National Firebird and Trans Am Club
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by Derek Dalius
this is an excerpt from the articles appearing in the EAGLE


Reference: T-Top seal kit p/n #10164133. The difference between the kit retrofit and the original manufactured method of installing the seals is very simple: secondary seal.

The factory did not use a 'second seal' in the original installation. The OEM seals were installed using just adhesive. The retrofit calls for both adhesive AND strip caulk ... the caulk is the secondary seal. I now believe that replacement of the rubber seals are not necessary, only replacement of the adhesive and installation of 'strip caulk' in the seal retainer's outer lip. The adhesive bears 3M # 08011 or 08001, the strip caulk is 8578, adhesive is $5, caulk $7.50. I think the adhesive comes in two viscosities, 8001 being thinner. To remove the old adhesive, use 3M's general purpose adhesive remover. The cost on that is around $10 a quart. The remover works best if allowed to soak, and if the goo is perturbed by a screwdriver blade it will gel up quicker for scraping away. A rag soaked in this stuff (sort of like Ronson lighter fluid) and rubbed hard will take it off slowly. I scraped it then blew off the residue with compressed air. The remover does not damage paint, and doesn't seem to eat rubber.

The strip caulk is pretty gooey stuff, it is much softer than dumdum putty, and so will accept a soft rubber seal and conform. This is the key to sealing; the adhesive just can't because of voids, and the channels that retain the seals are not a tight fit at the sealing edges of the rubber. Handling of the caulk is a trick too, keep a glass of water at hand to dampen fingers ... it's sort of like handling bread dough.

I installed the 'secondary seal' caulk in the outer edges of the seal retainers. Next step is to apply adhesive to the inner and outer edges as primer coat, then the seals get a coat just before installation.

You can also adjust the depth of the t-top hatch. Remove the trim at the front and rear (where tops lock down at). There is a cam held in with 2 bolts. It is very obvious what you have to do to dial the tops down. Note: to do the job 100% correctly, it may require a door glass adjustment. The glass adjustment is usually why people can't seem to quite get it right. Also, you can get this spray leak It is a spray powder that you spray on the seals. When the top is in, you can see where things are going wrong. Any decent body shop has the stuff.

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