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Broken Top Rod Joint Ball


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I've been trying to figure out why my floor carpet padding has continued to get wet when it rains even though I know that all of the drains (3 front, two in each door and four rear) are clear and all of the top and window seals are intact and mating properly. The water was worse in the rear, and I suspected that the water in the front had migrated forward beside the seats. After reading here and at 986forum.com, I suspected a possible breach in the foam top well drip pan, probably in one or both of the forward corners behind the seats.

I found a fairly significant tear in the foam behind the passenger side, where the various plastic fittings for the top structure secure. I patched it with a comination of waterproof gorilla tape and silicone sealant.

The only other breach I found which did not appear to be part of the design was in the front left corner at the bottom behind the driver side door jamb, where the foam was split as if something about the size of my finger had torn through it. I sealed that corner with silicone.

Before sealing the corner, I traced the path back to figure out what had torn the foam. I found that the plastic ball fitting on the rod which connects the top to the rotating plate for raising and lowering the top on the driver's side had sheared at the base of the ball. The rod was lying in the base of the foam drip pan, where it had apparently been sliding back and forth each time the top was raised or lowered and the jagged plastic had torn a hole in the corner of the foam.

I removed the rod from the rotating plate.

Here are my questions:

1. The plastic fitting which covers the ball on the top strut appears to screw onto the rod. Can the plastic fitting be purchased separately and be replaced without replacing the rod?

2. The end of the rod which attaches to the rotating plate has a rubber bushing which (based on the intact rod on the passenger side) looks like it is supposed to have two joined pieces which cover either side of the flat part of the rod under the torx bolt and over the connection point to the plate. The connection of these two sides of the bushing has torn and the bushing appears to need replacement. Can that part be purchased separately?

3. The rod is two pieces with a sliding fitting in the middle and an adjustment nut for the length of the rod. How do I determine the correct length for the adjustment of the rod?

4. Can I do this repair myself?

5. I assume that I should not operate the top until I do this repair (or have the repair done), in order to avoid strain from the imbalance of forces on the top structure and on the one operating rod on the passenger side. I have raised and latched the top. Is this the best way to protect the top until the repair can be effected?

Thanks.

Bob

Sorry -- forgot to add: 1999 US Spec Boxster

Edited by simbob
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I've been trying to figure out why my floor carpet padding has continued to get wet when it rains even though I know that all of the drains (3 front, two in each door and four rear) are clear and all of the top and window seals are intact and mating properly. The water was worse in the rear, and I suspected that the water in the front had migrated forward beside the seats. After reading here and at 986forum.com, I suspected a possible breach in the foam top well drip pan, probably in one or both of the forward corners behind the seats.

I found a fairly significant tear in the foam behind the passenger side, where the various plastic fittings for the top structure secure. I patched it with a comination of waterproof gorilla tape and silicone sealant.

The only other breach I found which did not appear to be part of the design was in the front left corner at the bottom behind the driver side door jamb, where the foam was split as if something about the size of my finger had torn through it. I sealed that corner with silicone.

Before sealing the corner, I traced the path back to figure out what had torn the foam. I found that the plastic ball fitting on the rod which connects the top to the rotating plate for raising and lowering the top on the driver's side had sheared at the base of the ball. The rod was lying in the base of the foam drip pan, where it had apparently been sliding back and forth each time the top was raised or lowered and the jagged plastic had torn a hole in the corner of the foam.

I removed the rod from the rotating plate.

Here are my questions:

1. The plastic fitting which covers the ball on the top strut appears to screw onto the rod. Can the plastic fitting be purchased separately and be replaced without replacing the rod?

2. The end of the rod which attaches to the rotating plate has a rubber bushing which (based on the intact rod on the passenger side) looks like it is supposed to have two joined pieces which cover either side of the flat part of the rod under the torx bolt and over the connection point to the plate. The connection of these two sides of the bushing has torn and the bushing appears to need replacement. Can that part be purchased separately?

3. The rod is two pieces with a sliding fitting in the middle and an adjustment nut for the length of the rod. How do I determine the correct length for the adjustment of the rod?

4. Can I do this repair myself?

5. I assume that I should not operate the top until I do this repair (or have the repair done), in order to avoid strain from the imbalance of forces on the top structure and on the one operating rod on the passenger side. I have raised and latched the top. Is this the best way to protect the top until the repair can be effected?

Thanks.

Bob

Sorry -- forgot to add: 1999 US Spec Boxster

Bob:

1. The plastic cup fitting cannot be purchased separately, but, if you can, if you want to unscrew the old one and screw on the new one once you get the complete push rod replacement part.

(Part number is 986 561 279 02, same part number for both sides, about $50 from Sunset). Original plastic cup was red and the new ones are white and less brittle.

2. The rubber bushing is one piece, and can be purchased separately. Part number 986 561 881 00, about $3 each.

3. Use the length of the old rod as a guide to determine the length of the new rod ( If you only replace the plastic cup, just make sure that you count the number of turns that the white plastic cup is turned onto its threaded rod). If you make this overall push rod too short or too long, it will have an effect on how the two tongues on the front of the convertible top lines up with their receptacles in the top of the windshield frame.

4. Can definitely do this yourself. Also, if you replace the entire rod, make sure that you use blue loctite on the allen key bolt that fastens the push rod onto the V-lever.

5. Keeping the top closed is the best way to avoid aggravating the problems you might experience with the top. If you replace the parts above as explained, you shouldn't experience any additional problems for now. I say for now because the early tops and early versions of the transmissions and associated parts (e.g., the cables) have been prone to more frequent breakdowns, but if you catch them early enough you can usually fix them without too much difficulty.

Keep us posted on how you make out, or if you have additional symptoms.

Regards, Maurice.

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A really dumb thing I dreamt up to hunt down leaks it to sort of line you cockpit with news paper (position your paper where you think its leaking). Tape it on with masking tape and wait for rain. Catch it before it has a chance to dry out and your news paper should show wet streaks where water is running in.

Also, a problem I've had that reeks havoc is a drain line from the bottom of the wells under your top transmission assems. The clam shell is not really designed to keep water out, those drains plug up and overflow into cockpit.

2 cents

PK

Edited by pk2
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