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Discussion Starter #1
So the wife's car has started experiencing the classic top pinching on the right side. I inspected it and found that the plastic tab was broken off leaving only a small part held by the screw.

I went looking for the part based on numbers posted online. I talked with Tom at CED and he did a search of the national database and found one right side clip left in GM inventory. He told me that these clips have been out of production for several years.

I talked with a friend in the club who has parts made. He is going to see if he can find a supplier who can make us a small run of the parts for not too much $$$

I have one spare set from my backup top to use as patterns.

I am aware that some are making their own tabs but if we can get some purpose built replacements that would be preferable.
 

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That's a great idea Rob. :thumbs:
 

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Well, I "know a guy" who works in plastics. :)

And he has a kid that works at a tool and die shop that builds molds.

Maybe I can find, er I mean talk to him and see if he can find an old mold lying around and my bo,.. I mean his boss wouldn't mind him using it. Then the owner of the tool shop (who already told him he doesn't mind his employees doing guvment jobs off the clock) would allow this guys son to CNC a couple of cavities into the mold.

Seriously, if Rob can send me one (if they are truly symmetrical) or one of each, I can reverse engineer in CAD, my kid can machine cavities and I could run some of these off in a small machine. I would offer my employer a $200.00 set up fee which is a typical charge we would apply to any customer. (He will likely decline it, but I'll offer anyway.) I know we have nylon regrind lying around (been molded once and ground up) that would work fine. My math is coming with with $5 a set.

I mean, if this guy I know is good with doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Interesting

They are left and right.

I just gave my set to my friend who thinks he can get his guy in Texas to laser cut some. When I get them back, hopefully in about a week, I will ship them to you so you can see about your friend making a mold

The issue is the plastic used for the factory part is not very robust and they break. My friend is looking at some better material.

Will keep you informed.

I want several sets and want to avoid having to cludge a replacement if I can. I an
M paranoid about the tops.
 

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I can identify what they are made from either from a recycling code (which probably isn't on something that small) or by putting a flame to an edge and sniffing the fumes. (Yeah, that's what makes me as messed up as I am. lol)

My first bet would be nylon, but the problem with nylon is that it is hygroscopic enough that it can be brittle in very dry environments. Like say for somebody that lives in a desert? Polyester is not quite as "tough" but is less vulnerable to moisture changes.

Hell, if we make a mold I can shoot about damn near anything in it and we can test durability if anyone wants to be a guinea pig!
 

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The guy who is researching it is a materials guy for Boeing and other aerospace companies. He is talking about some kind of laser cut material thet is fracture and wear resistant. He said the easiest way is to give the two parts I have to his guy who will scan them and then use that to laser cut from a sheet. We believe we can fit it with one screw and hold it in place with friction vice the raised lip. But he also talked about a couple of other ideas so we will see what he comes up with.

I would like to get a hundred made so we will have a source as they are needed
 

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PTFE is slick as snot, but it's not that strong compared to some other materials. And your guy laser cutting won't want to do teflon. (Google "teflon fever" - serious sh!t!)

I'm also curious about the current design because mine was the steel tab with a rubber overmold. We could possibly design one that could be used on either side - I'd engrave an "L" one one side and "R" on the other so the installer could flip it over.

If we did get a mold made I would run a couple hundred on the first shot and put them on the shelf. The biggest expense is cleaning out the machine, hanging the mold and starting it up. Once it's running it's cheaper to keep banging them out.

Keep us posted on your source's ideas Rob (which I'm sure you will.) If I can help I gladly will!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
All three of my tops have the plastic tab mounted OVER the metal tab that is molded into the rubber at the hinge. the plastic tab is a fix for the problem encountered when the metal tab wears through the rubber and then starts to grab the top and pull it into the hinge as the mechanism rotates to closed position.

It is possible that your plastic tab is missing. Do you see a screw hole in the rubber as in the pictures I posted above?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Made my tabs from high density polyethylene. Very slippery and very strong. Easy to saw or mill. Same stuff they use for feet on appliances and furniture.
I have seen that done

I will go that route if we are unable to reproduce the actual part.

I have some concern that with a home made part I may end up introducing new problems :thumbs:
 

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Rob does the part have to be made out of plastic? What I'm getting at will billet aluminum or some type of similar metal work I sure we can find someone who could produce these parts and even if they cost more if it's a one time charge and they don't break it might be worth looking into.
 

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All three of my tops have the plastic tab mounted OVER the metal tab that is molded into the rubber at the hinge. the plastic tab is a fix for the problem encountered when the metal tab wears through the rubber and then starts to grab the top and pull it into the hinge as the mechanism rotates to closed position.

It is possible that your plastic tab is missing. Do you see a screw hole in the rubber as in the pictures I posted above?
Neither side had a plastic tab. I'm thinking that may have been a "running change" to address the problem. The original design was a definite case of oversight. Overmolding the rubber onto the steel would normally be a typical situation for a weather seal. BUT introducing the friction of the top fabric against the rubber, which will grab it, was destined to fail because it would cause the metal to cut right through it - as many of us have seen.

Using a metal instead of the plastic would seem to be more robust, but you need to make sure the leading edge is highly polished, or it's going to wear the top fabric. That's the advantage the plastic would have in that it's inherently lubricious and can easily be molded with a very smooth surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
CW when was your car built? Mine is June 07

The top I bought was I believe an 06 top off a late car and it had the tabs

Strange

We will know more when Dick gets to talk with his supplier.
 
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