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I'm interested in replacing the OEM top on my '01 with the top with glass rear window introduced in '03. I believe it has been discussed it can be done. Are there any disadvantages? Cost? TIA.
This has been discussed a lot before. Read this article for the answers: [sites.google.com]

As far as cost, that all depends on how lucky you are in your search for the used top and frame. I got mine in great shape for $700. Some salvage yards charge as much as $2,000 or more. Good luck. If you find one, you won't regret it one bit.
That URL won't post well so just copy and paste this into your browser.


but edit out the brackets.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2010 08:05AM by mikefocke, '01S Sanford, NC. (view changes)

None of those urls are working for me. I tried removing the brackets. Can someone please tell me where I can find more information on this topic? Thanks! Actually the main thing I'm interested in are the disadvantages. Any drawbacks?
The only disadvantage I can find is that the glass window is smaller than the plastic window and the rearview vision is restricted.
The Porsche '03/'04 soft tops are made so that the glass tucks away nicely when you need to work on the engine.
Some of the aftermarket ones are really difficult to get them to allow enough room to work.
Happy Boxstering,

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 293,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna

None of those urls are working for me. I tried removing the brackets. Can someone please tell me where I can find more information on this topic? Thanks! Actually the main thing I'm interested in are the disadvantages. Any drawbacks?

two ways I know of going about it.

One way is to buy/fit an aftermarket top with a glass rear window. The upside is this a low cost way and for some the project is a DIY project. The downside is the rear window is smaller, not positioned quite the same place as the original plastic window and the new tops's shape/outline differs from that of the stock top/window.

Also, service access to the engine is more difficult cause the new top with the glass window does not fold up out of the way like the original top with the plastic window. There have been reports that some shops are reluctant to work on Boxsters with aftermarket tops fitted cause the service access to the engine bay and engine is more difficult and the top and rear window are at risk of damage.

The second way is to fit the top from the 2003 or later model year Boxster that came from the factory with the glass rear window. This can be expensive. The top requires the top framework/rails/etc and there is the labor to remove the old hardware and fit the new hardware.

If the OEM top is in good shape the cheapest/best solution is to buy a new rear window, have it fitted by a qualified and quality soft top shop. I had this done and it cost around $600 and in some places of the country the new window can be had for a bit less money. Also, IIRC some have removed the old window and sewn in the new one themselves.

By way of comparison, a new factory top with the rear window is $4K (or more now). When I looked into this the dealership wanted to replace the entire top, the outer canvas portion and the rubber sheet underneath and the inner liner (my car's an 02). The price was over $4K for this. I'm not sure if just the outer top -- canvas and new rear window -- is available separately or if the entire/complete top assembly is all that is available. Regardless, I declined to spend the money. Since the top was in otherwise good condition -- no tears/holes in the canvas and no leaks -- I just had the cracked rear window replaced.


I recently put a 2003 top on my 2003 Boxster. I found the following very helpful. I can't get the insert URL to work right so try to copy this link and paste it.


IE will ask you which site you want and list several. Pick the one with http in front of it, or just put http: in front of the above.

To find a top, go to www.car-part.com and you can search for tops. Tonight when I looked they ranged from $900 to $2500. You may also want to replace the transmissions. There's a good discussion of that in the pages at the above link. It will probably have to be shipped freight, so that will run another $150-$200.

The hardest part was getting it adjusted. I LOVE not having to get out and do the chop. I don't find the difference in the window size significant as it is not in the area where I look from the angle I sit at.

Total cost for new top and window installed: $1000

I have heard mixed things about the aftermarket glass window tops - some people really like them, some have been disappointed. But Marc's point about Service Access is true - we had to access a friend's engine at the track with an aftermarket glass window top it is was very, very difficult. That alone would convince me not to get one. But if you have a shop that is comfortable dealing with it, that shouldn't dissuade you.

As for Window vs. Whole Top, the cost differential isn't that great - you should check the top fabric - if it is rubbed and going you should do the whole top. If it is in good shape, you can save the $500 and just do the window.

1998 986 Turbo-Look Cab 172,000 Miles Dilithium Crystal Supercharger
I did it about 2 years ago. One of the best mods I have done.



The problem I have had with 986 with aftermarket glass-window tops is getting the glass out of the way to access the engine compartment - is there a technique for this?

1998 986 Turbo-Look Cab 172,000 Miles Dilithium Crystal Supercharger
If you get the whole 03/04 OEM top and frame (not the aftermarket ones), there's no issue with restricted engine access because the OEM frame has 4 bows instead of 3. That 4th bow allows the OEM glass to fold nicely out of the way when you put the top in service position. I also have this OEM 03 top/frame on my 01, and it's the best mod I've done to the car.
The pre-2003 tops are much easier to get access to the engine compartment.
CarreraLicious - 8 years ago
I don't see any change in the steps to get the top in service position besides the one extra step of attaching the built in strap to hold the back of the window up. There's no difficulty in that to me, and the benefits of the glass over plastic are overwhelming, IMO. I'm pretty confident that for the majority of people who convert their tops from plastic to the OEM glass, they won't be disappointed.

EDIT: oh, perhaps you mean that with the 03/04 tops, you get slightly less open access to the top of the engine vs. the plastic window which crumples out of the way- yes, that is true, but IMHO, the difference is not an issue because you still have plenty of room to do most everything you need to (except maybe for the hardcore mechanic like you winking smiley ). I mean, Porsche's been offering these glass tops as standard since 03 on the Boxster now...that's 7 years and counting of cars that need to be maintained, so engine access can't be that much of an issue. winking smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2010 03:44AM by boxtaboy. (view changes)
I do believe that the advantages of the glass top outweigh the disadvantages. And for people who don't work.on their own cars, it is just advantageous.

The pre-2003 tops just flip all the way up and stay up. The 2003+ ones have to be opened to just the right point, have to be tied up, and don't ever get completely out of the way. Sucks for casual work but it's not the end of the world.
I installed an after market glass top. Me my son completed the job in about 8 hrs... I am very happy with the results! No chopping, no cracks, very clear and defrost! Drawbacks... a little smaller (I mainly use the mirrors when backing up) and it does stick out a bit on engine work (has kept me from getting in there!).

Mike Focke has a great page covering all the questions! [sites.google.com]
For me at least, $700 for the 03 top and frame. Free installation at Maurice's house, and took about an hour going slow from start to finish (removing old top and frame, and bolting in the new one).
the parts new or sourced from a used or donor (wrecked) car?

Added: Do you happen to know or have the part numbers of the various pieces?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2010 04:28PM by MarcW. (view changes)
Yep, got mine used but in terrific shape...from a guy whose friend wrecked his Boxster.
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