Photos by Mark Booth (used with permission; click on images to enlarge)
I found Mark Booth’s posting on Miata.net’s forum regarding his windshield replacement experience to be very informative and felt that it merited a “bookmark” and might someday prove to be helpful to Spider owners, should they ever need to get their windshield replaced. He strongly advises becoming familiar with the instructions so that, while observing the process, you can verify that the garnishes are installed properly. Although Mark gave me permission to use his photos, I thought it best to point my readers to the thread, as you will find his detailed comments added to each of the many descriptive photos he’s provided, further along in that thread.
Contrary to claims that the Fiat windshields are superior to those in the Miatas, other than the Mopar logo, the OEMs are the same product, and from the same factory in Japan. Should Mopar claim they are on an extended “backorder”, you might consider the Mazda equivalent. However, some confusion arises if the trim level isn’t taken into account when ordering:
- The Classica (and MX-5 Sport) windshields only have masking and a pre-installed bracket for the rear-view mirror
- There are Lusso/Abarth (and MX-5 Club/GT) windshields that also have masking to accommodate sensors for rain-sensitive wipers and automatic headlights
- There is a third alternative for Lusso/Abarth (and MX-5 Club/GT) windshields that also have additional masking and a pre-installed bracket to accommodate the lane-departure monitoring camera.
Be aware that Mazda issued a TSB to the dealers several months ago stating that all three exterior trim pieces (1 upper and 1 for each side), which they call garnishes, need to be replaced following a windshield replacement, and logic would dictate that Fiat has done the same, but I don’t know if that has actually occurred. The side garnishes can not be reused, and chances are one or more of the 4 snap clips in the upper garnish will not survive removal, in which case, the upper garnish can not be reused either. Again, should Mopar claim these parts are on an extended “backorder”, you might consider the Mazda equivalent, using this post to assist in determining which colors will be available from Mazda.
Aside from insuring that the replacement glass matches the trim level of the vehicle, the 3 garnishes (which will add an additional $400 to the repair bill), need to be ordered and on-hand before allowing the windshield replacement to take place.
The entire garnish replacement procedure is spelled out in Mazda’s Service Bulletin E001/17 (and Mopar’s guide). The only way the upper garnish can be removed (and installed) properly is by first removing:
- the interior A-pillar trim pieces (disconnect the tweeter)
- the two wedges that engage the soft-top (you will need a T-40 Torx bit to remove the four wedge bolts)
- which then will allow the interior header trim to be removed (you will need a T-30 Torx bit to remove the two header bolts)
- the two 10 mm nuts that mechanically attach the upper garnish
- and then the upper garnish can be pried from the 4 clips. DO NOT ALLOW the window replacement crew to pry the trim off without first removing the 2 attachment bolts
After all these bits, the upper garnish can be pried off at the four snap clips, and if the tabs survive, all four clips must be reused (or new clips if they don’t survive) when reinstalling that garnish to keep it from flying off at some point.
Additionally, the wipers apparently need to be removed. I can understand that lower trim panel, but why can’t the blades just be flipped up in “winter snow-storm” mode? After pondering about that, I’m thinking – you probably can’t get that trim panel off with the wiper arms attached. Anyways, per mechrick:
Taking the wipers off meant having to pull the black plastic covers in front of the windshield. Only two screws and the rest just pops off by pulling forward, as there are sliding clips under the rear and under the front edges. I added [the illustration from the MX-5 manual that pertains to] reinstalling the wiper blades. The detents in the splines seem to adjust the blade tips plus or minus about half an inch.
Here is Mark’s time-lapse video of his windshield replacement.
Of additional note to others having the top garnish replaced….. If you notice the garnish popped up in the middle a bit after the installer is finished putting it on, it’s because they didn’t set the middle fasteners. It takes quite a bit of pressure on the center to get them seated. I had to do that part myself while standing in the car. I heard them both click in securely, but I was worried about the amount of pressure I had to apply. I’ve had no issues with the top garnish since.