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Tao of Targa Trim

One of the trickiest installations is the padded trim on the targa bar, which also encloses the rear targa top latches.  Assembly may take multiple attempts if the various components are installed in the wrong order.  I mounted and removed this piece of trim at least 3 times before I discovered The Way.  Rather than recount my missteps, I’ll just reveal The Way so others can avoid the same headache.

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1 – Do not assume that the targa trim can be installed over the targa latches.  The latches pictured above must be removed from the targa bar before proceeding.  Also notice that 6mm stainless Phillips screws are being used to mount them, which must be replaced with hex bolts or there will be no way to tighten them later.

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2 – Prior to mounting the trim piece, insert the latch covers into their enclosures on each end.  These must be installed first to allow clear access to the mounting screws inside.  The skinny part of the slot in the cover must face towards the center of the car.  The image above shows a test fitting of the trim with the driver side latch cover properly oriented.

3 – Begin installing the trim piece by inserting a sheet metal screw (at least 1 inch long) into the center front horizontal hole, feeding it through as far as it will go.  Align the screw point with the center screw hole on the targa bar and thread it in about a third.  The longer the screw is, the easier it will be to mate the point to the hole.

4 – Loosely fit the entire trim piece on the front edge of the targa bar.  Resist the temptation to push it home.

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5 – Use a thin jeweler’s screwdriver in each of the remaining mounting holes on the front of the trim to line them up with their respective screw holes in the targa bar directly beneath.  Do not worry about the holes on the underside of the trim piece yet.

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6 – Align and start each screw into its hole only a few turns.  Once they are all started, screw them in alternately, so the entire trim piece moves toward the targa bar evenly.  Leave the whole trim piece slightly loose, especially around the latch enclosures on the ends, so there will be room to insert the latches.

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7 – Slip the latches into their enclosures from underneath, with the handles facing down and away from the center of the car.  The above image shows the driver side latch hook correctly facing away from the car’s center.  Then use your fingers to feed a short 6mm hex bolt into the latch mounting hole and thread it “finger-loose” into the targa bar.  The latch handle can be swung aside to allow access.  Thread in all of the bolts the same way without tightening them.  If you do not have the original hardware, use nothing but 6mm bolts and thin wavy washers.  The thickness of a normal washer will cause the bolt head to bind with the latch, and will pop the retaining ring from the latch shaft.  Make sure that the latch covers are mounted properly and will allow the latch hook to pass through the cover slot without binding, as seen above.

8 – Tighten all of the front screws a bit more, but not completely.  Some play in the trim is still needed to align and start the bottom screws from underneath.

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9 – Using the same jeweler’s screwdriver, align the mounting holes underneath the trim piece with their respective screw holes in the targa bar.  The trim can still be pushed about, and the screwdriver can be used to lever the holes into alignment.  The orientation of the screwdriver will indicate the angle needed to start the screw.  Thread in all of the bottom screws, but do not tighten yet.

10 – Tighten all of the front mounting screws completely, and then tighten all the bottom screws underneath.

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11 – Use a box wrench to tighten the targa latch bolts from underneath.  Make room to work by swinging both the latch handle and the hook away from the bolt heads.  Masking tape comes in handy for this purpose.  Once tightened, check that both latches operate without binding.  The last step is to cover the screw holes with the stock plastic plugs.  Since my targa trim is old and a bit cracked, I used a dab of black silicon to ensure the plugs don’t fall out.

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It is written that suffering is merely a result of one’s resistance to The Way.  If I had started with this wisdom, surely much spitting and cursing could have been avoided.  Now this knowledge is yours to pass on.  May your step be light and your path be free of obstacles.

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