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top in a bind left side of clamshell comes up 10in. right down tight


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My top was working fine until today. The top started to open, the clamshell opened only on the left (drivers) side about 10 inches. I gave a little tug on the right side to see if I could free it but it did not cooperate at all. I moved it slightly back and forward with the dash button, then slam, the top drops closed hard. Then the clamshell closed with the button. Just happened and I drove it home and its late. Any ideas what would cause one side to operate and not the other? The motor did sound like it was starting to labor a second prior to the pop that dropped the top down to the fully closed position. Any ideas as to what caused the initial one sided operation and binding?

Could the problem have begun as a faulty clamshell pushrod and through stressing the motor while stressed broken a cable? The top dropped down evenly and abrupt to the closed position.

Thanks for any assistance,

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Garry:

The clamshell only moving on one side and the canvas part of the top dropping down are two different problems with two different causes.

The clamshell only moving on one side can be caused by a stretched, frayed or broken drive cable (in your case here, on the passenger side) or a fault in the convertible top transmission (again on the passenger side in your case).

You have to narrow down the cause of the problem by starting with the least complicated first. In this case, take a look at the outer surface of the black vinyl drive cable on the passenger side. If the surface is smooth, it's likely that the outer sheath has stretched, thereby effectively pulling the inner metal cable out of the electric motor's drive flange. If the surface is cross-hatched, it's less likely that the cable has stretched. Nonetheless, verify that the inner metal cable is sticking out at least 1/2 inch from the outer black vinyl sheath by pulling out the cable from the output flance on the side of the electric motor (on the side that is not moving or lagging behind).

If that is not the problem, pull the inner metal cable out of the black vinyl sheath and examine it to make sure it is not frayed and that it is all in one piece. If either of these conditions exist, that side's transmission will not turn the V-lever.

If the cables are not the problem, the problem lies inside the transmission. Usually a deformed worm gear housing or a cracked small 360 degree gear.

The reason that the convertible top dropped suddenly after a "pop" was that one or both of your plastic ball cups (on the end of the front pushrods) either popped off their respective steel balls or shattered apart.

Note that the front pushrods cause the canvas part of the top to operate and the rear black "hydraulic" pushrods cause the clamshell to operate.

With respect to the clamshell, you also have to verify that the steel ball which is located at the base of the body-colored support arm of the clamshell has not popped out of the black plastic slider that rides back in forth in the channel (located on the inside of the quarter panel, near the top horizontal surface of the convertible top well.

Inspect those things and report back so that we can narrow down the problem.

Regards, Maurice.

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Maurice,

Sorry for the delayed response; a drunk driver hit me on my bike and I've been moving slower than normal.

Problems I've detected so far: ball popped out of the plastic slide on the right side, and cable broken at the motor on the right side. My red ball joints looked ok at a glance, however after re-reading your post just now, it appears I should have a third problem for the top to have dropped. Is that correct or could the combo of other problems have caused that?

Thanks a bunch,

Garry

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Garry:

Hope you are okay after that incident and the drunk driver gets a stiff sentence.

The steel ball (on the end of the body-colored clamshell support arm) popping out of the black slider and the broken cable on the right side will not by themselves cause the canvas part of the top to drop.

The canvas and frame part of the convertible top is driven by the front pushrods when each of the two red (in the older 986's, white in the newer 986's) ball cups is connected (i.e., pressed) onto its respective steel ball that is screwed into the underside of the B-pillar part of the convertible top frame. The front pushrods also have to be still connected to the V-lever and the two parts of each front pushrod have to still be bolted to each other with the 10mm nut with fat washer. If those four things are connected as they are supposed to be, the only way the canvas part of the top can drop is if the gears inside the transmissions are completely stripped or the 19mm bolt that holds the V-lever onto the transmission has backed out far enough to allow the keyways (male and female) to spin past each other.

Here is a photo of an intact front pushrod and its plastic ball cup:

post-6627-0-02477500-1375664648_thumb.jp

Note that the red arrow points to the 10mm bolt with fat washer that holds the two metal parts of the pushrod together. The steel ball on the V-lever is connected to one end of the black "hydraulic" pushrod which operates on the clamshell.

Here is a photo of the other side (underside) of the V-lever showing the male keyway.

post-6627-0-68012100-1375664616_thumb.jp

The first thing you should do after you examine all of the parts to see if anything is askew is to replace the broken drive cable, then pop the steel ball back into the black plastic slider and then go from there.

Regards, Maurice.

Edited by 1schoir
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Maurice, today after putting the top in service position for a no start when engine is warm issue; the top would not go closed. When I pressed the button the motor would activate for down but in the up toggle nothing. Did this once last week, and after removing cables from motor I noticed the left one ( that I did not replace) sticking out about 3". I shoved it back and then the top worked perfectly. Today no dice. I closed it with my drill. Fuses ok.

I did not notice the sensor by the motor that the Bentley shows. Seems weird that everything functions in down toggle and totally dead in up.

Any ideas?

Also do you know if a crank position sensor will allow a car to start and run but die upon reaching 180? Then will not restart till cold again?

Thanks,

Garry

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  • 2 weeks later...

Need to fix mine. It's making clicking and hesitation when it goes up and down.

Trey:

Start by lubricating the channels in which the black plastic sliders ride back and forth. You can find the channels by following the body-colored clamshell support arms down to where they terminate, where there is a steel ball that is pressed into each black plastic slider.

You can use white lithium grease, or, if you want to splurge, you get some Dupont Krytox, which does not attract dirt at all.

Once you have lubricated the channels, you will be able to eliminate whether that is the cause of the clicking, etc. and to determine whether you have to investigate further for other possible causes.

Regards, Maurice.

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Hi Maurice, today after putting the top in service position for a no start when engine is warm issue; the top would not go closed. When I pressed the button the motor would activate for down but in the up toggle nothing. Did this once last week, and after removing cables from motor I noticed the left one ( that I did not replace) sticking out about 3". I shoved it back and then the top worked perfectly. Today no dice. I closed it with my drill. Fuses ok.

I did not notice the sensor by the motor that the Bentley shows. Seems weird that everything functions in down toggle and totally dead in up.

Any ideas?

Also do you know if a crank position sensor will allow a car to start and run but die upon reaching 180? Then will not restart till cold again?

Thanks,

Garry

I would first check the switch on the dashboard itself to see if one side is not showing conductivity or is intermittent.

A defective crank position sensor often will cause the engine to stall after the car is warmed up and then start again after a cool down. Not sure about the 180 degree specification, more like when the engine gets to operating temperature. My friend and I just replaced his cps when his car was exhibiting those exact symptoms and it seems to have fixed the problem.

Be very careful to not strip the 5mm allen head bolt that holds the cps in place. It's a real bear.

Regards, Maurice.

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