How to Replace Miata Soft Top: Detail Guide

Do you know what was the first thing people told me when I disclosed to replace miata soft top by myself? Some of them scoffed at the idea, while others asked me to call the experts.

The majority of them reacted as if I announced to build a new metro line. However, only a handful of folks who owned the Miata convertible had stepped forward to reassure me otherwise.

With a few preparations here and there, I was all set to install the soft top without facing any complications. If you wish to do the same with a brand-new top on your Miata, this is where you will not be criticized.

Let’s move on.

Tools Required to Replace Miata Soft Top 

These are the essential tools most sports car owners have in their garage. So, in that sense, they are not much, especially when a vehicle is involved.

Things you will need:

  • Regular screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Rivet gun with rivets
  • Ratchet set with 10 mm socket; a 4”+ short extension
  • A Drill 

Detailed Steps to Replace Miata Soft Top

The soft top I have chosen is Robbins factory-style soft top with a plastic window. Be careful where you purchase it from, though. You might acquire it at a cheaper rate from a different aftermarket dealer.

Remove the Clips and Screws

Before we get to the point, this is a time-consuming process of about 7 to 8 hours. It is simple but takes a long time for a replacement if you do not want unexpected wrinkles.

Remove the plastic clips that hold the carpet in the rear parcel shelf together. Unscrew the Philips screws as well. Make sure the top is up when doing this step.

Remove the Nuts and More Clips

The removal of the carpet will expose 10 mm nuts on the rear top of the vehicle. Do not forget the plastic clips that attach the rain rail to the car. Remove them all. At some point, you might have to lower the top to reach some of them. 

Be gentle when separating the rain rail.

Unscrew the Set Plates 

Unlatch and open the top midway and begin unscrewing the Philips screws in the set plate. They keep the fabric attached to the top frame to the front.

Remove the screws of the set plates from the first window moldings. Continue to the rest until only a handful of rivets remains. Each rivet holds a cable running through the fabric.

Drill out the rivets carefully to finally peel away the current cloth. You might require a flat blade screwdriver to push open the gap bows.

Replace the Cloth 

Check if the top bows are sufficiently wide to remove the old cloth and insert the new one. Attach the rain rail first if they have not come with the new soft top.

Drape the fabric in place where the old one has been. It is like reversing the removal process. Start with the cable after that. Secure them again in their places. You might require new rivets.

Fasten the Set Plates Back

Next, fasten the set plates, followed by the weather stripping. Take your time with these so that you do not have to suffer from leaks later.

Head inside the car to attach the top back to the vehicle.

Tuck and Tighten the Soft Top Ends 

Finally, attach the whole thing again with the top bows. Tuck the ends in their respective slots, use the pliers covered with an old rag to crimp and tighten the loose ends. The rag will protect the top cloth from the pliers’ sharp edges.

Final Words

Although it all sounds easy, prepare yourself to spend the whole day to replace miata soft top. There might be a slight wrinkle on the side. You can try unscrewing the weather strip, pulling it to tighten the top and fasten the weather strip back.

Do not forget to admire the work and maybe take a few pictures to show off those who discouraged you!

  • Updated November 1, 2021
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