T-tops conversion. Can it be done? - MR2 Owners Club Message Board
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old June 18th, 2018, 00:14 Thread Starter
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T-tops conversion. Can it be done?

Hi!
I have a crazy question to post here. So I had a T-top 1987 mr2 that was totalled in 2005. I kept the t-tops from the MR2 just incase I would need them again in the future, knowing I would just buy another MR2. Well , I bought a red MK1 MR2 '87 with an after-market sunroof. I don't much like this sunroof and was considering having the car converted to a t-top. Is this possible for a body shop to acheive? I did not save any of the other seals and parts for the tops unfortunately. The car is very sentimental at this point and is a great car for its age. It had 2 owners prior to me who garaged the car and drove it very seldomly. It was only at 15K mileage in 1995, I bought it with 69K in 2006. Currently as it stands I doubled the mileage and it has 123K . But it has been undriven in 4 years. It sits safe and sound in the garage - i do start it every once in a while and drive around the block.
Oh yes I do realize teh antenna would have to be remounted in the back of the car too ...

do you think it would be realistic and acheivable to put the t-tops on this mr2? Anyone heard of this being done ever? And what kind of cost would I be looking at approx? All advice welcome! Thank you!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old June 18th, 2018, 09:58
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Originally Posted by Kyle W. Baker View Post
...do you think it would be realistic and acheivable to put the t-tops on this mr2?

... Anyone heard of this being done ever?

...And what kind of cost would I be looking at approx?

...i do start it every once in a while and drive around the block.
No, I don't. There is an enormous quantity of mechanical engineering that goes into making the t-top body stiff enough to hold up its own weight. I got to appreciate this when I cut up a t-top and got to see how many pieces of metal were combined into that spine in the center between the tops. What I imagine happening is that the center spine will either buckle or rip loose from the body, and the car will slowly fold in half.

I've seen pictures of cars that folded in half, if that counts.

I would guess that it is out of reach, unless you or a very good friend is capable of doing the engineering and fabrication.

I would recommend that you put a few miles on the car when you start it. You want to fully recharge the battery, and you want to get the engine fully warmed up to boil any condensation out of the exhaust and crankcase. If you put the car away cold, you will accumulate water inside the engine, and that will destroy the oil as well as the exhaust system.

Last edited by rmeller; June 18th, 2018 at 10:03.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old June 18th, 2018, 11:19
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Can you? Yes, you definitely can. Should you? Well, that's where it gets muddy. If the job is done well then yes it should be of similar structural rigidity. People have been doing chopped tops on hot rods for years with plenty of success. However, in this case you would basically need an entire other car to cut the top off of and graft it onto yours. You would also need a VERY competent shop to do it. This is not something you want to do in your garage with a harbor freight welder.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old June 18th, 2018, 15:16
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Echoing what others have said it will require cutting up another undamaged car. (Rust on the bottom is fine, but if it were in a front rear or side collision it probably isn't worth messing with. Plus if this car has sentimental value, ruining it by trying this isn't a good thing to do. It's probably a few grand in labor not to mention the cost of a parts car.

I'd find a rustbucket with T tops for $2-3k or less and drive it while preserving your car. Worst case it falls apart in a few years then you have a sacrificial car to do this project with.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old June 20th, 2018, 23:23
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When you say you have the T-Tops, you just mean the two glass panels, right? At which point I would not try to modify a tin-top AW11 to accept them, that would be a nightmare.

Chopping the pillars on an original T-Top car and transplanting the entire T-Top roof would be straightforward welding job (for a professional) though.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old June 21st, 2018, 03:00
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I looked at doing the exact same conversion except on a SW20. As others have stated you need a doner car with good top to use. I was lucky enough to buy a rolling shell for $50 close to home. In the end I found the car I wanted with t-tops but retained the doner for other bits & bobs.

So yes it can be done however count the costs & time to accomplish.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old June 21st, 2018, 18:08
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with the amount of time,effort, and money it would cost to do the conversion... you're better off finding a proper T top car.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old June 21st, 2018, 21:48
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Thank you for all your advice! (sorry that top post is my other account )...I think I will just hold off and save for one with the ttops lol
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old September 28th, 2018, 09:06
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I did it to my 1985 MR2 and it worked out great.

Chopped at the middle of all pillars and dropped the donor roof on.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old January 6th, 2019, 07:36
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Originally Posted by meetch99 View Post
I did it to my 1985 MR2 and it worked out great.

Chopped at the middle of all pillars and dropped the donor roof on.
Whoa, nice work!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2019, 13:52
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Thank you!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2019, 14:53
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Originally Posted by meetch99 View Post
I did it to my 1985 MR2 and it worked out great.

Chopped at the middle of all pillars and dropped the donor roof on.
Yes, can be done easily but will cost if you have a body shop do it. Just find a ttop roof at a junk yard, cut it, bring to a bodyshop and have them do the work. I'd say about $1k-2k.

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