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Old Cables, New Cables

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What are the part numbers for the convertible top cables?

My understanding is that there are two versions - an older "update" that required new transmissions, and a newer "update" that doesn't.

My dealer just required me to put in new cables and transmissions, and I am wondering if I really needed them.


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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 months later...


The new top cables, part # 986 561 717 03, will not work with the old drive cables. This weekend, I tried to replace my old cable housing with the cable housing from the above part #. The new cable housing is about 2 inches longer than the old housing, which means that the old cable isn't long enough to stick out both ends.

So, if you're going to do this job, you have to replace the whole cable. I tried getting the gear off the end of the cable, but it wouldn't budge, so I'm taking it to my dealership this week to have fixed.

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Can you take some pictures and post them here.

When I saw that Porsche listed one part number for all years it made no sense to me as they are different from 1997-1999 vs. 2000 up. Looks like you have to use the new style transmission drive cables on the old style transmission - not just the plastic housings.

There are pictures here of how to get off the square end off the worm drive gear used in the old style - have no experience with the new style.

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Unfortunately, I didn't take any pics, and my car is back together with the old cable/housing.

I tried levering off the drive gear as you had suggested, but I couldn't get it off. I figure it won't cost much for the dealership to replace it, and if they break anything, they can pay for it.

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Hey Tool Pants-

Is it possible to buy the worm gear as a separate piece? Then I could just install the new worm gear on the end of the new cable, and I wouldn't have to mess with trying to get the old cable out of the old worm gear.

I'll tell you, I tried pretty hard to get the cable out, and it wouldn't budge.

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Looks like I am going to have to go to my dealer and ask the guys in the shop and parts what is going on with the 03 part number cables for the old style transmissions. I doubt they will know as they put in the new style transmissions when there is a top problem, and do not try to get the old style to work properly.

Is the ferrule and square drive end the same on the 03 cables as your original cables? The only difference is that everything with the 03 cables was 2 inches shorter than your old cables? What does not make sense to me is that if you can use the 03 cables on the old style transmissions then why in the world did Porsche recently come out with the reinforced sided cables for the old style transmissions just to eliminate them. Me thinks the old style transmissions will soon be eliminated from the parts inventory.

Porsche does not sell parts for either transmission style - just the entire unit. That square drive cable is a very, very tight fit on the inside end of the worm gear. I tried to remove it and could not figure it out. I took it to Peter and he showed me how to do it. Vise-grips and a pair of side cutters. And the worm drive flew into his tool chest when it came off with a sharp twist.



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Everything about the new cable seemed to be the same as the old cable, except that the housing and cable are two inches longer. The new cable is square ended, and it seems to be the same size.

I'll probably yank the transmissions out again next weekend and try to lever off the gears like you suggest. I'll take pictures this time around.

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steve, to remove the worm gear i tried the following:

-remove the plastic tip from the worm gear. (it shld slide off)

-pull the worm gear and cable away from the housing (say 6inches) so that no plastic pieces are near the worm gear

- wipe off any grease fm the area

- hold the cable with pliers n heat the worm gear end only so that it expands first before the cable. (i used my gas cooker)

- it gets very hot so use yr oven mitts and simply pull the worm gear off the cable.

- replace with new cable/housing after you've added the inner white plastic ring/plate thing n run it under cold water so the worm gear contracts around the cable again. place the plastic tip back on before assembling into transmission.

- don't get burned!

i hv a 98 boxster n just replaced the cables. the new cables ARE longer (by abt 1inch) which means it doesn't hv the same straight run from motor to transmission - it has more bends but it seems to operate the same. (i feel this is something porsche should check/change as the cables should turn more smoothly if it runs in a straight line- less friction on the cables inside if straighter).

fyg, i'm still fiddling with the top as the motor is not stopping when the clamshell closes. i've had the gear jump off the transmission a couple of times and sometimes it works fine when i've run the gears back on and sometimes not.

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I did my top cable replacement today. I kind of combined both suggestions for removing the gears - I heated them up, then levered against them using a vise-grip and side cutter. They popped right off. Everything went pretty well and I didn't have to retime the top.

Here is a pretty crummy picture showing the length of the old vs. new cable. The ends on the other side (the side you can't see) are equal, so as you can see, the new cable is somewhat longer than the old.


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I just removed the drive cable from Gary's old style transmission with the vise grip/side cutter method. Worm gear came right off.

Also removed the cable from his new style transmission. There is a 1 inch difference in the length of the cable housings. :angry: Cannot just swap the cable housings like we use to do, so we did not have to play around with the worm gear.





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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys,

Welcome me to the club of broken Boxster tops. McKenna Porsche says that I

cannot just order the new cables for my old transmissions. Has anyone found out

the answer to the question of the newest cables and whether they are telling me

the truth, or are they just trying to sell me some transmissions too?

Thanks in advance,

Daniel :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been reading up on top drive cables, anticipating that I'll need to change mine. I have a Jan 99 delivered car. It was a Sept allotment, I think it was built in Octo 98. (those were the days weren't they, MSRP!)

Getting to the point.......

I checked my cables and it appears that I have the reinforced cable sheathing. Now, how could that happen? When did the reinforced cables start? The part number on the left side appears to be 986 5617 17 01. (can't read the right side)

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