on it and NEVER gets rained on, it would have eternally trapped water for days if not weeks when it is humid or damp out. This has to go! It just goes to show how horrible vinyl tops are...

Front trim is removed.

The channels are not great, but they are surprisingly solid.

The only weak spot in the front.

Roof is weak here. You can see the primer and no paint anywhere outside of the drip rails.

Driver's side is in much better shape, you can see the factory primer and paint. The butyl failed causing water to run in from the windshield, I can push it out with my hand.

Driver's side isn't bad at all.

Yeah that's not good. This was retaining water 2 days after it had been blown on with a fan.

Urethane over the vinyl and glass...

Ack. Driver's side still decent.

After cleanup and breaking off any large chunks and smacking around for weak spots.

Worst spot on entire car. Cracked and extends from middle of window to just after the holes. Channels aren't too bad looking at what I can see...

Not good, but this entire panel is reproduced!

I've found a shop locally that restores Trans Ams and he sent me pictures of his work, he's fixed cars with much worse roof problems and they look damn good. I figure I'll drive it out there to get an estimate from him how much he'll charge to fix it. While I'd love to learn how to fix these issues... do I really want a car that's already done and so nice to get shoddy first-timer body work? One of my car cohorts also said that my time actually is valuable too. This guy charges $35/hr plus materials, which is pretty damn cheap compared to ANY shop I ever saw out in California.

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Last updated April 8th, 2015