by Mark "Gunga" Diels

My rear window zipper had been not sliding very easy lately. Then two weeks ago it stuck bad and I broke the zipper pull tab off. I hate it when that happens. I had to use a pliers to close the window, no more fast and easy top down days. So now what am I to do. Though about taking 94 Red "B" to top repair shop, but there’s none within miles of where I live. Figured a new zipper would run about $75 with labor. Should I order a new window at the same time for about $175 + installation? After 4 years, my window is still in good condition.

Decided to check the news group for other options. Got into Deja News and into newsgroup. Did scans for zipper. Found a posting from about slider (real name for zipper pulls) repair. The poster, oden, indicated he contacted ZRK Enterprises, Inc.

Accessed ZRK’s Web site. Mr. McCabe describes the "Zipper Rescue Kits" he sells, has order information, and names other locations where you can purchase them. The original posting indicated you just need to order one 7mm Double Coil Slider for $ .40 plus shipping & handling. Mr. McCabe is in business and trying to make a living, buy the kit, it’s worth it. He sells repair kits for different applications. You will need to purchase the Outdoor Rescue Kit, which includes two 7mm Coil Sliders and locking clips, other sized sliders, and best of all, instructions on how to repair zipper slides. By the way, the Miata window uses a 7mm Single Coil Slider, not a Double.

Ordered one Outdoor Rescue Kit by phone ( 1-800-735-4620 ) for $15.00 plus $3.50 shipping and handling. Received in three days. Reviewed the instructions, and did the job. " HEY, IT, WORKS! " . Thought I would share some insights and recommendations to other Miata owners who might have same problem.

  1. The inside of a black top is very dark. Recommend you do this job outside on a bright day or you have a good light that you don’t have to hold by yourself.
    P.S. A large light inside of the top also gets very warm.
  2. Because of the cramped space in the back of a Miata and the fact that you want the top loose while working, I recommend you use something to hold open the top while doing all the zipper work. I placed the end of a large Phillips screwdriver in the top locking hole on the A-Pillar and stuck the other end into the top locking clamp. This kept the top open about 12 inches.
  3. Remove old zipper slider as per ZRK instructions. Pry off the old zipper stop and save. You can reuse it.
  4. Cut-off any loose or frilled ends. Coat the zipper ends with wax, using an old candle. This will keep them from fraying while you work. Also coat the zipper teeth with candle wax. This will ease the slider.
  5. Now here’s where I ran into problems. The side openings on the new slider were not wide enough to fit over the zipper and window material. I have to pry both sides open with a large blade screwdriver. Problem was it took me a while to figure this out. My recommendation for others trying this repair. After removing the old slider from the zipper and coating the zipper ends with wax. Slide the old slider back onto one side of the zipper, and feel the ease at which it slides along the zipper. Remove it from that side and repeat on the other zipper side. Now you know the feeling of how loose the zipper slider should be. Now try the same thing with the new slider. If it doesn’t go on easy and/or slide easy, you will have to pry open the sides. Do this until both sides slide easy.
  6. Now, follow Mr. McCall’s instructions and put both ends of the zipper in the slider. Start to close the zipper. After you get it closed about 2 inches, attach the zipper closing stop. I recommend you bend the points of the zipper stop inward before you attach it to the top. It will make it easier to fold the points over.
  7. Now run the zipper pull back and forth a few times. Each time through, it will pull easier. About every six months coat the teeth with candle wax.

SIDE NOTE: I’ve seen many indications on the net and in the Miata magazine as to how to keep your window from being scratched. Solutions I have seen are using a towel, to purchasing a window saver, about $30. After owning three convertibles, I have found that the best solution is a piece of felt. Go to your local fabric store an purchase a 40" x 34" piece of heavy black felt (or brown of you have a brown top).

Fold this in half and stitch the corners. Lay this on top of the window after you open it. The felt does not fold over as easy a towel and is cheaper that a window saver. I’ve never had any problems with the inside of the window being scratch, so you should not need something on this side. Make sure the piece of felt is large than the window.

Note from ZRK Enterprises - 11/9/2004:

The black slider in the kit that fits the Miata rear window is custom fitted for this particular slider. There is also an 8mm slider(three of them) that fit older model Miatas (before '90) but the newer models take this black one. The present kit (which is the Outdoor Rescue Kit with the specific slider and the slider for older models) has everything a Miata owner will need for a rear window repair.

Comments from David M Bowman -

I had the same problem Mark Diels describes in his zipper slider repair - checked out his sources and bought the recommended repair kit. The 7mm slider definitely did not work on my car ('90) even though I tried jimmying it with a screwdriver as he suggested (which in afterthought seems like a pretty good sign that the slider really isn't the right one!) Then I had the bright idea of calling the Mazda dealer - and, sure enough they carry the slider now - though I'm pretty sure they didn't a few years ago when I first had the problem. It fit on like a breeze - perfect fit, no problem. Looking at it closely, it's definitely different from the YKK 7mm from the repair kit - it is wider on the end the zipped zipper comes out of.

Editor's note: the Mazda slider part number is NA01-R1-250B - about $4.00.

Update: 6/26/98:

Mr. McCabe has since gotten in touch with me to tell me that he has indeed located the slider and now stocks it himself. He was very responsive and helpful to me, and I would certainly recommend checking with him if you can't find the slider from Mazda. McCabe's repair kit is definitely worth a try.

Comments from Martin Chorich -

I recently found myself with a balky zipper on my '94. I went to the Garage pages on the subject and found information on ZRK Enterprises Zipper Repair kits. To make a not too long story short, ZRK is still in business and the kit worked like a charm for me. Heartily recommended!

A couple of updates: The ZRK site is now You can't order directly over the Internet, but my order, captured on voice mail, was filled promptly. Mr. McCabe even attached a handwritten tag to the zipper slider appropriate to the Miata. I'm all thumbs, but managed the repair and probably saved myself hundreds over inflated SF Bay Area zipper repair prices.

Comments from David Spratte

I just had to repair the zipper on my '93. I read the tips in the garage and despite being warned that the zipper provided by ZRK in their kit would be a bit small I went for it.

I'm pleased to say that ZRK has changed the largest size sllider in their kit to 8mm which was a perfect match to the slider I pulled off. No excessive prying required.

Back to the Garage

11 November, 2004