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Sorry to keep beating a dead horse - but my prob is a lil different

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Hi guys, I am a new member to the forum but not new to reading all the great info you guys post. I have read through sooooo many pages on here but my top problem is a little different. I've only had my 98 boxster for a couple months now and the top was working good. Sometimes when putting it up, it wouldn't align perfectly but it would still fit itself in there. Anyway after weeks of bad weather and tons of rain, I attempted to drop the top today and nothing :( The only thing is that, after I unhook the top latch and press the "down" button. The motor starts going but it's making a repeat ticking sound. The top doesnt budge at all and nothing moves. I checked to make sure the hand brake was all the way up and that the "brake" light is ignited on the dash - it is. My windows roll down half way and everything. Ive even tried pusing the microswitch in and out a few times while trying to retract the top and still nada. I just don't get why the motor would come on, everyone else says it's like their motor is dead.

Also--- not sure if this has anything to do with it but sometimes when I flip the ignition and start the car - if I attempt to turn the headlights on - as normal, only very dim lights will appear - not enough to see with at night! And also, when this happens I realized that my heat/airconditioning won't turn on. The display will be illuminated but when I push the buttons for any air or heat to come on - it will say on the display that it is coming on, but nothing blows out, so I have to turn the car off and back on and that usually does the trick - the headlights will be back to normal, nice and bright and the heat/air works!

What the heck is going on? I've already spent quite a bit on other repairs for this car and I really wasn't planning on spending a whole lot more :( Please help!

Thanks in advance,


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If you hit the button, and the motor starts to do something, it's not likely an electrical/electronic problem. With some sort of electrical or electronic problem, the motor would not respond to the button at all. I would guess a failed motor, or something is binding up that it cannot overcome.

As for your other issues, I'd look into replacing the ignition switch. When an ignition switch starts going out, all kinds of goofy electrical things happen - stuff not turning on... stuff not turning OFF when the key is removed... DEFINITELY sounds like a possible source of your non-top problems.

They're not very expensive, but can be a little tricky to replace. A dealer will try to sell you a new switch, which requires a new ignition cylinder, which will cost quite a bit more.

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if the conv top motor will run, then all your microswitches are working. my guess it's that it's a mechanical issue. usually (and especially in the '98s) the issue is the conv top cables that attach to the conv top drive motor under the clamshell by the 3rd brake light.

you should unclip the cable ends from the conv top drive motor and examine them for length. there should be ~3/4" of drive cable sticking out the end of the black cable sheath. the problem with these old cables is that the black cable sheath/cladding expands over time and effectively shortens the amount of drive cable sticking out the end, so that the motor can't get a good grip (or ANY grip) on the drive cable. that would explain your motor running, but nothing happening. the clicking that you hear sounds like the drive cable is in contact with the motor, but not enough contact to actually grab and drive the cable.

if you read this link, it will tell you how to check your conv top cables for length. ultimately you should replace them/have them replaced before something goes very expensively wrong.


you will need to get your clamshell open to check the cables. since (i suspect that) the cables are not contacting the conv top drive motor, you will need to disconnect the internal top mechanics to manually open the clamshell. there are a number of posts that describe this procedure. this procedure is also covered in the owner's manual.

if the cables are not the problem, my next guess is the conv top transmissions (one on each side of car). but the problem is usually the cables...

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Thank you guys for your help, I really appreciate the info so far. It was really frustrating me today so I went and took off the vinyl cover to reveal where the noise was coming from. I'm assuming that the black box in the first picture is the motor for the top? Well when I push the "open" button to put the top down, the cables coming out of the driver side of the box (the one where the green line is attached) move up and down and that is where the ticking is coming from. The single cable coming out of the passenger side doesnt seem to make any noise or movement. I tried moving the cables around to where ever they attach at the motor and they move around a bit but still nothing worked. Sooo - I guess I will try and do the cable thing myself, if that's what everyone thinks it is after this post.

Thanks again for any info you may have!



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yes, that is the conv top cable motor. there is a brass clip on each side that holds the cables into the motor. slide out that brass clip and pull out the cable(s). you will see the thinner drive cable sticking out the end. the length sticking out the end should be 3/4". if it's shorter than that, that would explain why your top isn't working, as the motor doesn't have enough drive cable to grab on to to turn the transmissions which in turn move the clamshell up/down and the top frame open/closed.

you can either repair the cables or replace them. i think the new reinforced cables that won't stretch are about $40 each. all the info is covered in the link that i posted above.

what is odd about your situation is that usually one cable fails first. what happens in that case, as you can imagine, is that one side starts to lift and move the conv top while the other is basically locked in place (because the motor is not driving the cable) and then... SNAAAAPPPP!!! if both of your cables have stretched themselves away from the motor at the same time, consider yourself very 'lucky'. ;)

if you see/hear this start to happen while you are pushing the conv top button, STOP!

Edited by Chris_in_NH
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Sorry to keep being so difficult! I read the article about replacing the cables with the newer reinforced ones. After reading it I went out to my car and checked and they actually do have the texture of the reinforced ones, like the diamond pattern. That being said, could it still be a cable problem? I just don't want to try and take it somewhere to get looked at because I ALWAYS get ripped off!! :soapbox:

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did you remove the cables from the conv top motor and check them for length? you're looking for 3/4" of drive cable sticking out the end.

to answer your question - yes, it could still be the cables even if you have the newer reinforced ones. the drive cable may have broken inside the cable sheath, etc.

look at these pics: http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?s...ost&p=26510

this is what's referred to as the V-lever. there is one on each side of the car. notice that black canister piece that is connected to the end of the V-lever. if you can reach back there, take a screwdriver and pry that black canister off the end of the V-lever. it will just pop off. do this on both sides of the car. then you will be able to open your clamshell manually to better access the cables/top motor.

scroll down a little in that same post and you will see some more pics that show better pics of the V-lever/black canister, etc.

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