Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 1, 2000

Step By Step

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Richard Pierce hasn’t removed his T-tops in almost two years for fear of making the weatherstrips worse than they already are. By the time we’re finished, these glass panels will see more time in the hatch than on the roof of his hatchback.
Typical weatherstrip damage includes tears, rips, dry-rotting, and shrinkage (no Seinfeld jokes, please). We will cure all of these problems with our new T-top seal kit.
To remove the T-top main weatherstrip, the glass panel needs to be removed and stored to access and then remove the T-top lock pin guideplates on each side of the roof opening.
The main roof weatherstrip is secured at each end by these small plastic “Christmas tree” pins. Carefully pry them free of the body (two at each end) to begin removal of the weatherstrip.
Using a small flat-blade screwdriver or narrow-tipped scraper, dislodge the weatherstrip from the A-pillar retaining channel, continuing around the T-top glass opening, and down the B-pillar.
Remove the Phillips head screws that secure the weatherstrip channels to the A- and B-pillars, and remove them from the body. Clean these channels of all old sealer and rubber particles. If yours are faded, they may be refinished at this time with a black molding paint.
Once the weatherstrip retaining channels are removed, you can access the lower door weatherstrip. Simply grasp the end and pull it free of the pinch weld (taking care around tight trim panel access areas). You will need to remove your kick panel and doorsill plate, as well as a few A- and B-pillar screws to completely remove the weatherstrip.
The new lower door weatherstrip is installed by pushing the weatherstrip over the pinch weld and following the body opening around to the other end of the pinch weld. Make sure the weatherstrip is fully pushed into the corners of the door opening and that the seal is completely seated. Trim off any excess with a pair of wire cutters.
The cleaned and refinished retaining channels can now be reinstalled to the A- and B-pillars once the lower door weatherstrip is in place. Use a small amount of sealer around each screw as it goes into the body.
Take the new T-top weatherstrip and position it over the roof opening. Align the corners of the seal with the corners of the roof opening and push the seal into the roof opening channel with your fingers. You can opt to use weatherstrip adhesive to secure the weatherstrip, but we didn’t use any adhesive at this point so that we could allow room for adjustment.
Using a small screwdriver, plastic knife, or nylon stick as an installation tool, place the weatherstrip in one side of the retaining channel and run the tool down the other side while applying gentle pressure to allow the weatherstrip to “pop” into the channel. Again, we are withholding adhesive for now until we line up everything.
Only the B-pillar end of the roof opening weatherstrip comes with new “Christmas tree” plugs, so you will have to reuse the front plugs. Once you have positioned and aligned the roof opening seal—and applied adhesive as needed—you can push the plugs into the original holes in the body. The two front plugs have to be installed into the new weatherstrip. The upper plug is inserted into a slit you will have to make and the lowermost plugs will go through both layers of the seal.
Moving on to the glass panels, remove the two Phillips head screws that secure the T-top latch trim cover in place, and pull the latch cover free.
Beneath the latch trim cover you will find two more small Phillips head screws that provide extra security to the weatherstrip as it is installed in the retaining channel. Remove these two screws and set them aside.
Since the new glass-panel weatherstrip does not have these little screw retainers molded into them, you will have to force them through the seal and install them into your new parts. It’s easier than it sounds. Trust us.
Position the glass-panel weatherstrip and carefully place the threaded insert for the retaining screw through the open end of the seal with your finger. Slowly start the screw until it threads into the insert and repeat for the opposite end. A magnetic tip screwdriver helps this operation.
Once the screws are started into the retainers, you can position the weatherstrip into the channel as you did with the roof-opening weatherstrip earlier. Weatherstrip adhesive is recommended here. After cleaning the area, use some sort of instant glue or super glue on the large hard-rubber ends to hold them in place against the glass panel. When the seal is in final position, tighten the two small screws.
As an extra measure of safety against water leaks, we added a small bead of silicone sealer where the end seal meets up against the latch assembly. Smooth the sealer with your fingertip and allow to dry. This is clear silicone, but black will work just as well.
Before reinstalling the latch cover, the latch handle beauty seal requires replacement. These foam seals dry out over time, and rain down foam bits over rough road conditions. Most uncool.
After removing the old foam seal and cleaning the area of debris, apply a bead of contact adhesive around the opening and press the new foam seal into place, making sure the T-cut end is in the proper place for the handle to protrude through.
While not included as part of the weatherstripping kit, to really finish the repair correctly, these felt-covered wind seals should be replaced as well. Here you can see where the covering has dried up and has given way to expose the rubber cord underneath. These seals are still available from Ford under PN E1ZZ-6650080-A (two required).
The wind seal has a foil base with an adhesive backing. This seal is applied to the black T-top roof trim, and then secured to the roof skin with rivets. These rivets need to be drilled out to separate the seal from the roof trim.
Once the rivets have been drilled out, the seal is easily separated from the roof trim with a putty knife or screwdriver.
Remove the roof trim from the roof panel, and carefully install the new felt wind seals to it. The roof trim can be easily painted or touched up at this time as well. Using the original holes in the roof trim as a guide, drill new rivet holes through the wind seals. Reinstall the roof trim, taking care to allow the wind seal to lay over the T-top center bar rivet tab (arrow).
Line up the roof trim/wind seal combo to the roof panel using a pick tool, and then secure with stainless steel rivets to prevent rust.
A job well done. Our T-top–equipped ’87 GT is now much quieter inside and can stave off the most turbulent rainstorm or high-pressure hose, just as well as the day it rolled off the dealer lot.

T-tops—those removable glass-roof panels that were an alternative to the missing convertible top options on American cars throughout the ’70s and early ’80s—were available on the Fox Mustang up until early 1988. The last full production year was 1987 when the T-top roof panels were an option, but some ’88s squeaked out of Dearborn with the panels as well. While these glass panels offered open-air motoring and a clear view of the daytime or nighttime sky, they fell out of popularity by the late ’80s, as convertibles made their way back onto the scene in 1983.

Today, finding a late-model Fox Mustang with a T-top at a show or even for sale is uncommon. But for those that are still out there, they all share one really serious problem—T-top–specific seals are no longer serviced by Ford Parts Division. Without the correct seals, attempting to repair a torn seal or water leak is next to impossible. But we can thank Daniel Carpenter Restorations for coming to the rescue of all the remaining T-top owners out there, as he has faithfully reproduced all the T-top weatherstrips to completely reseal the doors and glass panels on these cars. Follow along as we rid Richard Pierce’s modified ’87 GT hatchback of water leaks and wind noise problems in just a few hours.