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Old 02-10-2014, 09:47 AM   #21
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Your soft top price sounds too high.

I paid about $350 for my top with the rain rail already attached plus like $40 for new tension cables/springs. Miatatopsource.com they're actually running a sale right now, you can get the non-zippered top I got with the rain rail already attached for $288, and like another $40 for the tension cables.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #22
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Hardtop only here...in sunny south Florida.

Will never go back to a softy.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:04 AM   #23
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Yeah, soft tops can be had quite cheaply. And I was really quite surprised by how easy it was to install when I did my first one. I generally consider myself to bee damn near incompetent when it comes to body work and related issues, but this is something that genuinely is pretty hard to screw up.

Rain rails...

Avoid buying the cheap ones- trust me, they're just utter garbage. And forget this myth about the being to be pre-attached. The rail doesn't need to be attached to the top at all- the body molding holds them together.

On both of my cars, the old rail was a bit cracked, and I opted to repair it with some bicycle inner tube and rubber cement. Worked like a charm.


As for hardtop vs softtop, I sometimes hear weight mentioned. A complete soft top assembly including frame, especially if you use one with a plastic window, is extremely light as compared to an OEM hardtop.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:54 PM   #24
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Someone here mentioned the soft top being 37 lbs and I remember a few others claim the hard top weighing 45 lbs. That's not that big of a difference, IMO.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:07 PM   #25
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I did enjoy going top down when I first got my NA, but cowl shake was nearly a deal breaker for me. If I couldn't fix it I would have had to get an NB. A hard top fixed it. Then, the only time the HT came off was when a friend's wife borrowed the car to go joy riding with her friends.

Bolted down the HT top with these. Now NVH is further improved and nobody ever asks to borrow the cute little convertible. And I don't miss the sun in my eyes at all.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
I did enjoy going top down when I first got my NA, but cowl shake was nearly a deal breaker for me. If I couldn't fix it I would have had to get an NB. A hard top fixed it. Then, the only time the HT came off was when a friend's wife borrowed the car to go joy riding with her friends.

Bolted down the HT top with these. Now NVH is further improved and nobody ever asks to borrow the cute little convertible. And I don't miss the sun in my eyes at all.
Have to agree 100%. The hardtop transformed the composure of my NA and I value that way more than having the top down occasionally. Dave, did you keep the interior plastic panels when you installed the side brackets?
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:39 AM   #27
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I had to cut away a little of the plastic around the side brackets. In the front I made spacers from 3/16" plate. The spacers made the brackets fit better but also made it unnecessary to remove any plastic.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:54 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Someone here mentioned the soft top being 37 lbs and I remember a few others claim the hard top weighing 45 lbs. That's not that big of a difference, IMO.
OTOH, I never weighed a soft-top, but I find it hard to believe that it weighs 37 lbs, especially the plastic-window version on the NA. It really is extremely easy to lift the whole assembly out of the car all by yourself.


OTOH, the HT is quite beefy. I could easily see 45 lbs or more- that big ole' piece of glass is a monster.


OTGH, I find it hard to take weight-based arguments seriously, esp. when we're talking about differences of 20-30 lbs on a street-driven car. This seems like an excuse that people use to justify eccentric behavior.




Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
I did enjoy going top down when I first got my NA, but cowl shake was nearly a deal breaker for me. If I couldn't fix it I would have had to get an NB. A hard top fixed it.
Interesting...

Both of my NAs ('90 and '92) have been rattly, flimsy beasts. This was never a deal-killer, though I'll admit that I have mostly only owned old, rattly cars.

I did own a hardtop at one point. I bought it years ago, shortly before moving to North Carolina into an environment where the car was going to be parked, unused, most of the time, outdoors, in a moderately high-crime area. With the top on, the level of squeak / rattle was greatly increased.

I was glad to be rid of it after I left that town. Moved to FL and then CA, and the only time it was ever back on the car was when I needed to transport it from one home to another. Finally sold it for beer money a few years later.


Given the option, I would probably elect to buy a car with a PRHT as opposed to a conventional soft-top, simply from a standpoint of durability and quietness on those days when it's raining / snowing sufficiently much for me to have raised the top while driving. But as to having a rigid, detachable HT again? Probably not. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, but I didn't care for it at all.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:41 AM   #29
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My first Hardtop I scored on craigslist for 250... Matching my first red car as well.
2nd I traded a good soft top and install for... Matching my second black car. Sometimes you get lucky.

I have a soft top assy. behind my shop I'll weigh it today and let you know

Edit: Yup 37.4 minus plastic window

Last edited by Tmorgan; 02-11-2014 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:57 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
With the top on, the level of squeak / rattle was greatly increased.
Mine would rattle and squeak if the latches weren't adjusted tight enough. Eventually I ran out of adjustment. I'm not sure what changed, but I just couldn't get one of the latches tight anymore, which is why I went to the bolt-on brackets. Now I own a coupe.

But, even when loose the top still killed cowl shake. Rattles and squeaks I can live with (my Subaru is worse than my Miata!) The cowl shake I couldn't cope with. I have experience with only this one Miata; maybe it's worse than others, I dunno...

I will add that after removing the soft top the rear shelf is actually useful. Stuff slides around a lot... I don't put anything that'll kill me back there.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:00 PM   #31
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Iono. I bought a Miata so I could have a convertible. I fully intend to store my hard top from april/may ish until at least October or November.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #32
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If I ever daily drive a miata again I would really consider doing a soft top delete, using a hard top in the winter, and running a full tonneau cover to zip up when parking it outside in the rain.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:22 PM   #33
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I can't imagine not having a soft top. What happens if you're in the middle of a drive and it starts raining?

I guess it depends on the purpose of your car. Mine is a "fun car" but I still use it plenty for commuting and other non-sunny-weekend trips.

When I had a hardtop, I really, really liked it, except I rarely wanted to stop and remove it, so I rarely drove with the top down.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:23 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I can't imagine not having a soft top. What happens if you're in the middle of a drive and it starts raining?
Speed up until you stop getting wet.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I can't imagine not having a soft top. What happens if you're in the middle of a drive and it starts raining?

I guess it depends on the purpose of your car. Mine is a "fun car" but I still use it plenty for commuting and other non-sunny-weekend trips.
^ This.

Even when I lived in SoCal, and "never" put the top up, there were still rare occasions when it was nice to have. (eg: for the few days a year that it did, in fact, rain.) I'd never have wanted it gone altogether.

I can't fathom wanting a permanently (or semi-permanently) attached hardtop, though. I've only ever owned two hardtop cars in my life, and I hated both of them. No reason at all to deny yourself the experience of open-air motoring.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:49 PM   #36
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X1000. Yet another reason I wanted to get out of the GTO.

The Miata is, for me, a motorcycle replacement. Gotta have the open air feeling!
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:58 PM   #38
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Update: I installed the $158 ebay soft top. Looks great and didn't break the bank. Took my 6hrs in the rain/hail to install. Could do it in 3 now if it was dry.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:12 PM   #39
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Update: I installed the $158 ebay soft top. Looks great and didn't break the bank. Took my 6hrs in the rain/hail to install. Could do it in 3 now if it was dry.
Yup. I've done the soft-top install enough times that it's straightforward, if not exactly easy.

I know people think they are being smart by getting a $600 top that will last 10 years, but so what? I've never owned a car for more than 3 or 4 years anyway.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:14 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I know people think they are being smart by getting a $600 top that will last 10 years, but so what? I've never owned a car for more than 3 or 4 years anyway.
^This.

In fact, it's been my experience that the expensive tops can actually fail sooner than the cheap ones. The first top which I put on my '92 was a nice Robbins top with a glass window. After two years, the window started to de-laminate and fall out. I made the mistake of thinking I was buying something that was built like an NB top, but no- it was just a cheap top with a piece of glass literally glued into the fabric.

On the '90, I installed the cheapest no-zip plastic window top I could find. It was still in near-perfect condition when I abandoned the car in a parking lot in Santa Clara 3 years later.
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