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Old 04-25-2007, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default Rain, snow, sleet - top is dead

I bought the car last Friday, the dealer assured me the top had about 5 years of life left in it. Not that I don't take anything those people say with a grain of salt but I didn't expect it to only last five days.

We had a good storm all day yesterday and last night, the passenger window was leaking, I assumed bad weather strip or door striker/stops needed adjustment. Although it leaked A LOT I wasn't too concerned. Then I come to find out today that everything on my package tray (a hat) was soaked and water was running down the backs of my front seats. The whole interior was covered in a thick condensation, I thought "I'll never find the leak!" Then I noticed the bottom corner of my rear window was blowed out. Yeah, pretty obvious where buckets of water came from.

It was nothing about 25ft of heavy duct tape inside and outside- for extra class- couldn't fix. It might even last the summer. But I hate driving **** so I need a new top.

Where have people gotten tops? I saw one as cheap as $169.99. It was an "econotop." I think I know better than to buy the SSAutochrome of convertible tops but if anyone has bought this top and it was ******* awesome PLEASE let me know.

Otherwise I'm faced with buying a legitimate top. Which is best? Glass? Plastic with zipper? Plastic without zipper? It may just be personal preference but owning the car only five days I haven't formed a preference so I need some pros and cons.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:24 PM   #2
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Miata...mZ180049922719

I installed one of those on my friends '92. Went in without a hitch and is doing great on the car. Easy install too.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:36 PM   #3
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That's the one I saw. At that price I could replace it every year, if it were an install, which you say it is.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:36 PM   #4
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ditto on the cabrio. My dad and I installed one on his miata in about 4 hours. Good looking top and looks like it'll last a while.

btw, we did the ductape thing for a while also. you'd be surprised how poorly ductape sticks to vinyl in the hot sun.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:38 PM   #5
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Now when i say easy. I mean it takes about 4-5 hours and it takes a few tools like a drill and whatnot but long as you have the time and the tools available it's easy. The top looks great a year later and this car is never parked indoors and gets rained on all winter long. It also gets put down all the time and the rear window is holding up great.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersaiyan93 View Post
you'd be surprised how poorly ductape sticks to vinyl in the hot sun.
True. Especially dirty vinyl. It was a lunch hour repair, but that's why I used a million feet of it.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:53 PM   #7
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The car I bought has a top that's in pretty good condition other than one vertical tear behind the passenger side window. I did some searching on .net and some guy mentioned trying clear tent repair tape. I bought some yesterday and stuck it on. Sticks pretty damn well, and I couldn't tear it so we'll see how well it holds up.

I'm also going to try to use it to band-aid my pretty cracked up rain rail unless you guys know where to get one for less than 150 bucks.

It was 3.40 a roll for 3" x 18" at REI.

Figured it was worth a try since I can tape everything up that I need for about 12 bucks. 3 inches of tear on the top and lots of cracks in the rain rail.
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:04 PM   #8
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I am thinking about this one with the rain rail for $289. My current top is fine, but I hate the damn glass window and having to unzip it every time I want to put the top down. Also, I have a rollbar that used to be in my other car that I want to put in and it will not work with the glass window.
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:11 PM   #9
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Agreed. The tent repair stuff is supposed to help with some small holes or cracks... I've got some in the garage somewhere, and need to fill one or two spots on my top..... but since it's a 13 year old stock top.... it's going to need replacing eventually. <G>

Dave,
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:13 PM   #10
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I think that company i posted that sells tops might sell them with the rain rail as well. Seeing how their tops are that cheap they might have a little better price on rain rails.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:59 AM   #11
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Grave digging a little...
I ended up going with the econotop and plan to tackle the job this Sunday. I've printed out every Interweb guide I could find, I have three now. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:15 PM   #12
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Screw the top.. I think if I pick up a second miata (which i'm trying to right now) I will just take the top off. People won't think your car is a girls car if your driving in a hailstorm with no top.
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:15 PM   #13
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I would plan on it being a weekend-long job, not a day-long job because there will be bits and pieces and tools you keep having to run out to get at the store.

Plus the whole damn thing just takes a lot longer than you'd think.
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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I did it on a saturday, started at 10am and finished it at about 6pm. Doing it all by myself, and it was the first time I had done it. I bought a duetto motors top with the zipperless glass window and their indestructible rain rail. The rail is made of some type of floppy rubber and I guarantee it wont dry out or crack in my lifetime. And the top is great. Also a huge help was their step by step instructions they have online (but you have to have a login which you get when you buy a top from them).
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
I would plan on it being a weekend-long job, not a day-long job because there will be bits and pieces and tools you keep having to run out to get at the store.

Plus the whole damn thing just takes a lot longer than you'd think.
So true, I planned on 3 1/2 hrs, but it took almost 4hrs cause the owner wanted to help and I had to keep stopping to explain how a rivet worked....

I've had very good luck with the Cabrio ones, and they usually ship/receive them in about a day. Glass window with a zipper if you don't have a rollbar
The Glass without the zipper can be a PITA to deal with, depending upon the manufacturer (some don't have a sleeze for the last rib, just two tether straps that you have to constat
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:00 PM   #16
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Yes, perhaps that's the difference: my zipperless glass rear is the kind that uses these tether-straps connected to the two rear bars...the instructions weren't real clear on the whole thing, either. Plus the rivets they sent were two small for the front corners of the frame (that hold the spring-tensioned wires to the frame), etc., etc., etc.
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Yes, perhaps that's the difference: my zipperless glass rear is the kind that uses these tether-straps connected to the two rear bars...the instructions weren't real clear on the whole thing, either. Plus the rivets they sent were two small for the front corners of the frame (that hold the spring-tensioned wires to the frame), etc., etc., etc.
Yeah, they never include the right size rivets for those two front corners, I just drill them out to either 3/16" or 1/4", I don't remember off hand. The originals are probably metric.

I installed a glass one without a zipper a couple of years ago (on some guy's (He was a PITA not the top)) having to move the rib around seemed like awkward to me, but maybe once the top is worn in it's not a problem?

My 5 year old has no problems unzipping the glass, unlatching and putting down the top on my 96.
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:11 AM   #18
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It took me six hours with a few breaks. I used 1/8" rivets, just drilled the holes out ever so slightly. Also, my rain rail had cracks, they were probably superficial but I patched it with contact cement and a heavy duty trash bag, it worked well. I didn't have to go to the parts/hardware store at all, I was prepared. This job isn't a big deal but you need a rivet gun with long and short 1/8" rivets and a 90 degree ratcheting screw driver. All the other tools we should all already have. I saved myself a lot of grief by reading every instruction manual I could find on the web beforehand.
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:00 AM   #19
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Wanted to add:
I dunno how many people have done this but as my dad (my assistant) and I were reading the various manuals we realized they were made for non-wrench-turners. At least that was the impression we got. They were made for m.net people, not mturbo.net people. I wanted to just cut the BS and make my own manual. Since this site comes up on google like crazy I'm going to put it right here:

1) Remove rear carpet, this involves removing plastic rivets that break if you cannot support the head the right way- I salvaged about 50% of mine.

2) Remove rear bolts holding top/rain rail to car.

3) Remove screws holding front bow in place at front of frame.

4) Remove weather stripping and mounts (remove 16 screws, two per side are at front of frame).

5) Remove b-pillar retainers (use 90 degree screw driver)

6) Drill out 10 rivets: b-pillar (2 per side), behind b-pillar (2 per side), and tension cable ends (1 per side).

7) Pull top off, including the Velcro portion and adhesive parts. Pry back the retaining rails.

8) Remove rain rail from old top by drilling rivets.

9) Put rain rail back in car

10) Lay new top over frame

11) Pull cables through top using string in top

12) Install, from back to front, each "section" of the top to frame, push the retainer rails back with rubber mallet or pliers.

13) Rivet the b-pillar to the frame (works best with top half up). I used 1/8" rivets, the ones that are about 1/4 inch long (short). I needed to drill the holes out a bit, really not a big deal, little material is removed.

14) Install the b-pillar retainers (using 90 degree screw driver).

15) Rivet the cable ends back to the frame (1/8", the ones that are about a half inch long.

16) Put the weather strip mounts back on.

17) Put the front bow back on.

18) Put the weather strip back on. The B-pillar section may be tricky, be patient with those plastic rivets and don't be afraid to man handle them.

19) Put the top in the rear section, use the retaining rails and hand tighten each bolt and then torque them down in order (can be found on the interweb).

20) Put the rear carpet back in.

21) Use muscle to close the top and keep it closed until the top stretches.

TIPS:

*Leaving the new top in the sun (getting it hot) while removing the old makes it easier to manipulate
*The rain rail doesn't need to be put back on the top. Near as I can tell this is a marketing gimmick to sell tops with the rail attached- stupid and needless.
*The 90 degree screw driver kicks ***
*Print out pics from existing guides and bring them with you, this is priceless.
*Your plastic rivets will break. Just buy new ones beforehand.
*The rain rail is not as much of a hassle as m.net idiots want you to believe. I think they're working for Robbins.
*I much prefer mechanical work to this. If you can install a Greddy turbo you will wonder why m.net dorks complain about this so much. You'll be anticipating the "hard part" the whole time and never find it. It's not fun but it's not totally ambiguous. I could have done it on my own without instructions if I wanted to spend the time.
*Drink beer.
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:45 PM   #20
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i bought a new top on my 91 last month. it was a no zipper glass window with sunfast cloth (the tops on BMW and Porsche). it looks amazing and fits perfect. i love it.
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