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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just finished installing a top. Installation took me about 10 hours of slow methodical work. That time did not include removing the old top, which only took about an hour. A good chunk of time was spent prep cleaning and fixing broken rear studs with rivet nuts. Since this was only the second top I've fitting (the last one being 20 years ago), I took my time. Like tuning a SPICA system, the order in which you do things is critical. When installing the top, you have to be familiar with the instructions, soup-to-nuts, before you start.

The top was manufactured by Easy-On and purchased over the internet from www.topsonline.com. Delivery was very quick and I think the total price was about $190 delivered. Glue and some new side cables were about $12 at ACE hardware and the rivet nuts and setting tool from McMaster were another $55. I re-used my old front windshield seal, but I think I might replace that since the side extensions are ripped off. It's a pinpoint vinyl top, no padded side-quarters, heat sealed rear window. Although I considered a canvas top, I decided on vinyl for price and long-term appearance. I rarely drive with the top up. Vic at topsonline said the vinyl will retain a better appearance for the long term, will be more durable in the elements, but of course, doesn't look as good. He said he sells more canvas tops because people like the appearance better.

The top itself looked to be of high quality heavy materials with good workmanship, stitching, etc. With the exception of the radius of the front bow, which was a slightly off, the top's "fit" is excellent. The holes for the rear studs were pre-punched and were perfect. When I went to "dry fit" the top, the top's front radius seam didn't fit the front of the bow in the middle. It was about a 1/4" off, which may not seem like much but it makes it harder to glue the front edge evenly. To topsonline's credit, Vic was very helpful and even went to the manufacturer and set up a 3 way call. The rep from Easy-On was very helpful and said it shouldn't be any problem, but if it was , they'd make it good, no problem. As it turned out, it was no problem and the vinyl stretched into place fine.

Below are some pics of the finished installtion. I'll be writing up a "how-to" with pictures I took during the install as time permits. I found the Alfa factory instructions to have some glaring deficiencies and poor illustrations/pictures, especially on how the side cables and window seals are fastened. I also found that the old top was incorrectly installed.

Here's the pics. Top is still stretching and today was a cool day so it didn't get much thermal heating to soften up the vinyl, hence there still some shipping creases and dimples evident.
 

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Roadtrip said:
More pictures . . . . and BTW there is an installation omission in the pictures . . . anybody spot it?
The little stainless rub guard trim thingy on the passenger side?
 

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Roadtrip said:
More pictures . . . . and BTW there is an installation omission in the pictures . . . anybody spot it?
Tequilla shots?

John,
Could you post pictures of the inside? How did the paint come out?
 

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20 years between doing this PIA job is about right. In another 20 years I might be willing to do it again, but anytime in the next 5 I'll pay somebody. Came out really nice John. There's nothing like that crystal clear rear window on a new top.
My old top didn't have the "chrome side rubby things" so the new top doesn't either. I couldn't tell what they were there for and just didn't bother.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I decided not to paint the frame. It was still good and I was afraid that a paint job would only be a marginal improvement.

Bob Farace got it right . . . . it's the right side stainless steel edge guide that's missing. I should be getting a replacement soon.

The edge guides do two things from what I can see . . . they prevent the corner from being pealed-up and they also can help bring the lower edge of the top taut to help take out any wrinkles.

The worst part of this job was all the hunching over in the interior. I removed both seats which made it easier. I simply can see how it could be done any other way. I'm only 5'9" and I could feel the muscle strain the next morning. If you're a really big guy, you may want to consider that before you start a project like this.

This job was tedious enough as it was. Beer and tequilla shots would definately not improve my workmanship.
 

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The new top looks absolutely great! Mine probably isn't going to last too much longer so I really look forward to your installation write up. Thanks for all the pictures showing us all how a properly installed top should look like.

Best Regards,
Paul
 

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Bill77 said:
The beer and tequila shots are the final step. Hoist them in the air and toast a job well done !!!
If it's like when I did my top, the beer and tequila won't be noticed because you're so high on contact cement! An open quart of Weldwood in a confined space the size of a Spider can't be healthy.
 

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Is there any company makes fabric top with glass rear window for spiders?.Like newer mazda miatas. I hate my dull rear window.
 

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gunnar said:
Is there any company makes fabric top with glass rear window for spiders?.Like newer mazda miatas. I hate my dull rear window.
Have you tried some plastic polish? A friend of mine used Meguiar's #10/17 plastic combo on his Jeep windows. His windows looked better than mine once he was done. Mine haven't reached the point where I need to polish them (yet).

---Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't think I've ever seen a spider with a glass rear window. I doubt it's possible due to the curve. I'm sure a piece of glass could be made, but the expense would probably be prohibitive.
 

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Front lip

Is the top latched down in the pictures? If so you have to get that front Lip trim straight and a lot closer to the windshield or the wind noise will drive you deaf.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good eye. Yes, I think I might have to do that. When I glued it initially I knew about turning the seam downwards and had the seam pointing downwards a bit, but when latching it, the top has stretched some. Also the radius of the top's cut wasn't exact with the front bow. I've been so busy, I haven't even had a chance to take it out of the highway for a wind noise check. I'm waiting for delivery on a new gasket and will try and address the front seam at that time, if it turns out to be a noise problem.
 

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gunnar said:
Is there any company makes fabric top with glass rear window for spiders?.Like newer mazda miatas. I hate my dull rear window.
I doubt you could fold the top down with a solid rear clear. The rear screen needs to fold in the middle (doesn't it ?).
 

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Actually, a glass window is possible and is being offered by at least one supplier. The window needs to be in two pieces which fold in the middle on a Silicone hinge, ala late 60's-70's Ford Mustang. While do-able it isn't all that great as the weight of the glass strains the top material and the Silicone hinge dis-colors with age. Add to this the extra expense and the fact that we avoid driving these vehicles in inclement weather because they're made to be enjoyed driving topless. (Girls-remember this) Therefore they can be had but the Alfisti aren't beating a path to the suppliers door.
 

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Roadtrip said:
I'm waiting for delivery on a new gasket and will try and address the front seam at that time, if it turns out to be a noise problem.
John, are you replacing that front bow gasket that, IIRC, you were going to leave alone? That gasket is a pain. Get a can of spray silicone and set aside a couple of hours for that job alone. Hopefully yours will go faster than mine did, but I found it to be a lot of push a little, pull a little, repeat. I probably could have done more to make the metal channel that the gasket fits into smoother. Spend some time getting that as smooth as you can, and you'll probably save yourself some time on the gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
The old one slides easily. A new one probably won't. Silicon grease will help, I'm sure. BTW, I went out today and drove at 60+ and couldn't tell any difference in wind noise from the that small gap above the windscreen. I tried it as is, and with some closed cell insulation stuffed in there to fill the gap. There was a crosswind today, and that made more noise than anything. If you want to know what kinds of suspension and axle noise your car is making . . . drive with the top up . . . you'll hear all of it.

I still want to work on that front edge and get the seam turned down more. It's not really wide enough to reach all the way to the stainless windshield trim though. The Alfa installation book specifies that as well as when I talked to Randy at EasyOn tops. It's just really hard to get right so it looks even across the leading edge of the bow. When you glue it, it would seem that you need to greatly exagerate the downturn of the seam, so that when stretch pressure is put on it, it pulls back into the right place. Especially hard since the contact cement only goes on the underside and not on the top of the front bow.

GTD - what company offers that glass window. I would assume that it would have to be a zipped window that is unfastened when you fold the top.
 

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Where and how do side cables attach?

Hey, thanks for sharing the info.

I've bought a new top, cables, gasket and instructions and I'm
getting ready to give it a try. I've read the alfa instruction manual
several times, and still had lots of questions.

How do the side cables attach? I'm getting ready to take the old one
off just to try to figure it out. (not sure how much I trust that...)
Any help or photos, especially of the top front corners would be greatly
appreciated.

Thanks,
tt.
 
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