Factory Soft Top Repair

A problem that occasionally arises with the Miata soft top is a breakdown of the adhesive that holds the top to the crossmember, causing the top to billow up. Here are a couple of fixes:

By Andy Kearl - Andykurl@hkstar.com

I experienced the common mode of failure with the Miata roof whereby the thermal bond between one of the hoop stays and the roof failed.

I tried to repair the joint with double-sided tape, as suggested on the site, but with limited success. It failed after a few weeks. I then tried 3M contact trim adhesive, but I found this to be very difficult to use in the confined space and also quite messy. This proved to be more successful, but still failed. I even went as far as to visit a local trim shop who took al look at my efforts and felt that I'd done "a good a job as they could have..."

I still wasn't happy and looked for another solution. I considered trying one of the thermal vinyl repair kits from "Permatex", but felt there was to much margin for error. I was getting a little exasperated. It was then that I happened upon "Performix Vyna Bond", a clear vinyl adhesive specially formulated for such repairs. I have to admit I was skeptical, but at $3.50 a tube from the "Home Depot" it seemed worth a try. I bought a tube and having tied down the flap of vinyl over the hoop with 3 pieces of masking tape I applied an initial coat of adhesive, taking care to wipe off the excess as pressure was applied to the joint. Once the joint was dry, approximatley 2 hours, I applied successive beads of adhesive from either side of the reapir until I had used almost all the glue. The adhesive shrinks back quite a bit, but I have to say the resulting joint was very good and because the glue is clear very unobtrusive. I was very pleased.

This repair has held up for the past 6 months and whilst I've yet to subject it to a full season of So Cal sunshine I think its definitely worth a try if your Miata roof has suffered a similar failure. The cost and availability make it an easy thing to try and the joint appears to be srong.

By John Sundberg - john.sundberg@tuav.redstone.army.mil 

This is a fix that seems to work on the soft top where a heat sealed hold-down strip has come loose from the top resulting in the top rising an inch or more above the top frame when driving with the windows up.

I used a 3M brand double sided adhesive tape product to re-attach the fabric strip to the top. This tape is designed to attach accessories to car bodies. It's about an inch wide and has a red covering on one side. Most auto parts stores carry it, and it's relatively inexpensive. When I purchased my '95 Miata, the soft top had pulled loose from the fabric strip that holds the top close to the round frame cross-member that's almost above your head. I called several top shops who all said it was nearly impossible to fix since the strip was originally heat sealed to the top.

I simply slipped the loose piece of fabric out of the channel on the front side of the frame cross member. I then cleaned it and the top with alcohol along the original seal joint. I then used a piece of the 3M tape (split down the middle to make it about 1/2 inch wide on the fabric piece that slides out - leave the red tear off part of the tape intact at this point. The fabric strip can now be slid back into the channel on the cross-member, and wrapped around the bar. This will approximately line up the 3M tape with the original location on the top, and it can easily be positioned at this point. All that remains is to pull off the red strip to expose the adhesive against the top, being careful not to move it out of position. I then put a towel on the top side and weighted it with some bricks, let it sit for 24 hours. I did this fix about a month ago, and so far it's holding well.

By Bill Gusky

1. Put the top up, zip the window, and latch the latches.

2. Where the bond is broken between your bow and the top fabric, break it all the way across with your hand. (It's gonna all break anyway!)

3. Make certain the narrow fabric flap is still securely attached to the top bow (the shop manual says you can squeeze the pinch joint with a pair of heavy pliers to grip the fabric).

4. Tightly spiral-wrap the fabric strip to the top bow at 1/2" intervals with black sewing thread, and tie off the ends. 

5. While holding up the top fabric, and using a Q-tip, liberally apply clear or black household epoxy adhesive to the top of the bow.

6. Let the top fabric back down onto the wrapped bow.

7. Place several heavy magazines across the top of the car to hold the top fabric in secure contact with the bow.

8. Clean up any epoxy mess visible on the inside.

9. Let cure overnight.

10. If necessary, touch up any visible epoxy with liquid shoe black.

Back to the Garage

4 July, 2005