Z3: Hard top mount preparation
In preparing to purchase a hard top in another state, drive down the 9 hours, remove the sellers mounting hardware and then re-mount it in my car, I was a bit apprehensive about the process, and especially anxious over getting caught unprepared and being stuck. One piece of advice by Vinci had me on edge - removing the cover trim pieces on my car that need to be taken out in order to get the rear hard top mounts in. He advised that you'd be better off showing up with those already mounted. Be reading and re-reading his advice, as putting it together with help from cngizbleevng, I was able to come up with a method that popped both of these pieces out in 5 minutes. So, thank you Vinci and cngizbleevng.
The process involves using a large flathead screwdriver and a carpentry pry bar wrapped with painters tape (to avoid marring the interior).
The screwdriver is inserted vertically between the door post and the cover piece, pushing the screwdriver tip down until you come into contact with the bolt which protrudes from the door post through the cover piece. Leave it in place. Then, insert the pry bar between the hard plastic moulding and the cover trim piece (on the interior side of the cover piece vs. the exterior); gently push the pry bar down, wriggling it a little bit and you'll eventually come into contact with metal car body.
With one hand on the screwdriver and the other on the pry bar, use the door post and the hard plastic moulding, respectively, as fulcrums, and the tools as levers. In affect, you are pressuring the cover piece in the directions of the rear of the car and toward the exterior (where you are standing). In my case, both trim pieces came loose easily. Once freed, it was just a matter of grabbing the cover piece by hand and wiggling it out of the space.