Convertible top - Help with weather-strip over side windows

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Convertible top - Help with weather-strip over side windows – Any suggestions on how to install them?

I’m replacing the rubber weather-strip (part # 12-45-16) that goes over the side windows, and attaches to the bottom of the convertible top frame with aluminum channels. I purchased new weather-strip from one of my favorite big suppliers. It will not slide in. It is more firm than the original rubber, is very slightly larger, and the original was arched on the bottom. I’ve tried warming it in hot water and using soap. And I’ve replaced the oval top screws that intrude into the channel with flat top screws. Also, smoothed off any sharp or rough edges in the channels. I can’t get it in more than one-half inch!

It looks like my only option is to sand/shave down the two sides (especially the pointy side) that go into the channel, and arch the bottom. I’ve set up jigs on my drill press, and am using two sizes of sanding drums, with the speed set to high.

Before I attack and make these expensive parts unreturnable, are the any suggestions?

Thanks, Doug


Had the same problem, haven't solved it yet but was thinking about doing the same thing, sanding them to fit. Could also make something to carefully widen the channels a bit.
I had the same problem. Don't alter your channels! I lubed the rubber and clamped vice grips on the end of the rubber and pulled it into place leaving the end damage by the vice grips hanging out of the channel. Then trimmed it for correct length. The good thing is they give you a little extra which makes this possible.
Amphicar buddies –

Here’s the procedure I used to successfully install the new weather-strip. Once I figured out these steps, it went quite smoothly. This is after I had straightened and strengthened the metal convertible top frame, primed the frame with POR-15, sprayed it with semi-gloss Chassis Black paint, and cleaned up and polished the aluminum channels. Here are the steps for the weather-strip.
  1. Clean the insides of the aluminum channels, using a Scotchbrite pad. Straighten any kinks or pinch points in the channel using a large, old (dull), flat blade screwdriver.
  2. Using a small fine file, smooth any rough edges on the corners of the ends of the channels, where you’ll be inserting the weather-strip.
  3. Mount a channel on the frame*. Get new flat head screws to attach the channel to the frame. I used #6-1/2” stainless steel screws. This is important, since the original screws have an oval head that can hang up the weather-strip. Open up the counter-sink holes in the channel, using a counter-sink bit and drill. I also used a Dremel tool and grinding bit to make sure the screw heads were completely flush with the inside of the channels.
  4. As I mentioned above, the new weather-strip is more firm and slightly larger than the original. So I used a small drum sander in a flexible shaft tool (like a big Dremel) to grind/shave away rubber from the two edges of the weather-strip that slide into the channel, and the bottom of the rubber, too. From the pointed edge, I shaved a strip about ¼” tall (the height of the channel) and about a 1/16th” deep. I took off about 1/32” off the other, square, edge. I dished the bottom some, maybe 1/64”. After you get one done by trial and error fitting, you’ll get a feel for how much needs to come off.
  5. Use a lot of liquid dish soap to lube the weather-strip and the inside of the channel. Squirt it in there, and coat all friction points with a small brush. Slide the weather-strip in, pulling on the leading edge, and pushing on the trailing edge. Run your hand down the length of the weather-strip, once it’s inserted, to flow it down the channel. The rubber is pretty strong, and will take a lot of pulling. A previous poster suggested using vice grips on the front end, but I was able to use my hands.
  6. You may need your wife/husband/partner/friend to hold the frame firmly while you’re wrestling with the weather-strip. This is where you come upstairs from your shop and say “honey, can you give me a hand for a minute”? Being the sharp and experienced person they are, they’ll know this is really more like a commitment of an hour or two. In my case, I was able to do four of the six channels myself, and only needed help on two, taking about 15 minutes of spousal time each.
  7. The toughest channels are the curved, rear pieces, which need to be done first. The remaining middle and front pieces will be much easier.
  8. Clean up the excess soap, and all of the rubber dust, then you’re done!
* Important note: The rear channels go over the convertible top material, to secure it in the back. So these need to be done while the top is on the frame. I suggest punching small, round, clean holes in the weatherstrip so the screw heads can be accessed to install the channels with the weather-strips installed. I only punched holes for the center screws, and was able to move the ends of the weather strip back and forth to get to the screws on the ends of the channel, although the one at the bottom of each channel is tough.

Good luck! Doug 
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