After receiving a new hardtop for my 1999 M Roadster as a gift from my wife (good woman!) I needed a place to keep the top in good weather. I did some research and decided to buy the E-Z Top from The Hard Top Hoist Company in Houston, TX.
I placed an order online and received a confirmation phone call the next day. The hoists are built to order and custom sized for each vehicle. It took approximately 5 weeks to receive the kit. They were extremely helpful, and even shipped me the piece of wood used to secure the winch to the garage wall.
The hoist arrived with detailed installation instructions in color. Installation took approximately 1.5 hours. Placing the central hoist point just behind my garage door opener worked out fine, as this position was right above the car when backed into the garage. I secured a 2×6 to the joists above the garage, so the hoist could hold several hundred pounds if needed. Actually, the hard top weighs less than 100 pounds, so this would be a huge margin of safety.
The hoist is made of steel and powder coated with a black crinkle finish. It is beautifully made. The hardtop is supported at two points inside the top, placing no uneven stress on the top. The supports are covered in sheepskin (wool) pads that distribute the load and protect the inner liner. The front strut of the hoist has another wool pad to protect the paint on the front edge of the hardtop. The cable is vinyl coated and the winch is a worm-gear type that cannot slip. They even include a cordless drill adapter that allows me to use my drill to raise and lower the top. I suggest using this, as the top moves very slowly with the hand crank. There is a lot of mechanical advantage built in, so the effort to move it is very small.
Placing the hoist on the top involves a few simple steps.
- Park the car as far back in the garage as you can.
- Loosen the retaining screws at the windsheild and turn the latches in the back.
- Lower the hoist to just above the hardtop.
- Pull one of the quick pins from the hoist arm and lift the arm outward 90 degrees.
- Slip the hoist pads under the top and reinsert the pin.
- Lift the top.
- Secure the storage cable to the front of the hoist arm. This levels the top.
The system has worked flawlessly and the hardtop shows no signs of hoist use at all. I heartily recommend this product. The price was $385 plus shipping. There is no need to order the much more expensive electric winch, as any electric drill will do the job.