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The fellow I purchased my '98 986 from informed me he was operating the top one day and all he heard was a loud 'noise' and the whole system ceased to operate. (yeah, that was helpful) Anyway, I have this on my 'project' list for the car. When the dash control is pressed you can hear a motor but nothing happens. The idiot light is also on. I was wondering if anyone with experience in this matter could direct me as to where to start the road to repair.

With the usual thanks and appreciation!

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The fellow I purchased my '98 986 from informed me he was operating the top one day and all he heard was a loud 'noise' and the whole system ceased to operate. (yeah, that was helpful) Anyway, I have this on my 'project' list for the car. When the dash control is pressed you can hear a motor but nothing happens. The idiot light is also on. I was wondering if anyone with experience in this matter could direct me as to where to start the road to repair.

With the usual thanks and appreciation!

The start of the road to this repair is to verify whether your plastic ball cups are intact or if they have shattered or popped off the steel balls at the base of the B-Pillar.

Are you getting any movement of the clamshell or nothing at all?

If the clamshell is not moving, then perhaps your black "hydraulic" pushrods are either damaged or have popped off the V-Levers, or more likely, the outer sheaths of your drive cables have stretched

Also check to make sure both V-levers are intact.

You can get a good idea of what all of these parts look like and where they are on the car by doing a search here or going to Mike Focke's website and taking a look at the section devoted to the top.

Regards, Maurice.

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Hi Maurice

I just came in from the car. I started from the very beginning and have some updates. First to answer your question yes the right ball cup is broken. Here is what happened just now;.

1. I pressed the release lever and the windows dropped their 4 inches.

2. I pressed the control panel switch and the top started to move back but then stopped and came back up somewhat...

3. I released the button and stopped the process.

4. Stupid me gets out of the car and gently tries to coax the top up or down and that's when the ball cup broke. (They are the old white ones)

5. I released the left ball cup from the steel ball so I could at least move the top manually.

I guess the good news was there was movement to begin with. Initially there was nothing. I will have a look at Mike Focke's website for more trouble shooting.

I'll let you know what I find.

Thanks for your response! I appreciate it very much.

Vic

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Hi Maurice

I just came in from the car. I started from the very beginning and have some updates. First to answer your question yes the right ball cup is broken. Here is what happened just now;.

1. I pressed the release lever and the windows dropped their 4 inches.

2. I pressed the control panel switch and the top started to move back but then stopped and came back up somewhat...

3. I released the button and stopped the process.

4. Stupid me gets out of the car and gently tries to coax the top up or down and that's when the ball cup broke. (They are the old white ones)

5. I released the left ball cup from the steel ball so I could at least move the top manually.

I guess the good news was there was movement to begin with. Initially there was nothing. I will have a look at Mike Focke's website for more trouble shooting.

I'll let you know what I find.

Thanks for your response! I appreciate it very much.

Vic

Vic:

1. Did you get any description from the previous owner as to how the problem developed and what symptoms he had and if and when they changed?

The cause of the top starting to open and then going back the other way is a miscalibrated B-Pillar microswitch. That microswitch is on the '97 to '99 Boxsters and it is activated by being depressed (or released) by the B-pillar. It has a small silver metal arm that sometimes get bent out of shape and thus will make or break contact too early or too late when it is depressed or released by the B-Pillar. That microswitch is located behind the semi-cylindrical carpeted panel that is behind and below your left shoulder as you sit in the driver's seat.

The white plastic ball cups on a '98 means that they have already been replaced, at least once. The originals, which were less durable and more brittle, were red.

Porsche only sells the complete front pushrod assembly. If you want to buy just the plastic ball cups, send me a PM and I'll send you the info on a guy in the Netherlands who sells them.

2. Are your V-levers intact?

3. Also, verify which version of the drive cables that you have. Are they smooth sided or do they have a "cross-hatch" pattern on the outside black vinyl sheath.

If you have the smooth-sided ones, you have to confirm whether you have at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of the inner speedometer-type cable sticking out of the sheath after you disconnect each cable from the sides of the electric motor's output flanges. Just pull up on the upside-down U-clips that hold them securely into the sides of the electric motor. If the inner cables don't stick out enough, they won't be driven by the electric motor, or they will be driven intermittently.

Be careful not to operate the top with dangling pushrods (because of a broken plastic ball cup or a disconnected one). They can dig in an rip or tear the foam drain tray. If that happens, you can get water intrusion into the cabin, where it will find its way to the immobiliser under the driver's seat. That will cost big $$$ to repair and could leave you stranded, so make sure to check that there is no water under the carpet behind the driver's seat.

Regards, Maurice.

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Hi Maurice

1. The previous owner just said he was lowering the top one day and he heard a loud 'snap' or some such noise and things stopped working.

2. Yes I would like to order just the ball cups! (How do I PM you?) Sorry, new to the site.

3. Not quite sure what the V-levers are but everything attached to the clam shell is sound with no bends or breaks... ??? (Mike Fockes website does not have the top listed, it says he is not in the Boxster community anymore :()

4. Drive cables? I'll have to go look... stndby

5. NO WATER UNDER CARPET.:) Drain foam drain tray on both sides is in tact. The previous owner did not use it after the system failed on him. He showed me how to raise the roof manually with everything disconnected.

It has been difficult looking this stuff up without any photos... Would it be in my shop manual?

Thanks for your help!

V

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Just checked the passenger side and it's wet there too. The thing is it does not smell musty or look corroded at least from what I can see with the limited amount of carpet I can pull back. I have towels under as far as I can reach sucking up as much excess moister as I can. Fortunately this is not a commuter car but acquired for Sunday drives. She is under cover and out of the weather. The thing is I cannot really see any rips or tears in the foam drain tray. Any advice on where to go from here?

My wife's giving me some real nice looks right now!... I told her to look on the bright side... at least I got rid of the motorcycle, which she said was going to kill me! :) I guess I have to laugh a bit right now.

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The drain tray is the foam liner directly under the V-levers, and it runs from the underside of the B-pillar to the rearmost side of the clamshell, one on each side.

Here is a link to Mike Focke's web site, with lots of photos for reference. Take a look at the three part DIY on how to replace the top and frame assembly with an OEM unit from an '03 or 04. The part II PDF has all of the photos of the various parts: http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/thetop-itsmaintaince%26replacement

I'll send you the info on the plastic ball cups.

Regards, Maurice.

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thanks Maurice.

Well panic has subsided a bit here. Nothing like a flashlight and some reading glasses to help see better...

The Immobilizer (Black box?) is high and dry. The water was only in the foam behind the drivers seat. Upon real close scrutiny there indeed is a tear in the drain tray just adjacent to the drain hole. Your information on the dangling cables and push rods is correct. Good advice. I will refer to Mikes advice and photos for ensuing help. Thanks for the link. Look forward to the info on the ball cups.

Vic

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Just checked the passenger side and it's wet there too. The thing is it does not smell musty or look corroded at least from what I can see with the limited amount of carpet I can pull back. I have towels under as far as I can reach sucking up as much excess moister as I can. Fortunately this is not a commuter car but acquired for Sunday drives. She is under cover and out of the weather. The thing is I cannot really see any rips or tears in the foam drain tray. Any advice on where to go from here?

My wife's giving me some real nice looks right now!... I told her to look on the bright side... at least I got rid of the motorcycle, which she said was going to kill me! :) I guess I have to laugh a bit right now.

Vic:

Tell your wife that she will have a smile from ear to ear when you take her out for a ride with the top down (with just a push of the button)! ;)

The immobilizer is under the driver's seat. The driver's seat is fastened to the floorpan on two rails. Each rail has two fasteners, one in front of the seat, one under the rear of the seat. The bolts require a female torx socket, but in a pinch you can use a good quality 1/4 inch drive 10mm socket.

Once you have the four bolts out (slide the seat completely forward and get the two rear bolts, and slide the seat completely back and get the two front bolts), there is a large electrical connector under the seat. If you disconnect that connector, make sure that the key is off and out of the ignition switch. Do not turn on the ignition or put the key in there while the connector is disconnected or you will set off the airbag light, which can then only be reset with a Durametric, PST2 or PIWIS tester.

If you want to avoid all of that, the wire under the seat is long enough to allow you to set the seat down exactly alongside the driver's door sill, perhaps resting on a square box or small platform.

Check to see if there is moisture in or near the immobilizer, If there is, you may get away with taking it apart and drying it with a hair dryer and/or cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol to get rid of, or prevent, surface corrosion on the circuit board.

If the car is inside, we can figure out what caused the water to seep into the cabin. Probably clogged drains if the foam drain trays are intact.

Here is a photo of the immobilizer under the seat. It comes off with a slight turn of that one plastic Philips head screw near the lower left corner of the photo.

post-6627-0-33169900-1305689537_thumb.jp

Regards, Maurice.

Edited by 1schoir
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thanks Maurice.

Well panic has subsided a bit here. Nothing like a flashlight and some reading glasses to help see better...

The Immobilizer (Black box?) is high and dry. The water was only in the foam behind the drivers seat. Upon real close scrutiny there indeed is a tear in the drain tray just adjacent to the drain hole. Your information on the dangling cables and push rods is correct. Good advice. I will refer to Mikes advice and photos for ensuing help. Thanks for the link. Look forward to the info on the ball cups.

Vic

PM Sent.

Regards, Maurice.

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Maurice

The reference PDF's from Mike Fock's website were very helpful. The photos were great. What might you recommend to repair the tear in the drain tray material? I recall someone recommending something in my readings in another post.

V

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  • 2 weeks later...

Maurice

The reference PDF's from Mike Fock's website were very helpful. The photos were great. What might you recommend to repair the tear in the drain tray material? I recall someone recommending something in my readings in another post.

V

Vic:

Permatex Black Silicone Adhesive Sealant, available at most auto chain stores, including Pep Boys, AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts. It's strong, remains flexible and cures reasonably quickly. If the tear is large, you can use some backing material under the foam tray before applying the Permatex.

Regards, Maurice.

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