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Mazda MX-5 Miata Soft Top Problems



  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Picked up a "91" Miata in mint condition/low miles. The old guy that sold it to me never put the soft top up, just kept the hard top on it all the time. So now I want to use the unused soft top and I think because it was folded up for 20 years without being used it might have shrunk. The top, like I said, is in brand new excellent condition, but when I try to put it up with the window zipped I need about two more inches to secure the front locks. I can get it to fit if I put it up with the window unzipped, but then I can't zip the window because I'm two inches short back there then. Forcing the zipper just makes it come apart. Any suggestions?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would try it on a hot day with the top exposed to the sun, but even that might not be enough.

    Careful using any heat source because a top that old is likely brittle and tear-prone.

    Is it an original top? They usually only last 10 years or so, so it may be overdue for replacement.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Thanks for the advice. The weird thing is that this top really looks cherry. I mean when I pulled it out it really looked brand new, not brittle at all, after being tucked away for 20 years. I sprayed some 303 Aerospace Protectant on it and it looked great. We had one really warm day (72 degrees) here in PA. so I thought I'd give it a try. Now here it is first day of spring and we had snow . . . . . . So when the weather finally warms up for good I'll leave it out in the sun and try again.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I replaced my top with a Robbins top and it included special instructions to leave the top up (closed) for a few days to let the vinyl stretch. They may never have done that.

    You could use heat but be very, very careful. Do you have a heated garage? Maybe try stretching it 1/2" at a time, slowly.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Did you put that Robbins top on yourself ? Was it hard ? What kind of window did it come with ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You can buy one in all sorts of colors, materials, and vinyl or glass rear window.

    I got glass as an upgrade. I converted it to an NB style top, so no zipper to fiddle with. I sort of regretted that - it's kind of nice to open it up but still have sun cover.

    Gotta admit, though, it was pretty hard. I worked alone, but it took 2 good days. About a half day to remove the old one, and a good 5 hours or so the next day to install the new one plus convert to NB style. I told myself I'd never do it again.

    Thing is, a pro install is a grand plus, and the top cost me $460. You also need a rivet gun and a good cordless drill. Search the garage for detailed instructions.
  • gregdollgregdoll Posts: 1
    Have a 1996 Mazda Miata M-Edition. Have used the hard top exclusively for several years. Getting ready to sell the car and recently took a few photos to post online for the sale. Removed the hard top for the first time in years in order to get some photos with the top down and with the soft top up. While the soft top was up, I tried to zip up the rear window. As I pulled the zipper up from the right side, it was o.k., but then as I zipped closer to the middle of the window, it would not zip, as the zipper opening was too wide to close. It's almost as if the window has shrunk. I'm guessing this has something to do with the fact that the soft top has not been used for years. Can this be repaired or stretched? Would prefer to fix this before putting the car up for sale, but also hoping to not have to spend money on a soft top replacement since I am getting rid of the car. Thanks for any help.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222
    Hi, gregdoll,

    There are a couple of posts further back in this thread that might help.

    ClaireS, Host
    Automotive News & Views | Coupes & Convertibles


    Need help getting around? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Tell everyone about your buying experience: Write a Dealer Review

  • snowallergysnowallergy Posts: 134
    '99 and 2000 are also often referred to as NB 1 and 2001-05 would be NB 2.
  • Has anyone had "abrasion patches" showing up on the canvas top of their Miata? My 2008 Grand Touring has those "wear" patches on both sides of the top. Each one is located about 12 inches above the rear most upper corner of the side window. The fabric is scuffing with some loose threads showing. It looks like BIG TROUBLE over time. I will say the top remains down about 90 + percent of the time from mid-April to mid-November.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Yeah, I got two small ones on the top of my "91". I have the original top on yet, overall it's in excellent shape, but mine isn't canvas either, it's the original Cabrio Grain Vinyl material.
  • Leaving your top down for longer than a few days is a bad thing. When a top is not up and latched, it shrinks faster than normal.
    It also provides a home for vermin and insects which will damage/stain the top.
    You should at least put it up if you are not going to use it for a day or so. If you use it with the top down every day, putting it up and latching it overnight a few times a week will help to prolong the life of the top.

    Karl at
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A reporter is looking to hear from new car buyers who considered buying a convertible within the last year but opted for something else. If you’d like to share your story, please email no later than 4p.m. Pacific /7p.m. Eastern Thursday, March 15, 2012 with your daytime contact information.
  • docot68docot68 Posts: 1
    Get ready! I have a 2006 Mazda MX5 & I'm already fighting with Mazda for another new top. This will be my third top on the car & the car has less than 27,000 miles on it. The straps on both sides, that attach the soft top to its fame, right above the head rests, rip right off! There must be a defect in these soft tops but it will be a cold day in hell before Mazda does a recall on them. I suggest you get to a Mazda Dealer before your factor warranty is up & have them replace the top. Good luck!
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    That's too bad! I have a "91 Miata" and still have the original soft top on it; it's in excellent condition. I stole the car in 2011 for a thousand dollars, low miles and great condition. I don't think the previous owner ever took the hard top off.
  • i know this is an old post, but i found Miata dealers using inferior parts; maybe from china. the antenna i bought from them was 1mm smaller. they do not dowhat i ask and they break things. try the better business bureau or the district rep; you probably have it done by now, but i think i will sell rather than put up with inferior dealers; mazda is in financial trouble anyway; ford owns about 25%; which means fix or repair daily;
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ford sold most of their shares, FWIW.
  • My 2006 has problems with the frame burning the canvas top thru the fabric I live in Florida so it gets pretty hot. I don't see other model soft tops with this problem. I believe talking with my dealership I'm not the only Mazda MX-5 owner with this problem. any remedies It really looks terrible on a beautiful car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've seen vinyl repair kits, but....I would leave this up to a pro. Try an Auto Upholstery place in the yellow pages, ask if they can patch it and make it look clean.

    Must be incredibly hot in there...yikes.
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