Installing a Robbins Top for Your Convertible - Part Two, The Install
In the second of a two-part guide on replacing your convertible top with a new Robbins top, forum member Cyclon36 offers his step-by-step guide for installing the new top. This is, of course, assumes that you have read Part One and are now topless.
In with the new
Back in 2006, S2KI forum member Cyclon36 put together a how-to guide on installing a brand new Robbins top on your S2000. His instructions and images were extremely comprehensive and appreciated by forum members. Twelve years later, we are bringing it back for anyone who may have missed it. A lot can happen to your S2000 over twelve years and it seems probable that a few of you have been dying to swap out your convertible top for a new one. Last week we shared instructions for removing your old top. Today, we will show you how to add a brand new Robbins top.
Once you have completed The Removal of your old top, go to the rubber water guard that was at the rear of the old top. Start drilling out all of the old rivets.
Be careful not to heat up the rivets too much as they'll melt through the rubber piece.
Then, find the hardware bag that came with the top. It would be a good idea to buy a few extra of the larger rivets. They are available at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, or other hardware stores.
Start installing the rear of the new top into the original water guard and riveting it on using the smaller rivets. Make sure to only rivet through the holes that are available. Pay close attention as to what holes need a rivet, and what holes need to be left empty so you can attach it to the car. It's best if you use a pen to mark the attachment holes prior to drilling out the rivets.
I found that the larger rivets hold the two halves better so I went out and bought extra ones. Buy washers that fit them as well so the rivets don't pull through the rubber. Some of the original rivet holes will not be used because of the way the new top is made. Don't worry about how tight everything is as the rivets are not meant to be the strongest point.
Once the water guard is attached, put a blanket over the rear of your car to protect the paint.
Please Note: The next few steps outline installing new front straps on the car. Robbins does not always include these in the top kits. However, you can easily make your own just by buying some elastic from a local fabric store or Wal-Mart.
Drill out the existing rivets on the top straps.
Then remove the rivet remains by uncapping the end of the bar and blowing them out the other side.
Rivet the new elastic straps to the original locations using the original metal brackets and the supplied rivets.
Then, mark holes for the retrofit straps per the instructions in the top box. The retrofit straps should be one-half inch away from the elastic straps. The new Robbins tops are coming with all the straps already joined together which will save you some drilling and riveting.
Pro Tip: For a cleaner install, rivet the retrofit straps to the back of the elastic straps using the metal plate to sandwich them all together. It will leave more room for the new top to install into the lock channels properly.
Drill the frame and attach the straps with the rivets as per the instructions provided.
Make sure to attach the straps to the back of the bar. If the rivets or the straps are on the top surface, it will wear on the new top.
Next comes the difficult part. Place the top upside down on the trunk ready for install.
Flip it over onto the top frame and start pushing the rubber water guard onto its mounting pegs. They can be hard to push through in some areas and it helps to have someone hold the top off of you while you push the rubber guard into place.
Next, fold the top mechanism halfway back. Take the long straps and attach them to the mounting peg directly behind them in front of the rubber guard. While keeping the strap in place, replace the metal trim pieces onto the metal pegs. Place the nuts on right away to keep it from falling off, but don't tighten them just yet.
Once all the pieces are on, start tightening the nuts. Tighten the center one first and move outside from there.
Start folding the top over the rails. Begin by taking the two flaps towards the back of the top, velcro them together, put them over the rearmost bar and go under the second bar, and insert the plastic edge into the metal trim strip. The rearmost bar should not be inside the two flaps.
Do the same thing with the second section as well for the third bar from the back.
Next, take the tension cables removed from the old top. Hook the spring with the white loop on the new top. Pass the cable from top to bottom by pulling it through with the string. Attach the spring at the top.
Pull from the bottom. Once the tension cable is through the new top, pass the spring through the oval opening on the top frame.
And reattach it to with the large screw.
Take the lower corner that goes next to the window of the new top and insert a screw through the bottom side. This was the screw covered in foam on the old top. There should be a hold in the plastic backing for the screw to pass through, but not in the material part.
Take the metal clip and reinstall it just as you removed it. This is one of the most difficult parts of the install because of the area available to work in. It really helps to have a ratcheting screwdriver that's really, really short. A screwdriver attachment for a ratchet might even be better.
There is also a lot of pulling and stretching going to get the top to fit right and pull the corner into place.
Next, rivet the top of the tension cable back into place using one of the large rivets. You might need to drill the hole a bit to get it to fit.
It's all downhill from here. Start putting the trim pieces back just as you took them off. Don't worry about closing the top just yet. Pay attention to the rubber molding pieces as they can be hard to snap back in and can fall out if you're not careful. Also, remove the two inner tonneau cover metal clips on the back of the roll hoop. DO NOT FORGET TO DO THIS WITH THE GLASS TOP CONVERSION. The inner two attachment points interfere with the glass top folding all the way down. Install the interior just as you removed it. Everything will be more of a pain to put back in now b/c the top will be there covering up the back. The rear tray might need to be fed in through the back. You can do this by removing the covers over the spare tire.
After all the trim is back into place and you have your car back together, fold the top up to close it. Since it is new, it will not close all the way. It is best if it's a warm day or if the top is warm. If it's cool, run your heat on for a while to warm up the new top. Once it's warm, do your best to push the top down and latch it into place (this usually requires two people). Once latched, leave your top latched for about a week to let it stretch into place. If you can park it outside on a sunny day to warm it up, it is preferred.
And you're done!