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Pelican Technical Article:
Installing the Hardtop and Installation Kit

Time: 1 hr
Tab: $1100
Hex socket kit
Applicable Models:
986 Boxster (1997-04)
987 Boxster (2005-08)
Parts Required:
Hardtop + installation kit
Hot Tip:
Check your local classifieds or Craigslist for good used tops
Performance Gain:
Quieter cabin
Complementary Modification:
The speedster humps use the same spin-clips

  This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster.  The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads.   With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 

Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
     One of the neat must-have accessories for the Boxster is the hardtop. This roof attaches to the car and insulates the inside from both road noise and cold weather. If you've never driven a car with the hardtop installed, then you will be in for a surprise: the road noise is cut down tremendously. It really works very well. The roof has a lot of sound padding to assist in keeping things quiet inside, and the addition of a big, glass rear window is certainly welcome in place of the annoyingly small plastic one.

     I believe that Porsche still has new tops available for purchase, however, they are a little less than $3000, and then you will have to pay for shipping from your dealer. I've found that the best place to find hardtops is in your local classifieds or on Craigslist. People tend to get stuck with these in their garages after they sell their car, and they are incredibly difficult to ship as well. Plus, you have to find a seller who has the same color car that you had too. The bottom line is that you can typically pick up good used tops for about $1000 or so.

     When you purchase your hardtop, it's almost always missing the front and side cover trim pieces which snap on to cover up the latch mechanisms. The part number for the top piece is 986-563-551-00 (1997-04), 987-563-551-00 (2005-08) and it costs about $17. The part numbers for the two side pieces for the 1997-04 cars are 986-563-553-00 and 986-563-554-00 and cost about $13 each (987-563-553-00-A03 and 987-563-554-00-A03 for 2005-08).

     In addition, if you are going to be using your car for track racing, many of the racing clubs and circuits require both a hardtop and roll bar extensions to protect you in the unlikely case of a rollover. The roll bar extensions are required because if you're wearing a helmet, then the top of your helmet will stick out above the normal, stock roll bar.

     Prepping your car for the hardtop is easy: just install the insert kit as per Figure 2. Actually installing the top is relatively easy too if you have two people. Simply lower the top into the insert holes and then pull the handles to clamp down the top and seal it with the car. The top is not an item that you will want to take on and off every day, but if you want to be able to install it yourself, I suggest you purchase one of the custom-made ceiling-mounted winches made specifically for lifting and lowering the top.
Shown here is the hardtop installed on my Boxster.
Figure 1
Shown here is the hardtop installed on my Boxster. I've always thought that the hardtop was a neat option for the Boxster. I was lucky enough to find one that was almost the exact color as our project Boxster, however, I have also used this particular blue hardtop on my wife's white-colored Boxster, and it actually looks pretty cool with the two-tone color scheme. I guess you need the right color combination to pull that off. You can install the hardtop yourself, but I wouldn't terribly recommend it: it's too easy to drop it and scratch your paint.
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If your car didn't come with a hardtop originally, chances are that you need the super-expensive installation kit.
Figure 2
If your car didn't come with a hardtop originally, chances are that you need the super-expensive installation kit. These four parts might qualify for the most overpriced Porsche parts on the car. The spin-lock inserts shown in the upper left (Left PN: 986-563-713-03, Right PN: 986-563-714-03) are about $40 each. The two shoulder bolts are $14 for the pair. They fit into a slit in the chassis, pointed to by the green arrow. There is usually a plastic cap covering this area: remove the cap to see if the inserts are already installed. If not, then simply slide the insert into each side, and tighten down the pinch clamp with the shoulder bolt (orange arrow). Once you place the hardtop on the car, you can plug in the rear windscreen defroster near where the yellow arrow is pointing.
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No discussion of hardtops would be complete without mentioning the Zeintop.
Figure 3
No discussion of hardtops would be complete without mentioning the Zeintop. Designed by an innovative company in South Africa, the Zeintop is an alternative to the Boxster hardtop, and is designed to replicate the look and feel of the Porsche Cayman (the 2006+ Boxster coupe). The top installs very similarly to the hardtop, although with a few more intermediate steps - you need to remove the rear trunk lid and wire up a separate brake lamp. It's designed to be installed for a season of winter driving and then removed in the springtime. With a cost of about $3000, it's definitely cost competitive with a new factory hardtop, and a lot better looking as well.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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Bonus Photos
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Comments and Suggestions:
turtleracing Comments: My 2000 Boxster S has a hardtop. Are there instructions for mounting the factory speed humps and does using them damage the paint ?
December 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am sure it is covered in the Porsche repair manual.

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Antony Comments: Hello I live in Italy and I look for a zeintop is used or new, you know kindly tell me where can I find it? Thank you very much Regards
November 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure. Check with your local Porsche club. They may be able to direct you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark Comments: I just did the spin-lock installation, and contrary to the other commentators, with the top almost all the way up, I did have a straight shot at the spin-lock lock bolt, but just barely. I used a long standard L-shaped Allen/hex wrench to get the bolt started taping the bolt to the wrench AND using the baggie. Then I switched to an Allen socket, extension and 1/4" ratchet again taped together to finish the job. One additional comment: the location/ orientation of the upper screw used to attach the side uppolstery covers is not clearly pictured anywhere I was able to find. The Porsche illustration of the cover and screws show them away from the cover, implying they both need to be removed. This is not the case this is a standard view for parts ordering purposes. The panel to which the cover attaches at the top is open slotted. Just loosen the upper screw a turn or so and slide the cover up after removing the lower screw. If you do fully remove the upper screw, it will most likely be lost, as there is precious little room to grasp it. A ratcheting box wrench is ideal for to loosen this screw.
September 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up and sharing your experience
- Nick at Pelican Parts
servite Comments: Is the 987 hardtop install=the same way as the 986. I have heard its more complicated, is it true?
September 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is different. I would think not much harder. But that depends on your experience. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
healthservices Comments: As a follow to Paul, The top has to be almost completely up but not latched, then go from below the arm, to access, and install the pinch bolt. be sure to have the spinlock properly positioned and use of a 5 mm ball end Allen type wrench helps with access as you will not be able to get a straight shot at the bolt head.
February 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Manchester-fox Comments: Can anybody assist?

I bought the Hardtop fitting kit - had it fitted - and bought a secondhand good condition 986 hardtop.

The hardtop fits my 2004 facelift 986 but will not fit flush to the bodywork.

Is there some adjustment I can do? Is there some reason for this? Is this a usual problem?

Or have I been sold a 987 hardtop? And what is the difference between the 986 and 987 hardtops?

I assumed that a 987 hardtop will simply not fit my 986?

January 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check with the hardtop manufacturer. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jon Comments: I'll answer my own question.... Yes you have to take the bracket off. It's held in with two t40 bolts. You need a small ratchet socket driver with different length extension pieces, small bendy hands and loads of patience
November 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jon Comments: Having the same problem as Paul. Any advice for 987 owners? Maybe I should take the whole bracket off of the car and fit the spin lock when it's off the car? Looks like it's only held in with one screw?
November 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for your next post. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: I saw the slide show for this project at:
but I still couldn't work out the crucial bit about how to access or insert and tighten the shoulder bolts. On my 987 2005 no matter the position of the soft top, the arm on the soft top obscures the shoulder bolt, even after the carpet and trim behind the seat are removed. Any clues?
October 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you try moving the top to a different position until the bolt is visible? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mallyuk Comments: The new Zeintop is available in the UK by Design 911. See their website for details.
February 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional information. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dan Comments: hi,
i am interesting by picture 3.
hard top for porsche boxster 986 to 1997 at last not 987 !!
hard top same lok cayman
how many time to delivery to france ?
price total with delivery ?
other pictures ? interior , insonorisation ??
thanks for answers
February 3, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The company that makes these hardtop has gone out of business. Someone bought the designs and writes to remanufacture the top but I haven't seen them selling them anywhere else so I'm not sure if that venture has taken off or not. Going to copy this question of the forms and perhaps someone there will have more information for us. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
elpive Comments: how do you put the bolts with the top not working??? for the spinlock.
December 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to manually activate the top. Then install them once the top is down. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JohnnyO Comments: I just bought a used hardtop from another 02 Boxster ... is it possible to take the spin-locks and bolts OFF that Boxster and put onto mine?
September 13, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't see why not. As long as they come off in good condition with no damage. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vacarman02 Comments: I had an unfortunate accident in my garage and damaged the glass in my Boxster hardtop.I'm wondering about the availability and cost of a replacement.Any info?

August 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Ouch, sorry to hear that. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find otu if the glass is available. If not, you can try a local glass shop, they should be able to repair it for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jay Laifman Comments: A couple more thoughts.

Don't undo the bolt head screw all the way. Just loose enough to slide the interior piece up.

The latches loosen by three allen key bolts under the small plastic covers that just snap off. I do not know if I have adjusted them correctly. But, my point was to warn that they may be too tight. I'm not even sure how this top ever fit on any car. Maybe they are that different - but I wouldn't expect it.
June 5, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jay Comments: A few more tips.

First, the carpeted sides below the tops come off. There is a small phillips head screw along the back edge, and a small bolt head screw up on top. It give perfect access to shoulder bolt. Once you take off the screw, just slide it up. You don't need a special tool or plastic bag. It is a little tricky to get the top part up around the opening, but you'll figure it out.

Second, I found that the latches needed to be adjusted. Mine were way too tight. In fact, I was really trying way too hard to turn the levers. Now that I've loosened them, everything works well.
June 5, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Mark Comments: Is the hard top for the 986 compatible with the 987?
May 16, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, not that i am aware of. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ColinK Comments: I am looking for 2 small plastic parts that clip on to the two small "ears" that are on the front of the hardtop where it recesses into the windshield frame. I don't know if these are shown on the microfische exploded hardtop parts card. No longer a Porsche dealer in my town. I have a 2003 Boxster S.
Thanks, Colin
April 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it might be 986 561 605 00, but I'm not 100& positive. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Chippo Comments: Good afternoon.
I want to buy an imitation of the hard top Caymen. Do you have any for sale?
thank you
April 3, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find a top.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
beach_boy2 Comments: hi there i need help with info of were to buy the boxster cayman hard top? and to get it shipped to the uk im having no joy at all
February 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find a top.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Gare Comments: where can I buy the shoulder bolt that goes with the spinlocks or do they come with spinlocks
May 9, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The spinlock part number is 986-563-713-02. The covering cap that fits over it when it's not in use is 986-561-655-00. The bolt that you were asking about, which holds the spinlock in place is 999-219-041-00. You can order any of these by simply cutting and pasting those part numbers into our search engine. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 


Got more questions?  Join us in our Boxster / Cayman Technical Forum Message Board or our Carrera 996 / 997 Technical Forum Message Board and ask a question to one of our many automotive experts.

Or, see what other questions readers have asked about this article...
  Applies to: 1997 Boxster, 1998 Boxster, 1999 Boxster, 2000 Boxster, 2001 Boxster, 2002 Boxster, 2003 Boxster, 2004 Boxster, 2005 Boxster, 2006 Boxster, 2007 Boxster, 2008 Boxster, 1999 Carrera, 1999 996, 2000 Carrera, 2000 996, 2001 Carrera, 2001 996, 2002 Carrera, 2002 996, 2003 Carrera, 2003 996, 2004 Carrera, 2004 996, 2005 Carrera, 2005 997, 2006 Carrera, 2006 997, 2007 Carrera, 2007 996, 2008 Carrera, 2008 997
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