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99 Spyder GS.. working on the 'T'

Year
1999
Model/Trim
Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder N/T

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Lots of patience, a heat gun, and careful bending.. and I finally finished up the water lines for the turbo. The motor is sooooo close to being 100% ready to swap out now.

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I have to go through and add clamps to all of the lines, but we're nearing the finish line.

Only thing left to do after I put the clamps on is to get it off the stand and mount the flywheel and new clutch. I picked up a Fidanza lightweight flywheel from Performance Partout, gonna pick up a fresh friction surface for it before I wrap everything up.

So excited, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day! Can't wait to hear that turbo spool up for the first time :hellyeah:
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Finally got around to installing the GSX dual piston calipers loaded up with Wagner ThermoQuiet Ceramic pads against Power Stop rotors.

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Also.. notice the large patch of fluids under the car? Found out my water-pipe O-Ring was leaking :banghead:. Went ahead and drained down the coolant and installed a new o-ring. Now I get to wait until tomorrow morning to add some fresh coolant and make sure we're all sealed up :rolleyes:
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
No major updates unfortunately. Been waiting on parts to come in from JNZ. Josh went on a Nationwide hunt for me for certain parts that are nearly non-existent (one single trans case bolt and a reverse wave spring... Been about two weeks now ROFL). Huge props to Josh for hunting those parts down for me though. It'll be worth the wait knowing that I'll have a trans with fresh seals linked up to my freshly rebuilt motor. Sick and tired of oil leaks...

While waiting on the trans parts, I finally took the time to install the rear sway bar that the Spyder GS so sorely needed from the factory. Also put some new shoes on the car so it stays planted in the corners. If anyone needs an affordable set of tires I highly recommend checking out Firestone Firehawk Indy 500's. Spent $600 out the door with a four wheel alignment (which the car sorely needed.. front toe was WAY out of whack).

Next up will be replacing the rear toe arms eccentric bolts.. passenger side is frozen but fortunately still in spec. Dodged a bullet with that one.. for now..
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
My axles are currently out, and my trans is gonna be coming out in the next 2 weeks. Just food for thought. OMG I'd offer it to you first before I post it up on here or CL.
I'll definitely take the axles. I scored the trans from Performance Partout for $40. It was sitting on a shelf for a very long time with nobody asking about it... They just wanted it gone and I happened to be the one that lucked out :hellyeah:
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Finally got some work putting the new trans back together with fresh seals. Only had about 30 min to work, but was able to get all of the fresh seals installed and all of the gear sets back into place. Progress is way too slow for my liking.. anyone know how to create an extra hour in each day? ROFLROFL

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jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Been a long time since I've done anything other than drive the car.

4G63 motor is built and just waiting.. F5M33 trans was torn down, cleaned, rebuilt, waiting.. just need to gather up the last few pieces of the puzzle (axles primarily) but it's been a bit of a struggle to find extra spending money with the holidays and stupid home repairs going way over budget (the wife insisted we needed to redo the downstairs bathroom. I took a week and $3k to do it... Finished it 3 weeks behind schedule and about $2k over budget..).

Anyway.. I did make SOME minor progress on the car. From day 1 when I bought the car, the top has always needed manual movement. One of the top motors was MIA, the other completely burnt out. Thanks to another member on here that was parting out a Spyder, I was able to pick up a set of top motors for a decent price. For the first time since I've owned the car, I was able to just sit back and press a button and watch the top fold back neatly into place. Baby steps in the grand scheme of things, but I needed a minor win to get me motivated to work on the car again.
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Tax return hit my bank account this morning.

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Flex seal has held up just fine over the past few years, but it's time to fix this thing the right way. Can't wait til the new top arrives!!
 

spyderdrifter

Supporting Member
5,105
616
Jul 11, 2009
Some where, Colorado
Are you gonna replace the top yourself or have a shop do it?


I actually may have found another spyder to possibly buy. I miss the two I've had.
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Are you gonna replace the top yourself or have a shop do it?


I actually may have found another spyder to possibly buy. I miss the two I've had.

DIY. I've already had the current fabric off of the frame to sew up some larger holes and apply flex seal to the inside so I'm confident in the process.

The flex seal is still holding up fine, but the rear window is now leaking and the top just looks horrible due to discoloration.

Now that the top is en route, I'm already feeling even more motivated to finally get this 4G63t dropped in as well. I've had it completely built and just sitting on a pallet I built for it for over a year now (rotating parts covered in assembly lube, cylinders fogged) whiIe I worked on rebuilding an F5M33 transmission with a W5M33 5th gearset. That's been done for a few months now but due to some personal issues I just haven't had the motivation to get out into the garage and put together the final pieces of the puzzle. I just need axles, fluids, and a week off of work so I'm not feeling rushed and can focus on the tuning side of things since the motor went from a stock swap, to PTE 1000's, an MHI EVO 3 16g, Fidanza adjustable cam gears (though I never could score a used set of cams for a good price like I originally wanted to), a Wally 255, AEM AFPR, CX Racing FMIC with a 1G BoV, and some other stuff I'm forgetting about right now...

Point is.. I want this swap to last, so I'm planning for 1 day out, 1 day in, 4 days of tuning (black box.. because I'm a glutton for punishment.. and I scored the ECU and Tactrix cable for dirt cheap) and troubleshooting, and 1 day of enjoyment before heading back to work.
 

Clawless

Proven Member
79
13
Jun 20, 2018
Astoria, New_York
Would love to see your process getting the top on the frame and any tips along the way you may have. Thinking about disassembling my top and replacing a sheared folding arm.
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Would love to see your process getting the top on the frame and any tips along the way you may have. Thinking about disassembling my top and replacing a sheared folding arm.
I'll be sure to take pictures and document the process. There's already a great write-up on here from a few years back, but I'm a firm believer that there's no such thing as too much info.
 

jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
What a day...

With all of this coronavirus madness going on and my wife not wanting to go anywhere, I decided it was time to get that old, faded, leaky convertible top swapped out with the new one I picked up for tax season over at www.autotopsdirect.com . I documented the disassembly process as well as I could, but there's not much of the re-assembly. Other than getting everything lined up properly (more to come on that later), putting it back together is as simple as doing everything you just did in reverse.

I started on the job around noon, and finished it up just shy of midnight. During that 12 hour timeframe, I took a trip to Ace Hardware for contact cement spray adhesive and satin black spray paint, another trip to Michael's for some elastic and heavy duty snap buttons, stopped at Sonic for some happy hour slushies with the kids, and took a break for lunch and dinner. Total working time was around 8 hours, including the time taken to clean and paint the top frame assembly, and this was done completely solo (would go significantly faster with a friend as there was a constant back and forth around the car, and lining up the new top by yourself SUCKS).

For starters, a quick reminder of why the old top needed to go:

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The old top was badly discolored due to the Flex Seal job I had done a few years prior. It was functional, but looked horrible up close. There were plenty of rips and tears that had been sewn up, and the rear window had a bead of silicone around the outer edge that still leaked a bit during a heavy rain.

To start out, I popped open the trunk and removed the trim pieces from along the rear of the top. This step is considered optional, but it gives you a LOT more room to work.
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Next up, flip that manual switch in the trunk and raise the top so it's pointing straight up.
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Remove all of the screws along the front plate, pop that off and set it to the side
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Next up, carefully remove the rubber seals at the front of the side tracks to expose the screws holding the track in place. Remove the track, set both pieces to the side.
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Now you can start to remove the headliner. Start off by removing the screws at the front corner and peeling back the velcro strip.
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In order to remove the headliner from the frame ribs, I found it easiest to pry back one edge with a flathead screwdriver gently. Once over the lip, it peeled off the rest of the way rather easily.
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Repeat that for each rib, and undo the velcro from around the rear window.
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Only thing holding the headliner in from here are a few snap buttons and screws. Undo the 4 snaps at the rear...
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.. and unscrew the velcro straps from the frame.
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Once you have the headliner out of the way, you can peel back the top itself
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You'll only be able to peel the top back a little bit before you need to tackle the tension cables. They're riveted in place. You can drill them out, or grab a punch like I did and pop out the center of the rivet.
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jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
With the tension cables disconnected at the front, your next obstacle will be the elastic straps holding the top to the frame.

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With those disconnected, you can fold the top back and pull the tension cables out of their channels.
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Next up, you'll be removing the rear quarter window seals, there are 4 plastic clips that hold them in place. I found it easiest to go in from behind the seal with a pair of needle nose pliers and pry out the clips that way. This removed the clips while keeping them in a re-usable condition and more importantly, didn't damage the seals.
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With the seal out of the way, pull the convertible top out of the channel the seal was in.
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Next up is probably the most difficult part of the top removal, if you don't know how to remove these clips the easy way. There are two clips holding the side flaps down, I'm pointing to the top clip with my pliers here:
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The trick here is to take a long pair of needlenose pliers, OR a long flathead screwdriver and push the clips out from the back.
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Finally, you want to reach your arm down and disconnect the S clips that hold the rubber rain gutters in place. These are very easy to access if you remove the interior panels near the rear speakers. I removed them with the panels in place, but had to remove the panels to fish out a tool I had dropped so they were off when reassembling.. reassembly was MUCH easier with the panels out.
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At this point you should have the top peeled back nearly all the way, so it's time to grab your T-25 torx bit and a ratchet to remove the two bolts holding the rear rib in place.
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With the rear rib loose, you can lift the rib out of it's hole and expose the numerous staples that you now get to tediously pry out. Go ahead and remove the two screws (one on each side) and all of the staples.
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Last, but not least, if you have a glass rear window with defrosters, be sure to disconnect the wiring harness before pulling too hard on the top.
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Alright, so the hard part was now done. It was time to address the chipping paint and make the frame look as new as possible to match the brand new top that was going on.
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A bit of masking with some moving blankets and garbage bags, and it was time to grab the angle grinder with a scotch brite wheel and knock off all the loose paint.
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jinscho

Proven Member
633
269
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
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After cleaning up the frame rails, It was time to address the old worn out elastic straps.
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I wasn't exact on my measurements, so I went ahead and made the new straps "adjustable" on each side.
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Next up, It was time to mark the center point on the rear rib. I did this by taping a piece of string to the very end of the rear rail, and slowly stretching it out to the other side. I then transferred the string to a tape measure and came up with a measurement of 88". I marked the string at the halfway point, stretched it out again on the rear rail, and used some red paint touchup paint I had from my old car to mark the middle on the rear rail.
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before putting the new top up onto the car and tacking it in place, I cut the side flaps off the old top and laid them onto the new one to punch the holes for the push pins as they are NOT pre-punched.
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With everything ready to go, I put the new top up onto the rails and this is where things took a bit of a turn for the worse and photos kinda went to the back burner...
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You see, every bit of documentation I received from autotopsdirect, right down to their instruction manual, had referenced a "guide line" that you simply placed at the top of the rear rail and used as a nice easy reference for where to staple.

Well, I found out at this point that my top didn't have that guide line. I couldn't wait until AT Direct was open tomorrow morning to try and figure out what to do, so I improvised.

You see, I knew that the seam above the rear window sat directly over top of the 3rd rib. I also knew that the side screws that hold the top on the 4th rib went through that same seam. It took some time, and a LOT of clamps to hold things in place while I made minor adjustments, but eventually I just said "f*** it, this is close enough", and started shooting staples into the tack rail.

I was nervous the entire rest of the job that it wasn't going to be close enough and I had just ruined this brand new top that I've been waiting on for years. I bolted the rear rail back into place, sprayed fresh contact cement on the ribs and slowly pieced everything back together.

I got it all back together and it was the moment of truth. Time to close up the top and see how well my guesstimate lined up.

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Yeah.. I'll call that a win.

Next up, you catch a glimpse of that reminder sitting behind the car? Yeah.. that NEEDS to happen soon..
 

midwestmopar

Proven Member
98
103
Feb 14, 2020
Commiskey, Indiana
Hey man, sweet write up on the top. To share the knowledge, you may make a duplicate one on just the process off of your build thread so others that may not read your thread here can use the search engine and find it more easily. It was defiantly a great post with lots of pictures! I'll be sticking around to see the progress.
 

spyderdrifter

Supporting Member
5,105
616
Jul 11, 2009
Some where, Colorado
It's about time someone posted details on replacing the top with great pics. Will be handy if I get another spyder. Thank you sir...
 
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