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I have a nice fabric top on a spider. The top was left down too long and is aparently shrunk. Is there a way of stretching without damage to the top?
I can't get the top to latch on to the windshield.
 

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Try letting it sit out in the sun and also get the fabric wet. While it is still wet keep stretching it out (trying to get the top clamped to the windshield frame). If/when you get it in place, keep it wet & in the sun for a while.
 

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Not meaning to hijack the thread. But while my wrench said "all Spider tops are tight...if you ever have to use it, you'll be thankful", I was looking through a workshop manual a couple nights ago and there apparently are some adjustments you can make.

One adjustment had something to do with loosening several bolts at the base of the top, immediately behind the door openings.

Is this a simple-enough adjustment and is the range of adjustment wide enough to make a difference? (mine has also shrunk to the point that while I can latch it, it's a two-person job).
 

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Eric's advice is "spot on", and the top will stretch out. Just be patient. Alfa Spider factory fitted tops had (or have if they haven't been changed) a very tight plastic window, and an equally tight and symmetric fit. However, they were never hard to latch, unless they had shrunk from a very, very, long time due to being left down. Then, they always stretched out anyway. How the top fits and latches depends greatly on how it was installed. If the forward section of the latch on the top is positioned to slide well into the receiving end that is on the windshield, it won't be any trouble to fit the top once it stretches back to it's normal size. If this is not the case, then one must take a look at the whole set-up to see what's wrong. The tension of the side cable, which can be adjusted via the mechanism on at the base of the top (behind the window), will not affect the way the latch slides into place or help if it has already been loosened and it is still taking two people to latch the top.

Best regards,
 

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That's exactly the shop manual photo I was looking at.

Specifically, the forward portion of my top takes two people to pull it "forward" enough to you can get it into the receivers to latch it. It's always been tight, but never that tight, so I know it must have shrunk a bit, but I'll have to wait until Spring to try the water/sun trick. And I've eyed the side cables--even before I got a show manual--but it sounds like I'm lucky I didn't start messing with those.

So would loosening those allow the top to be adjusted further forward without screwing everything else up?
 

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Unless you want to heat your garage to 60 or 70 degrees F, I would wait until it warms up outside and try it. The PO of my 86 Alfa had never put the top up after buying it, and left the car in the garage, not driving the car in bad weather. Three years later, I bought the car and had the same problem with the top shrinking. I bought the car in late May, so I left it outside in the sun, then raised the top. It was still a tight fit, but it latched. I always close the top when I'm not driving the car.
 

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> left it outside in the sun, then raised the top. It was still a tight fit, but it latched. I always close the top when I'm not driving the car<

Agreed. When I picked up my car after it had the hard-top on for 2 years (!) I thought I wasn't going to get the convert to latch, particularly on the right side. 2 days in the sun with the top "up" and some elbow grease and all is well. Thanks again AlfaBB!

Frank
 
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