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Hard top

This component is part of Tops.

Definition

The hard top of the car was designed as an integral part of the Pagoda. It is both very strong, and has safety features afforded by its high all-round visibility. The glass in the side windows is very tall, thus leading to the typical Pagoda look.

Weight: 49 Kg (108 lbs)

A number of optional items were available for the hard top, such as:

  • a very rare sun roof
  • chrome trim bars (for attachment of a factory roof rack)
  • rear window heating

Glass could be plain or tinted.

The top in the picture below has the very rare sunroof and the more usual chrome trim bars for attachment of a factory roof rack.

Repair the quarter windows of the SL Hardtop

The following PDF has instructions on how to replace/repair the quarter windows of the SL Hardtop, a Service Bulletin Supplement 79-10:

Restoring the Pagoda Hardtop

By Gernold Nisius, Originally for Star Magazine, March/April 1994


Heavy hardtop requires strong support

Evolution of Mercedes-Benz hardtop/softtop configurations began with the so-called combination coupe of the 1930s. The first post-war production model with a hardtop was the 190SL, followed by the 300SL Roadster. These 1950s single-shell hardtops were likely designed after the car was already drawn; they seemed to be almost afterthoughts. The first SL designed with a hardtop in mind was the 113 chassis 230SL.

Major differences between the 190/300SL hardtop and the 230/250/280SL top are the shape and the means of attachment and sealing to the body. The 230SL hardtop is in every way superior to the former versions and is an obvious result of designing body and top together. This design was subject to safety aspects and proved to be well beyond the standards of the period. Rigid double-wall construction with large glass area for excellent all-around visibility resulted in a heavy, somewhat over-engineered hardtop. The name "pagoda" originated from the low center and high side lines of this design, which remind one of a oriental pagoda roof.

Due to its thorough construction, restoration of this top is complex and time consuming. The later W107 SL hardtop is easier to restore, since it is built with about half as many parts as a W113 hardtop. For example, headliner installation can take up to 20 hours on a 230SL compared to about 5 on a 450SL.


Figure 1: Fitting the hardtop's trim pieces properly is key


Disassembly

The first step is preparation of the work area, which should include two saw horses, electric or air drill, putty knife, scissors, masking tape, carpet knife, and common hand tools. Materials needed are listed at the end of this article and depend on the extent of restoration.

Cover the top of the saw horses with a blanket or other non-abrasive material and position them 32 inches (80cm) apart. Now, place the top upside down on the saw horses. If your top doesn't have the two optional chrome bar for the ski/luggage rack, be extra careful. Since the hardtop is very heavy, safely positioning it requires two people. All work except removal of the top chrome bars and the rear glass can be done in the upside-down position.

Every part removed from the hardtop should be marked left and right accordingly. Begin disassembly by removing all rubber gaskets, i.e. the top to windshield seal, the door glass seals, and the rear top to body seal. Since there are so many different moldings on this hardtop, we will refer to Figure 1 and use the numbers there for better understanding.


The wood trim

Remove the rear lower chrome molding (12) and the wood trim (14) around the rear glass seal.

Once the chrome trim (12) is removed, you will find two sheet metal screws in each lower corner of the chrome surrounding the rear glass (10). After removing the screws, pry out the trim with a wooden wedge. Now the rear glass can be removed.


Figure 2: Removing the quarter window rubber

The factory used plenty of sealer on the rear glass seal. Over time this dries to a stone-hard mass, which can make removal difficult. To avoid breaking the glass (tinted glass is very expensive), cut the seal on the inside around the headliner with a carpet knife, which makes it easier to press out the glass. Cutting the seal will ruin the headliner, so this is only recommended if the liner is to be replaced. If you need to keep the headliner intact, use silicone spray between the seal and the liner. Glass removal can be done in the upside down position but is much easier if you turn the top right side up.

With the top upside-down, remove the front locking devices (29) and the weatherstrip channels (In, 19). Next detach the front chrome surround (2) by removing the center dip (3), the sheet metal screws inside the seal channel, and the two screws on each side which were exposed after removal of the weatherstrip channels. These two screws are often hidden by caulking material applied during top assembly. The same material causes the chrome pieces to stick to the top as if cemented in place, so they need careful loosening when being detached.



Figure 3: The glass can be pried out of it's channel

The most difficult part of disassembly is removal of the quarter windows. See Figures 1 and 2. The procedure is the same on the left and right side, starting with removal of the chrome trim piece (25) which comes off with the inserted rubber spacer (24). Next, remove the long rubber spacer (23). Use silicone spray or a similar lubricant to loosen the glass with its seal inside the channel. When the glass moves freely in the channel, cut the seal with a carpet knife and pull it out completely. Then take a wooden or plastic wedge and pry the glass out of the channel as shown in Figure 3. Don't worry too much about breaking the glass when prying it out of this channel. I have removed plenty of them and never broken one so far!

Next, remove the glass channel (18). Then take off the lower trip molding (13) by removing the three sheet metal screws on the bottom then prying the narrow lip over the ridge used to position the glass seal. Don't pry from the bottom up; this will only bend and eventually destroy the molding. Last, remove the chrome trim (26) and the rim molding (4).



Figure 4: Hardtop latch and release mechanism

Now, start peeling off the headliner material in the front, where the top releases were, and expose the metal strip below. This strip makes the division between the front dam and the actual headliner. Remove the overhead handles (27) on the left and right by prying away the chrome covers and exposing the sheet-metal screws. Peel off the liner all around the outer edges and detach the cardboard-type retainers in the quarter sections. After folding the liner toward the center, pry out the rods on the outside, then the rear, and finally the center ones.

If the headliner will be re-used, fold it and put it in a safe place. To remove the lower release handle shown in Figure 4, carefully grind away the tapped end on one side and remove the sleeve which is pushed over the pin. If you are unable to drive out the pin with a center punch, use a drill. Be careful not to generate too much heat by drilling, as this will melt the plastic cone. Unfortunately the pin is no longer available from the factory, so you will have to make a pin and two sleeves for each handle or find someone to do so. (A kit is available which includes one pin, two sleeves, and the plastic cone for $48.) After pulling out the handle, carefully remove the nut holding the bearing part of the mechanism.

Now you can peel off the vinyl/leather trim around the lower edge. If your top has the optional chrome bars, their removal is the last step of disassembly. The top is now ready for paint removal and evaluation. Check for rust in the lower wings and beneath the optional chrome bars.

Re-Assembly

After the top is painted, you should install the chrome bars first and use sealer around the screws to keep out water. If you get a leak through the bars onto the liner, you'll have to disassemble and re-assemble the entire top to fix the problem. Next, put the top in the upside-down position. Protect the inside between the double sections, especially the lower wings, with body wax.



Figure 5: Protect lower wings with body wax

Assembly is essentially the opposite of the strip down, but a few things should be noted. First, install the vinyl or leather covering and the release handles. Use 1/4-inch foam underneath the trim, and if you changed the top color, check for the correct matching vinyl or leather. Next, glue 1/4-inch foam under the entire headliner area; trim the edges so that no foam will be visible later.

If a new headliner is to be installed, insert the vertical rods first, then position the headliner inside the top and attach the two center rods. Next insert the rear rod and attach it to the top. Then stretch the liner into place before attaching the outer rods. Now glue in the liner, starting at the front and doing the rear quarters last. On the short channel, use plastic inserts instead of the usually deteriorated cardboard strips. Lay out the front dam covering upside-down, and center the material before attaching the metal strip. If you haven't done so already, cover this area with foam, too.

Then fold over the headliner material and glue it in place, making sure the fold is in the cavity where the front seal meets the door seal. Don't cut the holes for he front locks yet. Install the overhead handles (27) now because you still may need to lift the liner material to find the clips holding the screws. Next, install the front left and right right trim molding (2). A urethane compound is recommended between molding and top to seal out moisture. Use the same compound to attach the center piece.



Figure 6: Headliner is held in place by rods, then glued and trimmed


Now install the left and right rear trim molding (4) using strip caulk. Do not use dark-colored sealer on this molding because it may squeeze onto the headliner and would be verve hard to remove without traces. Strip caulk is closest to the original puttv-tvpe sealer. When installing the quarter windows, use plenty of sealer in the corners and make sure the lower trim molding (13) is seated correctly. Install the rest of the chrome channels and insert the rubber seals.

Turn the top right side up to install the rear glass. Trim the headliner around the edges, and make sure it is properly glued in place. Install the glass seal, and applv sealer around the edge on the hardtop; use plenty of sealer on the lower part next to the vinyl covering. Insert a wire in the seal to pull the lip around the edge and install the rear glass. Since the seal is not wrapped around at the bottom, make sure it is seated properly there.



Figure 7: Latch and overhead grab handles are now in place

After the glass is seated correctly, install the chrome around the glass (10); remember the two sheet-metal screws in the lower corners. If the retaining clips don't hold the chrome trim in place properly, use a center punch to slightly flatten the clips.

Turn the top upside-down again for the final steps. The rear lower molding is pushed into the seal, preventing the glass from popping out. To avoid scratching the paint when installing the molding, mask off the area that meets the paint. Install the wood trim, using a thin rod to find the screw holes.

The last step is to cut the holes for the front locking devices in the headliner. Since the lock can be be moved for adjustment, don't cut the opening the size of the stamped hole in the top. Insert the locking device with the high crown facing the rear, and hand-tighten the screws. Mount the top on the car, make sure the locks are in the proper position, then tighten the screws. Check all moldings for excess sealer, and clean up thoroughly. Brake cleaner removes fingerprints from the headliner, but always test a scrap piece to be sure the cleaner doesn't harm the headliner.



Figure 8: Wood trim and all windows are back in place

Parts & Material

A new Pagoda hardtop is no longer available from the factory; used ones generally cost $500-2,000 (1994 prices), depending on condition and year. Remember, a U.S. 1971 280SL had a heated rear window as standard equipment. A fully restored hardtop can be expensive, depending on the amount of chrome to be replaced with factory new parts. Almost all chrome pieces are presently available from the factory, but if you bought all of them, you'd spend roughly $4,000 (1994 prices). Because of this, you are advised to find a decent plating company and have the pieces re-chromed, which can get you by at perhaps half the cost.

As this is written, headliners are still available from the factory in all three original colors for $80. Color codes needed when ordering are 8036 for creme, 8038 for light bamboo, and 9002 for white. A set of clear glass runs around $475, with tinted glass between S800 and $1,000 (heated). Current retail price of a complete factory seal kit is $465.

Restoring a 230/250/280SL hardtop requires 40-50 hours, not including stripping and painting. Considering this and the parts prices gives you a good idea of the value of a properly restored hardtop. The author has so far restored more than a dozen pagoda hardtops and owns a fully restored sun roof version.

Material

  • Body wax, Mercedes-Benz part number 000 986 3370
  • Universal adhesive, part number 000 98M 8271
  • Urethane sealer, cartridge type, sold in automotive supply houses
  • Strip caulk, 3M part number 08578 black, 08575 while
  • Sheet metal screw, part 007 982 002 212, need 40 per top
  • Sheet metal screw, part 007 982 003 215, need 40 per top
  • Sheet metal screw, part 007 982 002 220, need 2 per top;
  • Countersunk screw, part 007 9S7 004 119, need 10 per top;
  • Countersunk screw, part (X)7 987 005 114 (only with optional chrome bars), need 12 per top.

Other parts, such as chrome and headliners, are sold by Mercedes-Benz dealers and independent parts sources.

Gernold Nisius owns SL-Tech in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Hard Top Latch


Hard top latch


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I can lift the hard top up about 1/4 - 1/2 inch when it's tied down.

I put shims in the two side latches, a washer as I recall, and that tightened up the top just fine.

Does anyone know how to remove the handles on the hardtop that hold it down to the body? These are the units that have a conical shaped piece of white plastic under the top itself, with a 1/8" piece of round steel about half inch long running thru it. This setup rotates and serves as the hold down piece once swung into position after the hardtop is placed on the car. I tried to hammer out the 1/2" piece of steel...but she won't budge. I wish to have the handles re-chromed, but may have to settle for a polishing if can't get the units (left and right) off the top.

These handles are a little problematic. The pins are made up of a 4mm steel inner portion with outer sleeves at both ends. You should gently drive out the inner pin, then the outer sleeves will come off. I drilled out the pin and had to make a suitable replacement. Don't hammer around too much because the base of the handles is easy to break off.

I am acquiring new weather stripping for my hard top and plan to install it this weekend. I'm concerned, not only with the installation, but the removal of the old rubber. Has anyone done it? Any Suggestions?

If you're talking about the seal between the top and the body I did this about 2/3 yrs. ago. If I remember correctly the old seal has to be scraped out. I used a variety of tools from screw drivers to scrapers. The new seal was simple to install merely pressing it into the channel. Again this is from memory and some times it gets a little fuzzy, but I do not remember it as being onerous.

Use 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner, Part No. 051135 – 08984 and Super Weatherstrip Adhesive (black) - Part No. 051135 – 08008 for the removal and installation of the old and new seal. Be very careful with some types of adhesive remover... (not the 3M product) - it may work as well for stripping paint! I accidentally discovered this when removing adhesive from chrome parts, etc. Bubbled the paint right off where it touched any.

This 3M stuff does not remove paint. I was replacing the rubber seal around the cowl vent. I ripped off the old seal then scrubbed the old rubber adhesive right off the vent using an old cotton t-shirt and the paint never changed. Actually, I did it twice because I put the seal on upside down the first time and had to get another seal and do it again.

A small but vexing problem: where do I get the correct (in size, anyway) rubber washer that fits between the hardtop and the windshield header (and through which the fastening pin fits)?? I have used, for the past 20 years or so, the rubber washers used inside garden hose nozzles but they aren't quite right. There must be a better way. Any suggestions?

I got them via Star Quality about 2 yrs. ago.

(On hardtop headliner cleaning / dyeing:) The best cleaner I have used on vinyl throughout my 280SL has been a liquid cleaner called Lestoil. Use it directly on just about anything. I suggest you scrub it in and rinse it off. I also suggest that you wear plastic gloves when using this product. It is a great cleaner but, it did not help significantly on my headliner. I also had a problem with dust coming down from my headliner so I replaced the headliner. The headliner is available in several colors. The headliner itself is inexpensive, approximately $100. The problem is installing the new headliner. I understood that most of the hardtop window seal needed to be removed to install a new headliner but, I found a local shop that replaced the headliner without removing the seals. he also installed insulation to deaden outside sounds. I hope this information is helpful.

I tried the dye from leatherique, and it is very easy and original in appearance. It has been years since the application, and it is holding up very well.

I am looking at renovating my hardtop, and the quarter window gaskets are crystalized and need replacing. Has anyone tackled the job - how difficult is it?

Rodd says: I was just looking through my blue MB shop manual and I saw that hard top quarter window replacement is covered in that manual. It does not look that hard, but nothing really does in the manual. If you don't have this manual (or the CD), I recommend you call 1-800-FOR-MERC or your local dealer and purchase one. They are full of detail on all kinds of work.

As Rodd says, this is covered in the BBB. However, it is hard -- for one thing, you probably have to take off some of the chrome, which on mine at least, MB put on never intending for it to be removed (the glue turns to iron). Also, the BBB tells you to take off the pins which hold on the hardtop, which alone can be very hard, but luckily this isn’t necessary just for removing the windows. Some time ago, Gernold Nisius at SLTech (Gernold@s...) wrote a very good article covering all steps in renovating the hardtop. The part on the quarter windows includes what the BBB says plus some extra useful details. He has recently updated the article, but I believe at the moment has only a German version. Anyway, you might want to contact him. I haven't yet gotten my quarter windows back in, and this may well be the hardest part of the job. The problem is that the clearances are very tight. Gernold did say, though, that he has never broken one of the windows.

I want to replace all of my seals but afraid I may break the trim or glass. While part of the instructions are in one of the MB Service CD's, they are not very complete. This would be a great "how to" that could be stored permanently.

The replacement of the front seal, the side window seals and the rear seal are very easy and straight foward once you have the top removed and upside down. I have no idea how to do the seals on the glass.

I disassembled the hard top to get to the roof garnish and also to redo the headliner, chrome and rubber. I would not want to do a hardtop again, it is almost as difficult to take apart as to assemble, the quarter windows are tough!

The MBCA’s Star magazine did an article on rebuilding the hardtop in 1991. It helped a lot when I rebuilt my hardtop.

I had a new headliner put in and all the hardtop rubber replaced, and the professionals told me the quarter windows were a nightmare...

Even after cutting out the quarter glass rubber I had a heck of a time removing the glass. Putting them back in is even tougher because you need to spray silicone to lubricate the rubber and try to keep the new headliner clean at the same time.

I am in the process of preparing my hard top for new paint. I am having some issues with removing the chrome trim. at this point I have not tried anything hoping to get some insight from someone that has completed this before. Any and all help would be great.

I decided to leave my chrome on the hard top. The painter did a fine job taping it from spray. No problems and it looks great.

Just an update on my hard top restoration. this weekend I accomplished allot, I removed all of the exterior trim except for the two roof rails. I removed both side windows and evaluated the structural condition of most of the top. Surprisingly the metal is still in very good condition. The only rust I have found is at the lower left corner just under the chrome trim, sure am glad I decided to strip this top all the way instead of just painting around all of the chrome (or I would be back at this in about 6 months to a year). I do want to say that so far it is not very hard to take it all apart but I don't know if it will be this easy to reassemble. I am not looking forward to installing the side windows. I will let you all know how it works out in the end. All this said it brings me to my question, I am asking now before I buy my weather stripping: should I stay away from any one supplier or if anyone knows of the best supplier/price for a full tops kit? And the same for a new headliner. I just can’t bring my self to put any of the old parts back in for as mush work that was involved in taking it all apart. Any tips or input might save me from making any mistakes.

Just completed a total restoration of the hardtop (chemical stripping down to the bare metal) and the quarter windows was the toughest part of the job. When you get to that part, I suggest that you hire an auto window installer to moonlight for you. The key to getting the window in was the suction grip and the special plastic tools that he had to put the weatherstripping in place. Also check your quarter window trim when you receive it. One of my quarter window seals had apparently been sitting in the parts bin so long, the rubber cemented joints had deteriorated and come apart. Be sure eveything is soft, plyable and the rubber cemented joints are solid.

Are all hard tops for the 113 "Pagoda" tops? If not are the hard tops interchangeable? Also, is it possible to trace (through vin #)whether a car was originally a Roadster/coupe/"pagoda car"/california car?

Yes, all the hard tops are the same "Pagoda" style. You need the car's data card to find out what original options/ tops it had.

Peter Ruehl: some quick facts about the hard tops and options connected with it: the pagoda shaped hard top was "the hard top" for W113 and gave the whole car the name. It was always available with and without the chrome rails. This rails are only to fix either the ski racks or the luggage rack. Both are fixed with special brackets. A survey done by a German car magazine at the end of 1965 gives a hint about how many cars were sold as which version in Germany (between 1963 and 1965). The facts show that almost each a third of the production sold as: a) Roadster with soft top only, b) Roadster with soft and hard top, c) Coupe with removable (hard) top (the so called "California"). In those years most cars with hard top were ordered with a different color for the top. So the body paint would be the same as the rims and the hard top color would match the caps. No word about the number of chrome rails in the German survey. I personally have the feeling that the number of Coupes was decreasing during the years and more cars were ordered with hardtop as an option to the roadster. A few years ago the luggage rack and the ski racks could still be ordered at Oris (also built the hitch for the 113) who was producing them for MB.

The dust from the top lining an be maddening. The only way I was able to get rid of it was to have a new liner installed. The liner is inexpensive and can be ordered but, the installation can be difficult. I was advised that the hardtop windows would need to be removed in order to install the headliner. I found someone experienced with our cars that was able to replace my headliner without removing the windows. The cost was dramatically less and the headliner is perfect.

Lifting the hardtop

I am thinking about a hard top hoist for the top of my 250SL. There is a company (www.eztop.com) that sells such things and they actually look quite nice. They are using sheep skin pads that reach from underneath to the inside of the top to lift it. I don't like the idea that the top is sitting on these pads for months since I assume that it will leave marks on the interior cover of the top. Now I am thinking of building my own hoist, using roof rack feet mounted to the gutters of the top to lift it. This might be a little bit more effort to attach the hoist to the top, but I won't change from hard top to soft top very often so this should not be a problem. I checked at http://www.thule.com but there are different types of these feet (normal and for cars with thin gutters).

I've been using a manual Sto' Away hoist/storage rack for 2 years, and I love it. It secures the roof with 2 sturdy metal shelves, padded with soft foam rubber. The hoists that store the roof hanging by a belt make me VERY nervous! Especially considering the massive weight of our steel Pagoda tops...

I've been using a manual hardtop hoist for over a year now. It is a different kind from the two that have been described. I bought it on the web. I cannot remember the company right now, but I do remember that the whole thing was $150. It uses 4 straps (one each for front, back, left, and right) with hooks that grab the lower edges of the hardtop. The hardtop rests on little patches of sheepskin covering the inside of the hooks. Nothing touches the interior of the hardtop. No scratches and it seems very secure.

I have a STO' AWAY and I am very happy with it. It has a web instead of rope or cable. This keeps it from spinning. If you build your own remember how heavy the top is. Especially if it will live hanging over your car. The "sto’ away" has a great resting system for keeping it to the ceiling. Even if a earthquake hits, this I tested. I think it was $200. It is advertised in the STAR with the other brand. It also has an optional bag.

I made my own hoist using a piece of 1x4 wood that I drilled two holes in to accept the male end of the lock down right behind the door. This seems to be the balancing point of the hard top. I then used nylon webbing and another piece of wood over the roof with appropriate padding. This second piece of wood keeps the straps away from the hard top. I then used two simple hooks on ropes to keep the top from tipping front to rear. A couple double pulleys completed the job and the top is hanging up. Cost me about $25 and a couple hours to make. To remove the top you simply put the wood under the top one side at a time, connect the straps and lift it up. To put it on you just lower it and slide out the wood and disconnect the strap.

Bob Smith: I was given a hand winch (with a stainless steel wire). I am looking at making a hard top removable unit of some sort. I am thinking of using ratchet tie down straps with hooks that look to be about right for the top. These are available in different weight ratings. This is a easy question. What does the hard top weigh?

I read somewhere that it weighs about 70kg = 140lbs. So, a 150 or 200kg winch should do it fine.

I lifted one of a car by myself. It can't weigh that much. I would guess about 100 Lbs.

165 lbs. is the figure i've seen quoted.

Hans in Stockholm: weight of the W113 Hard Top is 46 kilos.

The Tabellenbuch passenger cars lists for the 250 and 280 SL weight with hardtop and folded softtop 1405 kg weight and without hardtop 1320 kg. Therefore, the hardtop should weigh 85 kg (188 US lbs.)

I will go along with the guys that guess around 120 -140 lbs. But if you have a strap used as a harness around the top and the strap is pulled at an angle ( to meet in the center for a single drop) the load is far greater than the top weight itself. Depending on the angle it could be three times or more! I bought a lift for less than$300. and it is safe to work under and wont harm the top. My lift uses 2" seatbelt strapping as a harness.

Doug: the figure of 165 lbs. is lodged in my head for some reason; I know I read it somewhere, but I can’t find the source. Here's another # on the heavy side from page 83 of Frank Barrett's "Mercedes-Benz buyer's guide:""add 176lb for hardtop, 88lb for automatic transmission". All I can say is that it sure feels like 165+ lbs!

I've weighed mine before and it is actually just over 100 lbs (though it certainly seems much heavier when lifting it onto the car!!!)

Bob Smith: I just used a winch, pulley, eye bolt, and some 2 inch wide webbing through some steel rings and knotted. The webbing was easy to slip under the hard top and the knots in the webbing tightened as I raised the winch. Seems too simple. I was initially worried that the webbing was going to rub on the paint but on the hard top it only rubs on the chrome. Next I will tie a small restraining rope to the side loop to stop it from turning.

Does anyone have any advice on using a electric or manual hoists. When you store your hard top for long periods of time,hanging in the air, does it damage the inside head liner material. Which manufacturer do you feel makes the best product. Also is the electric much easier for one person to operate, than the manual hoist!

I use the EZ-top hoist made in Houston, TX. It's a bit pricey (about $600), but works extremely well. As long as you place the lifting pads correctly, you shouldn't have any problems with damage to the headliner. There are other electric and manual hoists available; I'm sure you'll get lots of help from other members on the site.

I've had mine for about 13 years - manual (though the mfr is not identified on the unit, and I can no longer remember exactly where I got it (mail order, I think, from one of the SL specialists). Hardly worth buying the electric unit, as the manual one is quite easy to use (and, probably more easily controlled to protect against damage). Mine lives in a heated garage and though there is some brown tinting around the edge of the hardtop headliner, I do not ascribe that to its hanging on the hoist in the garage during the spring/summer/fall. Key item: make damn certain that you are hanging both the overhead pulley and the crank mechanism SOLIDLY into beams/joists and not into something that will not take the weight. Consequences of failing to do so are too horrible to discuss here in a family-oriented club list server.

I have an electric hardtop hoist from:

 Sto'Away
 15058 Sierra Bonita Lane
 Chino, CA 91710
 909 597 7730

(since I have it since 1995, the address may have changed). The headliner is never touched by this system. During stowage, the hardtop rests on two padded platforms. It is an easy and quick one-man operation if you can drive the car under the hoist. It should not make a big difference if it were manual instead of electric, but electric may be faster.

I have pulley system installed with help of a sailor. Its ok but if I could find a purpose built hoist here in Europe I would get it. Does anyone have an address? If not well I could order one from elsewhere. Addrsses and emails would be helpful.

Recently there was a question on where to get a hoist for hard top removal. I purchased mine from http://www.capitolwest.com/ and have been pleased with it it is a manual hoist and cost about $165.

Have you thought of buying a hand winch, some seat belt webbing , an eye bolt, some loops etc and making your own? That is what I did and it works just fine. The hard top just hangs there. I looped a couple of strings to the hard top and tied them to loops on the wall of the garage to stop the top from swinging around. Of course you can lower the hard top to the floor and store it elsewhere. These hard tops weigh about 100kg. To test it before trying the hard top, you can hang yourself off the end of the cable and see if it will carry your weight. The winches can hold about 1000 Kg minimum. Most of the bits and pieces I mentioned can be bought from hardware stores OR marine equipment suppliers. One point to remember is that marine suppliers put a premium on their prices and often only sell stainless steel fittings. If you don't want all the bother of shopping around, then a commercial unit will be the way to go. Installation of a home-made unit will be similar to installing a commercial unit. There have been posts in the past that discussed these commercial units.


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