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98 Top Stuck in UP position


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Hi all,

My top got stuck today in the UP position. When I tried to put it down I heard a POP behind my shoulder and the top didn't do anything anymore.

I read as much as I could about transmission cables being shorter than the housing causing this problem and I am trying to get the car in service mode so that I can get to the motor and cables. I was able to disconnect the two small ball joints on top of the cables on each side of the top, but the clam shell is stuck in the close position and I can't get to the other ball joints.

Is it OK to snap the clamp on the other end of the black pushrods? Since they are in the close position will they snap and fly all over the place or is it pretty safe to do it? Are there other ways to remove them?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!

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I took the push rods out and placed the top in service mode. When I did that I discovered that both connections from the transmission to the ball joint (what some call the 'red' plastic connection) were disconnected. Not only that, but the one on the driver's side is bent to almost 90 degrees.

Now that the top and clam shell are disconnected I can push the button and here's what happens: the passanger side V joint moves as expected, however the driver's side does not. I checked the transmission cable's ends that go into the motor and they are very long. How can I look at the other ends? Where do they go? What causes the driver's V joint not to respond to the button commands?

Thanks!

Edited by azzar0
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I think Tool Pants explained why sometimes one or both transmissions won't move - it has to do with the semi-circle transmission used in the 97-99 models. I think that's the problem I'm having, however I can't seem to be able to open the transmission to reset the position of the wheel. Do I just have to use A LOT OF FORCE? If I try to use force the whole side of the car bends but the screw still won't budge - any suggestions on how to open up the transmission?

Thanks!

post-21160-1184804044.jpg

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Still no luck with removing the transmission - can anybody help?

Meanwhile, I tried the button again and sometimes the driver side transmission starts to move. I also noticed that if I keep the button pushed (say in the "UP" position) the passanger side transmission keeps on rotating while the driver side stops after a while (not sure if it makes a full circle or not). Is this normal? Also, what is the correct UP and DOWN positions? Are there marks on the transmission unit to use as directions?

I would like to replace the push rods and the other connectors that goes to the canvas (from the V joint - the one that is bent in the pictures above). Can anyone tell me the part numbers for these?

Thanks!

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  • Moderators

The transmission has come off the half moon gear. That is why the V-lever does not move. Hook the cable up to a drill - I forget which driection you need to run the drill. When the drill is running you rotate the V-lever with your hand and the worm gear will re-engage with the half moon gear. The V-lever cannot go full circle by itself because of the half moon gear. To get it to go full circle you have to turn it by hand when it comes off the gear, then it will start to go back on the gear.

Hard to explain since you cannot see what is going on inside the transmission. Might as well take the transmission out, then remove the cover from the back of the transmission, then you can see what you are doing and get the gears back together.

You need to remove the bolt for the V-lever. Then the V-lever. Then the round plastic plate. Then pull back the foam lining and you will see 3 nuts that bolt the transmission to the car. The V-lever bolt may be hard to remove if it has not been removed before. There is loctite on the threads. I use a breaker bar.

I see you have the metal joints instead of the original plastic joints. Who put those in? That is why the push rod is bent. If you had the plastic joint the joint would have broken before the rod could bend. Push rod is 986 561 279 02.

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The transmission has come off the half moon gear. That is why the V-lever does not move. Hook the cable up to a drill - I forget which driection you need to run the drill. When the drill is running you rotate the V-lever with your hand and the worm gear will re-engage with the half moon gear. The V-lever cannot go full circle by itself because of the half moon gear. To get it to go full circle you have to turn it by hand when it comes off the gear, then it will start to go back on the gear.

Hard to explain since you cannot see what is going on inside the transmission. Might as well take the transmission out, then remove the cover from the back of the transmission, then you can see what you are doing and get the gears back together.

You need to remove the bolt for the V-lever. Then the V-lever. Then the round plastic plate. Then pull back the foam lining and you will see 3 nuts that bolt the transmission to the car. The V-lever bolt may be hard to remove if it has not been removed before. There is loctite on the threads. I use a breaker bar.

I see you have the metal joints instead of the original plastic joints. Who put those in? That is why the push rod is bent. If you had the plastic joint the joint would have broken before the rod could bend. Push rod is 986 561 279 02.

Thanks Tool Pants. I'll try again to open up the transmission. I noticed the metal joints as well, I believe the previoius owner must have put them in. When I got the car she told me they had problems with the top but had it realigned, etc. I suspect the dealer must have put in the metal joints when they took it in to fix the top, but I am not sure.

I understand the half moon gear, but what doesn't make sense is that the passenger's side gear moves in full circles - it doesn't come off the gear. Why is that? Is it possible that someone put in a full moon gear instead of the original half moon?

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Unlikely that a dealership would put in the aftermarket metal joints.

When you buy a used car and work was done to it, you never know what you are going to find.

A few years ago we worked on a car that had the old style transmission on one side, and the new style on the other side. Maybe that is why your transmissions do not work the same. But you will figure it out for sure once you get them out. http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?s...666&hl=saga

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Unlikely that a dealership would put in the aftermarket metal joints.

When you buy a used car and work was done to it, you never know what you are going to find.

A few years ago we worked on a car that had the old style transmission on one side, and the new style on the other side. Maybe that is why your transmissions do not work the same. But you will figure it out for sure once you get them out. http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?s...666&hl=saga

Interesting - my cables look the same on both sides, but who knows. I haven't had the time to try to take the transmission off, but I was able to put it back in gear and synchronize both sides. Then I connected the two pushrods to the clamshell and pushed the up button. The clam shell completed the cycle and parked in the down position. Now here comes the really strange behavior: when I pushed the down button the transmissions did NOT change direction. I tried a few times, pressing up and down buttons, the transmissions move in the same direction until the pushrods force the transmission to skip a beat and cause the'POP' noise. Why is the motor not changning directions? You should be able to do that, right? After I disassemble everything and I push the buttons again the motor seems to change directions as expected. Any ideas?

Thanks for your help!

:renntech:

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Update...

I realigned the transmissions, reconnected all the cables and rods, and I noticed that the push rods connecting from the V joint to the canvas keep poping out. They just won't stay on. So I connected the push rods from the V joint to the clamshell, connected the canvas cables and left the other 2 connectors out of the picture and I ended up with a semi-automatic top. Basically the clamshell operates normally, the lights on the dashboard go on and off when they're supposed to, etc, but the canvas itself does not move. When I open the top I let the clamshell go all the way up, then lower the canvas manually (it just drops in), then continue pushing the button until the clamshell is tight in place and the light goes out. When I open the top, I let the clamshell open all the way, then pull the top up and continue the operation until the light goes out, then latch it on.

This is slightly better than fully manual because the clamshell is snug in place and won't rattle. I also don't have to get out of the car to perform the operation, which is also a plus. It still isn't a full solution, but for the time being it will do.

Why do the other 2 rods keep popping out? I also noticed that when the clamshell is fully up and out the distance between the V joint and the joint ball on the canvas side is much longer than the rod itself and I would never be able to connect it that way. I am assuming that in this position the rod is actually pulling on the top and that's why it seems to be longer than the rod, but I am not sure. What can I do to get the other 2 rods to stay in place? Should I buy new ones?

I also noticed that one of the joint balls is lose and doesn't have a nut on the back side. I will have to make sure I put one on - perhaps this is the reason they pop? That would explain the driver side, but the other side is screwed in and doesn't move - why would that one pop?

TIA

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Why do the other 2 rods keep popping out? I also noticed that when the clamshell is fully up and out the distance between the V joint and the joint ball on the canvas side is much longer than the rod itself and I would never be able to connect it that way. I am assuming that in this position the rod is actually pulling on the top and that's why it seems to be longer than the rod, but I am not sure. What can I do to get the other 2 rods to stay in place? Should I buy new ones?

I also noticed that one of the joint balls is lose and doesn't have a nut on the back side. I will have to make sure I put one on - perhaps this is the reason they pop? That would explain the driver side, but the other side is screwed in and doesn't move - why would that one pop?

TIA

i believe that the ball joint on the V-lever is supposed to have a brass clip (on the rear side of the V-lever) that holds it onto the V-lever. if there is no clip holding it to the V-lever, that might explain why your conv top push rods keep popping off. when they pop off, are they coming off from the V-lever side (ball joint side) or the conv top side (red connector side)?

are you re-using your old and severely bent push rods as pictured above? that could also be the reason. if they are bent like that, you absolutely need new ones.

also, the conv top push-rods are a two-piece rod, held together by a screw in the middle. in your picture you can see that the V-lever side piece is still connected to the V-lever and that piece has a hole in it for a screw to link the two pieces together. do you have the screw(s)?

as far as the position of the ball on the V-lever in relation to the ball on the conv top, you are correct. the conv top push rods 'pull' the top down, and 'push' the top up via rotation by the V-lever. the easiest way to get the correct position is probably to put the top all the way up and latch it, then connect the conv top side of the push rods to the balls on the conv top (from inside the car. it might be a little tight, but you should be able to do it.) alternately, you could do it with the top completely down (from outside the car. you just need to snap that red connector on to the conv top ball.) although i think you will have to remove the large clip-on plastic side pieces that hide the clamshell arms when you are cycling the top. you can put them back on after you've re-attached all the top internals and have made sure the top works correctly. (or you can leave them off - they are purely cosmetic.)

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i believe that the ball joint on the V-lever is supposed to have a brass clip (on the rear side of the V-lever) that holds it onto the V-lever. if there is no clip holding it to the V-lever, that might explain why your conv top push rods keep popping off. when they pop off, are they coming off from the V-lever side (ball joint side) or the conv top side (red connector side)?

are you re-using your old and severely bent push rods as pictured above? that could also be the reason. if they are bent like that, you absolutely need new ones.

also, the conv top push-rods are a two-piece rod, held together by a screw in the middle. in your picture you can see that the V-lever side piece is still connected to the V-lever and that piece has a hole in it for a screw to link the two pieces together. do you have the screw(s)?

as far as the position of the ball on the V-lever in relation to the ball on the conv top, you are correct. the conv top push rods 'pull' the top down, and 'push' the top up via rotation by the V-lever. the easiest way to get the correct position is probably to put the top all the way up and latch it, then connect the conv top side of the push rods to the balls on the conv top (from inside the car. it might be a little tight, but you should be able to do it.) alternately, you could do it with the top completely down (from outside the car. you just need to snap that red connector on to the conv top ball.) although i think you will have to remove the large clip-on plastic side pieces that hide the clamshell arms when you are cycling the top. you can put them back on after you've re-attached all the top internals and have made sure the top works correctly. (or you can leave them off - they are purely cosmetic.)

Hi Chris,

I didn't check the back of the V leveler - do I have to unscrew the transmission for that? I haven't been able to unscrew the transmission yet (lack of long extension rod to add to my wrench). The push rods are connected to the V leveler via another piece, as you mentioned. I connected the two pieces together using a screw. The push rods pop at the red connector side, although they have been changed with the after-market metal connectors, as you can see in the pictures. I straightened the bent rod in a small vise and they seem to look closer to what they're supposed to look like. I haven't thought about removing the clip-on plastic side pieces - I'll try that too.

Thanks!

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Hi Chris,

I didn't check the back of the V leveler - do I have to unscrew the transmission for that? I haven't been able to unscrew the transmission yet (lack of long extension rod to add to my wrench). The push rods are connected to the V leveler via another piece, as you mentioned. I connected the two pieces together using a screw. The push rods pop at the red connector side, although they have been changed with the after-market metal connectors, as you can see in the pictures. I straightened the bent rod in a small vise and they seem to look closer to what they're supposed to look like. I haven't thought about removing the clip-on plastic side pieces - I'll try that too.

Thanks!

to remove the V-lever, you just need to remove that big bolt right in the middle of the V-lever. i can't remember what size socket to use, but if you have a set just try some until you find one that fits. you said that one of the balls on one of the V-levers doesn't pop out, so look at the back of that ball/V-lever to see how the ball is held on, and then compare that to the one that's popping out. you might need to order a new ball for that V-lever, or a new V-lever if the ball's threads are stripped.

as for the red connector popping off (i understand you have replaced with the metal ones), the only thing i can think of is that because of the bent push-rods, it is somehow working that connector off of the ball when it moves. i would buy new push-rods and try those.

the other possibility is that the metal connector is not 'snapped' on to the ball enough. it is possible that because of the metal construction, there is no 'flex' in the material to allow it to envelope the ball the way the plastic connectors do.

first thing i would do is buy new push-rods. i wouldn't want to take a chance with the old ones. the potential for costly damage is too high.

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to remove the V-lever, you just need to remove that big bolt right in the middle of the V-lever. i can't remember what size socket to use, but if you have a set just try some until you find one that fits. you said that one of the balls on one of the V-levers doesn't pop out, so look at the back of that ball/V-lever to see how the ball is held on, and then compare that to the one that's popping out. you might need to order a new ball for that V-lever, or a new V-lever if the ball's threads are stripped.

as for the red connector popping off (i understand you have replaced with the metal ones), the only thing i can think of is that because of the bent push-rods, it is somehow working that connector off of the ball when it moves. i would buy new push-rods and try those.

the other possibility is that the metal connector is not 'snapped' on to the ball enough. it is possible that because of the metal construction, there is no 'flex' in the material to allow it to envelope the ball the way the plastic connectors do.

first thing i would do is buy new push-rods. i wouldn't want to take a chance with the old ones. the potential for costly damage is too high.

Agreed. I will get the push rods first and take it from there. Do you know the part number by chance and where I could get them cheaper? Or is the local dealer the only option?

Thanks again,

Julian.

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to remove the V-lever, you just need to remove that big bolt right in the middle of the V-lever. i can't remember what size socket to use, but if you have a set just try some until you find one that fits. you said that one of the balls on one of the V-levers doesn't pop out, so look at the back of that ball/V-lever to see how the ball is held on, and then compare that to the one that's popping out. you might need to order a new ball for that V-lever, or a new V-lever if the ball's threads are stripped.

as for the red connector popping off (i understand you have replaced with the metal ones), the only thing i can think of is that because of the bent push-rods, it is somehow working that connector off of the ball when it moves. i would buy new push-rods and try those.

the other possibility is that the metal connector is not 'snapped' on to the ball enough. it is possible that because of the metal construction, there is no 'flex' in the material to allow it to envelope the ball the way the plastic connectors do.

first thing i would do is buy new push-rods. i wouldn't want to take a chance with the old ones. the potential for costly damage is too high.

Agreed. I will get the push rods first and take it from there. Do you know the part number by chance and where I could get them cheaper? Or is the local dealer the only option?

Thanks again,

Julian.

Push Rod Part numbers are as follows:

986 561 579 00

986 561 580 00

Just bought a pair through my body shop friend (about $70 each) for my Boxster, which has not operated in the automatic mode for an extended period of time. When I bought the car, the previous owner had obviously had a problem because the clamshell has a little crease in it, and I have investigated and found that at least one of the cables has stretched. Mine's a '97. I may try to hook everything up this weekend myself.

Regards, 1schoir.

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Agreed. I will get the push rods first and take it from there. Do you know the part number by chance and where I could get them cheaper? Or is the local dealer the only option?

http://www.sunsetimports.com and http://www.suncoastporsche.com usually have the lowest prices. (about $40 for each push rod).

i wouldn't buy them from the local dealer, they will probably charge an arm and a leg.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The problem is far more serious than I was hoping, but fixable, I think.

I took off the V levelers on both sides. The passanger side has been updated with the new style transmission, however (I can't believe they did this!) the bolts are from the old style transmission and it is wabbling. The cable is also the old style. Now on to the driver's side... Two out of three bolts are broken. The metal around one of the screw holders is broken (because of the pushrods forcing, etc). The entire transmission is moving all over the place and the cable seems to be too short.

I ordered the new style transmissions (both sides, just to be on the safe side) off of eBay. The guy charged me $450 for both transmissions, cables, and bolts. They are not new, but pulled from a 00 or 01 wrecked car. I talked to my neighbor (who loves working on cars and has a whole bunch of SnapOn tools and such) and he looked at the damage and said he should be able to fix the metal holes by welding a few small stripes of metal around the screw housing. Then I will use 2.5 - 3 inch screws to pull the side of the car to the right position (right now the screws are pointing upwards instead of horizontal) and then use the correct bolts, transmissions, and cables to hook everything back together. I will take some pictures and post them here and I will let you know how it comes out.

Hopefully it will work ;)

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azzar0,

I'm not sure if this will help but when I fixed my top, I got my half moon stuck in the same manner you described. The gear can only move one way, if installed incorrectly the half gear will stop moving after an up or down cycle or pop out. If you open the transmission and you don't see any damage, then it's fine.

The way I fixed this is disconnected all the joints and lever. I had someone press the down button until the half moon gear jumps out of the track. I took note of the direction of motion (CW or CCW. After the gear pops out, you spin the lever in the opposite direction (if down is CW, spin it cw). Then have someone push the up button. This resynchs the gears. Now, when you spin the transmission to re-synch the two sides all motions must be similar to when you're pushing the button up. When you reassemble the the joints, you must do it with the top in the down position.

-Mark

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azzar0,

I'm not sure if this will help but when I fixed my top, I got my half moon stuck in the same manner you described. The gear can only move one way, if installed incorrectly the half gear will stop moving after an up or down cycle or pop out. If you open the transmission and you don't see any damage, then it's fine.

The way I fixed this is disconnected all the joints and lever. I had someone press the down button until the half moon gear jumps out of the track. I took note of the direction of motion (CW or CCW. After the gear pops out, you spin the lever in the opposite direction (if down is CW, spin it cw). Then have someone push the up button. This resynchs the gears. Now, when you spin the transmission to re-synch the two sides all motions must be similar to when you're pushing the button up. When you reassemble the the joints, you must do it with the top in the down position.

-Mark

Thanks for your input Mark! Since I am upgrading to the newer style transmission, though, I won't have to do all that, I just have to make sure that the two V levelers are synched, right?

The new transmissions should never come off gear, so they should be able to move at all times. The passanger side already does that, as it is the new style (with old cable and bolts, but nevertheless the new transmission style) :)

Thanks!

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azzar0,

I'm not sure if this will help but when I fixed my top, I got my half moon stuck in the same manner you described. The gear can only move one way, if installed incorrectly the half gear will stop moving after an up or down cycle or pop out. If you open the transmission and you don't see any damage, then it's fine.

The way I fixed this is disconnected all the joints and lever. I had someone press the down button until the half moon gear jumps out of the track. I took note of the direction of motion (CW or CCW. After the gear pops out, you spin the lever in the opposite direction (if down is CW, spin it cw). Then have someone push the up button. This resynchs the gears. Now, when you spin the transmission to re-synch the two sides all motions must be similar to when you're pushing the button up. When you reassemble the the joints, you must do it with the top in the down position.

-Mark

Mark:

When you say "After the gear pops out, you spin the lever in the opposite direction (if down is CW, spin it cw).", which lever must be spun in the opposite direction?

Also, when you have someone push the button in the "up" direction, how long do they push the button?

Regards, 1schoir.

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I was referring to the V lever. You push the button for a second or so, what this does is it re-engages the gears. When the gearpops out, you've reached the maximum "down" position. Re engaging and pushing the up button puts you in a known point. So now you know that if you push up to allow you to reconnect the ball joints, you will be in the correct "top is down" position for the gear.

-Mark

Mark:

When you say "After the gear pops out, you spin the lever in the opposite direction (if down is CW, spin it ccw).", which lever must be spun in the opposite direction?

Also, when you have someone push the button in the "up" direction, how long do they push the button?

Regards, 1schoir.

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I was referring to the V lever. You push the button for a second or so, what this does is it re-engages the gears. When the gearpops out, you've reached the maximum "down" position. Re engaging and pushing the up button puts you in a known point. So now you know that if you push up to allow you to reconnect the ball joints, you will be in the correct "top is down" position for the gear.

-Mark

Mark:

When you say "After the gear pops out, you spin the lever in the opposite direction (if down is CW, spin it ccw).", which lever must be spun in the opposite direction?

Also, when you have someone push the button in the "up" direction, how long do they push the button?

Regards, 1schoir.

Thanks for clarification, Mark.

Regards, 1schoir.

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Update:

This evening I replaced the transmissions on my 98 Boxster with 2000 style transmissions. Long story short - the top works, however I am not convinced it will continue to operate normally in its current state. Both sides still move a little when the transmissions are being engaged by the motor. When I say the sides move I reffer to the car sides, the metal part behind the fender, the actual car metal piece that holds the transmissions. Is this normal?

I was thinking of taking the car over to a body shop and having them weld a support beam under the transmission to make it more stable, but if it is normal for the transmissions to pull on the sides then I won't worry about it.

Also, I was wondering if someone can tell me if there is a difference between my 98 motor and a 2000 (and up) motor?

FYI - I replaced both transmissions, cables, mounting bolts, and top pushrods (the ones with the white plastic connector on the ends). I am still using the old pushrods for the clamshell, but I am planning on replacing those as well soon, just to be sure.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I replaced the clamshell pushrods as well, just to make sure I have all new parts. The top will go up, the clamshell goes down, but right before the light goes out the driver's side white plastic ball pops out of socket. When I put the top down, I let the clamshell go up, then snap the white plastic ball back into the socket and continue putting the top down - everything works fine.

So right now it **almost** works, but I have that pop. What could I do to eliminate this problem? Like I said, the entire top mechanism (with the exception of the motor) has been replaced with the newer, 2000+ transmission style components.

TIA

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I replaced the clamshell pushrods as well, just to make sure I have all new parts. The top will go up, the clamshell goes down, but right before the light goes out the driver's side white plastic ball pops out of socket. When I put the top down, I let the clamshell go up, then snap the white plastic ball back into the socket and continue putting the top down - everything works fine.

So right now it **almost** works, but I have that pop. What could I do to eliminate this problem? Like I said, the entire top mechanism (with the exception of the motor) has been replaced with the newer, 2000+ transmission style components.

TIA

Azzaro:

I am not sure if this will resolve your problem but, you might try the following or at least give it some thought:

Put the top up until just before the white plastic joint pops off the ball, then disconnect the cables from the motor side. Then spin the cables with a drill for a few seconds in the same direction as before (i.e., so that the top continues to go in the up/closed position). If you don't have two drills, spin each cable one at a time and be sure that you have spun them an equal amount of time (or an equal amount of forward travel of the front edge of the top). Then reconnect the cables to the motor and see if that turns the light out before the white plastic joints pop off. Even one or two inches might make the difference.

Also, you say you have replaced all of the parts. Did you also replace the convertible top main relay and the B-pillar microswitch? Apparently, the MY 2000-2004 right (psgr) transmissions contain the microswitch that was previously in the B-pillar.

Regards, Maurice.

Edit: Even though the factory manual says the microswitch is in the passenger side transmission, it is actually (and definitely) in the driver's side transmission, along with another microswitch (which has taken the place of the black plastic lever microswitch that was on top of the electric motor on the '97 to '99 Boxsters).

Edited by 1schoir
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