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yet another convertible top stuck...

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g'day B) ,

another convertible top cable that seems to need replacement, only this time the top is stuck in closed position and would greatly appreciate some advice as to how to put the clamshell/roof in the 'service' position when i can't get the roof to open even slightly.

from the various forums, it seems once i do the access to the back, i need to yank on the ball joint. the question is do i pull in the direction along the length of the wire or to the side. (once i've done this i think i can follow the rest of the procedures outlined by toolpants et al).

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Where is Mark? http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?s...st=0entry2750

The top is only supposed to fail in the down position. :(

Hope you like working in small confined places. Maybe Mark has a tip that I cannot think of. Jeff

It may not be the cables, so rule all the other problem areas out first. Never heard of both cables failing at the same time. When one fails the other one continues to turn and the clamshell starts to twist. You hear and seen not nice things. Do you hear the top motor running? If not then it is not likely to be the cables

Edited by Tool Pants
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:( thanks. got the link to mark's comments so i now know how to get the top to the service position... this isn't going to be easy. (it'll have to be this weekend)

before i go dismantling the roof, i've just checked again and i don't hear the motor whirling now, but there's a small 'thumping' noise when i press the up/down button which i wonder if it's from the current getting to the motor and then cutting out immediately as the motor won't wind. is/are my transmissions buggered?! is there anything else to check? saw an earlier reference to b-pillar circuit out of contact... will this affect?


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A few questions first so you do not take stuff apart for nothing.

What year. When you start the car and pull up on the hand brake does the light come on? Turn the key on - handbrake up and windows up - when you unlatch the top do the windows drop down a bit? Lets rule out an electrical issue.

But if the motor was running and you heard thumping under the clamshell it sounds mechanical to me, and you will have to get the top in the service position to inspect.

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sorry... 1998 boxster. (shld hv added that to my first post).

when i start the car, the convertible top light comes on. (this used to disappear after a few seconds or minutes). when i unlatch the top, the windows come down some way - abt halfway. if i hold the convertible button for a few seconds both windows go down all the way (altho the roof is stuck).

it happened when i came back from work and had just put the top up. i then decided to clean off the windshield frame (as i noticed it dirty earlier) and tried to put the top down again. i remember the engine whirling for a while but nothing happening. tried brakes, engine off/on again, etc but no luck. so i just left if for a while. now no more whirling convertible motor n just the 'thumps'.

maybe something is jammed in the convertible top/clam and the convertible motor/gears cuts off to prevent burnout? guess i'll know when i access the engine bay.


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Wow that sounds a lot like my problem at least the noises it was making. I bet when you disconnect the arms you'll find that the gears have run off the transmission.

I found it easier to remove the metal clips that hold the thrust rods to the clam shell then to pull the ball sockets. You are working blind through the roll bar. Use a small screwdriver to assist in pulling it off, you won't be able to pull it off by hand. Once you pull those clips off you can push the trust rod out and raise the clam shell by hand and get full access to the the back area. Once you get the top in the service position you can release the front arms by undoing the 10mm bolt. Mark the bolt so you know the original position.

Have you tried this way of disconnecting Toolpants or Mark? I became a pro at doing it when I was fixing my top.

Good luck. I would be interested to see if the gears are off once you disconnect the arms.


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whoah this is weird, I thought I posted a reply last night. I was going to suggest what Marco said.

I looked at my car and it seems that you can disconnect the cloth cover(the one you remove when accessing the engine) from the inside. Once you do this, you can access the levers and do what Marco described. Also, I have a word document that's been zipped that may aid in diagnosing the problem.

If you don't hear the motor running, it may be an electrical issue. Send me a PM with your email address, so I can send you the file. Good luck!

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Hey Guys,

I love the use of the pictures it makes it so much easier to describe. In your first picture Tool Pants it looks like the pivot point on the clamshell arm was taken off, I took the clip above that off the one that connects the thrust arm. If you take that on off you can raise and lower the clam shell in it's normal operating range. I found it difficult to work in such a confined area trying to pull off the ball sockets.

Once I had access to the back area you can remove the 'v' levers and secure it in a bench vise and pop off the thrust rods. I just left the front half of the push bar connected through my adjusting.


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The clips on the pivot point for the clamshell were taken off to have better access to the engine in that picture. Those clips are different than the ones for the push rods.

I think I have this figured out. You reach in through the roll bar and remove the square brass colored clip that hold the clamshell push rod. Then you can pull the push rod aside. Once you have disconnected both push rods then you can lift up the clamshell and have access to the top drive.

If this is the way to do it then it is much easier than trying to disconnect the other end of the push rod from the V lever due to the ball socket. Does this sound correct?

Right side.


Left side showing black push rod with a line to its clip.


Easy to take pictures when the top works. ;)

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thanks for the advice, guys.

i'm trying to get the clips off but it's definitely not the easiest of jobs... it's hard to see with the dust cover and top cable in the way and i can't figure out how the clip works. i thought it was just a metal plate that slides underneath the pin's wider head so all you have to do is slide it out, but this doesnt seem to work.

alternatively, using the grey clip in your foto for reference only, the clip looks like a sandwich with a bar tab in the middle. do i simply 'open' the clip and straighten the bar clip? i'm thinking of putting a screwdriver in the gap where the end of the sandwich come together and prying it open like an oyster.

tks. :unsure:

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  • 2 weeks later...

hello again.

right... after a 2week delay/distraction, i've finally mananged some time for this.

after much difficulty and contortion getting to the clips thru the rollbars, i was able to bend back the clips and slide them off. on the right side, the arm shot off immediately, and on the left side, the arm had to be tapped but came off as if under some tension... i wonder if this was a somewhat dangerous (to me) method as the arms seemed to hv been under pressure. (i removed only the upper/bronze clips as suggested)

anyway, both arms are completely off and sitting aside until repairs completed. the clamshell is sliding freely manually open/close, and the dustcover has been lifted for clearer access! :D

1. checked top cable wire/ferule protusion and both abt 3/4 inch so both ok on the roof end. will replace cable housing with new strengthenend versions anyways. (blve this is parts number is 986-561-717 03 universal).

2. one side red plastic balljoint for top was broken off. other side was ok until i tried to lift the top electrically and then it also broke suddenly. so these arms need replacement. (wld u know the parts number for these?)

3. both side motors/transmissions sound like they're working but only the left side v-arm is rotating so believe on the right side the cable has come off it's gear (as earlier suggested). perhaps too much tension on this side during closing and it not only broke off the ball joint but also snapped gear out of position). am now trying to remove the transmission but need another socket wrench for the 3 outside bolts as they're quite tight to get to and current wrench arm too deep. once the transmission is off, i intend to open it up and hopefully it's just a matter of positioning the gears back into place)

so at the moment, the clamshell is bouncing freely and held down only by it's own weight. not too happy abt bouncing shell during driving but anycase, i can now manually move the top up/down as there is no mechanics connected to it.

the process i'm looking at now is to take the transmission off and see if the cable has come off the gears. if this is the case, then problem seems clear and just a matter of replacing both cable housing and setting them into the transmissions. then fix the new ball joint arms on, replace the clamshell cover arms back on and secure them with new clips. (i am a bit worried that there will be too much tension required to put back the clamshell arms - seeing how much tension seemed to be present during removal).

with regards to alignment of cables left/right, what is the special bit for the hand drill to rotate the cables manually?

any comments/advice would be appreciated.

cheers. ;)

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You cannot buy just the plastic joint - have to buy the entire arm to get the joint. And it is not red anymore. It is white. 986 561 279 02 for left or right.

I have a set of holders for taps used to cut threads. The holder has a square opening on one end. One of the holders happened to be the correct size for the square drive cable. That is going to be hard to find. One of the guys in the shop said he can just put the end of the cable directly into a drill chuck.


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  • 2 weeks later...
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I think it is so the top material cannot rub against the mechanical stuff that moves when you raise or lower the top. It also hides the same stuff.

If it was my car I would get them if you are missing them. We remove them when we work on a top - but we remember to put them back on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

toolpants + poobah + others,

i'm still at it... after replacing the cables, i'm not able to get the top to register its closed. the gears has gone off the transmission several times now so i'm quite used to getting it back on the transmission again and syncing... but sometimes i get the top to register its closed and the light on dash goes off and other times not... when it doesn't, inevitably the gear comes off the transmission. i don't know what i'm doing differently to get these inconsistent results.

i read poobah's fix to his problem and wonder if it's the B-pillar microswitch, but i don't know what this looks like. (i took a picture of a switch/socket behind the left rollbar but i the file size was too big to post. i can't see how it runs to the convertible top frame and don't see the the thin flexible metal switch so i doubt this is it (and this looks more like a power socket - for rear defogger or other??)

maybe more trial and error... :huh:

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This is the brass colored clip that holds the push rod in place for the clam shell. You lift on the top of the clip and then it slides off.

Mark was able to disconnect the ball joints with a pry lever so we did not have to remove the clips.

The other way to separate the ball joints is a door panel removal tool. I shove it in - between the joints - and twist. The joint then separates. I also use it for the red plastic joints.





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Hi Guys,

Shojitsu sorry to hear you are still having troubles with your top. The switch I found that wasn't operating properly in my fix is located behind the carpeted side panel that covers the seat belt mechanism. The connection you see on that same side is for the rear defrost on a hardtop installation. The side panel is held in place by a 10mm bolt up top at the roll bar and a phillips screw below. Once you remove this panel you will see the switch near the pivot point. it is a small microswitch that is feed power through a two wire up from the bottom wiring harness.

Good luck.


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