I was at Total Performance the other other day talking to the proprietor Ed and one of the topics that came up was the roof fitted to the 360 spider. Ed was telling me how he had been to the factory in Maranello to train on the repairing the roof when the spider first came out. By all accounts replacing the fabric cover is not for the faint hearted!
There are two common failures with the roof – the first is the wire cables stretching (I will cover this topic in another post). The second is a pair of small innocuous pieces of elastic fitted between the canvas cover and the headlining. These pieces of elastic keep the roof fabric and centre bar tensioned whilst the roof is being operated. Over the years the elastic stretches and allows the centre bar to foul as the roof is opened and closed. This usually manifests itself as difficulty in folding into the cover – human assistance can be used to complete the operation. If the elastic fails to a greater extent then the roof will foul on itself – at best this will knock the micro switches out and at worst snap one of the expensive magnesium frame components.
Here’s a picture showingthe one side of the elastic (highlighted in red) and the centre bar (arrowed). The picture is taken from the workshop manual (available on my data disc) and is shown with the canvas cover removed.
The good news is that it is incredibly easy and cheap to replace this piece of elastic. As it happened, shortly after talking to Ed about the roof I was contacted by a gentleman with this exact same problem – his roof would only close if the cover was pushed down by hand. I relayed the above information to him and told him access could be gained by stopping the roof mid-cycle. A couple of days later he emailed me to say he had replaced the elastic and it was now working perfectly. The old elastic was snipped off and new pieces sewn in.
Here’s a picture he sent me of the roof partly open showing the access to the elastic. He also replaced another band on each side that is about 6″ behind this band in the picture (it is too far in to get a picture). This was more challenging but reachable with some tugging and positioning of the roof.
Here’s the elastic he bought – 1″ wide from a local fabric store:
And here’s a gratuitous picture of his very nice spider…
Other posts in this category: Bodywork
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