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Soft Top Cable/Transmission Questions


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Hi - I put the top up and heard nasty noises like gears jumping when it got in the full up position, so I carefully tried to open it again and then had a problem with the clamshell opening unevenly, so I stopped and closed it again immediately!

I've been through the various forum topics and got lots of useful help to strip the mechanism down - I found that the 3 drivers side gearbox bolts were slightly loose and the V-lever had lagged behind the one on the passenger side during opening but when I inspected the cables to the motor, the passenger side one seemed slightly long (1/8") - It stopped me putting the retaining clip properly onto the cable collar at the motor end.

I've adjusted the gearbox rotational positions according to the Porsche workshop manual and tightened up etc. Now I'm thinking whether I should replace the cables which generally seem OK apart from the connection at the motor on the passenger side.

Is a slightly long cable a problem? Is that likely to have been the cause?

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a slightly longer cable should not be a problem (unless it prevents the brass clip from holding the cable in). a shorter cable on the other hand will be a problem. the recommended length of the drive cable sticking out past the end of the silver ferrule (collar) is ~3/4". are you saying that you have 7/8" on one side, and 3/4" on the other side? or are you saying that one side is flush with the end of the silver ferrule and the other side has 1/8" sticking out past the end of the ferrule. if it is the latter, you need to repair or replace the cables (and you do NOT want to be pushing the conv top button at all until they are repaired/replaced) - and that is 100% the cause of your problems.

on earlier Boxster models, the black cladding/cable sheath that covers the inner drive cable (the part that sticks out past the silver ferrules) stretches/expands due to heat and effectively 'pushes' the cable out of the motor. when the drive cable is not connected (or poorly connected) to the motor, one side is driven while the other is not driven (or intermittently driven) which leads to disastrous and expensive results. Porsche recognized this problem (after many costly warranty repairs, i imagine) and now uses reinforced cables that do not stretch.

you can either repair your cables (quickest/cheapest/easiest) or replace them with the new cables (not as easy, transmissions must be removed, worm gear pried out, etc.). repairing the cables consists of cutting around (not through the inner drive cable) the black cable cladding so that you can remove the silver ferrule. then you will measure how much more black cladding you need to remove so that when you re-fit the silver ferrule on the end, you have 3/4" of drive cable sticking out past the end of the ferrule.

this thread explains it all (part numbers, how-to, etc.)

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

this is what your cables should look like:

10251.jpg

Edited by Chris_in_NH
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Following up on the same topic...

I had the transmissions and cables replaced a few years ago after having the stretched cables syndrome.

The other day I heard some weird groaning from somewhere back there as I was putting the top up upon arriving home. I stopped it immediately and saw the clamshell raised not quite evenly. I disconnected everything per the Bentley manual's "emergency manual top closure" procedure -- disconnecting the two arms on each side, and manually raising the top. When I went to inspect everything this afternoon, what I see suspicious is this:

824373906_799100e75d.jpg

823500373_478f677a7a.jpg

The little braids in the cable seem to be tearing away from the square core. This makes it difficult (but not impossible) to engage the retainer clip because the cable head protrudes just a hair too far.

Chris, since you seem to have expertise on this, do you think this unraveling could cause uneven motion of the two sides that just happened? My inclination is to replace this cable (or both). It doesn't sound from the Bentley manual like that's very hard (remove the transmission, r&r the cable there, then reassemble). I tried driving the cable with a drill and it seems to move OK on its own, but that doesn't mean it's turning with the same force as the other side.

flickr

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The little braids in the cable seem to be tearing away from the square core. This makes it difficult (but not impossible) to engage the retainer clip because the cable head protrudes just a hair too far.

do you think this unraveling could cause uneven motion of the two sides that just happened?

wow! that's the first time i've ever seen that happen.

i'm sure that that could cause the uneven lifting problem you're having. that is not supposed to happen. ;)

yeah, i'd just replace the cables. check out the Cable R&R link that i posted in the message above. it shows how to replace the cables, etc.

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Thanks Chris for the swift reply and the link. I reckon I must have the later transmission & cables on my Nov '99 (MY 2000) Boxster: The cables come out easily from both the motor and transmission ends to reveal the square ends (the cable is removed from the trans end by bending a tab on the case to release the ferrule). I also have a single alignment mark on my trans case and rotating part to set up everything to the Porsche manual recommendations.

I need to double-check my cable for the 3/4" protrusion and verify it's the later type. When I looked at the extended cable end it seemed to be enlarging in diameter as it went back into the outer sheath - maybe its becoming unwound and that's part of the problem.

I'll take another look & report back, hopefully with photos.

Russ

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The little braids in the cable seem to be tearing away from the square core. This makes it difficult (but not impossible) to engage the retainer clip because the cable head protrudes just a hair too far.

do you think this unraveling could cause uneven motion of the two sides that just happened?

wow! that's the first time i've ever seen that happen.

i'm sure that that could cause the uneven lifting problem you're having. that is not supposed to happen. ;)

yeah, i'd just replace the cables. check out the Cable R&R link that i posted in the message above. it shows how to replace the cables, etc.

OK Chris - if you've never seen trygve's case before then you've got two in one - mines the same! As we say in England, "Just like London buses - you wait all day for one, then two come along at once!" My uneven clamshell opening and cable unravelling is the same.

What I can't understand is that it seemed to be the passenger side was opening normally with the drivers side lagging behind and yet the stretched cable is on the passenger side.

I also attach a photo of my microswitch - it looks different to every other one I've seen - where's the lever?!

post-21281-1184617231_thumb.jpg

post-21281-1184617331_thumb.jpg

post-21281-1184617342_thumb.jpg

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That's weird. I assumed the lever stays up until the clamshell pushes it down -- is the lever simply pushed down, or not there at all? (Maybe a spring pushes it back up and is not doing the job?)

Your unraveling cable strands look just like mine.

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I also attach a photo of my microswitch - it looks different to every other one I've seen - where's the lever?!

ok, i see now. your cable lengths look fine, but if it's unraveling like Trygve's is, then you need new cables. since your car is a '99 it currently has the old-style cables and transmissions. the new cables have a braided cladding that is different from the flat black cladding that your cables have.

as far as your 'microswitch', that is actually the cable motor. the latch that goes on top looks like it has broken off. it seems coincidental that your cables are chewed up and that your cable motor latch is broken/missing. looks like you need a new cable motor and new cables. www.sunsetimports.com probably has the lowest price on both.

you can get the part numbers for the new cables from the link that i posted in the message above. or you could just call/email Sunset Imports (or SuncoastPorsche.com or AutohausAZ.com) and let them know what you need. they'll find the part numbers. i think the cable motor will be the easier part to replace. the cables are a bit more work. that is also covered in the link above.

Edited by Chris_in_NH
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ok, i see now. your cable lengths look fine, but it it's unraveling like Trygve's is, then you need new cables. since your car is a '99 it currently has the old-style cables and transmissions. the new cables have a braided cladding that is different from the flat black cladding that your cables have.

as far as your 'microswitch', that is actually the cable motor. the latch that goes on top looks like it has broken off. it seems coincidental that your cables are chewed up and that your cable motor latch is broken/missing. looks like you need a new cable motor and new cables. www.sunsetimports.com probably has the lowest price on both.

Thanks Chris & trygve for your help. I checked out the link and I think I may have the later cables - they look braided in the flesh, but it doesn't show up in the photos. The part # is visible on the sheathing (see photo #3) so I'll check it with the supplier.

As trygve says, I think my lever has broken off before I got the car. - no sign of it in the back anywhere and if it was in there somewhere when I last got it serviced I can't imagine that the tech would not have told me about it (opportunity for some profit!).

Looks like the cost of this job is going North... :angry:

Edited by russtbird
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Looks like the cost of this job is going North... :angry:

if your cables have not been replaced previously then you have the old style cables. it doesn't really matter anyway since they are broken and need to be replaced. i think the cables are something like $40 each, maybe less.

the cable drive motor can't be that much money. i'm guessing less than $100, but i don't really know. check out those sites i listed above. all three of them are the lowest-cost parts suppliers. if you buy them from your local dealer, you will probably pay much too much. i have seen some dealers charge 300 or 400% of list price for some parts, and that's just wrong!

you can also check the dismantlers to see what kind of price you can get on a used cable motor. they hardly ever fail, so you don't need to worry about it being defective or breaking on you. you might be able to get a really good price on one. just keep in mind, just because they are 'dismantlers' doesn't mean that any price they give you is going to be less than a new part. see what the new part costs (from the 3 sources above) so that you are an 'informed consumer'.

here's a list of dismantlers: http://mike.focke.googlepages.com/listsofsources

the cable motor should be extremely easy to swap out. the cables will be a little harder. but i still think you can do this for less than $200 and a couple hours of your time.

let us know how you make out!

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the cable motor should be extremely easy to swap out. the cables will be a little harder. but i still think you can do this for less than $200 and a couple hours of your time.

let us know how you make out!

My motor seems to work just fine. I checked out the workshop manual today and found that there are two types of support around the cable motor: one has the microswitch and one (like mine) doesn't. The part no's are 986 613 767 01 and 986 624 299 00 respectively in case anyone needs them.

I'll replace just the cables and see how it goes from there.

Thanks for the links but I am in England (close to Porsche Reading, the main Porsche importers for the UK) and I got a quote from them today for the cables at £17.07 each - about $32? - plus tax. I put in an order and they should arrive Friday. I am looking forward to getting it all back together again, but I travel to the middle east for work on Saturday for a week so it'll have to wait until after that!

Russ.

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let us know how you make out!

Cables came a day early from Porsche Reading, so I reassembled everything tonight - Success! The motor also sounds a lot quieter and less labored when I close the hood now.

Thanks for the help & advice from Chris and trygve.

Russ.

congrats! :)

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I received the replacement cables from Sunset Imports yesterday, and will replace this weekend. Sunset's prices was about $25 per cable (compared to $50 at the local Porsche dealer), and quick delivery for under $10.

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I received the replacement cables from Sunset Imports yesterday, and will replace this weekend. Sunset's prices was about $25 per cable (compared to $50 at the local Porsche dealer), and quick delivery for under $10.

yeah, Sunset rocks!! i can't believe the high prices that some of the dealers charge.

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All finished -- it works fine once again! I was glad to find that connecting the new cable to the transmission was very easy. I recall seeing another thread here that described having to use pliers to remove the old cable from the worm gear because it's a very tight friction fit, but I did not find that to be the case; the cable simply pulled out just as it did at the motor, in fact in retrospect I don't think it was necessary to remove the gear cover. The only thing that was unclear to me is what keeps the cable pushed fully into the transmission. There seems to be enough tension on the cable to hold it in place, but nothing mechanical like the U-clip that holds the other end tight at the motor. (Or did I miss something important?!)

One other thing to mention. I'd left the key in the ignition and switched on long enough while working (2 hrs?) and run the motors a few times, to the point where the battery was dead when I finally went to start the car. Left the trickle charger in overnight and it charged right back up. But it's worth noting that the motor draws a lot from the battery, especially at the end of travel, so be careful about using it too much on its own.

Chris, thanks a lot for the helpful information on this and other threads!

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