Stainless T-top center rails & plates

Bweavy

Car Hoarder
Joined
May 24, 2001
http://www.gbodyparts.com/restoration.htm

We've been working on these for a while now but got side tracked when the rims started.

This is the last center rail & t-top plates you will ever buy.Made entirely of stainless steel then powder coated.We also have the front seal & rear seal reatiners that are welded in from the factory.with these parts being discontinued & the availability being limited on totally rust free parts.This is a great option.

We've already test fitted these on 2 t-top roofs & the fit was excellent.I will have more detailed pics of these installed on a frame off 88 Monte Carlo SS early next week.

Only t-top owners who have replaced their seals will understand how nice these really are.

Life time guarantee on these parts!
 
Hey Brian.........you devil, you. Great idea and a much needed piece for the unfortunate TTop owners like me. Good luck! ;)
 
bad azz!
Brian - does this come with the very center top "T" (the center that the glass slides under)? I don't see it in the pics.
 
Scott that part is actually just aluminum which is is held on by pop rivits. Rubber coated. Drill out the rivots, remove,re-shoot then install. If there seems to be a great demand for it I'm sure we can come up with something.
 
Originally posted by Red Regal T
Hey Brian.........you devil, you. Great idea and a much needed piece for the unfortunate TTop owners like me. Good luck! ;)
John it isn't cheap but you know if you have to do this twice then the price is cheap. Imagine the availability of plates & center rails in 5 years?:eek:

I always shyed away from the t-top cars because of this.Now I can keep the 86 wh-1 a t-top car instead of hacking the roof off.
 
Price increases

Just wanted to let everyone know that a price increase will be in effect shortlly do to the increase in Stainless.

Good news is that we are developing the center rail top aluminum piece in Stainless also.Didn't think there would be a need but apparentlly the aluminum just wasn't holding up after all these years & was taking a beating from the t-tops.
 
Now here's a question on these. From what knowledge I've acquired in materials engineering courses I've had, doesnt the nature of the stainless make it so that instead what would have been the weaker alloy (the original plates) rusting and rotting out that the roof substructure itself will let go first? I know in other materials applications this is what happens, I was curious if using these panels will create those same problems, and if any lab-type testing as to this effect was done? Much cheaper to replace the trim panels a few times than cut out and replace a roof and repaint the car.....
 
The reason the top plates, center rail, etc rust out, is because water that has infiltrated past the gaskets sit in these parts and rust the parts out. I think you find most of the areas where they rust out are right were the gaskets meet the metal. This is because the gasket material is an "open cell" material and will allow water to accumulate and start working on the metal until the water has a chance to evaporate and dry up. So if you replace the regular steel part with stainless then you won't rust out those parts.

Correct me if i am wrong, but you are talking about a "sacrificial lamb" theory that the steel t-tops parts were designed to rust out first before the roof structure becomes comprimised and that if you would replace the t-top parts with stainless, the oxidation of metal (rust) would go somewhere else and that would be the roof structure. With my knowledge of a t-top design, (Someone chime in if i am wrong), the water would have to get past the Stainless before getting the steel roof structure, and if it can't get past the stainless via rusting, then it wouldn't comprimise the roof line.

Personally, I would build my whole car out of stainless if i could! I think Delorean had the right idea...
:D

Anyway, hope that helps...
 
Yes, I've heard it called the sacrificial lamb theory among other things. I'm not sure that all the water would stay on top of the stainless plate is what has me hanging up. The weather stripping the way it was designed is to keep the water out of the car, not on top of the plates and away from the substructure of the roof. Once it enters the crack is goes wherever it pleases just not into the car thanks to the stripping. Think about it, stainless clamp on a mild steel or aluminized exhaust and you rot out around the area of the clamp, plain steel clamp and your exhaust lasts longer...
 
[The weather stripping the way it was designed is to keep the water out of the car, not on top of the plates and away from the substructure of the roof.]

I would say that issue of rust on the steel t-top parts is directly related to water retention. If you look at a center rail of a t-top, the rust is almost always associated with the areas where there is a seam in the metal is or where the gasket lies - all perfect spots for the water to reside/accumulate. I have two center rails in front of me, and both are rotted in the lip where the gasket goes and in the seams of the metal, with no rust from the bottom side. I would also say that the rusting of the parts is due to water on top of the steel, not from water between the t-top part assembly and the roof structure. All the ones i have seen, have been rusting from the top, not from the bottom. Take a look at this ebay auction, and you can see the some rust starting from the top underneath where the gasket goes...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7918493746&category=33654

Perhaps Brian can chime in and offer his experience on the matter...

I would also venture to say, that if the roof structure was going to rust, it would be far more apt to rust with the steel units as opposed to the stainless, as the odds are the steel unit is already rusted and leaking down into the roof structure as it is.

As far as two different metals contacting each other, that would be mute point assuming the stainless is powder coated, and the roof structure is painted.

Thats just my take on the matter...(just enjoying a good debate, thats all - all in good intentions, so please don't mistake my "tone")

Nathyn
 
No offense taken Nathyn, I actually appreciate the debate and all going on. I'm playing a devils advocate and thinking aloud, hoping someone else would chime in actually...

The parts I am more concerned with are the long flat panels that are near the windshield,not so much the center beam. On the center beam I agree with you 100% that the odds of water leaking out are minimal. The two flat rails however usually rust out from underneath, or at least that has been the epxerience from cars I've owned and parts cars I had. Then again, who knows what people are going to opt for powdercoat vs plain panels as they are offered both ways. I'm just thinking aloud here, anyone else feel free to chime in
 
Originally posted by 84c10
No offense taken Nathyn, I actually appreciate the debate and all going on. I'm playing a devils advocate and thinking aloud, hoping someone else would chime in actually...

The parts I am more concerned with are the long flat panels that are near the windshield,not so much the center beam. On the center beam I agree with you 100% that the odds of water leaking out are minimal. The two flat rails however usually rust out from underneath, or at least that has been the epxerience from cars I've owned and parts cars I had. Then again, who knows what people are going to opt for powdercoat vs plain panels as they are offered both ways. I'm just thinking aloud here, anyone else feel free to chime in

I'm probablly not the other opinion you want to here from ;)
Having had over 40 t-top cars thru here I can tell you that the rot in the front & the other steel parts is from improper seal installation or the tops were ignored once leaks & rotting had begun.

I have seen 54K miles Gn's with major rot once the plates & seals were removed.I've also seen 70K mile T-top cars with no rot.Mainly because they were never removed or garaged kept.
We ahd to sell a complete rust free roof to a customer in texas with a 38K mile Monte Carlo SS.The roof came from a 89K mile Burgundy Monte carlo SS

With the seals properlly installed & maintained there "should" be no water going to the mild steel.That is the way it was engineered.The exposed parts that we are doing is the most common problem.Front retainers normally rot out from the outside edge & work their way in.his is due to the t-top pressure on the top plate & wearing off the paint & exposing bare metal. The top plates start from underneath untill you get bubbling on the surface of the top plate.These are rubbing against the retainer below it.These & the center rails seem to be the worse problem areas that when caught will prevent the seal from loosing it adhesion & allowing water into the mild steel area.
Once this happens & water is trapped underneath it's just a matter of time.It is no different then the roof on your home.If you see water damage starting you have to take care of it ASAP.If you don't & let it go for a few years then the damage multiplies & costs more.

Powder coating the stainless is just for the painters so that they can adhere paint to the stainless steel easily.In a different color vehicle like a t-type the reatainers should match the body color.

As far as the water entering the cracks from the trim pieces,Have you ever tried to remove the trim on the windshield That covers the top? You need a heat gun & patience unless you plan on bending them. There is double sticky sided tape That is sealed tight & then screwed in.The only places I have seen them rot is where the screw holds the trim to the body,The screw heads were never sealed.

In a perfect world the rain hits the t-tops & everything acts like a rain gutter.But even gutters need to be replaced.

Last year I sold 3 solid roof conversions for t-tops.This year 0.We have sold quite a few replacement parts & have never had a complaint yet.Not to say that no one will !!! :D
 
Nice Pieces Brian! I'm currently getting ready to start putting my T-Top trim back on the car after the paintjob. 500 is worth not having rust. Fortunally, the only place mine had rust was a screw hole for the trim. I can also attest to water collecting under the T channel. I had some surface rust that I had cleaned up there and I was fortunate that wasn't worse. If I had to guess before removing the trim and weatherstripping I'd have sworn I had no issue however you never know for sure until you look. Anyone want to buy these for me? :D
 
Originally posted by bishir
Nice Pieces Brian! I'm currently getting ready to start putting my T-Top trim back on the car after the paintjob. 500 is worth not having rust. Fortunally, the only place mine had rust was a screw hole for the trim. I can also attest to water collecting under the T channel. I had some surface rust that I had cleaned up there and I was fortunate that wasn't worse. If I had to guess before removing the trim and weatherstripping I'd have sworn I had no issue however you never know for sure until you look. Anyone want to buy these for me? :D

One thing I do before I buy a T-top car which is not fool proof but gives you an idea.Drop the visor out & put your finger in there to feel for rust. If you do then you know it is leaking between the selas & has been trapped.
I bought an 84 & did this & it still had rust but probablly like your very minor & just started.
Let me know when your ready James
 
Just to add that if your Tops leak and you don't know why then more than likely there is a rust hole under that weatherstripping. Some of the adhesive mine had on it actually absorbs moisture. :eek:
 
Originally posted by zam70
bad azz!
Brian - does this come with the very center top "T" (the center that the glass slides under)? I don't see it in the pics.

Hey Scott we have that part now developed ;) Better then the aluminum. Also done in stainless & powder coated.Seems there was a greater demand for just that then the rest of the pieces.
 
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