Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Swap

This weekend the 99 Miata finally got a very much needed vinyl top replacement. The tan top that came with the car looked to be original (and with the car manufacturing date in early 1998, that means it was way past its prime). The glass window was falling out after the previous owner's shoddy glue job started to wear out. The plastic gutter at the base of the top was cracked and leaked water into the car causing several rust spots we had to address.
Above you can see my duct tape job that finally failed to hold it together while below we pull the rain rail out and separate the top from the car.

First we took the old top off the car. Next we removed several interior trim panels and carpet to finish sanding off the rust and covering it with a rust-preventing primer and a top coat of red (the fastest color).  While we were at it, we covered and cleaned up the trunk. Below is the trunk before...
And then after masking off the trunk and painting...

Interior panels painted as well...
Several rivets had to be drilled out and the old vinyl comes off the metal frame. We then riveted the new black vinyl top onto the frame.  Below is the mostly bare frame.
Here's the new top all laid out and getting stretched on.

We took a quick break to remove some chewed up insulation hiding back by the fuel tank and vacuum out the small pile of old mouse turds. Luckily we found no live or dead mice still in the car. It was a great chance to really clean out the hard to reach spots and patch the rust damage.

From there we re-bolt the frame to the car.  There's a lot more complexity to the process. I mean a LOT more complexity, but overall it was fairly straight forward.

The new top is still a little slow to stretch far enough to latch closed so for now I'll keep sand bags on it to help the process.

Luckily friends Kyle, Harlan, and Philip pitched in and fellow SCR SCCA club member, Chuck let us borrow his awesome garage space and tools so we didn't have 3 people crammed into the NMS garage for this big project. 

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