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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

At the end of the month I am going to attempt ( with a helper ) to install my hard top for the first time. The manual makes it out to be somewhat of a bitch and suggests taking it to a dealer. Several people I have talked to on drives have said it is easy. One person even figured out how to do it alone!

Here are my main questions:

1. Is it really that hard to install properly ? Any part of the installation really difficult or important ?

2. Once it is installed is it acceptable for passengers to grab the edge of the hard top for ingress/egress. I would think it could hold some pressure but since it is also resting on the fragile windscreen could it still damge it?

3. Is the hard top a lot better than the soft top in the rain as far as leakage

Thanks! Will see some you So Cal peoples at the last Crystal Cove show!
 

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Very easy install. I've only done it twice and it only takes like 5 minutes. My only advice is to get the approprite size torx wrench and use that. Less chance of stripping the bolts.
 

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1. It is not that hard. Get the right size wrench before you begin.

2. Don't let people hang on the edge. The top is not very strong.

3. My soft top does not leak, neither does the hard top. I have been using the hard top mainly because it looks cool, and it is a change for the fall. I'll open it back up in the spring when I am more inclined to go topless.
 

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1. No and no. It's really a very simple one-person job. As long a the front seam is properly seated forward the rest is easy. Mine came with the porper sized "star" wrench in the tool kit (with the tow hook etc.)

2. That's asking for trouble although a little pressure probably won't hurt. The first time it gives under someone's weight could start the crazing/cracking thing, so beware.

3. Neither of mine leak, so I can't really say.
 

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I remove and install mine by myself, but having a second person around for that first time would be a confidence-builder. Absolutley make sure you've got the right size Torx wrench. The bolt heads are easy to strip out. Once you get the hang of it, even with the supplied Torx wrench and it's too-long shaft, it'll take about five minutes. The first time took me twenty, though, as I wanted to be sure everything was perfectly lined up. I ought to put mine on soon-it really does look great when it's on. It will make getting in a bit more of a pain than having no top on. I really don't mind passengers putting a hand on it (back toward the rollbar) to aid in egress, though. It helps them spin out of the seat.

Tom
 

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I put my HT on for the first time a few weeks ago (by myself). Must have the proper torx socket but thats about it.

If no help is available, I found it easiest to open the passenger door and, with the windows down, pick up the top and (while holding the top up), sit down sideways in the passenger seat and pop in hte top. The rest is just tightening and trip pieces.
 

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Ditto what others said. It's an easy one person job; a bit awkward lifting the top off and on but really not that difficult. Just go slow and take your time until you get the hang of it.
 

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The hard top is an easy 1-person job everyone here has mentioned most of what I’d recommend.

I purchased a 2-inch extension and a torx socket for my socket wrench. It makes the job even easier in my opinion. I leave those tools with the car now in that red pouch that came with the car in our trunks.

It’s important to either be very careful if you’re using a socket wrench or roll down the windows. As you swing it back and it ratchets it’s easy to hit the windows. Just be mindful of that and you’ll be fine. Sometimes the rear hooks don’t line up properly in my Elise and it’s a test of patience (not strength) to get the thing to sit right so the bolt locks in.

Both my tops squeak when they’re on but I haven’t had a leak yet.
 

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My hard top has been off and on about 8 times now. I stripped the 4 stock star bolts and have replaced them with matching standard metric hex bolts.

I can plunk the top on and off in about 5 minutes each time...

Now if someone would just make a tinted removable polycarbonate roof that used the hardtop frame and the softtop latching mechanism... and it came in two interlocking pieces that would fit in the trunk... yum!
 

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Do you guys leave the piece on that covers up the front on the inside and makes it all look pretty? I could never figure out how to put it on with that piece so it just sits in my closet.
 

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brant said:
Do you guys leave the piece on that covers up the front on the inside and makes it all look pretty? I could never figure out how to put it on with that piece so it just sits in my closet.
That felt-covered part has 3 bolts that should fit right into the headliner area if you have it turned the right way(once the hard top is on). I have put the hard top on 7 or 8 times now, about 4 of those times I've placed that headliner up there. It muffles a bit of the squeaking.

The dealer might try and convince you it's a safety issue to have the bear hard top exposed in the case of an accident. But ... well ... if that part of the car is in danger of contacting my head I think things are probably beyond the help offered by a few millimeters of polycarbonate and felt.

The only part I don't even bother with any longer is the Velcro rear covers that hide the metal brackets. I don't know if any others received these with the car. They keep falling off or they'll be hanging barely on after driving a bit. Again, these are so your head doesn't hit the raw metal holding the rear of the top on, but they're next to worthless. Does anyone still use those pieces?
 

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Thanks. Yeah, I have never used the velcro pieces either. Just something to fall of and scare the crap out of me while I am driving down the road.
 

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If I can do it myself does that make me special? :)
The hard part is attaching that trim piece in front.. I just leave it off now, it obstructs my view on..
 

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Nothing to worry about. If you can lift 15 pounds and turn a screw driver, you will have no trouble putting the hard top on. Easy one-person job. 5 minutes max.
 

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brant said:
Thanks. Yeah, I have never used the velcro pieces either. Just something to fall of and scare the crap out of me while I am driving down the road.
Mine fell off 100 miles away from the dealership picking the car up... well not exactly 'fell' off... the glue failed... so the velcro stuck together but the 'cover' hit me in the head at 80mph. Scared the crap out of me!
 

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It can be done alone... you just need a bit of space to carry the Hard Top over your head while you sit in the car to install.
For me it takes about 10 - 15 minutes. I have a really difficult time trying to get the back driver's side screw to 'bite'. And I use to supplied tools which aren't that great. Hah!
If you can get help, all the better. It's a much much easier procedure with 2 people.

And yeah... those silly velcro things. Mine fell off minutes after I drove away from the dealer... scared the hell out of me!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all of the tips ! The manual made it sound like you are installing a rear clam or something ! I have a T40 screwdriver left over from my computer tech days that will work nicely. :clap:
 

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delise said:
Here are my main questions:

1. Is it really that hard to install properly ? Any part of the installation really difficult or important ?

2. Once it is installed is it acceptable for passengers to grab the edge of the hard top for ingress/egress. I would think it could hold some pressure but since it is also resting on the fragile windscreen could it still damge it?

3. Is the hard top a lot better than the soft top in the rain as far as leakage

Thanks! Will see some you So Cal peoples at the last Crystal Cove show!
1- No, its very easy. The only important info I have is be careful when threading the bolts in, you really don't want to strip one.

2- I personally don't think its ok. It can probably hold a bit of pressure, but why chance it.

3- No, this depends more on your window position than the top.

I've taken the top off and put it on twice by myself, its not hard at all. It's big so you want to take your time transporting it, but aside from that its not hard.
For a walkthrough (although admittedly not the best) you can see my blog.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Shaggy said:
1- No, its very easy. The only important info I have is be careful when threading the bolts in, you really don't want to strip one.

2- I personally don't think its ok. It can probably hold a bit of pressure, but why chance it.

3- No, this depends more on your window position than the top.

I've taken the top off and put it on twice by myself, its not hard at all. It's big so you want to take your time transporting it, but aside from that its not hard.
For a walkthrough (although admittedly not the best) you can see my blog.

Wow, Nice Job ! That blows away the stick figure type stuff they have in the manual. Thanks !

And nice site, cool chase videos
 
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