Hints and tips for fitting rear roof panel.
I have just fit a new rear screen panel on the Spider I recently acquired. It was a bit of a pain so here are some hints and tips for anyone planning to do the same.
To start make sure you have some wd40 or penetrating oil, good pliers, Stanley knife and about 2 - 3 metres of nylon string (roller blind sash is good - seal the end with a bit of heat so the end won't fray).
What you will find is that once you unzip and pull the old panel out there are (at least there were on mine) 12 small bolts holding the bottom reinforced part of the panel to the mounting bar which runs across the back of the hood folding mechanism.
First problem is that many of these will probably be seized into their holes. I cut the old panel out getting as much of the old fabric and plastic reinforcing strip away from the small bolts and washers. Then apply plenty of wd40 or oil and leave for a while. at this point some of the bolts can be unscrewed. Ones that can't can be got at using the pliers which worked for me. You will be able to get at the bolts if you have cut away old panel as mentioned above. One I had to drill out and there was one already missing.
It is important (as stressed before on this forum) that when fitting new panel start at bottom i.e. the bolts. Being on my own I then found the new panel quite difficult to offer up so I threaded the panel (with the nylon window sash cord) to the mounting bar much like lacing a shoe. this supported the whole lot together while I started replacing bolts. All you do is unlace one hole and bolt panel to mounting bar then move to next one. I found it difficult to align the holes in the panel to those in the mounting bar so, I suggest you get in the car and sit on the box behind the seats. Push the hood up so you are sitting up behind the hood and accessing and screwing the bolts suddenly becomes a doddle. As I mentioned I had to drill one bolt out and one wqs missing. I couldn't find any original bolts but an automative shop suggested B&Q. At B&Q I bought a bag of zinc plated bolts (5x10mm code AVF-853746) and these fit perfectly.
Getting the bolts out and working out how to hold up panel and rebolt took me about 3 hours. Once I had the panel rebolted the rest of job took about 30 mins. Hopefully if you are doing this you should knock about an hour off as these tips worked for me.
The only final small iss ue is that the new panel has tightened up the whole hood and its very tight to close but I reckon that'll wear off after a couple of days stretching. It looks great and I can now see out of rear screen.
Good luck to anyone doing this, it's not too difficult and well worth while.