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Old 12-26-2009, 01:00 AM   #1
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Default Lexan hard top window - inspired by curly

My Dad and I figured we had to share this since we found the info that made it possible here on MT.

So a couple of months ago, I purchased a hard top that a member here (mgeoffriau) found on craigslist. About two weeks later, the top goes on the car and is taken for a test drive.

Top on the car


I should mention that it is a SnugTop because that is the reason for what happened next. My father was driving the car, and in his words: I took off and in 2nd gear around 50mph, all of a sudden, there was a lot of light and wind noise. It was a very weird sensation, and I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the top shatter and hit the ground (after going about 20ft in the air). Thankfully, no vehicles were behind him. The top latches, while at first glance appeared to be solid (top stayed in place when rocking it back and forth and pushing up), were in fact bent at the end and while tightening them up held the top in place while stationary, they popped off and the above picture shows the rest. Also, even though some people get away without side latches, definitely don't try driving without them with a SnugTop. Had we had the side striker plates, the top may not have flown off so awesomely.

Top after first drive:


So after thinking about it for a week and finding the "guide" on here for a lexan window, I sent my father the pictures and he started the repair process. All told, I did only a very little bit of work putting the top back together near the very end.

The first step was disassembling the top:


As you can see, the top was actually two fiberglass shells glued together. The rear latches actually sit between these.

After getting all seals, glue, smashed window (taped up for later use as a template), etc. taken out and cleaned up, my dad started to put it back together. First step was sticking the two shells back together. Polyurethane caulk, 2 wood pellet bags, and 30+ clamps were used.


After the pieces were sealed back together, my dad bought a fiberglass repair kit and fixed up all the cracks and chips he could and had it repainted by a local one man shop collision repair guy who did an excellent job.


After the repaint, an inexpensive way to secure the side latches was thought up:

Longer links were used than those pictured. The bottom part of the link is secured by a bolt that goes through the stock striker plate mounts.

Using the old window and a big roll of thin plastic, we made this template from the original window for testing fitting before cutting the lexan.

We ended up estimating the position of the holes on the lexan itself, and drilled them using a press. The holes were oversized so we could fit 6-32 x 1 inch machine screws through with screwing into the lexan.

Here's the window 90% done:


Between the lexan and the top we put inch wide weather stripping stripping, thicker in some places to fit the curvature in the corners. Like mentioned before, we used 6-32 x 1" machine screws (40), as well as bonded washers (80), with loctite to prevent the nuts from backing off easily, and a polyurethane seal all around the window to cover up the edge and as a surefire way to prevent leaking.

Here's the completed top:




It ended up looking pretty sharp all things considered. My Dad did a great job repairing it and it only took us half a day with breaks to cut the template, test fit it, then cut the lexan and drill it and the top and bolt it in. After letting the polyurethane cure, we put it on the car and made a couple additions to the front latches as a backup in case they somehow slip off again (though unlikely since they've been fixed).

Anyways, thanks reading reading and thanks to curly for posting up his window repair.
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:10 AM   #2
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You're welcome. You did a much better job than I.

"You had a riot? On account of me?"
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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Nice way to fix the top and upgrade it while you were at... Me likes.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:14 AM   #4
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Great job!
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:14 AM   #5
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i didnt know snug top made exact oem replica tops?? i remember i saw a snugtop and it was fugly?
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:20 AM   #6
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Curious to know what the weight different was between the lexan and glass? Nice job!
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:24 AM   #7
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Yikes, sorry that turned into a big ordeal, but great job with the repair. Very nice!
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneSplicer View Post
Curious to know what the weight different was between the lexan and glass? Nice job!
Not much, all the hardware doesn't help. It's in no way worth it. The oem glass will always seal better, look better, and last longer. Not to mention it's a time consuming project, as you can see.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Not much, all the hardware doesn't help. It's in no way worth it. The oem glass will always seal better, look better, and last longer. Not to mention it's a time consuming project, as you can see.
All true. And lexan scratches way easy. I already put a good gouge in it fitting some stuff behind the seat for a short trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by railz
i didnt know snug top made exact oem replica tops?? i remember i saw a snugtop and it was fugly?
I guess they did a long time ago. I was researching replacement glass for it and I came to the conclusion that the top is definitely more than a decade old. When I called SnugTop and some of their distributors, they had no clue what I was asking for. Also, it's not an exact replica, certainly not close enough to use oem mazda glass.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:16 PM   #10
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you shoulda painted the edge black to hide the seams, looks much cleaner. like how my windows are

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Old 01-31-2016, 11:03 PM   #11
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Hmm I wonder if this is the same top:
miata hardtop


(sorry If I shouldn't be posting craigslist links here..)
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Old 02-01-2016, 12:18 AM   #12
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Holy necro bump! I'm not sure how you even found a post this old to match to a current craigslist posting.

It still looks like the HT in the OP is an OEM, but since there weren't pictures of the underside, it's hard to tell. As to the one in the CL ad, you can clearly see that the rear HT latches in the ad are the crappy, square, stamped steel of the Snugtop, whereas the OP had the nice, smooth OEM latches.
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