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Complete Soft Top Assembly Swap (eventually)

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marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member

A few months ago I acquired a complete soft top assembly from a parts car. I think a full assembly swap should be easier than swapping the cloth alone, since I managed to take it off the car by myself in ~90 minutes. I followed the write-up on midshiprunabout.org to aid with removal, but have found no detailed information regarding installing a complete assembly from another car.

My primary concern right now is replacing adhesives that were used on my new-to-me top. There was some double-sided tape and other adhesives, and although I'm sure I can find a good 3M all weather double-sided tape to use, I have no idea what other adhesives were used. I want to get everything I need rounded up in the next week so I can hopefully start this project in the next month. 

Has anyone here swapped a full assembly? Or does anyone know what adhesives should be used?

I will be posting pics of my top assembly soon, to show the adhesives in question. 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Topic starter Posted : April 24, 2020 6:54 pm
scotched
(@scotched)
Estimable Member

Are you swapping a complete top with hardware into your new car?  I've done it twice.  I don't think you need adhesives - there might have been velcro'd spots for the drain flaps.

scottsmods.com

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Posted : April 24, 2020 10:47 pm
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Uncle Mush
(@uncle-mush)
Member Moderator

Isn't it cyclehead who has cataloged all the parts and names for parts in the MR2 Spyder soft top?  Might check with him to see what knowledge and wizardry you can learn from him,  too.

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Posted : April 25, 2020 2:07 am
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marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member
Posted by: @scotched

Are you swapping a complete top with hardware into your new car?  I've done it twice.  I don't think you need adhesives - there might have been velcro'd spots for the drain flaps.

Exactly. And now that I am looking at the top itself... It appears the drain bags are the only parts that has adhesives on them.

Really blurry pics attached.

IMG 20200425 011937
IMG 20200425 012044
IMG 20200425 012513
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Topic starter Posted : April 25, 2020 2:23 am
scotched
(@scotched)
Estimable Member
Posted by: @marsrock7
Posted by: @scotched

Are you swapping a complete top with hardware into your new car?  I've done it twice.  I don't think you need adhesives - there might have been velcro'd spots for the drain flaps.

Exactly. And now that I am looking at the top itself... It appears the drain bags are the only parts that has adhesives on them.

Really blurry pics attached.

IMG 20200425 011937
IMG 20200425 012044
IMG 20200425 012513

It makes more sense once it's in the car.  I don't recall using adhesives on the drain flaps, I think the plastic drain itself holds the flap in.  The velcro is to direct the flaps near the drain plugs so that outside water runs where it supposed to.  Everything else bolts up to existing spots.

There is one issue that may have if you're complete top is from an 00-02, and your car is 03+.  The bar that runs across the softtop mounts has a different bolt pattern, so you might need the bar from the donor car.  You can unbolt the bar from your car and check that lines up before installing the top if you wish.

After installing and uninstalling the top multiple times, I went hardtop and never looked back.

scottsmods.com

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Posted : April 25, 2020 5:06 pm
marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member

@scotched

I definitely undid some adhesives when I pulled this drain bags out... Maybe I took something apart that shouldn't have been. As Dev said earlier today.... Sometimes when you're in the moment you turn into a monkey 😛

Nonetheless it is now obvious the drain bags detach via velcro and a single snap. So unless my current ones are trashed I may not have go use the ones I acquired with the top.

I am doing the opposite of what you mentioned, donor top is from an 03 and my car is an 01. I'm trying to imagine the bar you are talking about. Thanks for pointing out there is a difference thou, I will have to dig through some pictures. 

A hardtop would be great, especially for the months when having the top down is a definite no (looking at you, Tx summer). I never imagined myself in a convertible before buying a Spyder but it grew on me quickly. I don't know if I would be willing to give up the versatility of top up or down, anywhere, within 30 seconds. If I get a hardtop, I'll likely take the weight penalty and retain the softtop too.

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Topic starter Posted : April 25, 2020 5:50 pm
cyclehead
(@cyclehead)
Reputable Member

I made a repair drain bag once to fix a torn bag, but other than that I’ve never messed with them.   I think they aren’t disturbed during normal ragtop replacement.

I make Amateur Armrests - see the Commercial Forum. I also have SMT repair seals available.

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Posted : April 26, 2020 7:51 am
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marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member
Good to know!
Do you know what part scotched mentioned that may differ between pre and post facelift cars?
 
Posted by: @scotched
 
There is one issue that may have if you're complete top is from an 00-02, and your car is 03+.  The bar that runs across the softtop mounts has a different bolt pattern, so you might need the bar from the donor car.  You can unbolt the bar from your car and check that lines up before installing the top if you wish.

I have a feeling I need this part from an 03+ car.

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Topic starter Posted : April 26, 2020 1:05 pm
scotched
(@scotched)
Estimable Member
scotched   Soft Top Cross Bar

This is the "bar" that I'm referring to.  The yellow arrows point to the two bolts on each side that secure it to the car/top.  I bought a top from a 03+ Spyder, and my 2000 bar would not fit.  The holes were spaced differently.

I was lucky b/c the seller (Mark) lived 30mins from me and his Spyder had a roll cage, so he just gave me the bar.  The car will slop around without this bar bolted down.  But we both couldn't believe that it didn't fit.  One of the bolts had a different diameter as well.

EDIT:  See if you can remove the bar from your car, and fit it on the new softtop before you remove your current softtop from the car.

scottsmods.com

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Posted : April 27, 2020 3:18 pm
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marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member

Thanks scotched. This saves me from a huge potential headache. I'll try to check it out in the next couple of days. Since I am repeating the same scenario you mentioned above, sounds like I'll be on the hunt for this part. It might be time to pay phats what he is owed 🙄 

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Topic starter Posted : April 27, 2020 10:48 pm
marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member

@scotched

Yup! They are indeed different. I am going to have some "help" around tomorrow (he'll probably just drink my beer and make fun of me working for the most part) so planning to get this done. I pulled the bar out a few hours ago and tried it on the new top, and it definitely doesn't fit. 

The car I got the top from is long gone... It's pretty annoying that I removed this bar to get the top out and then left it, unknowingly.

On the plus side... The bolt pattern is the same, it is just the bolt size that changed. There is one stud and one threaded hole on each side of the top assembly. On my 01, both the threaded hole and the stud are M8x1.25. On the 03 top, both the stud and the threaded hole are M10x1.25.

The two holes in the bar the bolts go through are already large enough to accommodate an M10 bolt. The two holes the studs go through are not, but this can easily be remedied. 

IMG 20200429 004728

Since I can't get the correct part right now, I can at least be thankful this problem can be resolved by nothing more complex than a drill or Dremel, and a quick rummage through my hardware bin.

The fact the post-facelift bar is held with bigger bolts leads me to suspect the bar itself may be beefier in some way. Did you happen to notice any other difference between them besides the bolt hole sizes? I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled for another 03+ parts car now, unless someone can provide detailed pics of the updated bar and maybe put it on a scale? There may be no other difference.... Who knows. Paging @phats...

 

Hardware comparison:

IMG 20200429 004456

Thanks again for bringing this to my attention. It's saved me much future frustration!

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Topic starter Posted : April 29, 2020 3:06 am
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scotched
(@scotched)
Estimable Member

I actually forgot that it was a bolt and stud combination, but I do remember the bolt size being larger.

If you decide to use the dremel, just remember that the top must latch down to this bar.  If its off axis at all, the top won't latch down properly.

The other 03+ differences I can think of are inconsequential (thicker axles, bracing, height, etc.).  I'm not sure if the bar is thicker, but that would make sense with the car being safer in 03+.

I would start asking any of the HardTop owners who have done a SoftTop delete (cutting the brackets) if they have that bar available.

 

scottsmods.com

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Posted : April 29, 2020 12:23 pm
marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member

Well... Didn't get it done today. The first task was to complete the AC rebuild in my TSX which I started yesterday. Yesterday I got all the new parts installed and the system vacuumed. I checked it right before I went to sleep and after 4 hours off the pump the system was still in vacuum so I had high hopes for a quick system charge and move on to the ragtop.

Definitely not how it went.

When I checked it this morning it was back at atmosphere. Checked all the gauge connections and vacuumed again.... Back at atmosphere after 15 minutes. Won't bore anyone with the full story but the short version is tearing essentially everything apart and rechecking every o-ring, replacing both Schrader valves (again!), Finding out I was shipped a compressor with a k20 instead of k24 (same unit just different plug) and having to do some rewiring and swapping the clutch assembly from my old one, etc.... 9hrs later I finally finish putting freon in the system and think the ordeal is over.... When I was happy I pulled the gauges off my lines only to see freon bubbling out through the Schrader valve on the high side. Again! Apparently I'll need to buy these Schrader valves from Acura, since the Chinese are incapable of making ones that work. 3 out of 4 bad. And now I don't even want the one that is currently OK in my system because I have no confidence in it. No rest for the wicked today, and I guess not tomorrow either. 

The only silver lining is I already did do the Dremel job on the two holes needing it. It was something to do during one of way too many AC vacuums. The stud (not bolt) holes are the ones that needed widening. The right side was a round hole, the left was somewhat slotted. I figure the slotted one is that way to accommodate for any play in the alignment. I did the round one first, trying to keep a steady circular motion to widen it out evenly. I only did a little at a time and repetitively checked the size with my new bolt until it fit cleanly through. For the slotted one I made sure to not lengthen the slot any, but just widen the sides out symmetrically. I'm pretty happy with the results so far, but won't know for sure until it's on the new top in the car. I put the bar with it's widened holes back in my car for now. Tried to center the M8 bolt holes and studs in the bigger holes as best I could before tightening down. Top still latches to the bar just fine so hopefully I'm on the right track.

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Topic starter Posted : April 30, 2020 1:40 am
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marsrock7
(@marsrock7)
Honorable Member

Well, installed today. Definitely a few bugs to work out still. I know I don't have all the velcro right, the top will not fully fold down, raising the top the glass catches on the latch, and the side cables don't like to seat inside the window frame like they're supposed to. The new top was missing all of the little spring tension bits so I moved those over. The flaps you zip tie weren't done either. I can't even comprehend how this top was functioning flawlessly on the previous car.... But it was, then. 

My drain bags were both clogged, and had small tears. Unclogged and I found Gorilla waterproof patch and seal to be a good way to cover the holes. Well see how that holds up. I do have the drain bags from the parts car too if it comes to it. I thought all was going really well after cleaning and fixing the bags, until I got to the end and started finding issues. The side cables and their holders towards the back of the car are a major concern, both sides got bent at some point today when the top wasn't folding up or down properly. Only one rivet per side ( both sides have failed now) instead of two, and the little guides were also missing. After 6 hours I modified my days goal from "compete functional install" to "make it safe and nice in the top up position." I was able to succeed in the latter. 7 hours of messing with this.... I just needed to come to a stopping point and get away from it for a while.

IMG 20200502 182705

I am pleased with the visual improvement to say the least. The top I removed was the original. 

When the top did fold down earlier in the day, it latched perfectly fine with my modified 01 cross bar, so at least that isn't a problem currently. Time to continue reading. So far I have learned my zip tie job was only done half right, and that most of the issues I am having are common with aftermarket tops. The anomaly being the inability to fold down completely. 

On the plus side, it's getting close to triple digits in South Texas already, so if I don't have top down ability for now I won't miss it too much for the next 5 or 6 months.

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Topic starter Posted : May 2, 2020 8:39 pm
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myanu
(@myanu)
New Member

@scotched  I just an 03 Spyder and the original owner NEVER but the top down. Now after putting the top down about a dozen times, I've notice a separation on both sides of the top. The top is in great shape, seems like it pulling in the center in right above the center of the door. Doesn't leak pulling in about 3/8" on both sides same place. HELP ANYONE

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Posted : November 12, 2020 12:55 am
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