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I’m looking at buying a used hard top for my 2002 cabriolet. Other than cosmetics, what should I look for when buying a used hard top? Do I need to make any preparations to the car before installing it? I gather that they came with 2 different generations of connecting hardware and I know there’s supposed to be hardware on the car already (assuming it didn’t come with the hard top delete option). But I’m not sure how to tell if I already have the hardware I need. Also, will I have to adjust the hard top after installing it, and if so, where can I find instructions to do that?

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First thing first.  Pop the little plastic caps off the car and look inside to see if the mounting hardware is indeed in place.  It's clearly visible once the caps are off.  This will also tell you what style connector you need (bayonet or screw).  To install, it couldn't be easier.  Lower all side windows. With the little round caps off the car, simply lift the roof over, front edge first, so the hooks engage the windshield frame, then lower into the receiver connector.  Tighten the rear connector (about 1/4 turn for bayonet, tighten to specified torque for screw type), then fasten the front clamp.  You can now roll up the side windows (note, the little rear ones will not come up unless the front latch is latched).  

 

Adjustment once installed is a bit of a mystery, at least to me.  I haven't found a true factory spec as of yet.  It doesn't fit down tight, if it does, adjust it up a bit, or it will scratch your clamshell.  Maybe 6-10mm clear of the clamshell.  I'd also suggest you treat all the rubber seals on the top and windshield frame with Gummy Phledge or something similar to lubricate and soften...helps reduce squeaking.

 

Looking at the top, look for the trim bits that clip over the rear latching bits (look like speaker grills).  These as well as the forward latch cover are often missing, but not critical.  Other than that, look at the liner condition and obviously paint.  Beware the rear window at the very bottom is nearly impossible to get clean, due to zero clearance.

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