TCM hardtop impressions - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

Welcome to Miataturbo.net   Members
 


General Miata Chat A place to talk about anything Miata

Reply
 
 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 01-27-2014, 03:45 PM   #1
Senior Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: durham NC
Posts: 767
Total Cats: 115
Default TCM hardtop impressions

Hi Everyone,
I recently finished getting my Treasure Coast Miata hardtop painted and put together and thought I would post my experiences so far. I have made a few drives with the window and seals all in place. So far my impression is that this will be a good way to keep rain out but isn't suitable for people who want OEM fitment or care a lot about cosmetics.

Images:
TCM hardtop install - Imgur

Positives:
Cheap- $550 before shipping for the fiberglass top. Seals and window are extra but could be done DIY for cheap. You can freight ship multiple tops for the price of one to reduce ship costs.

Lightweight- 12lb for the fiberglass, under 20lbs with window.

Lots of room inside for rollbar clearance.

Turnbuckles in place of side latches are a cheap and easy mounting system.


Negatives:

Mine came with a fair amount of waviness in the outer surface. For me this is not a big issue. The best body shop in the area wanted a small fortune to sand it to perfectly smooth. I ended up getting a maaco paint job and just living with it.

Window trim seals are hard to get installed correctly and don't fully seal on mine. The brackets in one area don't really fit against the fiberglass and I plan to pull them off and do some bending to get it to work better. Also, since you are drilling into the fiberglass and using sheet metal screws to affix them you get more or less one shot at it. The install video suggests coming in a 1/4" when placing the window brackets, If I hadn't done that I would likely have a better seal.

The fasteners for the brackets are all threaded directly into the fiberglass and I worry that these will wear out after repeatedly removing the top for auto-x. If this becomes an issue I will drill these out and epoxy in a steel jacket. The fiberglass in these areas is substantial/thick.

There is also no provision for Frankenstein latches and as a result the rear/center of the top bows upwards from the body slightly. It still makes a good seal there. I plan to add another turnbuckle connected to a bolt in that area to help prevent any possibility of the top lifting at speed.

Last edited by asmasm; 01-27-2014 at 09:49 PM.
asmasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 01:50 AM   #2
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 3,110
Total Cats: 127
Default

Sounds like a piece of **** for the price.
jacob300zx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 02:37 AM   #3
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Cedar City, UT
Posts: 2,769
Total Cats: 948
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob300zx View Post
Sounds like a piece of **** for the price.
That.

I knew it wasn't OEM quality fitment but jesus that is terrible. Why is it so hard to copy the oem fitment? VW aftermarket part copies were usually 100% indistinguishable from OEM, but no one can seem to make a decent hard top copy.
Jeffbucc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 02:37 AM   #4
NB/VVT Connoisseur
iTrader: (23)
 
viperormiata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Key West
Posts: 6,071
Total Cats: 253
Default

Agreed. I'd rather spend a couple hundred extra for a superior OEM top.

Seriously...


Attached Thumbnails
TCM hardtop impressions-2nv30ty.jpg   TCM hardtop impressions-mdkd3mh.jpg  
viperormiata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 10:23 AM   #5
Senior Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: durham NC
Posts: 767
Total Cats: 115
Default

Haha, MT is harsh. I agree that the fit isn't good but I think it's expected with aftermarket composite parts. I moved the window seals around and that improved things a little but the two major problem areas around the window are still present. I think with caulking and some weather stripping I can get this to seal well.

Also, I considered an OEM top but it can take a long time to find one at a decent price.

Last edited by asmasm; 01-28-2014 at 10:52 AM.
asmasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 12:06 PM   #6
NB/VVT Connoisseur
iTrader: (23)
 
viperormiata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Key West
Posts: 6,071
Total Cats: 253
Default

If harsh is having high standards then ok.

The way I see it is you have spent 500+ dollars on a leaky, wavy, noisy top that is taking even more time and money from your personal life to correct issues that shouldn't be present.

Edit: 550+shipping for the top, 110+ shipping for the lexan window, $xxx amount of money for the weather stripping, tie downs and associated hardware....come on now
viperormiata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 01:12 PM   #7
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Cedar City, UT
Posts: 2,769
Total Cats: 948
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
If harsh is having high standards then ok.

The way I see it is you have spent 500+ dollars on a leaky, wavy, noisy top that is taking even more time and money from your personal life to correct issues that shouldn't be present.

Edit: 550+shipping for the top, 110+ shipping for the lexan window, $xxx amount of money for the weather stripping, tie downs and associated hardware....come on now
Exactly. I've spent 3 months waiting for a decent hard top for the right price to come up. I'd much rather spend 850 for the perfect fit. Especially since that is the main reason you buy a hardtop in the first place. Less noise from wind and ambient, better security, and, well, better everything.

You'll notice a trend that everyone on MT tends to be harsh when things don't make sense, or there was a better way you could have done something. Which is why I love this site. No bullshit, no stupidity, only raw **** you honesty. It is a breath of fresh air.

Glad you got it to work for your needs though. If you are happy with it I guess that is all that counts. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole though.
Jeffbucc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 01:18 PM   #8
Senior Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: durham NC
Posts: 767
Total Cats: 115
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbucc View Post
Exactly. I've spent 3 months waiting for a decent hard top for the right price to come up. I'd much rather spend 850 for the perfect fit. Especially since that is the main reason you buy a hardtop in the first place. Less noise from wind and ambient, better security, and, well, better everything.

You'll notice a trend that everyone on MT tends to be harsh when things don't make sense, or there was a better way you could have done something. Which is why I love this site. No bullshit, no stupidity, only raw **** you honesty. It is a breath of fresh air.

Glad you got it to work for your needs though. If you are happy with it I guess that is all that counts. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole though.

Well everyone has different needs. I have a hardtop so I can run my CSP car with no soft top but still be protected from weather on the street. Any lightweight top isn't going to provide the reduced NVH of the heavier OEM top. Also, I haven't exactly been evangelizing this hardtop. I just said that I think I can get it to work for what I need it to. I would rather not deal with attempting to return a fiberglass hardtop that is already painted if I can make it work for me.

Last edited by asmasm; 01-28-2014 at 02:12 PM.
asmasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 01:40 PM   #9
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Cedar City, UT
Posts: 2,769
Total Cats: 948
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by asmasm View Post

Well everyone has different needs. I have a hardtop so I can run my CSP car with no soft top but still be protected from weather on the street. Any lightweight top isn't going to provide the reduced NVH of the heavier OEM top. Also, I haven't exactly been evangelizing this hardtop. I just said that I think I can get it to work for what I need it to. I would rather not deal with attempting to fiberglass hardtop that is already painted if I can make it work for me.
Hence the if you are happy with it that is all that counts. Sad that the figment isn't better though. You think they'd make revisions to their product knowing that they could do better.

Maybe that is just my business owner perspective though, where releasing a flawed product is paramount to business revenue suicide. But I'm in the bread business so what do I know!
Jeffbucc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 01:50 PM   #10
Elite Member
iTrader: (1)
 
Leafy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NH
Posts: 9,091
Total Cats: 90
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Agreed. I'd rather spend a couple hundred extra for a superior OEM top.
You are not the intended audience for this top. This is a racecar part for serious racers. Its purpose is to be as light as possible and sealing out more moisture than having no top at all. I plan to get one because they're cheap as **** and would allow me to remove the soft top while keeping most of the rain out of the car when it is getting trailered. I wouldnt even consider one for a street car.
Leafy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 02:35 PM   #11
NB/VVT Connoisseur
iTrader: (23)
 
viperormiata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Key West
Posts: 6,071
Total Cats: 253
Default

"cheap as ****" is hardly fair considering the lexan/hardware/shipping cost. The lexan will fade/crack and need to be replaced as wear item (or so I've read on here).

I've seen two OEM tops for sale on this board in the 500 dollar range in the last few months. Greyhound will ship just about anything for a reasonable cost.

It is much lighter. OEM is ~45lbs. I'd like to see how much the TCM top weights after sealing the lexan in and adding all the hardware.

I hardly think spending that kind of money for -/+ 20lbs is okay when you want to only keep "some" of the rain out.

But to each their own. Good luck guys and enjoy your cars.
viperormiata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 02:47 PM   #12
Senior Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: durham NC
Posts: 767
Total Cats: 115
Default

FYI the window comes with all the hardware and seals. I will be adding a few more pieces of weather stripping but we are talking ~$10 at most. Shipping is the cost killer here. The parts themselves are all really inexpensive.
asmasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 02:55 PM   #13
NB/VVT Connoisseur
iTrader: (23)
 
viperormiata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Key West
Posts: 6,071
Total Cats: 253
Default

Their shipping calculator wouldn't work for me, unfortunately. I'm really curious to see what you're paying.

FYI: I am not bagging on TCM or have any animosity towards them or their top.
viperormiata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 03:06 PM   #14
Senior Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: durham NC
Posts: 767
Total Cats: 115
Default

Freight shipping cost $180 in my case. If I could have found someone to go in on it with me we could have done more than one for the same cost. The total cost ends up being comparable to OEM but it is 20lbs lighter. Painting this is cheap because it comes with no windows or seals on it and If I had a black car I would have just got mine in black gelcoat and left it un- painted.

Ultimately the real trade off here is how well it fits vs the weight savings. Availability is also a big factor. I spent about 2 months looking for a hardtop in my area and had no luck. Partly that is looking for a hardtop during the winter, but also there are a lot of mazda racers near me and hardtops go really quickly.
asmasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 05:29 PM   #15
Newb
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: P.B.G. Fl
Posts: 9
Total Cats: 7
Default

Leafy knows how it is, I work at TCM and I agree the top is not perfect, It was never intended to be an OEM Replacement so I don't think it is fair to criticize it against the OEM top. So buying one thinking its going to be a OEM top, your going to hate it.

They are +/- 20 lbs fully assembled so its a decent performance upgrade. And We at TCM like to lighten our cars! Free HP!!!

We appreciate the reviews cause they will help us get these better and better, as we have been working with the Fiberglass guy to get them close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbucc View Post
I'd much rather spend 850 for the perfect fit. Especially since that is the main reason you buy a hardtop in the first place. Less noise from wind and ambient, better security, and, well, better everything.
^
This is an example of someone, who's needs, our top will not fulfill. Our top is not for everyone and that is just how it is. It will never be an OEM top.. It would be just as heavy, Like I said we are working on the window fitment.

Sorry for your inconvenience.
andrew6691 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 04:55 PM   #16
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Cedar City, UT
Posts: 2,769
Total Cats: 948
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew6691 View Post
^
This is an example of someone, who's needs, our top will not fulfill. Our top is not for everyone and that is just how it is. It will never be an OEM top.. It would be just as heavy, Like I said we are working on the window fitment.

Sorry for your inconvenience.
Apologies Andrew if I came across as crass and libelous towards your company, I for some reason overlooked the intended purpose of the top and carried that train of thought through the rest of my commentary.

No offense intended, I'm not a bastard like that on purpose, just accidentally!
Jeffbucc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 05:27 PM   #17
Newb
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: P.B.G. Fl
Posts: 9
Total Cats: 7
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbucc View Post
Apologies Andrew if I came across as crass and libelous towards your company, I for some reason overlooked the intended purpose of the top and carried that train of thought through the rest of my commentary.

No offense intended, I'm not a bastard like that on purpose, just accidentally!
No hard feelings what so ever, How are we supposed to improve without criticism?
andrew6691 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 01:17 AM   #18
NB/VVT Connoisseur
iTrader: (23)
 
viperormiata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Key West
Posts: 6,071
Total Cats: 253
Default

Props^
viperormiata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 01:47 PM   #19
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 3,110
Total Cats: 127
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew6691 View Post
No hard feelings what so ever, How are we supposed to improve without criticism?
Its good that you came on this site to talk about your top. I wont sugar coat anything for you though. Your top fits terrible, hardly suitable for a race car that stays in a covered garage. Your weight savings comparisons are not apples to apples. With the rear glass window removed from the OEM hardtop it is very light. I bet that back window is 20lbs. Thats neither here nor there. I want to help you sell more of these because the availability of hardtops is only going to get worse over the coming years.

You need to change the mold to accept a common piece of trim that you can get cheap for the windows and rear sealing. You need to have some fiberglass or aluminum cover the rear frankenstein that attached to the top so it can be replaced with a bolt and washer. Does the front except the stock soft top latches? It should. The sides can be a simple aluminum mount with slotted holes. You should offer black gel coat if you don't already.

Your competition is $800 OEM craigslist hardtops.
jacob300zx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 01:52 PM   #20
Junior Member
iTrader: (3)
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 163
Total Cats: -7
Default

only thing I see this top good for is if you have to have a top *now* and don't mind working a little to get it to fit right.

I had a hell of a time finding myself a top locally, I ended up buying a whole car with some rust issues to get one. I may consider one for my other car but for now the soft top will do.
foxyroadster is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Raleigh: Fiberglass headlight scope, 1.6L ECU, AFM, Hardtop latches, more bigmackloud Miata parts for sale/trade 13 09-22-2017 01:34 PM
1994 Spec Miata Race Car SM/SM2/SSM For Sale Quinn Cars for sale/trade 6 10-23-2016 08:58 AM
Prepping my '95 for track asmasm Build Threads 82 05-26-2016 05:37 PM
WTB: RennenMetal Hardtop Brackets greens WTB 15 02-29-2016 05:40 PM
Black hardtop, Los Angeles thebeerbaron Miata parts for sale/trade 2 09-24-2015 04:16 AM


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:54 PM.