Hi all, the following is a true story, the names have been changed to protect the participants...and why I call it a story? This is not an official "how to" manual, just my impressions and snapshots of chopping off my most prized possession...My Fiero
After 4 months of intensive searching, having to resort to the "Reward system" (which paid off big time) I've finally arrived at acquiring the extremely desired T-Top conversion kit. I got it from a great Fiero enthusiast in Ohio. (His wife would not let him chop up a perfect 88 GT, so I was the lucky guy to get this kit and I thank both of them a lot)
Another person to bring into the story and thank (a million) is my Fiero buddy/mechanic/mentor who goes by PFF name spookything. He gave up a lot of his time and skills in the making of this project and many more.
As for the decision to buy another T-Top Fiero or the chop mine ? Both options were considered, and after finding 'the kit' I decided the conversion should not be too hard to accomplish and I keep my good known Fiero, not having to deal with the unknown problems of another 20 year old Fiero. Some good inspiration came from Houston, Texas where jscott1 and his brother did this conversion in one long weekend http://www.fiero.nl/forum/A...040710-1-029407.html
We did the 10 hour round-trip from Toronto, Canada to pick up the goods. After a quick tour of the seller's Fieros collection and the exchange of funds we headed back home. Crossing the border after midnight has its benefits, we declared full purchase value of the parts we had in the trunk and got to cross without any questions or paying a cent in taxes ...
Some of the parts from the kit i got prepped after sand-blasting and paint
~Some of the materials used
The Precious seals been treated with some AC Delco silicon gel
~The non-suspecting victim...
A few notes for the enthusiastic T-Top searcher :
- Do your research! Run the Pennock's search engine and read anything that has the word T-Top in it. It will pay off. - Some great info is here http://www.fierottop.com - A complete kit can cost you anywhere between $300 to $1000 USD, it all depends on condition, how much you want it and when. My friend bought a complete T-Top coupe for $300 and in my search I was offered a kit for $900 + Shipping (non negotiable) so be prepared to search high and low or pay up. These parts are rare, and people on PFF know it - Make the best effort to find a complete kit with all good parts, every part you buy after would cost $50-$450, pay attention to the weather seals, as these are non-existing in the market and would make the kit you buy a deal or a mistake. (Some say that other weather seals can be used, but no one came up with the parts numbers to prove it yet) - Learn the difference between CJB parts and non CJB. - When examining a T-Top look for water leak signs on the headliner and car floor, might as well give it a rinse and see for yourself if it leaks or not. - If possible, get the entire roof section with the old roof attached, this way you've got everything and it's very helpful with mesurments - READ THE MANUAL Download T-top_Manual.zip (click 3 times) or here http://www.mediafire.com/?9dltxwve3yz - If you can, buy a complete T-Top Fiero – This conversion project is not easy !!!
And on that note... Lets start chopping...
After a couple of prep days (sand-blasting and painting) reading the installation manual 7 times and running virtual mock ups we embarked on the project.
~Custom made frame spreader bars
~ Interior removed
~ Measure 5 times
~ Cut once
~ Rear section cuts
~ Sunroof section removed
~ Targa Top Fiero ...Sexy
~ Some light trimming on the back...
~ And some heavier trimming on the front
Windshield Header Reinf - glued and riveted
Roof Frame Asy Insert
~ Slight modification on the rivet gun to prevent injuries (bad design)
~ Frame glued and riveted... Frame spreader bars come off
~"B" Pillar Bracket
~ "A" Pillar Bracket
~ Front Roof Outer Molding
~ Rear Roof Outer Moldings RH
~ Center Frame
~ Weather seal retainer cut
~ Roof Weatherstrip Seal
~ Silicon on the seams
~ Interior trimming
~ Hard-Top Headliner
~ Fiberglass resin for reinforcement
~ Installed for measurements
~ Headliner fabric installed
~ Headliner Lock Molding
~ "B" Pillar Cap Trim
~ "A" Pillar Cap Trim
~ Glass Panels installed for the first time
~ The Fiero was now drivable again in it's new form
From CHOP to TOP the project took three work days including all steps required and overnight dry time of the glue and paint used. Project time was over, it was time to head back home to Montreal, Quebec. But I already had in mind changing the roof section color to black. It just gives it a cleaner look...
~ And... The maiden voyage in day time...T-Tops off...Cruising to a Fiero get together in Ontario...Can you see I'm loving it
T-Top driving impressions: Cons: - One thing I'm missing, is the Sunroof ability to just pop-open and enjoy some fresh air without having to take off the T-Tops (I will miss that in the winter) - All open, there some whistling and flapping noises I have to track and eliminate (that comes with the territory) - There is a bit of an hassle in removing the Tops and storing them in a safe place, and re-installing them when you fear it will start raining. I myself can't store them behind the seats due to my 6 feet (not complaining here ) and the audio gear behind the seats. - Another issue I found, if the safety of the Fiero. T-Tops are known to attract more "simple" thieves to try and crack them open with a crowbar. When I have to run some short errands, I find myself worried leaving my Fiero "open" like that (Tops off). but I guess one has to get used to that
Pros: - Nothing like it (never driven a convertible) - T-Tops off and windows down – lots of wind going through the cabin, great for summer days, not so great for a conversation (when you're driving like that you just enjoy the Fiero ) - Even with the tops on the driving impression changes, the roof is visually 85% open on your left and right and the sky is the limit LOL... - I drove my Fiero for three years and never before did I get so many looks and comments on the Fiero as now with the T-tops - Buy a hat
Final note: - T-Tops looks are a matter or taste, I think C&C could have made the open frame (T-Tops off) look better. But still, I think it makes the Fiero look more interesting and adds LOTS to the cool factor. - Resale value should be $1000-1500 more then a non-T-Top Fiero (that is if you ever plan on getting your invested money back) - If you think T-Top, I would say go for it ! But better off find a nice complete car.
End of story
Credits: Spookything – for everything, and making this happen x-thumpr-x and family for their help SBC – for his help jscott1 - For the inspiration a PFF member - for the lead on the kit (rewarded as promised) Miss T – For having to deal with my "T-Top" mania
***Disclaimer: This is an amateur write-up. Information here is provided for explanation of the general idea, I will not be held responsible for any damage to your car, your garage going in a blaze or destruction of your marriage life Please use information at your owe risk - Thanks.***
[This message has been edited by Mister (edited 07-09-2007).]
I'd love T-Tops...but for the cost involved...I can think of a bunch of other things I want more. Maybe an option for once the car is 100% finished. (hmmm...wonder what it would look like with both the t-tops...and a vertical door system?)
NICE writeup. I love t-tops but I love the look of the targa even better! If only it wasn't so hard. We need the little bar in the center, so T-tops are really the only viable option. It looks great! I have yet to ride in a T-top Fiero, yours looks so good it makes me wanna!
Originally posted by Mister: ***Disclaimer: This is an amateur write-up. Information here is provided for explanation of the general idea, I will not be held responsible for any damage to your car, your garage going in a blaze or destruction of your marriage life Please use information at your owe risk - Thanks.***
I like the disclaimer, glad to here your enjoying the car now. All the time and patience was worth it I hope Seeing yours in those pics, I feel like getting started on our T-top again. I've been geting the nudge..nugde.. from a couple of others and it's not the wife! Got some free time on my hands AGAIN!
Originally posted by SCCA FIERO: I'm wondering how you secured the top trim pieces at the back. Did you have those clips?
Hi SCCA, If you open page 20 in the manual - there are 6 clips on the 'Rear Roof Outer Moldings' 3 on each side, they snap under the roof skin. They are just a "U" shape clips that I think you can improvise something similar.
Originally posted by Formula88:The only thing I'd miss is the ability to open the sunroof w/o removing the glass for ventilation. Be careful it doesn't start you wanting to do another upgrade, though.
I totally agree, I forgot to mention that, and will do an edit in the comments, I used to drive with the Sunroof open even in our Canadian winter
BTW - What other upgrade are you talking about ?
EDIT : changed the "T-Top driving impressions: " section to add Pros & Cons
[This message has been edited by Mister (edited 06-12-2007).]
Originally posted by Formula88: Deciding you have to have a convertible and starting on one of those.
Oh, gotcha LOL... Trust me, while looking for T-Tops I was looking at 2 convertibles too but it's not in the budget for now. Mind you, this is still my one car - daily driver, so a convertible would be just too much.
Originally posted by doublec4: Holy crap buddy! When's the next show I'm going to see your car at! Remember when our cars used to look the same? hahha
Yeah, 2C4 I know ...
Next show for me would be http://www.autoshowaylmer.com/ Sunday August 12, 2007 or The London show... TBA... Depending on where I am LOL. They are most likely on the same weekend and the Aylmer show is too good to miss.
I think your wind noise is coming from the lack of P-seals. I don't see where you put them in...I looked at your completer tops but don't see them. Did I miss that step. They make a big difference in wind noise level. Nice job by the way, I just ended up buying a t-top as I didn't want to cut up mine. -Jason
Your supposed to rivet the p-seal thru the front header panel and to the rear two panels. #6 is the p-seal in your pic here:
I just went thru and repbuilt mine last month, what a difference those seals make.
[This message has been edited by Fierofreak00 (edited 06-12-2007).]
I wish I would have had a nice write up like this when I did mine... All I had to go on was the install manual, which is not as complete as I would like. Yours is the new Gold Standard for T-top installs.
The t-top is the best of both worlds between hardtop and convertible in my opinion.
Originally posted by Fierofreak00: I think your wind noise is coming from the lack of P-seals. I don't see where you put them in... -Jason
Thanks Jason, you are right, I'm still waiting on the P-Seals to arrive from fieroparts.com The whistling noise I have is actually when the tops are off, and the flapping sound is the P/S seat belt. BTW - I spoke to Skytime in Carlisle and he is running without the P-Seals for years with no problems
Originally posted by jscott1: Very Nice Write-up! Yours is the new Gold Standard for T-top installs.
WOW, I am humbly honored J1, those are some very kind words
Nice work on the conversion! Towards the end of summer, after my T-top install, I started to get some creaking sounds. Which is normal to hear from T-top Fieros. I was able to stop the noise with a lot of tack welds, along the front and rear, part of the main frame. As for the gaskets, Yep, I don't like the prices that people are charging for the gaskets or P-seals. I use the gaskets and P-seals for the 86 Ford Mustang T-tops. I would have to dig up the receipts, but I believe, I paid $180.00 for the two seals and the two gaskets, shipped to my house. C&C made the T-tops for those cars as well. I did have to rework the gasket at the B-pillar. But that was it. The reproduction P-seals for the Mustang, look better than the old Fiero P-seals, to me. They are solid black rubber with a felt like material glued on. I got my Mustang parts from CJ Pony Parts. http://www.cjponyparts.com/
[This message has been edited by 3.8 SC (edited 06-16-2007).]
Originally posted by 3.8 SC: As for the gaskets, Yep, I don't like the prices that people are charging for the gaskets or P-seals. I use the gaskets and P-seals for the 86 Ford Mustang T-tops. I would have to dig up the receipts, but I believe, I paid $180.00 for the two seals and the two gaskets, shipped to my house. C&C made the T-tops for those cars as well. I did have to rework the gasket at the B-pillar. But that was it. The reproduction P-seals for the Mustang, look better than the old Fiero P-seals, to me. They are solid black rubber with a felt like material glued on. I got my Mustang parts from CJ Pony Parts. http://www.cjponyparts.com/
Thanks for the comment and info 3.8SC, I found these on their website. let us know if these are the ones you reworked and what you did, pictures are always good.
It is for the weather seals only, Left and right. We'll wait and see what 3.8SC comes up with
Sorry for the delay, I have posted this before in other T-top gasket related threads without much feedback. Here is the sales receipt, when I bought the gaskets. I did make one mistake on the price, now the I found the receipts. I paid $148 for the gaskets and $95 for the P-seals. The P-seal came from the sunroof doctor. But CJ pony parts should have the P-seals as well.
I called the order in. I told them, that I needed a set of gaskets for an 86 Mustang.
[This message has been edited by 3.8 SC (edited 06-17-2007).]
Sure, I am going to the body shop next weekend. I have the drivers side, still to do. I, also after to write an article for my club newsletter. So I will do a write up on this and take pictures as well. I will do it in a different thread so I won't hijack this one.
Originally posted by 3.8 SC: Sure, I am going to the body shop next weekend. I have the drivers side, still to do. I, also after to write an article for my club newsletter. So I will do a write up on this and take pictures as well. I will do it in a different thread so I won't hijack this one.
Now I have to thank you for making me want to cut the roof off of my Fiero. I've wanted to install T-Tops on my car for years and have finally aquired the parts. I hope my car will look as good as yours does when it's all done. Nice work.
Originally posted by blakeinspace:huh... I missed this the first go 'round...You get a WELL deserved plus... & I love the shifter pic... clever!
Thanks blakeinspace, I'll let Miss.T know about the pic comment
Originally posted by FieroMaster88: Now I have to thank you for making me want to cut the roof off of my Fiero. I've wanted to install T-Tops on my car for years and have finally aquired the parts. I hope my car will look as good as yours does when it's all done. Nice work.
If you do it right you'll love it forever, if you make a mistake you'd never forgive yourself (or me) Good luck man.
Originally posted by Raydar:Wow! Very nice work. Thanks for sharing.