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[FIX] Tonneau cover hits rear window (with video)

 
Old 02-24-2016, 06:50 PM
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Stavesacre21
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Default [FIX] Tonneau cover hits rear window (with video)

Hey guys, I've been looking into this for almost a month now, and as others following previous threads about this topic may remember me saying, I figured out an excellent fix for it. It doesn't require taking the top apart, nor does it require a brand new top. In fact, it requires nothing more than a socket wrench, 7mm socket and a hole punch. For those of us that no longer have our bumper-to-bumper warranty or even those that don't trust a dealer tech to deal with a top they don't understand, this fix is a home run.

As countless others have mentioned, I came down to the conclusion that the straps are indeed the culprit of all the issues. I was able to easily confirm this by simply pulling tight on the strap, which instantly pulled the window in about 3/4' to a full inch...and that was just 1 side's strap. The TSB instructs that you MUST do both sides, which I would imagine will easily pull your window back a full inch during operation. The straps simply aren't tight enough. The following is a picture from the TSB of exactly what needs to be done:



After looking for the specific screw that needs removed to tighten the strap that is responsible for the window retraction inward, I was shocked to find that both ends of the strap were visible, and the end with the screw was very accessible when the top is in its most retracted upright state (where it sits upright while the tonneau is moving). This fix isn't going to require disassembling and removing the top which apparently results in all of the after-thought headaches everyone has mentioned. The only reason the top was removed/disassembled for the TSB was for illustration purposes (which it even states). However, it does appear that another hand would be very useful to (A) support the top and make sure it doesn't move after hydraulic pressure is relieved (which was roughly 2-4 minutes in my findings), and (B) to lend a hand to provide relief of tension from the strap when removing/reinstalling the screw.

Total time from beginning to finish is estimated from 20 to maybe 45 minutes. It took me around an hour since I was doing it by myself and was also taking pictures/videos along the way. As you will find, most of the time will be spent trying to get the screw back into the hole when the strap is tighter. I found that threading the screw through the new hole in the strap beforehand worked will, then simply finding the hole in the bow it screws into and getting it started. Once it catches the slightest bit, its all downhill. Just remember that the bow is hard plastic, and that you don't want to over tighten or strip the hole.

As promised, I did make a video to help illustrate how this fix goes. Because I only have 2 hands and the work area is rather tight (at least to work in AND film), I wasn't able to film the actual removal or insertion of the screw. But you can probably imagine what a screw looks like when it's removed. Not exactly tough.


Here's the video:


I've also taken a few pictures to illustrate a few different things. The first one is how much further up the strap I moved it. I decided to go with somewhere between a 1/2" to 3/4" instead of the TSB listed 1/4". This was mostly because of how little a 1/4" seemed to be doing.



The next two images are to illustrate how much space there is between the tonneau and the window AFTER the fix. Keep in mind, I had very bad contact, not just a slight rub prior. Check the video if you want to see just how bad it was.




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Old 02-24-2016, 10:10 PM
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Joe B.
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Great write up, thanks. Mine's not hitting, but it's close.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:23 PM
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diitto
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Wow... Great video. Thanks much for going to the effort to show us all what needs to be fixed... I have a 2012 GS convertible and was told way back that they would have to remove the entire top and basically take it apart, install new straps and when I asked if the same problem would occur later, their answer was "probably, yes". So needless to say I've been doing the two finger pull for the past few years...

My fear might be losing one of the bolts or like you said in the video, having one fly away if it is loaded (with tugging energy) when you get it completely removed from the hole. When you made the new hole was it hard pulling the strap to the place where the bolt could go into the hole??? And is there any danger other than what you said about the hydraulics releasing after a time of stopping the top at its high point??? I recall doing that once (for reasons not recalled) and when I then wanted to move it again, it wouldn't go either way. Scared the crap outta me. Not sure why that happened but all I did was pushed or pulled on it a little bit and off it went. Might have just stopped it in some switch dead spot or something.

Anyway, thanks again for the detailed video and great job. Mine bangs about like your's did and that's great that you came up with a fix that works...

thanks again... bob
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by diitto View Post
When you made the new hole was it hard pulling the strap to the place where the bolt could go into the hole??? And is there any danger other than what you said about the hydraulics releasing after a time of stopping the top at its high point???
First of all, I should explain how that part worked out for me. Once I removed the screw and released the strap, i pulled the strap back up (just like shown in the video) to make the new hole. I used a punch to make the hole through the strap, although just as expected, it had limited results since the strap material simply allowed the punch to slide right through. I then threaded the screw all the way through the strap (as shown in the picture). At this point, the screw is rather tightly embedded in the material of the strap, and dropping it wasn't an issue in the slightest. I couldn't even take it out of the strap without unscrewing it.

At that point, the way i found worked best was to grab the end of the strap that had the original screw hole, pull the strap over the spot where the screw hole in the bow is, and with the other hand try to thread the screw back into the hole. This part was the section that took the most time.

Also worth mentioning, I saw that you said you had concern with losing the screw. Happy to say (and forgot to mention in my original post) that even if you drop it, there is nowhere for it to get lost around the area you will be working in. The screw would either drop into the trunk/tonneau storage area, or onto that soft cloth that you have to move out of the way to get to everything.

The tension on the strip isn't very strong at all, and even by myself I was able to easily relieve most of the pressure with one arm and unscrew it with the other to release it. Like I said, the only part that's a little challenging is getting the newly tightened strap to line up with the original screw hole when its under higher tension.

If I had to give this a 1 out of 10 difficultly with 1 being unscrewing a lightbulb and 10 being rebuilding a car, I'd put this at around a 2.5 or so. It sounds daunting in theory, but it's actually quite simple. In fact, it's so easy that I feel like I might have moved the screw too far down the strap, and might even go back and do them again, moving it back maybe a 1/4" or so from the new hole I created. I'm thinking I moved it somewhere between 3/4" to a full inch the more I look at the picture and think of it.

I'd be happy to help with any question you might have
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:27 PM
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diitto
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Originally Posted by Stavesacre21 View Post
First of all, I should explain how that part worked out for me. Once I removed the screw and released the strap, i pulled the strap back up (just like shown in the video) to make the new hole. I used a punch to make the hole through the strap, although just as expected, it had limited results since the strap material simply allowed the punch to slide right through. I then threaded the screw all the way through the strap (as shown in the picture). At this point, the screw is rather tightly embedded in the material of the strap, and dropping it wasn't an issue in the slightest. I couldn't even take it out of the strap without unscrewing it.

At that point, the way i found worked best was to grab the end of the strap that had the original screw hole, pull the strap over the spot where the screw hole in the bow is, and with the other hand try to thread the screw back into the hole. This part was the section that took the most time.

Also worth mentioning, I saw that you said you had concern with losing the screw. Happy to say (and forgot to mention in my original post) that even if you drop it, there is nowhere for it to get lost around the area you will be working in. The screw would either drop into the trunk/tonneau storage area, or onto that soft cloth that you have to move out of the way to get to everything.

The tension on the strip isn't very strong at all, and even by myself I was able to easily relieve most of the pressure with one arm and unscrew it with the other to release it. Like I said, the only part that's a little challenging is getting the newly tightened strap to line up with the original screw hole when its under higher tension.

If I had to give this a 1 out of 10 difficultly with 1 being unscrewing a lightbulb and 10 being rebuilding a car, I'd put this at around a 2.5 or so. It sounds daunting in theory, but it's actually quite simple. In fact, it's so easy that I feel like I might have moved the screw too far down the strap, and might even go back and do them again, moving it back maybe a 1/4" or so from the new hole I created. I'm thinking I moved it somewhere between 3/4" to a full inch the more I look at the picture and think of it.

I'd be happy to help with any question you might have
Thanks for getting back to me.. And you answered my questions with great clarity. Thanks... Why might you be concerned that you might have moved a bit too far down the strap??? You said to something like 3/4 to 1 full inch is what you think you did and you're starting to think 1/2 inch or so might have "been better". Why would that be better??? Are you concerned that the strap is too tight now or something??? thanks again... bob
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:39 PM
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RicK T
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Very nice! Thank you for all the work and documentation. This has been a "mystery" repair for many years, now you've made it brilliantly clear.
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:35 AM
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Thank you.

Well written and awesome.
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:09 PM
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Stavesacre21
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Originally Posted by diitto View Post
Why might you be concerned that you might have moved a bit too far down the strap??? You said to something like 3/4 to 1 full inch is what you think you did and you're starting to think 1/2 inch or so might have "been better". Why would that be better??? Are you concerned that the strap is too tight now or something???
Short answer - there's no factual proof that the distance I have moved it is causing any issues. It's only me being OCD and questioning if not following the TSB 100% will cause issues down the line.

Long answer - The reason (and only reason) why I'm considering moving it back a little is because the TSB only called for a 1/4" movement. I might be putting too much faith in GM and the desk jockeys who write the TSB to be absolutely precise about the amount it needs to be moved down the strap, but the thought always rolls around in the back of my head if they didn't make the move more significant because they were concerned about other factors, such as too much tension on the #5 bow, or if perhaps longevity of the elasticity of the strap is possibly reduced if you pull it too tight. Far as I can tell, extra tension that that particular bow is a moot point and doesn't matter anyway, as it's sole purpose is the retraction of the rear window. When I referred to it "being better", I simply meant being closer to the 1/4" it instructed you to move the screw. Knowing if my strap is too tight now, well, I won't know that answer until some time has passed.

Speaking of the elasticity...well, even if it were to grow weaker over time, I have over an inch of clearance already, and even with a significant stretching out, it would simply put us right back into the exact same spot we are now. No harm no foul I guess

From my experience with the repair, I'm finding that a 1/2" is a perfect number to move it down. However, as mentioned, it is a very simple procedure, and you could simply try 1/4" first, and if the clearance isn't sufficient, move it down another 1/4 to 1/2" based on your thoughts. My thoughts are that an elastic strap can only stretch out so much until is reaches a point that it can't get any weaker. I'm really hoping that at that point, it'll still retain enough elasticity to keep the window pulled in enough.

Last edited by Stavesacre21; 02-28-2016 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 02:35 PM
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Great job and thank you for the vid! I have the same issue and will be using your process to fix it.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:10 PM
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Update:

So I went back in today and adjusted the straps on both sides to exactly 1/2" from the original hole. My previous hole was a little bit past 3/4". This brought the gap between the window and the tonneau from a little over and inch to somewhere between a 1/2" and 3/4" clearance. I was initially going to then try a 1/4" (as the TSB instructed) but considering how much the gap had closed up from the 3/4" to 1/2" move, I very strongly believe that the top would be extremely close to hitting again if I tried 1/4". Every top and set of straps is different though, so you may find that 1/4" will work well for you. For me, 1/2" was a great median between enough clearance with as minimal stretching of the strap as possible.

If anyone has any questions or has issues with adjustments, feel free to drop me a PM or reply to this thread. I really wanna get this info out to as many convertible owners as possible. You shouldn't have to make a manual effort on a power top...after all, you paid for it!
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:51 AM
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Great info neighbor, I shall give it a try.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:42 AM
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Excellent! While mine doesn't hit, it is nice to know how to repair if it ever does start!
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:44 AM
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Kenny94945
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+1 nice write up.
Thank you.
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:17 PM
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Great instructional video!! Thanks
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:09 PM
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Stavesacre21
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Just checking in on this thread since the warm weather is starting to break.

Anyone else give it a shot and care to share results?

Anyone have any questions?

Let's get this info out to all convertible owners we can! Being such an easy repair, no one should have to live with the "rub".
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:17 PM
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Great write up! That's been bothering me for years.
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Stavesacre21 View Post
Update:

So I went back in today and adjusted the straps on both sides to exactly 1/2" from the original hole. My previous hole was a little bit past 3/4". This brought the gap between the window and the tonneau from a little over and inch to somewhere between a 1/2" and 3/4" clearance. I was initially going to then try a 1/4" (as the TSB instructed) but considering how much the gap had closed up from the 3/4" to 1/2" move, I very strongly believe that the top would be extremely close to hitting again if I tried 1/4". Every top and set of straps is different though, so you may find that 1/4" will work well for you. For me, 1/2" was a great median between enough clearance with as minimal stretching of the strap as possible.

If anyone has any questions or has issues with adjustments, feel free to drop me a PM or reply to this thread. I really wanna get this info out to as many convertible owners as possible. You shouldn't have to make a manual effort on a power top...after all, you paid for it!
Great write up. I'm having the same problem with a 2005 c6 and will try your fix. question: are the straps "under load" when the top is in the Up position?
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by wapnbp View Post
Great write up. I'm having the same problem with a 2005 c6 and will try your fix. question: are the straps "under load" when the top is in the Up position?
The straps are indeed "under tension" when the top is up (meaning it is covering the car). When the top is retracted all the way and tucked under the tonneau cover, the straps are in their loosest state. This is the same state the straps are in when you have the top "folded up like an accordion" to get to the straps and make the repair.

As the warm weather continues to roll out, i'd like to hear if people are getting their tops fixed!
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Old 04-20-2016, 04:58 PM
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Did mine. I folded the strap over on itself at the stitch line to mark where to make the new hole. It ends up between 1/2 and 3/4, Plenty of clearance when the top is operating now. No more hit.
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:18 PM
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Thanks very much for the time invested in the video. I was wondering where those little [email protected]#$%@!D straps were. Will be diving into mine soon and hopefully will have the same results. Thanks Again.
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