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Thread: Fitting (stretching) new soft top

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Jedi Warrior Nelson's Avatar
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    Fitting (stretching) new soft top

    I have a new soft top for my Mk 2 Sprite but it is too tight to be able to hook onto the rear mounts when it is fitted to the windshield. It has been sitting in the warm sun for an hour but I still can't pull it enough to get it mounted. Are there any tricks to get it to stretch a little more? It seems to be about a half inch shy of being able to hook under the rear mounts. Would it be better to attach the rear first and try to get the bar into the windshield groove with the rear attached?
    Nelson
    Original owner '62 Mk 2 Sprite aka Little Mo

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    Yoda Trevor Jessie's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting (stretching) new soft top

    Is your roll bar getting in the way?
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    Jedi Warrior Nelson's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting (stretching) new soft top

    The top bow bars are above my roll bar. There is plenty of space above the roll bar. I have released the spring latches but the bow barely moves up. I'm trying to put as much tension on the top as I can to force it to stretch Of course the bows are compressed when I try to put the top onto the hooks.
    Nelson
    Original owner '62 Mk 2 Sprite aka Little Mo

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    Yoda RickB's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting (stretching) new soft top

    I was under the impression that the back should be slid under the clips first.
    That's the way I've done it. If it's supposed to go front first I'll do that from now on.
    Mine was also very tight, MK2 Sprite as well.
    I started with the bows in their lowest position with the springs compressed and the tabs (ears) turned to the side. Also the hinge part where it opens up forward not engaged so it only had to go over one bow - made up of the two tubes together.
    I hooked it over the rear deck connections, over the roll bar and bow and then to the front studs. After sitting in the sun for a while it stretched and I could get the front bar under the lip of the windscreen. Then I released the springs and opened the front hinge of the bow.
    It did take a lot of tugging and pulling, worrying that I might rip something.
    It finally went on, very taut, and that's where it's stayed.
    Hopefully by next spring it will have relaxed itself a bit and be easier.
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    Jedi Warrior Nelson's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting (stretching) new soft top

    I just looked in my owner's manual and it says to do the rear first. I haven't tried it with the front part of the bows nonextended so I'll give that a try and see what I can do. Today is supposed to be the last warm day so I'd like to get the top to fit now. I'm also considering trimming the bottom of the bows by a small amount just so the top would be able to attach then at a later date, once the top has stretched, putting the bows back to their original length.
    Nelson
    Original owner '62 Mk 2 Sprite aka Little Mo

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    Jedi Knight smaceng's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting (stretching) new soft top

    Everyone I have talked to has the problem you are having! I mean everyone. When installing the top, I was sure that it was too small. Ready to call the vendor, in UK. I left it in the sun, streached it, pulled it, thought about cutting some off the end of the bows, etc. In the end, it all worked and I got it on. The springs in the bows don't make much differnce. I also used a heat gun to speed the warming process. The interesting thing is that when do we need the top? In the winter, when it rains. When is it cold and cloudy, in the winter. No sun. The other possibility, like most of the farmers do, just wait 'til spring!
    Scott in CA
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