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convertible top


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I am having a problem with my convertible top. I have timed the transmission and the top will cycle down. When you go to raise the top it sounds as if it torques itself down rather than go up. I have to release the thrust rod to the lid to open. It torques itself down so far, moaning, that it falls off the transmission gears. Any thoughts?? Could it be the relay switch at the motor??? Frustrated :( in Canada.

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Hi, Unfortuantely, it's not a relay. What you have is a transmission off by 180 degrees on one side or both. It's due to the stupid half moon design of the gears in the transmission. The symptom is, it works great going down, gets stuck on the way up.

The fix requires two people. A switch pusher and a the guy who tries to time the gear and yell at the switch pusher=). My kid sister did an excellent job at pushing the switch.

I cut and pasted the directions for you:

You're going to need to time it if the arms aren't lining up. It will be very obvious if you need them because you can't connect the rods.=)

A couple of things before you take stuff apart.

1) Take not of the position of the V-shaped lever, it's possible to reinstall it 180 degrees off.

2) When you replace the cable, do NOT mess with the gears. Do no move them in anyway.

After removing and installing the cable, or removing the metal end and re-installing the V-shaped lever

1) You need to line up lever to the clamshell's arms, put the clamshell in service position as far as it will go. The clamshell bolts first. Make sure the arm for the convertible cover doesn't get stuck while moving the transmission, or else you will need a new convertible arm with the red plastic joint ($45).

2) Use the up/down switch to move one transmission at a time in order to line up your convertible top. If you are using the switch, it helps to have a second person. Ask them to press it one second at a time, this will prevent a lot of screw ups. You can also use a power drill (also know as Toolpants patented timing device) to drive the end of the cable to move the transmission

Once you get everything hooked up, do an up down cycle. If it does a complete cycle, congrats. If it gets stuck in one mode(up or down), your gears are off 180.

here's how you fix it.

1) Disconnect all the rods again.

2) Take not of the direction of the motor when you press the DOWN button. Now, cycle each transmission while pressing down until the lever disconnects(it's not a full gear). Be sure to hold the lever to take note of which direction it's spinning (CCW or CW). Once the lever has disconnected, spin the lever opposite the direction it spun when going down. So if it was going CW before, now spin it ccw. You won't be able to spin the transmission by hand, you're just holding it to the right position. Now push the UP button (or reverse the direction of the drill)

Do the same procedure to the other side.

3) Put the clamshell in service position. One side at a time. Move the lever by pressing UP until it lines up with the clamshell's arm with a black joint. Make sure the arm with the red joint doesn't get stuck! Repeat on other side.

4) Put the convertible top in the down position, the read joints should now line up and bolt it. If not, play with the up/down switch a little to get it to line up.

It's not as complicated as it sounds. You just have to take the time to think through how the top works. When a local Boxster's top breaks, I'm sure Toolpants production will come out with a DVD showing how to do this.

Hopefully this helps.

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  • Moderators

http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?s...&st=0entry161

Come to California so we can film a top fix for the next set of DVDs. They should have designed the transmission so the V-shaped arm could only be bolted on one way. Mark is the top expert so do what he says.

top_fix_calvin8_001.sized.jpg

My experience with the relay is that if it has a problem the top will not move or the windows do not drop. This is the 1997-1999 relay.

top_relay1.sized.jpg

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Hi guys, I wish I was near California, we are having a brutal winter here in Ontario, Canada. I have followed the instructions Mark gave to a the t.

Having said that when I timed the transmissions I have the top fully raised resting on the windshield frame at the front. When I connect everything back up the rear clamshell lid is up about 8-10". when I hit the raise top on the switch to close the clamshell it then that it torques down and I have to manually have to release it by taking the thrust rods off by reaching through the roll bar. Do I have the service position right on the top? The reason I thought this might be a relay is that my dash light for the top stays on even when it's in the closed position. I thank you guys for helping out. This little job has frustrated the heck out of me.

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Ah, here's the problem. The top should be in the DOWN position. Fold the top and extend the clamshell, then start all over again. Hopefully this solves your problem=).

What you're trying to accomplish is to put the top in a known position before you synch it. In this case, you're putting both sides in the fully down position. After you press the down button and the gear jumps off, the act of twisting the opposite way and pressing the UP button begins the up motion of the top. So, all your adjustment when you are timing should be done by pressing the UP button.

If it's any consolation. You're about 30 mins. from fixing your top and saving yourself $2000 US.

-Mark

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; ; ; ; , I can tell you that it sure doesn't look like that now. In January we had over 4 feet of snow....uuuughhh. Now come here in the summer months and the weather will be like yours. I tried to attach a picture of Newfoundland Canada this winter. This is one of the major highways. Hopefully I have attached it properly.

On another note I will try the top again. Thanks.

Marco

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Hi Mark,

That's a real picture. Here is another one. They get whacked with snow every winter.

My car was in an accident. So to do the repair properly we had the top out. I must have been out by a little because it would work fine and then it would act up. When I put it away for the winter I wanted to get it adjusted properly so I didn't run into problems in the good weather. I will keep you informed on the progress.

I have always adjusted the top in the up position.

I will try and adjusted tonight.

thanks

Marco

post-27-1076613614_thumb.jpg

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Marco.

What year is your car? It might be a good time to check the cables. See if you have 1" sticking out on the end that connects to the motor. You might as well fix/replace it if you have a 97-99. Actually, check if your cable housing is smooth or textured, this will tell you if it's reinforced or not.

Also, what do you mean by act up? Would it not work? Come up skewed? Chatter on the way up or down?

http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=68

http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=589

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Hi Mark,

My car is a 98. It appears the cables have been changed, as the part numbers match the numbers on the links you supplied and they are reinforced.

When I originally line up my top, I just started the gears on both sides and then attached the arms. My top would work great but then I would put it up and it would get stuck in that position. Now last year I only put around, and I'm embarrassed to say, 400-500 miles on the car. So the top wasn't used that much but it did get stuck a few times. I lined it up the same every time. The movement of the top was fine, no noises etc. When it would get stuck it would be in the up position, never in the down position. I haven't had a chance to work on the car this week and align with the top in the down position but will this weekend for sure. Looking forward to a smooth working top.

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Hello Mark,

I must be missing something. I run both gears off the transmissions while pressing down, then hold the the drive lever the opposite direction to get them to catch going in the up direction. I then line up the drive lever to the marks on the transmission. I do this one side at a time to make sure they are both perfectly lined up. When I do this the push lever that works the top (red socket) and the thrust rod that connects to the clam shell will only connect with the top in the up position (closed). If I put the top down there is no way that I can connect them with the levers in this position. Sorry to be a pest but I can not make sense of this, unless I reverse the directions lining everything up with the top up. So run the gears off going up then reverse the direction of the arm, lining it up with the transmission. But this way doesn't work. Please tell me where I am going wrong. Thanks

Marco

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Marco,

Just want to make sure. Have you tried flipping the lever 180? Also, are you sure you have to correct side for each lever? Is it possible you have the left lever connected to the right side?

If I remember correctly, the joint that controls the clamshell connects first, then once both sides are connected, you can connect the red joint for the top.

If you think about it, it doesn't make sense to be able to connect the joint when the top is up, since you were pressing the down button. Is it possible for you to post some pictures

I stole this link form Toolpant's directory, check out the orientation of the lever. The V is pointing down, the joint for the clamshell is near the rear trunk.

Check out: http://www.986host.com/albums/ToolPants/to...vin12.sized.jpg

Once you have the clamshell connected on both side0s, you need to put the top down, and mess with the up/down switch to line up the joint for the top.

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Hello Mark,

I have the drive levers on the right sides. They are actually marked on the back L and R. They are installed just like the tool pants photo (v of the lever downwards). If you look at that photo, the convertible arms will only attach with the top in the up position. When you say have I tried installing the arms 180 do you mean lining up the arms the same way, running off the gears to determine the down position, line them up with the transmission, then remove and reinstall the arms 180 degrees that may work as this would closer resemble the location of the convertible arms (red socket) in the down position.

I can try this tonight. I am about ready to fly to California. If you make a video on this subject I will be your first customer.

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  • Moderators

The V is mostly up when I looked with the top almost all the way down. Hard to tell as I had to raise the top a bit to get the flash light in there.

I have become lost in this thread. But you know you can bolt the V lever on the transmission 2 ways. One way will be correct and the other way will be 180 degrees off. They should have keyed the lever so it can only go on one way.

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Marco,

I think I know what the problem is(or at least I think I do), Once you get the clamshell connected on both sides, manually put the top down. The lever should be in an inverted V with the joint for the clamshell pointing towards the rear.

Then Press the DOWN button to get the transmission joint for the top to line up. Be careful not to get the arm with the red joint stuck, or you would need to replace it ($45 each). If the lever jumps out of gear before you get it to align, you put the lever the wrong way, 180 degrees off. Take note of how you did it previously and flip it. Hopefully, we can get this on video someday! We just need a volunteer with a broken top.

-Mark

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:clapping: I got it........

I had set it up again and still ran into difficulties. If we were filming the repair it definitely would have come with a 'R' rating :censored: I finally started to check my micro switches with an ohm meter to see if they were working. I found the switch on the B pilar was working but not making contact with the convertible frame. I fixed that went through the set up and low and behold I had a working top!!!!

I want to thank you and toolpants for the help.

Marco

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We need the details and part number for the next guy.

I know there is a switch in the B pillar as it is shown in the shop manual, but the manual does not tell you what it does and we have never had to replace one. I asked Peter what happens if it goes bad and he said the top will cycle back and forth.

I think there is one on ebay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAP...MEBWA%3AIT&rd=1

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Hi Toolpants,

From my experience the switch tells the motor that the top is up and stops the downward motion of the motor. It must work in conjunction with the clamshell microswitch in determining the closed position.

I just went in the garage and removed the micro switch located on the B pilar.

There is no part number on it. By the picture on ebay it definitely looks like the switch. To access the switch you have to remove the side panel that covers the seat belt assembly on the drivers side (left), I did this with the top up. The switch is secured with one torx screw. I removed it, followed the wiring to the main harness running down the inner sill and disconnected it. It is a two wire terminal, I checked for continuity between the two by manually operating the lever. The lever that works the switch by making contact to the convertible top frame when it comes up, is made of very thin flexible metal. My lever was tweaked back so when the top went up it never operated the switch.

The funny part about this, I say funny now because it's working but then I was ready to pay money at the dealership to fix it, was I was getting my top to work fine up and down, but as soon as I put the tension cables on the back of the top it would start to torque itself off the gears when the clamshell was closing (raising the top). The tension from those cables was probably just enough to keep the convertible top frame from making contact with the the microswitch.

For others that may encounter top problems, there are four microswitches that work on top.

1. the lock/ unlock microswitch, located behind the lock lever hook holder above the rearview mirror.

2. the parking brake microswitch, located below parking brake lever.

3. B pilar microswitch, located behind the left side panel that cover the seat belt assembly.

4. The compartment lid microswitch, attached to the top motor frame.

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  • 2 weeks later...

:clapping: you guys are the best!!! I've been having problems with my top for a while now and I've tried everything! (by the way, throwing tools and swearing didn't even work!) I wasn't aware of the microswitch on the B pilar. My top just kept going until it would snap out of the sockets of the clamshell. I think this will do the trick. Thanks! I was about to go drop off my car at the local shop just to get rid of the problem.

George

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