89 Toyota Celica GT Convertible ... why can't I get repaired?

I am the 2nd owner. I have owned car for more than a decade. I like my car. I do not want another car.

#1 The rubber between the top of the widows and the roof is rotting. I keep plastic bags on my seats and have to dump water out when it rains. I cannot find anyone that can replace the rubber or fix.

#2 I sent the motor that raises and lowers the convertible roof off to have it rebuilt ($150). I had my local mechanic install. All fluid leaks out within 2 days.

The Clearwater Toyota Dealer said they could fix the rubber, so I drove the car there last Sunday. Today they say they can’t get the rubber and the roof motor is not a Toyota motor so they can’t do anything. Oh but they can sell me a new car or provide the following repair…a break job, right axel and rack and pinion. And they can get me an estimate for the repairs. Give them some more time. A week. They’ve had the car for a week!

Give me a break. The car is in great shape. So Toyota doesn’t have pride in the fact that they still have such a good car on the road? They want their products to last? Why can’t they fix the rubber and the roof motor?

Who can fix my car?

The car is 23 years old and no car maker or dealer on Earth can or even would back a product for infinity.

You’re unfairly bashing both the dealer and Toyota for an obsolete product.

The dealer should not have told me they could fix just to keep the car for a week so they can try to sell me a new car. The car is a collectible and in great shape. I have taken great care with it. My local mechanic has done great work but cannot get the rubber or the motor fixed. Do you have anything postive to say? Do you know who or where I can get these items repaired.

Have you checked with some local body shops and auto glass places to see if they can do anything with the rubber strip? Note that if the metal underneath is rusting, this will be difficult to fix cheaply.

Thank you. Yes I have searched, looked for a few years. I was very surprised and hopeful when the dealer said they could fix. Maybe there is some home remedy the car talk brothers or their listeners might know… a homemade stop leak.

Contact these guys to see if their parts will work on your car:


Thank you very much.

The reason why the roof motor is not a Toyota motor is that this vehicle is an after-market retrofit convertible. Rather than actually producing a limited number of convertibles in their own factory, Toyota contracted with an aftermarket company in the US to hack the roof off of Celica coupes, reinforce the chassis, and then install a soft top and related hardware.

Unfortunately, this type of vehicle rarely has mfr support after just a few years. Personally, I would never buy a convertible that was produced in this manner precisely because of problems such as the OP is experiencing.

Thank you for your comment but I already know the car’s history and I am looking for expertise in repair.

Try these.



"They want their products to last? "

It’s lasted 23 years, you really can’t ask for more than that. There’s no Toyota dealership on the planet that’s going to parts for a 20+ year old model in stock. You’ll just have to do whatever everyone who has an old car does for parts; look around and find a specialist website or company the deals in this sort of thing. I have a 1974 Triumph TR6, as you can imagine I can’t buy parts for it at any autozone or NAPA, and the last Triumph automobile dealership shut its doors in shame about 30 years ago. But there are companies that deal exclusively in parts for British roadsters, so I just buy from them. You’ll just have to do something similar for your car.

Now you’ve seen why you can’t just pop into any ol’ repair shop with that 23 year old car to get it fixed, ( just try finding fuel filler neck hoses for my 79 chevy step-side pickup. ) it has two strikes against it already. It’s both old and rare.

Since it was basically a conversion in the first place ( Shipped to the US as an un-finished car then the convertable top built by ASC, American Specialty Cars, fka American Sunroof Co. )
it will mean contacting a conversion place now.

Possibly a limo and coach builder or a mobility and handicap modifier,
these places have the equipment and knowledge to fabricate anything.
A different drive motor could be modified to fit ( but it sounds like you have a good motor that just leaks ) and weatherstrips built special and they will be knowledgable in hydraulic systems as well.

No, it doesn’t sound cheap and these types of facilities are usually in large market areas ( where their less than 1% market share can be profitable ). From your area maybe Tampa, but more likely Miami.

Google is your friend>>>>

Maybe you will have the same experience that I had. When my 1978 Oldsmobile was 22 years old, the left door was dragging and difficult to close. I took it to a body shop and was told it needed a new hinge, but the shop said that I had to locate a hinge. The shop doubted that the dealer would be able to get the part, and I should try a recycler.
I decided to try the dealer where I had purchased the car. The woman who managed the body shop at the dealership came out and told me that it would be impossible for them to get a new hinge. I told her that when I bought the car I was assured that the dealer would always have parts and be able to repair it for as long as I owned it. She replied, “I don’t think they expected you to drive it for 22 years and 230,000 miles but I’ll see what I can do”. She then went back into the body shop and came back with very large technician. He was carrying a big pin, a wrench, and a sledge hammer. He loosened the hinge, put the pin against it and then pounded on the pin with the sledge hammer. He then tested the door and it worked perfectly. I was really pleased and asked about the charge. “There is no charge”, he replied. We guarantee these babies for 25 years or 250,000 miles".

When you drive a unique car, particularly and older car, you need to find a mechanic that really knows these cars. If I drive the old Oldsmobile into an ordinary shop, the technicians all find a way to hide in grease drums.

There are shops that specialize in repairing rag-tops, any rag-top. They can fix your top or replace it. The can repair the hydraulics so they do not leak…Or just go find a late model Mustang convertible and never look back…

Never fall in love with something that can’t love you back…

I had the top reworked twice, once window, next top. The place is not longer in business. I agree with you I guess I love my car. Dealer is doing $1450 rack & pinion/brakes/right axel. I thought that someone should be able to fix or repair my motor, I will keep looking…and your are right the late model Mustangs do have my attention.

Thank you Google fan!

Debra: There are some posters here who would recommend your purchasing a new car just because the power windows don’t work, or because newer cars have ten airbags and an ejection seat.

You might want to try the Classic-Celica.com website. Also, try using a different Toyota dealer. Mine can get me many parts for my pristine 1979 Celica, which I drive on Sundays to my local airport when I fly my 1972 Piper Seneca “obsolete” twin-engine airplane!

Tom 418 – I have just the opposite impression of the regulars here. They tend to keep their cars going for a long time, and they support questioners who want to do so. the regulars oftren advise that keeping a car going is cheaper thatn replacing it. They are also realistic, and will advise when a car is too old and decrepit.

@tom418 - great suggestion about getting connected with the ‘old Toyota’ on line community. As others have said, the real problem here is that the convertible parts are not Toyota parts, they’re aftermarket.

Like Art said, most folks here are of the ‘drive it till the wheels fall off’ type.