Sunday, June 8

When I finally got the package shelf carpet out yesterday a little 2 inch by 6 inch lozenge shaped fake leather cover for something was under it. The previous owner had put a fancy stereo in the car and also replaced the soft top with one that has a glass window with defrogging. This must have gotten mislayed during one of those adventures. But where does it go? Finally found its mate on the driver's side.

They just pop on and off. They're covers for the bolts that hold the brace bar that holds the mesh storage pouch that runs behind the seats.

Starting removal of the "brace bar" that runs across the width of the car behind the seats. This thing simply can't be structural! I don't know why they call it a brace bar. It should probably be called the speaker-holding-and-mesh-storage-pocket-supporting bar.

Next we need to get the quarter trim panels out. This was interesting. The trim panels are ingeniously designed to allow for their removal without having to touch the seat belt stuff which passes through them.

We start with this finishing piece on the top corner. Just two Phillips head screws -- one of which does double duty as a snap for the tonneau cover.

It takes a fair amount of wiggling to get these guys out!

This little clip that (when removed) allows the trim to be pulled past the seat belt is practically invisible. I really wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't been clued in by the shop manual.

Here's another kind of plastic clip. These work pretty well, you pry the central pin up and then the whole thing comes out.

When I took out the so-called brace bar I wondered why they didn't tell me to pull these screws and take the brace bar out with its brackets attached. That turned out to be a good question as I am now removing the brackets as a separate step.

This thing is ready to come out now. The spring clip that runs along the edge by the back of the door comes out and then voila! Well actually, no, first you do quite a bit of wiggling and rechecking the directions and pulling just a leetle bit harder and then a spring clip breaks off and THEN voila. But you get the idea...

Right about this point, Richard stopped by in his electric Saturn and we chatted a bit and talked about the clunking noise his car is making when he punches the accelerator. We took a little test ride and it definitely clunks. My best guess is something is very funky with his motor mounts -- he's worried it's the transmission. Can't really resolve this without putting the car up in the air and looking at it, by which I really mean probing at it with ones digits and pulling and heaving on the parts of a 3000 pound car suspended over one's noggin.

After Richard left to complete his original errand (grocery shopping) I forgot to take any more pictures. Tomorrow I'll snap some additional photos to show the rest of the soft-top removal process. It's pretty easy from here. With those plastic trim panels out of the way you gain access to the bolts that hold the main hinge plates. You also have to free-up the back edge of the top, but that's pretty easy.

Tomorrow I'm going to bring the seats back and do something I should have done prior to everything else. I need to get an accurate weight for the car! Richard suggested taking her down to a gravel supply place that's nearby and asking them to weigh her, but I want to try my own nefarious plan. (Queue diabolical laughter.)

Here's the photo's I should have included previously of the final steps in removing the soft top.