Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/22/08 1:15 p.m.

So, my Miata kind of needs a new top. I can't see out the back window, and it is now ripped. I'm a cheep bastard though. I'm thinking the easiest and cheapest way to replace the top is to just get one still on the frame from somebody parting out an NA on Craigslist. High quality isn't a big concern, since I mostly just use the top as a way to protect the interior when it's parked.

Anyway, there's a 91 being parted out. The top has a rip (Which I'm sure I can repair with a needle, thread, and some silicone). It also has a glass rear window.

I have a Hard Dog rollbar, and their website says it isn't compatible with a glass window. The seller says the car has a similar bar, and the top works fine. Also, since this is my track car, I'm wondering if a glass window on the rear deck could be a potential hazard. Could it potentially shatter if I go off-track and it bounces off the deck?

Any experience with this? Should I look elsewhere, or just make a low enough offer to replace the glass window with a plastic one?

confuZion3
confuZion3 Dork
12/22/08 1:33 p.m.

Plastic is lighter than glass. Problem solved.

Just get a new top. Make sure the rain rail is preinstalled on it. It's an easy install. You're not going to be doing many track days this winter, so it'll be a good time to do the install. It'll take you two days if you take a relaxed approach but you can do it in a couple of hours.

Get it from Daveshouze on E-bay. They use a good supplier and they're inexpensive. They also give you a discount for buying the rain rail at the same time.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
12/22/08 1:34 p.m.

Actually, the NB top - with glass window - is 3 kg lighter than the NA setup. Never heard of one breaking on the track.

Some Hard Dog roll bars are compatible with glass windows, but not all. "A similar bar" doesn't tell you squat. I would go with a different top.

confuZion3
confuZion3 Dork
12/22/08 1:39 p.m.
Keith wrote: Actually, the NB top - with glass window - is 3 kg lighter than the NA setup.

That's pretty cool! Good call, Keith.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/22/08 1:47 p.m.
Keith wrote: Actually, the NB top - with glass window - is 3 kg lighter than the NA setup. Never heard of one breaking on the track. Some Hard Dog roll bars are compatible with glass windows, but not all. "A similar bar" doesn't tell you squat. I would go with a different top.

Thanks. I'll just keep hunting.

joey48442
joey48442 Dork
12/22/08 1:50 p.m.
Keith wrote: Actually, the NB top - with glass window - is 3 kg lighter than the NA setup. Never heard of one breaking on the track. Some Hard Dog roll bars are compatible with glass windows, but not all. "A similar bar" doesn't tell you squat. I would go with a different top.

Its pretty cool that Mazda made a nicer top that was lighter also!

The only thing keeping me away from an NB top for one of our Miatas is that you can unzip the rear window, which I love to do on long car trips, to still get some airflow, but keep me in the shade!

Joey

Type Q
Type Q HalfDork
12/22/08 2:03 p.m.

You didn't mention which Hard dog bar. I have a "Robbins" top with a glass window on mine. I tried installing an M2 Hard Dog Hard Core bar only to find that it interfered with the rear window. I was extremely lucky to find someone selling an M2 that had been custom ordered with the diaginals moved up about a half to three quarters of an inch to clear the glass window. (I owe Rick Weldon at PR motorsports big time for helping me find it). Even then it just barely clears.

The odds are very good that a glass window is not going to work with you roll bar. I second Keith's advice that you look for another top. You might check with Spec Miata people in your area.

Woody
Woody Dork
12/22/08 2:19 p.m.

Did you try this stuff? I've had great luck with it.

http://www.amazon.com/Novus-Polish-Plastic-Scratch-Remover/dp/B000J41VDM

Also, which Hard Dog bar do you have? I'm looking for a photo:

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/hard-dog-double-diagonal-photo-needed/5923/page1/

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/22/08 2:23 p.m.

I haven't tried that stuff. I got a 5" tear in the window.

The top is a Hardcore Hard Top.

Harassing Spec Miata people is probably going to be the way to go.

confuZion3
confuZion3 Dork
12/22/08 4:04 p.m.

I replaced my plastic window with a large piece of lexan while I was waiting to buy the new top. I riveted it into place through the fabric and used adhesive to prevent leakage. It looked horrible, but it worked really well at keeping the car (and the driver) dry inside. Downside: you couldn't put the top down. I also have a roll bar.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/22/08 5:06 p.m.
confuZion3 wrote: I replaced my plastic window with a large piece of lexan while I was waiting to buy the new top. I riveted it into place through the fabric and used adhesive to prevent leakage. It looked horrible, but it worked really well at keeping the car (and the driver) dry inside. Downside: you couldn't put the top down. I also have a roll bar.

Hmm... I could do a variation on that. If I use two pieces of lexan, I could attach a strip of vinyl or something between them as a hinge. I'm sure it will be even uglier than what you did, but I'll be able to put the top down.

Carson
Carson HalfDork
12/22/08 6:10 p.m.

What about getting a newer (still clear-ish) rear plastic window from a Jeep Wrangler in a salvage yard? Cut it slightly larger than the Miata opening and rivet or sew that in.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago Reader
12/22/08 6:10 p.m.

what about a hardtop? they have glass rear windows. as an added bonus they're awesome.

Carson
Carson HalfDork
12/22/08 6:14 p.m.

True, but they're twice as much as soft tops

Woody
Woody Dork
12/22/08 8:59 p.m.
Salanis wrote:
confuZion3 wrote: I replaced my plastic window with a large piece of lexan while I was waiting to buy the new top. I riveted it into place through the fabric and used adhesive to prevent leakage. It looked horrible, but it worked really well at keeping the car (and the driver) dry inside. Downside: you couldn't put the top down. I also have a roll bar.

Hmm... I could do a variation on that. If I use two pieces of lexan, I could attach a strip of vinyl or something between them as a hinge. I'm sure it will be even uglier than what you did, but I'll be able to put the top down.

67-70 Mustang convertibles were available with a two piece glass window that had a horizontal fold in the center. Maybe you could adapt something like that.

http://www.aapd.net/cmpdetail.aspx?ID=7692

mistanfo
mistanfo Dork
12/23/08 7:10 a.m.

Hardcore hard top is not meant for use with a glass rear window. You MIGHT be able to use the window, you'll have to slip the window past the horizontal bar (aka harness bar). Also, I would recommend maybe using some of the low density padding on the bar while on track on that bar, so that if it does bounce when you go to the FFA convention, it's got something softer to hit than the metal tube.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/23/08 10:47 a.m.
thatsnowinnebago wrote: what about a hardtop? they have glass rear windows. as an added bonus they're awesome.

Someday, but I don't have the spare cash now. I'm looking at what I can do for cheap. I'm thinking $100-$200. Less if I can get away with it.

I'm not going to do a new soft top, because that seams pointless if I eventually get a hard top. I just want a rear window that isn't ripped, and that I can see out of.

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
12/23/08 10:52 a.m.

Buy a top? the grassroots way is to throw a piece of glass in there with glue and then fiberglass OVER the soft top. Sand, bondo and paint! Instant hardtop!

no, not really.

joey48442
joey48442 Dork
12/23/08 10:57 a.m.

I had a tear in the vinyl on mine, so I went to the hardware store, bought a piece of clear vinyl (Cheap! only a few bucks) cut it to slightly bigger than the hole, slathered it up in automotive GOOP, and stuck it on over the hole. Works great, looks gross. No leaking, but you cant see much through the repair. Maybe something similar would work for you? It cost me less than 5 bucks, but I already had the glue.

Joey

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/23/08 11:35 a.m.
joey48442 wrote: I had a tear in the vinyl on mine, so I went to the hardware store, bought a piece of clear vinyl (Cheap! only a few bucks) cut it to slightly bigger than the hole, slathered it up in automotive GOOP, and stuck it on over the hole. Works great, looks gross. No leaking, but you cant see much through the repair. Maybe something similar would work for you? It cost me less than 5 bucks, but I already had the glue.

Sounds like a good idea.

miatame2
miatame2 New Reader
12/23/08 11:35 a.m.

I replaced my '94 top with a Robbin vinyl w/ glass, it was an awesome top. When I got my Hard Dog bar through FM I order the M2 Sport w/o diagonals and it all fit perfect. The bar made it a bit of a pain to unzip the window though. If you can find an M2 top I'd go with that.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/23/08 11:46 a.m.
miatame2 wrote: I replaced my '94 top with a Robbin vinyl w/ glass, it was an awesome top. When I got my Hard Dog bar through FM I order the M2 Sport w/o diagonals and it all fit perfect. The bar made it a bit of a pain to unzip the window though. If you can find an M2 top I'd go with that.

I would rather spend $1000 on a hardtop than $500 on a soft top. I'm just looking for a cheap stop-gap until I can afford a hardtop.

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