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Old 05-21-2014, 11:50 AM   #1
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Default Hardtop Spec Miata brackets confusion

Ok so...

The hardtop i've acquired came with a set of Rennenmetal Spec Miata brackets. The side brackets were in use, the fronts were just using stock latches. This was on an NB, the car was gutted rear of the seats.

I have the hardtop on the NA right now, but don't have side latches or brackets of any kind at the moment installed. Reason: The side brackets aren't really lining up well at all. I saw on Rennenmetal's site that the brackets "don't work" with the plastics, but i've cut them up pretty good and there's no way that i can see that they should be causing the brackets to sit 1/2" AWAY from the hardtop.

Also saw on their product description that if you use the front brackets, you'll probably get excessive wind noise and maybe water leaks, because the brackets can't replicate the clamping forces of the factory latches? Is this accurate?


So basically... what do? Ideally, i'd like to use all the brackets and not use latches. Car no longer has a soft top. If this is going to be a pain in the dick or never really seat right, then i'd like to go all factory latches. I believe i have all the latches/strikers themselves, but is there different plastics in the area of the side latches for this sort of thing?

And if i use the factory side latches, am i even going to be able to fit the roll bar?


So many questions. So confuse.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
Ok so...

The hardtop i've acquired came with a set of Rennenmetal Spec Miata brackets. The side brackets were in use, the fronts were just using stock latches. This was on an NB, the car was gutted rear of the seats.

I have the hardtop on the NA right now, but don't have side latches or brackets of any kind at the moment installed. Reason: The side brackets aren't really lining up well at all. I saw on Rennenmetal's site that the brackets "don't work" with the plastics, but i've cut them up pretty good and there's no way that i can see that they should be causing the brackets to sit 1/2" AWAY from the hardtop.

Also saw on their product description that if you use the front brackets, you'll probably get excessive wind noise and maybe water leaks, because the brackets can't replicate the clamping forces of the factory latches? Is this accurate?


So basically... what do? Ideally, i'd like to use all the brackets and not use latches. Car no longer has a soft top. If this is going to be a pain in the dick or never really seat right, then i'd like to go all factory latches. I believe i have all the latches/strikers themselves, but is there different plastics in the area of the side latches for this sort of thing?

And if i use the factory side latches, am i even going to be able to fit the roll bar?


So many questions. So confuse.
can't speak about the other stuff, but it looks might tough if not impossible to use the side latches and have a roll bar with circular padding on my car. YMMV, I think I push the padding around, it might work. I have a boss frog double btw.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:25 PM   #3
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I'm using the Rennenmetal brackets without issue on a stock HT with rollbar. Double check the PO doesn't have left and right side swapped or either flipped over. Either way can be troublesome.

No leaks here. Just have someone pushing forward on the top when doing the fronts and then pushing downward on it when doing each side.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:26 PM   #4
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The clamping force needs to be replicated. I had a buddy literally lay on the hardtop while I attached the side brackets. This compressed the rear/bottom seal downward. Then I had him push the top forward while I tightened the front brackets. I still have way more wind noise than with the stock latches, but no leaks. Nearly a three person job to get the top compressed forward and downward at the same time while someone sits inside and tightens everything.

Edit: Sixshooter beat me to it^
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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Don't know about the side brackets. Could the HT be splayed out at the bottom. 1/2" seems like a lot. Maybe they're on backwards? Is there gas in the car?

To make the front brackets fit I needed to put a shim between the bracket and the windshield frame. I used alum bar stock (1/4" thick IIRC) with two holes drilled in the right place. Not only did that make the top fit tightly but it obviated the need to cut any plastic.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Track View Post
can't speak about the other stuff, but it looks might tough if not impossible to use the side latches and have a roll bar with circular padding on my car. YMMV, I think I push the padding around, it might work. I have a boss frog double btw.
Well.. there's small Beatrush side latches that work with most rollbars if it comes down to it.

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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
I'm using the Rennenmetal brackets without issue on a stock HT with rollbar. Double check the PO doesn't have left and right side swapped or either flipped over. Either way can be troublesome.

No leaks here. Just have someone pushing forward on the top when doing the fronts and then pushing downward on it when doing each side.
Well... the brackets have left and right stamped on them. I may have them backwards. I'll investigate further.

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The clamping force needs to be replicated. I had a buddy literally lay on the hardtop while I attached the side brackets. This compressed the rear/bottom seal downward. Then I had him push the top forward while I tightened the front brackets. I still have way more wind noise than with the stock latches, but no leaks. Nearly a three person job to get the top compressed forward and downward at the same time while someone sits inside and tightens everything.

Edit: Sixshooter beat me to it^
Hrmmm... way more wind noise doesn't sound super fun. But neither does having a hardtop stolen. (I was going to use security bolts and such.)

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Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
Don't know about the side brackets. Could the HT be splayed out at the bottom. 1/2" seems like a lot. Maybe they're on backwards? Is there gas in the car?

To make the front brackets fit I needed to put a shim between the bracket and the windshield frame. I used alum bar stock (1/4" thick IIRC) with two holes drilled in the right place. Not only did that make the top fit tightly but it obviated the need to cut any plastic.
I don't think the hardtop is splayed out... it fit just fine on the NB. More likely i have the brackets messed up, but the bit on Rennenmetal's website about the plastics has thrown me for a loop.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
Hrmmm... way more wind noise doesn't sound super fun. But neither does having a hardtop stolen. (I was going to use security bolts and such.)
IF:
A= Hardtop with factory latches is very quiet.
B= Softop is noisy as hell.
Hardtop with spec latches is somewhere in the middle, but still way quieter than a soft top.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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Hrm. I bought these and some torx hardware for security. I figured they wouldn't work with the plastics on the sides, but it's disappointing to find out that they won't seal nearly as well as stock latches. Might be selling them now.

Concealer, the factory panels (at least mine) had a template on the back for cutting the oval for the latch. I cut along the line and everything went fine, can't see the holes with the latches installed.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:39 PM   #9
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Duct tape in the right color is your friend.

Or paint the car in an available duct tape color

I made ugly clamping brackets (one pulling bolt each) when i made my bikini flop-top. But it's leaning on the cage for guidance.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:48 PM   #10
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I just installed Rennen brackets last week - I still have (slightly trimmed) factory plastic. When I first installed the top brackets I had a horrible leak - I then shimmed the brackets (down) between the window frame with 6 flat washers and that sealed it up nicely. Drove almost 500mi last Sunday - No rattles, no leaks, it feels like a coupe.

It sounds to me like your side brackets are backwards.


I'll get some pics for you when I get home from the office.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:35 PM   #11
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This is what I've got going on:





Hope that helps.
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:47 AM   #12
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Thank you Scrambles, you've given me a new will to live.
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