The Miata Hard Top FAQ

by Stephen Foskett - sfoskett@slf.gweep.net

V2.3 (April 27, 2004)


Jump To:

Overview

Buying a Hard Top

Using a Hard Top

Repairing a Hard Top


Overview of Miata Hard Tops


Q) What are we talking about here?

My 2003 Mazda hard topAll Miatas are convertibles.* This means they have a flexible cloth or vinyl top that can be raised when weather demands it. Mazda also makes a hard plastic top that can be placed on the car when desired. This FAQ is intended to cover the common questions folks raise about this hard top option.

Q) Are all hard tops the same?

All Miata hard tops from all years will fit all cars from all years. They are all physically compatable. However, you might need to add latches or defroster electronics, depending on your year and model. This is the single most common hard top question, if not the most common Miata question.

With that said, let it be known that although all Mazda Original Equipment (OE) hard tops are based on the same design, but they are not all identical (see below). Also, there are a number of aftermarket hard tops available that differ quite a bit from the Mazda design.

Q) How are the various Mazda tops different?

All Mazda hard tops are based on the same design. All are made of "sheet molding compound" (SMC) which is kind of like fiberglass. They have a large wraparound glass window, with defroster elements after 1994. The top is held on by 4 latches (two at the windshield header and two behind the doors) and 2 cleats that slip over "Frankenstein bolts" on the rear deck. The top weighs between 40lbs and 50lbs, depending on model year. My 2003 Mazda hardtop (which has both the defroster and headliner) weighs 50.5lbs.

Mazda changed the hard top design 4 times (so far):

Q) Why would someone get a hard top?

There are a number of reasons. Here are some:


Buying Miata Hard Tops


Q) What do I need to add a hard top to my car?

All hard tops require 4 sets of striker plates for the latches to clip to (2 on the windshield header and 2 behind the doors) and 2 "Frankenstein bolts" on the rear deck. You already have one pair of striker plates (on the windshield header) and might have the Frankenstein bolts, too. If you have a defroster element and want to use it, you also need a defroster switch, a relay, a fuse block, and a recepticle plug.

MX-5.Com has a great tutorial on adding a hard top with photos.

In order to make things more clear, here's a compatability table for Miatas and Hardtops. Find the year range of your car on the left and look across to the year range of your hardtop on the top. Then click on the link and you will have a complete parts inventory.

Year Hardtop
1990-1991 1992-1997 1999-2002 2003-2004
Miata 1990-1991 90/90 92/90 99/90 03/90
1992-1993 90/90 92/92 99/92 03/92
1994-1997 90/90 92/94 99/94 03/94
1999-2002 90/99 92/99 99/99 03/99
2003-2004 90/03 92/03 99/03 03/03
90/90) 1990-1991 Hardtop on 1990-1997 Car
This hardtop has no built-in defroster. This makes it much easier to add, since there is no need to wire the defroster electronics! Since all NA cars come with Frankenstein Bolts, all you need to do is add the striker plates.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Total $68.20
90/99) 1990-1991 Hardtop on 1999-2002 Car
This hardtop has no defroster element, so there is one less thing to worry about. All you need are Frankenstein Bolts and striker plates.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
Total $93.08
90/03) 1990-1991 Hardtop on 2003-2004 Car
This hardtop has no defroster element, so there is one less thing to worry about. However, the front striker plates on your car will not work with the latches on this top, so you need to replace the latches. You should buy an old-style set of striker plates for the sides so you don't have to replace those latches, too. You also need Frankenstein Bolts.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Redesigned LatchND30-R1-320 $123.25 1 $123.25
Right Redesigned LatchND30-R1-310 $123.25 1 $123.25
Latch ScrewsNC10-69-9W6 $0.63 6 $3.78
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
Total $343.36
92/90) 1992-1997 Hardtop on 1990-1991 Car
Your car is not pre-wired to run the defroster in this top. You can just ignore it (which makes things easy) or try to wire in a custom defroster setup. Apart from that, you need to add striker plates and you're set.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Custom NA DefrosterN/A $- 1 $-
Total $68.20
92/92) 1992-1997 Hardtop on 1992-1993 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but some required elements are probably not in place. You definitely need striker plates. You probably need to add a defroster relay and timer relay. You might also need the fuse block in the trunk if you don't have a power antenna.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Fuse BlockN008-66-730 $13.60 1 $13.60
Defroster RelayLA40-67-740 $24.20 1 $24.20
Timer RelayNA01-67-7T0 $65.00 1 $65.00
Total $171.00
92/94) 1992-1997 Hardtop on 1994-1997 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but some required elements are probably not in place. You definitely need striker plates. You probably need to add a defroster relay and dash switch. If you have Mazda foglights, you need to use the combo defroster and foglight switch. Otherwise you can use the plain one. You might also need the fuse block in the trunk if you don't have a power antenna.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Fuse BlockN008-66-730 $13.60 1 $13.60
Defroster RelayLA40-67-740 $24.20 1 $24.20
Dash SwitchNA75-66-460 $55.20 1 $55.20
Total $161.20
92/99) 1992-1997 Hardtop on 1999-2002 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but the connector on this older top will not work with the one on your rear deck. So you need to replace the pigtail inside the hardtop with the NB-style one. You also need to add striker plates at the sides and Frankenstein Bolts at the back.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
NB PigtailNC11-67-060A $103.45 1 $103.45
Total $196.53
92/03) 1992-1997 Hardtop on 2003-2004 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but the connector on this older top will not work with the one on your rear deck. So you need to replace the pigtail inside the hardtop with the NB-style one. Also, your car's redesigned striker plates on the windshield header won't work with the old latches on this top. So you need to replace the hardtop latches with the new-style ones. You also need to add striker plates at the sides, and you should use the old-style ones so you don't have to replace the side latches on the hardtop, too. Finally, you need Frankenstein Bolts at the back.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
NB PigtailNC11-67-060A $103.45 1 $103.45
Left Redesigned LatchND30-R1-320 $123.25 1 $123.25
Right Redesigned LatchND30-R1-310 $123.25 1 $123.25
Latch ScrewsNC10-69-9W6 $0.63 6 $3.78
Total $446.81
99/90) 1999-2002 Hardtop on 1990-1991 Car
Your car is not pre-wired to run the defroster in this top. You can just ignore it (which makes things easy) or try to wire in a custom defroster setup with an NA- or NB-style pigtail. Apart from that, you need to add striker plates and you're set.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Custom NB DefrosterN/A $- 1 $-
Total $68.20
99/92) 1999-2002 Hardtop on 1992-1993 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but some required elements are probably not in place. You definitely need striker plates. This top has an NB-style pigtail, you you should replace it with the NA-style one. You probably need to add a defroster relay and timer relay. You might also need the fuse block in the trunk if you don't have a power antenna.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Fuse BlockN008-66-730 $13.60 1 $13.60
Defroster RelayLA40-67-740 $24.20 1 $24.20
Timer RelayNA01-67-7T0 $65.00 1 $65.00
NA PigtailN007-67-060A $119.20 1 $119.20
Total $290.20
99/94) 1999-2002 Hardtop on 1994-1997 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but some required elements are probably not in place. You definitely need striker plates. This top has an NB-style pigtail, you you should replace it with the NA-style one. You probably need to add a defroster relay and dash switch. If you have Mazda foglights, you need to use the combo defroster and foglight switch. Otherwise you can use the plain one. You might also need the fuse block in the trunk if you don't have a power antenna.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Fuse BlockN008-66-730 $13.60 1 $13.60
Defroster RelayLA40-67-740 $24.20 1 $24.20
Dash SwitchNA75-66-460 $55.20 1 $55.20
NA PigtailN007-67-060A $119.20 1 $119.20
Total $280.40
99/99) 1999-2002 Hardtop on 1999-2002 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster. You only need to add striker plates at the sides and Frankenstein Bolts at the back and you're ready to go!
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
Total $93.08
99/03) 1999-2002 Hardtop on 2003-2004 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster. However, the front striker plates on your car will not work with the latches on this top, so you need to replace the latches. You should buy an old-style set of striker plates for the sides so you don't have to replace those latches, too. You also need to add Frankenstein Bolts at the back.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-361D $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker PlateNA02-R1-371D $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
Left Redesigned LatchND30-R1-320 $123.25 1 $123.25
Right Redesigned LatchND30-R1-310 $123.25 1 $123.25
Latch ScrewsNC10-69-9W6 $0.63 6 $3.78
Total $343.36
03/90) 2003-2004 Hardtop on 1990-1991 Car
Your car is not pre-wired to run the defroster in this top. You can just ignore it (which makes things easy) or try to wire in a custom defroster setup with an NA- or NB-style pigtail. The front striker plates on your car will not work with the latches on this top, so you need to replace the latches with the old style. You should buy a new-style set of striker plates for the sides so you don't have to replace those latches, too.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-361J $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-371J $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Custom NB DefrosterN/A $- 1 $-
Left Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-320M $101.06 1 $101.06
Right Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-310M $120.00 1 $120.00
Total $289.26
03/92) 2003-2004 Hardtop on 1992-1993 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but some required elements are probably not in place. This top has an NB-style pigtail, you you should replace it with the NA-style one. You probably need to add a defroster relay and timer relay. You might also need the fuse block in the trunk if you don't have a power antenna. The front striker plates on your car will not work with the latches on this top, so you need to replace the latches with the old style. You should buy a new-style set of striker plates for the sides so you don't have to replace those latches, too.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-361J $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-371J $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Fuse BlockN008-66-730 $13.60 1 $13.60
Defroster RelayLA40-67-740 $24.20 1 $24.20
Timer RelayNA01-67-7T0 $65.00 1 $65.00
NA PigtailN007-67-060A $119.20 1 $119.20
Left Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-320M $101.06 1 $101.06
Right Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-310M $120.00 1 $120.00
Total $511.26
03/94) 2003-2004 Hardtop on 1994-1997 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster, but some required elements are probably not in place. This top has an NB-style pigtail, you you should replace it with the NA-style one. You probably need to add a defroster relay and dash switch. If you have Mazda foglights, you need to use the combo defroster and foglight switch. Otherwise you can use the plain one. You might also need the fuse block in the trunk if you don't have a power antenna. The front striker plates on your car will not work with the latches on this top, so you need to replace the latches with the old style. You should buy a new-style set of striker plates for the sides so you don't have to replace those latches, too.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-361J $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-371J $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Fuse BlockN008-66-730 $13.60 1 $13.60
Defroster RelayLA40-67-740 $24.20 1 $24.20
Dash SwitchNA75-66-460 $55.20 1 $55.20
NA PigtailN007-67-060A $119.20 1 $119.20
Left Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-320M $101.06 1 $101.06
Right Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-310M $120.00 1 $120.00
Total $501.46
03/99) 2003-2004 Hardtop on 1999-2002 Car
Your car is pre-wired for this defroster. The front striker plates on your car will not work with the latches on this top, so you need to replace the latches with the old style. You should buy a new-style set of striker plates for the sides so you don't have to replace those latches, too. You also need to add Frankenstein Bolts at the back.
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-361J $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-371J $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
Left Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-320M $101.06 1 $101.06
Right Old-Style LatchNA01-R1-310M $120.00 1 $120.00
Total $314.14
03/03) 2003-2004 Hardtop on 2003-2004 Car
Your car is pre-wired for a defroster. You only need to add striker plates at the sides and Frankenstein Bolts at the back and you're ready to go!
Shopping list:
PartsPart NumbersMSRPQTYTotal
Left Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-361J $29.84 1 $29.84
Right Redesigned Striker PlateNA01-R1-371J $29.84 1 $29.84
Striker Plate Screws9983-40-820B $2.13 4 $8.52
Frankenstein BoltsNA01-R1-38XB $12.44 2 $24.88
Total $93.08

Here's a description of the various parts mentioned above. Most of these can be purchased at a discount from online vendors and from Miata-friendly dealers like Finishline Performance.

Custom Defroster
If you want to use the defroster element on this top, you need to build a custom setup with a switch, relay, fuse, and NA- or NB-style connector on the rear deck.

Dash Switch
Part Number NA75-66-460, MSRP $55.20
There are two types of dash switches, with and without integrated foglight switches. This part number is for the one without a built-in foglight switch. It installs in the blanks to the lower left of the steering column.
Defroster Relay
Part Number LA40-67-740, MSRP $24.20
This relay plugs into the harness behind the trim plate in the trunk in the license plate area.

Frankenstein Bolts
Part Number NA01-R1-38XB, MSRP $12.44, 2 needed
These replace the plain screws on the chrome plates just in front of the trunk lid and hold the hardtop down at the back.

Fuse Block
Part Number N008-66-730, MSRP $13.60
This plugs into the harness by the battery. If you have a power antenna, then the fuse block is already there and you just need a fuse.

Latches
The front latch assembly affixes the hardtop to the windshield header. These were redesigned in mid-2003, so you may have to replace the ones your hardtop comes with if it is incompatible with the striker plates on your windshield header.
Left Old-Style Latch
Part Number NA01-R1-320M, MSRP $101.06
Right Old-Style Latch
Part Number NA01-R1-310M, MSRP $120.00

Left Redesigned Latch
Part Number ND30-R1-320, MSRP $123.25
Right Redesigned Latch
Part Number ND30-R1-310, MSRP $123.25

Latch Screws
Part Number NC10-69-9W6, MSRP $0.63, 6 needed
These attach the front latches to the inside of the hardtop.

Striker Plates
These plates attach to the car right in front of the seatbelt towers and holds the sides of the hardtop down. These are usually available as a kit which comes with a left and right plate and four screws. The latches were redesigned in mid-2003 so you might have to use an updated or backdated plate kit, depending on your hardtop.
Left Old-Style Striker Plate
Part Number NA02-R1-361D, MSRP $29.84
Right Old-Style Striker Plate
Part Number NA02-R1-371D, MSRP $29.84

Left Redesigned Striker Plate
Part Number NA01-R1-361J, MSRP $29.84
Right Redesigned Striker Plate
Part Number NA01-R1-371J, MSRP $29.84

Striker Plate Screws
Part Number 9983-40-820B, MSRP $2.13, 4 needed
These screws attach the striker plates to the car.

Pigtails
This cable attaches to the defroster element in the hardtop and allows it to connect to the defroster connector on the rear deck. More information is available below.
NA Pigtail
Part Number N007-67-060A, MSRP $119.20
NB Pigtail
Part Number NC11-67-060A, MSRP $103.45

Timer Relay
Part Number NA01-67-7T0, MSRP $65.00
This relay plugs in under the dash by the steering wheel. The fan switch then activates the rear defroster when it is turned on.

Q) Can I use an NA ('90-'97) hard top on my NB ('99+) car?

Yes. In addition to the normal items listed above, you need an NB-style pigtail adapter for the hard top defroster. This is part number NC11-67-060A and costs about $85. You could also cut off the pigtails and make up your own connector using whatever you happen to have around, but this is probably a bad idea resale-wise. The latches might need to be changed for 2003+ cars.

Here's the wiring diagram/pinout for the connector:

NA wire NB wire Purpose
Red/White Black/Red Relay through element
Yellow Black/White Switch through relay
Black Black Ground

Q) Can I use an NB ('99+) hard top on my NA ('90-'97) car?

Yes. You need to replace the defroster pigtail, though. You might need to change the latches for 2003+ hard tops.

Q) Are there any aftermarket (non-Mazda) hard tops?

Yes! All should work fine on all NA and NB cars. However, most (all?) will have the old-style latches so they will not work well with 03+ cars with the new striker plates. Also, most (all?) will have the NA-style defroster plug.

Most people recommend just going with a used Mazda Original Equipment (OE) hardtop since the aftermarket tops are not much cheaper, and there is not much positive feedback about them. Here're some aftermarket ideas:

Kirklin
The Kirklin was the first aftermarket top, only produced in 1992 and 1993. This top had some problems with rusting fasteners, and it's unlikely that you'll find one now.
Snug Top
The snug tops look identical to the OE as far as the window is concerned, but the window latches are stamped steel rather than the aluminum sculptured look. Look on the driver's side through the window and you will see a tag on the frame that says "Snugtop". Owner feedback has not been all positive.
Smoothline "Speedster"
Also sold by Moss, MMMarketing, and others, this is a less-expensive alternative to the OE. Owners report that it has been unsatisfactory. thread
Mazdaspeed
Two Mazdaspeed tops are available in Japan: One that looks just like the USA OE top and another that has a vent in it. The OE-looking unit has a smaller window and is 20% lighter than the original Mazda top. I need more information on these...
Axis Power Racing
Axis made a custom carbon fiber top for their project car. Others could probably be made, too.
Simpson Design
Simpson Design has been working on a coupe-style (think MX-6 and Mustang) hard top for a few years, but it's not available yet.

Q) How can I verify that I'm buying a Mazda Original Equipment (OE) top?

It's tougher than you think. The OE top does NOT say "Mazda" anywhere on it! Look for a 2-inch "cover" on the inside, just in front of the rear window. The window will say "Nippon Safety" which is a major Japanese glass manufacturer. Make sure the latches look just like the soft top latches, too. Also, look for the L-shaped brackets below the rear window. These are all good indicators of an OE top. thread 1, thread 2

Q) The hard top I'm buying says "SMC" on the inside. What does that mean?

SMC stands for Sheet Molding Compound. That's what the Mazda top is made of. It's sort of like fiberglass.

Q) Is it hard to find a new Miata with a hard top?

Yes. In addition to being an accessory available at the parts counter, the hard top is an option on new Miatas. However, it's quite expensive (though not nearly as expensive as buying it later) and there are very few cars equipped with it. The hard top is a $1500 option, and is NOT available as a dealer-installed option. This means that the only new cars that have hard tops shipped from Japan with them. Mazda made a large number of hard tops in the early years, and these ended up being the last cars sold since the cost of the optional hard top could be more than 10% of the total cost of the car! These days, even though the price of the top has stayed the same while the base cost of the car has doubled, the hard top is a rare option, appearing on 1 in 50 cars or less.

Original option hard tops come painted in the correct body color, and the cars come with all necessary hardware. Retail price for the top option is $1500, and invoice is $1250. This is a really good deal compared to buying a top as an accessory, since they come unpainted, with no hardware. By the time the top is ready to go on the car, you would be looking at $2500 or more!

One interesting point: Few special edition Miatas have had a factory hard top available for them. This means that most M-Edition and Special Edition owners MUST buy an unpainted new accessory or used top and pay to have it painted! I am told that there was an optional hard top available for the '95 and '96 M-editions as well as the 10th Anniversary Edition and '00 SE, and the '94M, '97 STO, or '03 SE colors (Montego, Twilight, and Strato Blue) became standard later, and an original hard top could have been swapped without a repaint.

Q) Where can I get a new hardtop?

Check with your local dealer. The Mazda tops are available for $2250 and come primed. Painting will cost between $200 and $400. Dealers will be very reluctant to pull the top off a used Miata, since it adds so much value to the car. They will not (and can not) sell a hard top off a new car, since it's part of the window-sticker specified options!

Q) That's too much. Where can I get a used hard top?

A used top generally costs between $500 and $1500, depending on year and condition. However, the existence of the Spec Miata racing series (which requires OE hard tops) has been pushing the prices up over the last few years. Check on the Miata.Net Classifieds, your local club, and your newspaper. Look out for someone selling a car with a hard top and ask them if they want to part with it. Car-Part.Com allows you to search for hard tops at junkyards - search for a 1990-2004 Miata "Roof". Also check eBay but prices there tend to be higher than the other sources.

Go ahead and buy all the parts you'll need now, and install the striker plates, in case you have to drive and pick it up. The top will also fit in just about any minivan or pickup. The dimensions are 56" wide (across the widest point), 16 1/4" high (from the lowest to the highest point), 49 1/2" long (at the center).

Do not have it shipped if you can help it. The hardtop is bulky and fragile and it seems like they're always getting destroyed in transit. Most shipping insurance just pays by weight, not value, and the hard top is much more expensive than its weight would indicate.

Q) What's involved in getting a hard top painted?

Just about any body shop can paint a hard top, but some do a much better job than others. It's best to avoid national chains like Maaco and stick to smaller shops, especially those that have done this sort of work before. Ask around in your local Miata club or on the regional forums for a recommendation. A good paint job will cost about $400. Do not skimp, and be suspicious if the price is significantly less than that.

What you want to look for is a shop that will remove the window and hardware, sand and prime the top, and shoot and clearcoat it with the correct paint. Removing and reinstalling the window costs about $120 alone, since there is a non-reusable seal on it that costs $55. thread

Make sure they match the color, not just the paint code number, since the colors tend to change over time. For instance, folks have noticed that the newer Classic Red on the NB cars is slightly different from the older Classic Red on the NA, even though both have the same color code!

Another idea is posting to the Miata forum asking if anyone wants to trade hard tops. Lots of people have mismatched tops on their cars and don't want to spend the money to paint them. Maybe you'll get lucky!

Q) I'm racing in the Spec Miata series. What type of hard top do I need?

The series requires the Mazda Original Equipment top or no top at all. You will need to replace the latches with a more secure connector. You should look for an early (pre-'92) top since they don't have the extra insulation and defroster, which you don't need and probably don't want for weight reasons.

Q) Which roll bars will fit with a hard top?

I don't know of any roll bars that are too high for a hard top. The Hard Dog Hard Core is probably the tallest roll bar out there and it will not fit under a hard top. However, Hard Dog makes a hardtop version that does fit. Almost every other roll bar will not interfere with the use of the hard top. Some bars may block the side latches of the hardtop, but there are replacement latches that will allow them to work, too.


Using Miata Hard Tops


Q) How does the defroster work on the '92 and '93 cars?

These years did not have a separate switch for the hard top defroster. Whenever you turn on the fan, it also turns on the defroster for about 6 minutes. There is a little orange light above the fuel gauge that will light up when the rear defroster is on. If you don't like this behavior, you can modify it.

Q) How does the defroster work on the '94 through '97 cars?

There is a switch on the left side of the dash that turns the defroster on and off. These cars also have a light above the fuel gauge to show that it is working. There is no timer, however, so be sure you turn it back off again after using it!

Q) How does the defroster work on the '99+ (NB) cars?

There is a switch on the right side of the HVAC controls on the center dash panel. There is a light below it that lights up when the defroster is on. There is no timer, however, so be sure you turn it back off again after using it!

Q) My defroster light isn't coming on. What's wrong?

Assuming it is wired correctly (did it ever work?) make sure the pigtail is plugged in. The light will not come on with the defroster unplugged. Also, check the fuse (in the trunk by the antenna on NA cars). The NB has a heated glass window in the soft top, but this has an interlock to make sure you don't turn it on when the soft top is down. If the light isn't lighting up, make sure you plugged in the correct defroster pigtail.

Q) My defroster light IS coming on but my dash lights don't work!

Oops! The plug for the dash light dimmer looks just like the one for the defroster switch in the NA car. It sounds like the plugs are reversed! The dimmer should have the 3-wire connector in it, and the defroster should have the 5-wire plug. thread

Q) Can I add defroster elements to a pre-'92 hard top?

Yes, there are aftermarket elements that can fit. More info

Q) Can I add a headliner to my pre-'92 Miata hard top?

Yes. The Mazda part number is N0076803100, and it costs about $126. Motorsport (800-633-6331) also sells one, the part number is 80034001 and it costs $45.

Q) What are the two L-shaped brackets at the back/bottom of the hard top for?

These press against the soft top latches to keep the soft top from bouncing around when you drive with the hard top on. Note that these brackets are longer on the NB ('99+) hard top since the soft top latches were moved farther forward in the NB top.

Q) How can I easily/safely remove and install the hard top?

There are basically three ways: Ask a friend to help, try to lift it yourself, or get a hoist. The top only weighs about 45lbs, so it is possible for a single person to maneuver it. No matter which method you use, here's how to prepare the top for removal:

  1. Flip down the sun visors
  2. Unplug the defroster
  3. Unlatch the window header and side latches
  4. Tug the hard top at the back of the door opening to loosen the Frankenstein bolts

The best and safest way to remove the top is to have a friend help. Each person puts one hand right at the corner of the door window opening (that's the center of gravity) and lifts it off and over the front or back of the car.

You can do it yourself, but be careful! Stand in one open car door facing the top. Reach over the top, with one hand at the back of the top at the rear deck and the other at the front above the windshield header. Try to get your hands as close as possible to the centerline of the car. Now hug the top tightly (your neighbors will all now know how much you love your car) and lean back while standing up. You are now holding the top off the car and can place it where you like. The downside is that it's really hard to gently put the top down while holding it this way!

The third alternative is the hard top hoist. Mazda sold one at first (Part number 0000-88-5603), but it used plastic hooks to hold the top, and these had a tendency to break! So avoid this type. The aftermarket hoist sold by many Miata vendors uses a double loop of nylon webbing material to hold the top, which works much better. Shop around for this hoist - there's not much to it, and it often sells for $75 or less on sale. No matter which type you use, they attach to a garage ceiling joist with a single large threaded hook. Lots of folks improve on this by drilling horizontally through the joist and using a "bull ring". Also, it's a good idea to use a second rope (not included) to keep the top from swinging and rotating. Finally, you should consider building some sort of rack or hanger to hold the top if you intend to store it on the hoist. Also, you might consider one of the hard top covers if you store it on the hoist for a while.

Q) How can I store my hard top when I'm not using it?

Lots of places have special hard top carts. See Moss. Or you can build your own. Some folks also build special hangers in the garage.

Some also leave the top on their hard top hoist (Moss). Note that Moss Motors (a hoist retailer) recommends not leaving the top on the hoist, and early Mazda Original Equipment hoists had a tendency to break, dumping the top onto the car! If you do decide to leave it on the hoist (as many owners do), you should think about rigging up a secondary system of ropes to hold the top up if the hoist should fail.

Q) What's the best way to get the top back on?

The reverse of how you got it off! Seriously, make sure you flip down the sun visors and unlatch the latches all the way before putting the top back on. Also, be careful not to crimp the defroster pigtail when placing the top, and remember to plug it in! Press down (gently) on the rear brackets while pushing the top forward to engage the Frankenstein bolts, and then latch the front latches. Finally, latch the side latches and flip the visors back up.

Q) Should I use the top boot with the hard top on?

You definitely should use some sort of cover to protect the inside of the folded soft top from the sun. There are some aftermarket hard top boots available, or you can use the soft top boot. To use it just don't attach it at the back (do not use the plastic parts that clip around the rear rail) and be careful to not fold it wrong. It won't look right, but it'll work.

Q) Do I really need both the Frankenstein Bolts and side latches?

The top will stay on with either the Frankenstein Bolts or the side latchs in place but not both. You can probably drive this way for some time. However, it is really not a good idea. You're talking about hauling a large, expensive piece of plastic around at high speeds without it being properly secured. And the screws holding the latches and striker plates HAVE been known to work loose over time. How would you feel if your top flew off and caused an accident? Also, the top is bound to be less weather-tight without both attachments in place. I will not recommend using a hardtop like this. Install both and use them.

Q) I'm worried someone will steal my hardtop. What can I do?

This is a pretty new concern - most thieves don't know how valuable a hardtop is! But I have heard of thefts lately. There is a lock product available (click on hardtops). But I worry that a thief might just vandalize a car with such a lock. It's really impossible to secure a Miata, after all...


Repairing Miata Hard Tops


Q) How can I adjust the fit of my hardtop?

There is a procedure listed on the Forum. Basically, you open up the header latches and the Frankengrabbers and make sure the top is far enough forward. You can adjust the width a bit with a heat gun.

 

Q) My top is leaking at the windshield header and the guide pins that place the top are exposed. Help!

The two pins that make sure the top is in the right place are called "nipple guides" and cost about $5 each. The top will leak if they are damaged. The part number is NA01-R1-311. more info, parts

Q) My top is leaking at the rear window. Help!

This can be tough to fix. You should not use silicone because it will attract and hold moisture, possibly causing corrosion. Instead, you should have an auto glass shop remove the window and replace it with new sealant and possibly new moulding. Without removing the glass, you could use urethane sealant on the inside of the top to stop the leak. If done correctly, this should stop the leak. thanks to Michael Heinitz for this answer!

Q) What replacable parts are there?

Here are some parts that you can easily replace yourself:

Part NumberNameDescription
NC10-R1-881DWeatherstrip (R), Roof PanelDoor window weatherstripping
NC10-R1-891DWeatherstrip (L), Roof Panel
NA01-R1-864Sheet (R), Deck LockGasket inside the frankenstein grabber
NC10-R1-874Sheet (L), Deck Lock
NA01-R1-863Plate, Deck LockFrankenstein bolt grabber plate (same on both sides)
NA01-R1-89XBWeatherstrip, D. Top-RearRear weatherstripping

Q) My hard top is leaking! How do I fix it?

It depends on the leak. Header leaks are usually caused by misadjusted latches. There is another TSB on adjusting the door window glass. You may also have to adjust the top itself for width. More info is in this thread. There are also rare reports of rear-window leaks. These require a repair of the seal by a glass shop.

Q) The rear latches/clasps for the frankenstein bolts is broken. Can I get new ones?

Sadly, Mazda does not sell these separately! You should ask on the forum or at a junkyard for a broken hard top and get them there... If you just need the U-shaped piece that grabs the bolt, you can order it with part number NA01-R1-863.


Q) You don't know what you're talking about with this stuff.
How can I set you straight?

A) PLEASE contribute! If you have any more info, send it along! My email address is sfoskett@slf.gweep.net. This FAQ also has a home at slf.gweep.net.

Also, please note that all of this information applies to the US Miatas, but some may not be correct for the Miatas in other countries.


* OK, there have been a few Miata coupes made, but you don't have one of those. Really.



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