Window Zipper Replacement
by Joe Gerhardstein
Two foot long piece of 2x4, medium height plastic waste basket or other suitable prop
Needle nose pliers
Well, after all these years to top up, top down, top up, top down, our window zipper had seen better days. The leather pull strap was long gone, and even the metal handle had come off from the zipper slider. For the last year or so, we had been pushing the zipper slider around with a well-placed finger. We worried about the cost of having to replace the entire zipper, and so had been putting off doing something about it. Well, last weekend we were at Brainstorm and were asking Andy if he had anything to fix it. Andy told us that he could sell us a brand new Mazda zipper slider for a few dollars (complete with leather pull strap) and we could fix it in about 15 minutes. Installation was a snap.
The first step is to get the top into a position that you can work with. You will need to be able to get to the end of the zipper down behind the driver's seat. I propped the front edge of our top up off the rear deck with a piece of 2x4 and slid the driver's seat all the way forward. At the end of the zipper is a black painted metal clasp keeping the end of the zipper from coming undone (see picture). Before disassembling the zipper, make an alignment mark (I used a white crayon) across the zipped part of the zipper near the metal clasp.
The metal clasp has four prongs that stick through the zipper. From the back side, straighten the prongs with a needle nose pliers and pull the clasp out. The clasp is made of brass, so don't bend the prongs too much or you might break one. Slide the old zipper off. Start the new zipper and slide it up past your alignment mark to make sure the zipper is still aligned. If it is not, note how far off it is, unzip it, and try again (it isn't hard; I got mine on the first try).
Finally, push the clasp back through the zipper about where you pulled it out and bend the prongs back over. If you accidentally break one prong off, I wouldn't worry too much (I broke one and mine is still holding fine). If you broke both prongs off the same side, then you should use something else to secure the zipper (staple it or sew it together with a needle and thread).
After this fix, putting the top up and down is as easy as when the car was new! Happy motoring!