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V6FBody Online's - Techbase

General FAQ: Exterior Related

How can I fix my leaking (rain and wind) T-top?
What's the best way to protect the weather stripping and T-top seals?
What's the best way to apply new decals/stickers to the paint?
How can I properly reattach the emblem that fell off my car?
What's the best car wash/wax for my car?
Should I use a car bra?
What's steps are necessary prior to prolonged storage of my car?
How can I fix my sagging door which hits the post when I close it?

How can I fix my leaking (rain and wind) T-top?

You can adjust the T-tops in all directions: up/down, in/out and front/back. Once you remove the two screws that hold the A and/or C pillar cover, you'll see two bolts holding the T-roof bracket. Loosen these to adjust for front and back. To adjust up/down or side-to-side, remove the plastic bushing and use a 3/8" x 8" extension to bend the bracket the way you need it to go.

There is also a spray powder available that you spray on the seals. Then put the top back in and take it back out. You can see where contact is being made on the seals. When the top is in, you can see where things are going wrong. Any decent body shop should have this powder available.

Otherwise the t-top seals probably need to be replaced (the kit is part # 10164133). The key difference between the retro kit and the OEM method is a "secondary seal". The factory did not use a second seal in the original installation. The OEM seals were installed using just an adhesive. The retrofit calls for both adhesive and strip caulk; the caulk is the secondary seal. So replacement of the rubber seals might not be necessary, only replacement of the adhesive and installation of 'strip caulk' in the seal retainer's outer lip might be required. The adhesive is 3M part # 08011 or 08001 ($5), the strip caulk is part # 8578 ($7.50). The adhesive comes in two viscosities, 8001 being thinner. To remove the old adhesive, use 3M's general purpose adhesive remover. It's about $10 a quart. The remover works best if allowed to soak, and if the goo is perturbed by a screwdriver blade it will gel up quicker for scraping away. A rag soaked with it and rubbed hard will take it off slowly. Try blowing off the residue with compressed air. The remover does not damage paint and won't eat the rubber. The strip caulk is pretty sticky. It is much softer than dum-dum putty and will accept a soft rubber seal and conform. This is the key to sealing; the adhesive just can't because of voids and the channels that retain the seals are not a tight fit at the sealing edges of the rubber. Handling of the caulk is tricky. Keep a glass of water at hand to dampen your fingers.

Install the secondary seal caulk in the outer edges of the seal retainers. Next, apply the adhesive to the inner and outer edges as primer coat, and then the seals get a coat just before installation.

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What's the best way to protect the weather stripping and T-top seals?

The best way to keep the rubber weather stripping in good condition is to use a silicone spray (or gel in a tube). Open the doors, hatch/trunk, and t-tops, and let the car sit in the sun for a little while. The heat will expand the rubber and make it more porous allowing it to absorb more. It's also best to clean the rubber with soap and water before beginning. Any dirt will prevent absorption and can cause cracking. Spray (or squeeze) a liberal amount of silicone on a clean rag and rub it into all pieces of the weather stripping. Put on a second coat if it looks like the first is being absorbed quickly. Then leave the doors, hatch/trunk, and t-tops open for a while, allowing the silicone to be completely absorbed. You should do this at least once a year, if not twice.

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What's the best way to apply new decals/stickers to the paint?

These things are next to impossible to apply correctly when dry and sticky. The easiest way to apply these sort of emblems is to apply them wet. Get a bucket of water and add a few drops of a dish detergent to the water. Either dip the applique in the water or thoroughly wet the sticky side using a spray bottle, also spray and wet the area you are applying the applique to on the car. The emblem will feel as if all the stickiness is gone. Put it on the car and position it as you want while wet. When satisfied with the positioning squeegee with a credit card or whatever to smooth it and remove the bubbles. Carefully wipe it dry and you're done. The stickiness returns when the water/detergent is gone.

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How can I properly reattach the emblem that fell off my car?

Get a roll of 3M Scotch Mount Double Coated Acrylic Foam Tape (Gray) - OEM approved. It's also sold as 3M Emblem and Body Molding tape. A 3' x 1/2" roll costs about $4. You can recognize the stuff by the red film which separates the layers of tape. It's the same material used by GM on your emblem, except that it comes in rolls and is not die-cut to shape. This is not a problem. You'll also need a sharp X-acto knife or razor blade and some alcohol or adhesive solvent. Clean all of the old tape off the emblem and paint. Use solvent or alcohol to get it completely clean. Then apply the tape to the emblem in strips, leaving the red film on at this point. Cover it completely. Rub it a bit to set the tape. Then flip it over and use the x-acto knife to trim the tape around the edges and openings. Neatness counts here. A new blade helps a lot. The tape is very sticky so you have to place the emblem precisely. If you have a good eye, you can just stick it to the car. You can try to align it to the residual "shadow" that usually shows on the paint. Try applying two strips of artists tape (masking tape will also work) to the face of the emblem leaving about 6" hanging upward. Then hang the emblem on the fender. Take a few steps back to make sure it's properly positioned. Finally, flip the emblem up (leaving the artists tape in place), peel the red film, and set the emblem back in its final resting place. Remove the artist's tape and apply pressure to emblem to set it nice and tight. That it.

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What's the best car wash/wax for my car?

This is a matter of individual taste and preference. However, in general, the following guidelines are considered basic:

  • Never use a product with abrasives/and or detergents on a clear- coated car, especially one that is new.

  • Always use soft 100 percent cotton terry cloth (or fuzzy gold mitts) for applying soaps and waxes.

  • An orbital buffer is useless

  • A rotary buffer can achieve results that hand waxing never could, however it is a skill that must be mastered as incorrect use can also damage the paint/clear coat.

  • Never wash/wax a car in direct sunlight.

  • Love elbow grease

The following products have received good reviews (in order of popularity):

  • Meguiar's (in particular the professional line in tan bottles)
    Especially shampoo #62 and polishes/waxes #7, #9, #26
    Call 1-800-545-3321 for a free car care prescription guide.

  • Blue Coral Autofoam

  • P&S Line

The following results came from a recent Consumer Reports evaluation:

                                    Better 5 ------ 1 Worse


       81  Meguiar's Cleaner Wax                                

             Liquid A-1216        L    5     3    5    4   $5.38

       80  Nu Finish Soft Paste

             NFP-80               P    3     5    4    5    5.97

       74  Turtle Wax Carnauba

             Soft T225            P    4     4    4    4    4.99

       71  Nu Finish Liquid

             NF-76                L    3     4    5    4    5.27

GLOSS refers to the shine, DURA is durability, EASE refers to the ease of application, and CLEAN is the extent of cleaning results. So Meguiar's Liquid seems to give the best shine while Nu Finish Liquid seems to last the longest.

The article also mentioned that the following products left light swirls and/or a haze:

  • Blue Coral Blue Poly Sealant BP25

  • TR3 Resin Glaze 12A

  • Total Image AS910

  • Simoniz Super Blue Soft AS902B

  • Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell T222

  • Mothers California Gold Carnauba 05500

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Should I use a car bra?

While a bra can protect the front end paint, it can be equally harmful. If you leave it on for too long (days on end) in the sun, then the paint under the bra won't fade evenly with the uncovered paint. Then when you finally remove the bra, the front end won't match the rest of the car. Also if you leave it on in the rain a lot, dirt can get trapped underneath and scratch the paint. So you should keep the bra clean by washing both side with soap and water. Also - make sure the bra fits tightly. If it's loose, there's chance rocks will get caught under it and scratch as the bra moves around. Just use them wisely and moderately and you shouldn't have a problem.

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What's steps are necessary prior to prolonged storage?

This is from the VetteNet on car storage:

  • Clean the car inside and out and put a good coat of wax on.

  • Change the oil and filter and run the car for at least 5 minutes to circulate the new oil.

  • Flush the radiator and add new fluid.

  • Flush the brake system and add new fluid.

  • Change the rear axle fluid.

  • Change the transmission fluid and filter.

  • Replace the fuel filter.

  • Fill the fuel tank and add a gas stabilizer. No fuel injection cleaner.

  • Long term remove the good tires and wheels and put on a set of crappy tires and wheels. Short term over inflate the tires by 10 or 15 lbs to cut down on flat spotting. You can also put the car on jack stands but this tends to put the car in an unnatural state and undue stress.

  • Put moisture absorbing packets in the car.

  • Stuff rags in the tail pipes to keep rodents out.

  • Remove battery and charge it once a month.

  • Store your car on wood. Wood absorbs moisture, cement floors are like a sponge. You should lay plywood down on cement and park your car on top of the plywood.

  • Put a cover over the car. The type depends on where you store the car, inside or outside.

  • Do not start your car over the winter. If you do you should drive it around for at least a 1/2 hour.

  • Pull the spark plugs and squirt a little oil down the cylinders.

  • Tape a piece of paper to the steering wheel to remind you in the spring anything that you need to do first before starting the car for the first time like pulling the rags out of your tail pipes.

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How can I fix my sagging door which hits the post when I close it?

GM uses brass or bronze bushings in the construction of their door hinges. Over time these bushings wear and the cause the door to drop. This wear can be accelerated if the car has power windows/locks and if the car is a two door because of the increased load placed on the hinge from the added weight. The solution is to get the replacement bushings and replace them. It's not that hard to replace them but it does require some patience. Open the door and place a jack under the end of the door. Lift up on it and remove the hinges one at a time and replace the bushings. It takes some patience because of the limited work space in the hinge area, but it can be done, and it makes a world of difference.

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