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How to not damage the rain rail when replacing the hood skin

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Mazda Mender
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How to not damage the rain rail when replacing the hood skin

Postby Mazda Mender » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:47 pm

This is more directed to the MK 1 and MK 2 rain rails that are made of a brittle plastic with a rubber-like bottom gutter run compared to the MK 2.5 version which is made of a far longer lasting rubber-like plastic.

The problem that most owners have when replacing a new skin is that they remove the hood skin and rain rail in one. Which cracks, splits and breaks the brittle plastic of the MK 1 and Mk 2 rain rails. Even more so if it has never been removed before and still riveted to each other from the factory.

Now all is not lost if you find a break or split as you can repair them IF the split is not massive, more on that later.

It is good practice to remove the frame when you are replacing the skin.
Once you have removed all the bits required to remove the frame, a top tip is to remove the seats so you have more room to work but put a mat down as it will be more comfortable on your knees.

Assuming that you have removed the rear deck carpet,,trims,belt end caps etc, remove both left and right support brackets for the rain rail/hood and if a MK 1 or MK 2 with a glass heated rear window remove the support straps off the bolt studs but leave the middle bracket until last. Undo the 3 x 12 mm bolts that hold the frames main hinges on either side of the rear most posts. Leave the hood up but do not latch it down to the windscreen frame, don't forget to unplug the HRW (Heated Rear Window) at the rear deck plug and by the two white plugs off the window itself.

Now the important bit, you need a utility knife and just cut the hood skin all the way around, including also to make sure it is free from the rain rail and frame on the inside. Once cut just fold the frame flat has normal, lift out and free from the roadster; you will be left with the rain rail still fixed in place by the middle support so undo it and now you should be able to remove the rain rail still keeping it in it's arch shape so it will not break etc, now you can remove it,when removing the rain rail after all is unbolted and the end caps taken off, always work from the doors to the rear, lifting the rail so it can move towards the front of the car, or it will crack as it is pulled off the studs. if it still has the pop rivets in place, you can now drill the heads off one side and remove the rest of the stud with a trim tool and a set of pliers and then remove the remainder of the hood, even if it does not have the pop rivets you still need to check it all over that it is water tight.

Now regardless whether it has rivets or not, clean the rain rail up in and out. Once dry, using silver alloy tape, stick some of the tape over the old rivet holes, this can also repair splits, cracks, holes or breaks to a damaged rain rail. Take this opportunity to clean the rear belt trim, rear deck, drainage trays and tubes etc. Copper slip the rain rail holding studs and once the rail is dry put it back in place ready for the hood and frame to be refitted.

The difference between the two rain rails..

1989 > 2001 at the top......
2001 > 2005 at the bottom.....

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1989 > 2001....
The MK 1>2's are a thinner brittle two piece item...

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2001 > 2005....

The Mk 2.5's are made of a thicker more flexible plastic/rubber....

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The difference in side brackets.

1989 > 1997.....

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1998 > 2005.....
****Please not that IF fitting a Mk 2/2.5 hood skin and frame with a HRW to a MK 1 (they are a straight fit) you need to fit these side pieces to, as it lefts the side of the skin so it does not catch/pinch to cause a hole in the side of the skin****
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Please view the pics below....

Remove all the bits ready for hood frame removal....I'll assume you have gotten yourselves to this point?

Remove the left and right hood/rain rail brackets , and with the MK 2/2.5 remove the support webbing straps either side

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Make sure you unplug the HRW plugs....

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Leave the centre bracket in place until last....

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And remove the 3 x 12 mm bolts on both sides that hold the main hinge of the from to the pillars...

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Next you just want a good sharp utility knife and cut the hood along the rear deck belt line ,watching you do not damage the belt line and also make sure you cut the hood free on the inside to the frame at the main hinge, if it is vinyl and old it may just be that brittle it will just snap....

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Once it is all cut and free, fold it down flat and remove the frame and hood,unbolt the last of the 10 mm bolts holding the centre bracket, remove the bracket and and then remove the rain rail and carry on as above instructions^^^^^^^

This is what you should be left with....

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And the with the rain rail in place with the reminder of the hood removed and pop rivets, all cleaned and prepped ready for the the new hood....

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The frame all bare bones ready for the new skin.....

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And how it should look all re-fitted....

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The hood skin in the above pics is a vinyl HRW made by BAS international.
Thanks to David for letting us play with his MK 2 :bow-yellow: :handgestures-thumbup:
The Disclaimer:-
This post is a natural product made from recycled electrons. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects, the articles/answers/comments are provided for information purposes and they are not intended to substitute informed professional advice, I or mazdamenders.net cannot personally be hold responsible for any damage occurred from following this procedure or any injuries from it. Proceed at your own risk.

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