Soft Top Latch Fix
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Just after purchasing my first Miata I noticed how the soft top latches were drooping. One actually fell open while I was driving. I decided to take them off and see what I could do to fix them. After all, what good is a latch that will not latch?
The latch disconnect lever has a small tab molded onto one end that is supposed to keep the latch closed. The lever is made of soft metal like zinc, or aluminum and it had worn down to where it would not work.
I took the clip off the shaft holding the lever in and removed the lever and a spring. I took careful notice of how the spring was positioned so I could get it back together correctly later. It came apart very easily.
Next I had to decide how to fix it so it would stay latched. Since the lever needed to protrude further at the latch end, I decided to add a screw to it as the extension to make it latch more securely.
The piece was thick enough to drill a hole and tap it for an 8-32 Allen head screw so I drilled it and tapped it. I had to use Vise-Grip pliers to hold it securely while I drilled it on my small drill press. The hole must to be square with the surface at the end of the lever for the screw to fit flush.
I screwed an Allen head screw in and put the latch back together. The screw protruded too far for the latch to open. So, I removed the screw and ground off some of the Allen head until the latch would hold secure. It now opens when the lever is pushed in.
The latch holds better than new. It will not droop and sometimes takes extra effort to push it in far enough to open. Problem solved.