So as some know, some ******* cut my top to steal my $20 radar detector. I needed to buy a new top since the duct tape just wasn't very attractive. I got the cheapest top I could find on ebay and it came with a 5 year warranty.
The top came within a week and the materials feel like they're very good quality. My Robbins top was pretty old, so I can't do much of a comparison, but it certainly felt better than the worn Robbins. All the holes were cut for the bolts at the bottom, but no holes for rivets. The holes around the window and front lip were all marked, but not fully cut out. The window holes came out really easy, but the front lip I had to drill since they were so small. The top does not follow the OEM design entirely. To connect to the back 2 bows, it uses straps and hook tape (Velcro) instead of the flap that gets crimped down. The tops of the windows also do not get screwed down. I've been meaning to ask if there's a reason they didn't do it the OEM way because the sides get a little wrinkly since they are not screwed into the window frame. The top also does not come with a string to pull the cable through. It's really not an issue, since you can just use a coat hanger and some tape to pull it through. Took an extra 5 mins since I had to cut the coat hanger.
Remove old top -
Remove shelf carpet. I used a nail removing tool to pry the tabs out. Not a single one broken.
Remove all nuts holding the back part down.
If you can get in there with a drill, you may want to drill out the rivets in the rain rail so you don't break it pulling it out. It's cheap *** plastic yet for some reason costs $150. I pulled it out thinking it would be easier to drill out the rivets and cracked it a little in a couple places. I glued it and don't think it'll be a problem, but your luck may not be as good.
Unlatch the top and unscrew all screws from the front lip.
Gently pull the rubber weather stripping from the window frames and unscrew the rails.
Peel back the top a bit to reveal the tension cable rivets. Drill them out.
Pull the cable through the top and remove the top.
If you couldn't get to the rivets in the rain rail, be extremely careful pulling it out. The way I was able to do it was to gently pull it away from the screws and move it slightly toward the front of the car, then lift the center out of the back.
If you could get to the rivets, then just pull down the first layer of the rain rail and slide the top off the screws. Remove the top without the rain rail.
Follow the directions included for putting the straps on. I found it easier to line up the rear bow after the new top is installed, though. They give you lines to use for alignment, but it was a little off when I installed the top, so I readjusted it after.
If you removed the top with the rain rail, put the rain rail back in. If you really want to rivet the new top to the rain rail (The instructions say not to worry about it and I don't see a point to. If someone else has a reason to do so, please let us know) then you can install the back of the top into the rain rail, tighten it up and mark the holes, then remove it all and rivet it, or drill and rivet it on the car.
For installation, I sandwiched the back between the rain rail and finger tightened the nuts back on and connected the straps to the bolts. I then proceeded to stretch the top across to the front lip and ran the tension cables through their sleeves with a coat hanger.
Rivet the cables to the rails.
Use rubber cement on the front lip to attach the fabric and screw in the retaining rail.
Tighten everything down according to the directions.
Replace the rubber weatherstrips making sure you seat them so they make a good seal with the window. Otherwise you'll get wet.
Pictures to come