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clamshell stuck on drivers side

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Hello all,

I have a 97 Boxster w/34k miles on it...just purchased it a couple months ago. The car is PHENOMINAL in all ways, except for the top as of yesterday. I started to recline the top (e-brake on, in park, trunk shut). As usual, the clamshell hinged up and the top started to recline when it suddenly stopped. The motor would still spin, but the top wouldn't move. So I tried to close it. The top moved forward again and the clamshell started to go down, but only on the passenger side.

Looking a bit closer into it, I noticed that the driver's side transmission is frozen in place. When attempting to recline the top or close it now, I noticed that the passenger side moves just fine, but the driver's side only moves very little. Naturally I do not want to torque the top, so I have been careful to not push it one way or another. The motor is still working, so I'm assuming its not electrical or a fuse. I checked all fuses just in case as well.

In reading on this forum (GREAT information, all who have contributed), I figured out how to take the 2 brass clips off to manually disconnect the clamshell and its mechanism to at least close it, but I am still stuck not knowing what is wrong.

From all appearances, it looks like the driver's side transmission is immovable. Could that be because of a cable as well, or just transmission? What am I looking at for cost to fix? Sunset Porsche in Portland, OR quoted me $1800 over the phone without seeing it.

I know that the previous owner had some top work done on it before a few years back.

Any information is greatly appreciated. Thx for the great posts so far on this site.


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Paul, I just had same problem and did as you stated. I don't put my top up that much so am going to opertate clamshell and top manually for now. I have a broken part in the top structure and am trying to figure out if it worth replaciing the top. Good luck on yours, the tech section here has tons of good info.

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  • Moderators

Read all the messages on top cables and look at the pictures. Remove the clips where the cables hook into the motor and see how much of the square drive cable is sticking out. You need to rule out the cable as the reason one of the transmissions are not moving.

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The first thing to check is the red ball joint. That usually breaks. If that's fine and your top is still correctly timed, ToolPants described a process in the Top section on how to shorten the cable. You pretty much removed the metal ferrule(?) cut some of the housing and re-install.


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Thanks for the quick answers back everyone. I will inspect both the cables and the red ball joint. At first glance, the ball joint looked okay, but I haven't closely inspected.

riverflyer - that's a good idea in the meantime.

I will post more info later...

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I finally got a chance to take a closer look into this. As it turns out, it was way more simple than I thought to fix.

Tool Pants - you were absolutely right. Driver's side cable had worked itself loose. I pushed it back in and I'm back to top-down driving.

Thanks everyone...


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