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boxster_nut

How to manually lowering convertible top

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Hi:

1997 Boxster with convertible top stuck in 'up' position. When it was put up, heard a snapping sound in convertible storage area. Replaced one the 'ball and socket push rods', the other had been replaced a while ago. Roof worked smoothly and aligned perfectly. This work was done about 2 months ago.

I need to open the convertible trunk 'lid' so I can begin to assess what has happened. Saw reference to moving top via 'service mode' but don't know how to do this. Can someone clarify this issue?

A side note, when I try to lower the roof, I hear a click sound in the rear, and the dash lights dim a bit, indicating that the drive motors are drawing some power but nothing is moving.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

-John

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You have to disconnect the 4 ball joints, 2 on each side. There is a lever tool in your tool kit for doing this. Instructions are in your owners manual. I have watched Mark do it and it is a real pain.

Check the other messages on this board for the rest of the information you need.

Bring your car to San Jose - I want to make a DVD on how to fix tops. Jeff

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OUCH!! That's the worse position to be stuck in!!! The engineers from Porsche figured you'll get stuck in the down position.

Unlatch your top. From the inside of the car you have to disconnect the ball joint and bar that holds the canvas. This is the same process you do when trying to access the engine, but this time you have to do it from inside the car.

After that, use the tool from the toolkit(remove red cap, looks like a big screw driver.)

You have to disconnect black ball first, then the red one. Black moves the clamshell, red moves the top.

Anyway, I recommend a lot of wd40 on the joints or some lithium grease to ease the disassembly process.

By the way, disconnecting the ball requires a lot of force. Like toolpants said, drive to San Jose, we'll fix it for you.

Toolpants, you have a potential blockbuster when you get a top DVD together.

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I have been following this board since my 98 boxster suffered a snapped cable mishap as diagnosed by my service manager over the phone. The clamshell only goes up on one side while the other is firmly down... Sound familiar?

Anyhow, my main concern now is to get my top out of the up position and in its "open air" position. From what I can tell, fellow boxster lovers are releasing the two ball joints holding the rear of the roof under the window as well as its other fasteners (all from inside the car) so that they can release the clamshell from its closed position. That first step reminds me of accessing the engine compartment when the top is actually working... right? Only then do they proceed to use the big screwdriver tool to pop off (from outside the car) the black ball joints first on each side and then the red ball joints second before manually opening the top.

If the problem is indeed a broken cable, my dealer says it'll cost me $700. Yet everyone here seems to be fixing it for much less!! First things first though... I need suggestions from those who have been in this predicament. Help me open my roof! Thanks.

Edited by Jameslovesporsches

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Hey, it sure looks similar! Except the driver's side is completely flush with the trunk, and unwilling to budge. The roof is in the up position, but is unlatched! Sadly, this position is what is making it harder to manipulate as the instructions only cover what to do when the top is completely down. Thanks for posting the picture.

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So I did what Mark did to release the rear portion of the top from the clamshell section. Now, where do I find the black and red ball joints with the remainder of my top in its unlatched but still up position? I can see some black ones attached to the "V joint" others have talked of. But is that the right one? Nonetheless, no sight of the red one no matter where I look! Please help!

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If you have released the 2 black metal (looks like little shocks) push rods for the clamshell then you lift up on the clamshell. Then you put the top in the service position while the clamshell is up. Then you disconnect the push rods to the top that have the red plastic joints buy separating the joint - if the plastic joints are not already broken.

You will now be able to raise and lower the top manually while you figure out the problem.

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Thanks to Everyone's Input! Particularly Tool Pants! I was finally able to get my top open manually thanks to the help I received from the Renntech boards. If only I could turn to such good advice for dealing with my girlfriend!

I would like to include a recap for anyone else's future reference on how to manually get one's top down when it fails. By the way, this only chronicles the beginnings of my ongoing cable replacement saga. This information may be particularly useful for those who want to use their hardtops when the top fails.

Getting into the Service Position when Top is Stuck Up

1) Reach rather blindly between the roll hoops of your boxster (take out the windstops there and between the roll hoops if you need to) and unclip the long black plastic connection holding the rear of the dust cover.

2) Continuing to reach rather blindly, unhook the two small ball joints connected to cables.

3) Go into your car, key in ignition, handbrake up, unlatch top, and slowly open the clamshell (just a crack- 4 inches up max otherwise you'll accidentally bend your clamshell slightly like I did). Of course, if you can somehow free your clamshell by releasing the black metal ball joints connected to the v lever bolted to your transmission, that is definitely preferred: no potential bending of clamshell.

4) We're trying to get the rear of the top into the service position, so this is tricky: carefully jostle free the released rear portion of the top from the clamshell and flip it towards your "b pillar": you are now in the service position.

Unhinging the Black Ball Joints and Then the Red Ball Joints

*Note*: Both ball joints take a lot of force to remove, especially the metal black joints! However be patient, careful (use towels, etc), and at peace as you know those service techs would be doing similar operation with less care.

1) My ball joints were on really tight, so I went around looking to purchase the tool that Mark and Toolpants used in another post as an alternative to the Porsche toolkit's lever tool which didn't work well for me. It looks like a big flathead screwdriver with a V opening at the end. I went to Sears and Lowes without any luck. Go to your local Pep Boys and ask not for a ball joint removal tool but for a door panel removal tool as Toolpants and Mark state. The tool is produced by Lisle Corporation/ part #35400/ named "Door Upholstery Remover." It did the trick for me!

2) On each side, patiently and carefully pry off the black ball joints first. They're immediately visible with the top in the service position even when the top is stuck up.

3) With the black ball joints freed, grasp the clamshell in the middle and lift up and towards the rear until the clamshell is completely secure.

4) Trickier to locate are the red plastic ball joints. Here's how to find 'em. Following the v lever that the black ball joints were attached to, follow the metal rod, and at the end, near the pillar behind the passenger compartment is the red ball joint. In the top closed position, it may appear difficult to pry them up, but use the Porsche tool, NOT the pep boys tool to carefully pry it out from the ball joint... you do not want to snap that red plastic piece, be wary!

5) You've freed the rest of the top!

You're Almost There!

1) Get the help of a relatively mechanically inclined friend, and carefully lower the top with the clamshell fully open.

2) Push the rear part of the roof back down, like back in the closed position.

3) Grasp the top and KEEPING AN EYE OUT FOR BOTH THE BLACK AND RED BALL JOINTS SO THAT THEY DON"T GET CAUGHT in the mechanism, lower the top towards the rear. Watch out ESPECIALLY FOR THE RED BALL JOINT, as that gave me the most headache. So much so that I had to loosen the nut holding one of my red ball joints and slip it out and reattach it for fear of damaging anything.

4) Make sure to place towels between the layers of the top... my Porsche dealer warned that this is very important.

5) Finally, close the clamshell carefully, watching for the freely moving black ball joint shock/arms.

Good Luck!

This is how far I've gotten in the past two days or so, I hope this quickens the pace for others who have sufferred from unexpected top failure. Now, with the clamshell out, the experts say you can inspect the cables attached to the motor, and indeed, one of mine has gotten far too short. This somewhat troublesome process will familiarize you with your top's mechanism and help you begin inspecting for cable/transmission repairs as covered on the board.

Edited by Jameslovesporsches

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My top got stuck in the up position today. I used a different method to get the balljoints disconnected. Only the passenger side was stuck. It took me about an hour, but if I had to do it again, it would only take 15 minutes. I started by pushing the convertible top down button until the driver side of the clam shell came up about 2-3 inches. I'm not sure how safe this is or if it will cause any damage, it worked in my case. That was as far as it would go. Then I gentle yanked the passenger side of the clamshell and wedged some towels under it to keep it up.

wedged.jpg

The next 3 pictures are of the other end of the black ball joint. The other end of the joint is connected to a thingy that is connected to the clamshell. I used a flathead screwdriver to loosen the clip a bit, and then needle nose pliers to yank it off.

black1.jpg

black2.jpg

black3.jpg

The next picture is of the red ball joint. I used a flathead screwdriver to pry it off.

red1.jpg

It's really easy to lower and raise the top will all the ball joints disconnected, but the clamshell would bounce around because theres nothing holding it in place.

The culprit:

culprit.jpg

I'm going to try a new set of cables first. If that doesn't work then new transmissions.

This got me thinking. After I fix it, I'm inclined to just disconnect the ball joints and use my top in manual mode only. I would just need to figure out a quick and easy way to secure the clamshell without the ball joints. The reason is, I rarely put my top up or down on a trip or errand. I either leave with it up, and it stays up until I'm home, or I leave with it down, and even if I park somewhere, I usually don't put the top back up unless it's for an extended period or a sketchy area. And since I'm still a plastic window in the back, even if I do lower or raise it, I'm getting out of my car anyways to Boxster chop it.

HTH,

Larez2

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When my top failed the clips that hold the black push rods to the clamshell were removed in order to get the clamshell open. This was easier than trying to separate the ball joint at the other end of the push rod, if the clamshell is up enough to get to the clips. I also bought some extra clips.

Looks like you have a messed up cable.

post-4-1139830247_thumb.jpg

post-4-1139830330_thumb.jpg

  • Upvote 1

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Hi Guys,

What exactly is the "Porsche Lever" tool? I am attempting to fix my top using the above post. I am going to buy the tool from pep boys, but am in need of the "porsche lever" tool to open the red bolt apparently. Any suggestions if a similar tool at pep boys? If not, know of a place that I can get it?

Thanks in advance. Good job on the forum everyone!

- Mike

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I'm having the same issue (Top stuck in up position). I can see in the back where it appears one of the Black Ball Joints is not connected. I don't know if it broke, but it looks like I will be doing what appears to be a pain in the a$$ procedure of disconnecting everything so I can see what's going on. Hopefully it's not too difficult.

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My Boxster get caught in TOP open un-evenly with the driver side up, but passenger side no moving ... as in pictures 1 & 2, the transmission drive lever on the passenger side is not moving as it should, picture 3 ... ;)

Have to loose the Black Ball joint & the Red joint to open it manually ...

Is the transmission give me the problem ??? If its tooo expensive, then might as well loose all the joint & operated the TOP manually or get a HardTop ....

Help pls ... any feedback is much appreciated :D

post-11128-1202816948_thumb.jpg

post-11128-1202816990_thumb.jpg

post-11128-1202817144_thumb.jpg

Edited by gto3000

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My TOP fabric also got caught with scratch as indicated on picture 1 & 2, and the gap between the clamshell & body fender is quite big ...

First thing I need to get the TOP fix as above 1st problem, then my 2nd problem is to find what cause the fabric to scratch, afraid the scratch will get bigger & cause water leakage to inside ....

What happens ... all problem come once at a blue moon :P Big Headache & panic ... help needed :o

post-11128-1202818778_thumb.jpg

post-11128-1202818828_thumb.jpg

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My Boxster get caught in TOP open un-evenly with the driver side up, but passenger side no moving ... as in pictures 1 & 2, the transmission drive lever on the passenger side is not moving as it should, picture 3 ... ;)

Have to loose the Black Ball joint & the Red joint to open it manually ...

Is the transmission give me the problem ??? If its tooo expensive, then might as well loose all the joint & operated the TOP manually or get a HardTop ....

Help pls ... any feedback is much appreciated :D

GTO:

From these first three photos, it looks like your left (driver's) side convertible top inner transmission cable is either broken, frayed, or that it has "retracted" inside its outer sheath so that it is no longer driven by the electric motor. (Note: it's not the inner metal cable that retracts, it's actually the outer black plastic sheath that stretches, but it produces the same effect).

If the inner cable (speedometer type cable) does not stick out at least 3/4 of an inch outside of the end of outer black plastic sheath, it will not be driven by the motor. Since it looks like you still have some access to the motor, you can reach around and pull the metal "u-clip" up from the left (driver's) side of the motor and pull the black cable out. Then try to turn the inner metal cable by hand. If you are able to turn it by hand, it is probably broken or frayed somewhere inside the black outer sheath. Then try to pull the inner metal cable out by hand. Again, if you are able to pull it out, you will find that it has broken somewhere inside the outer sheath.

If you cannot move it by hand, or pull it out by hand, hook up the end of it to your drill and you should be able to then rotate the V-lever by turning on your drill in the right direction. Spin the cable with the drill until the left side of the clamshell matches the right side and you can then go gradually back and forth from the left side to the right side until you get the clamshell in the maximum (45 degrees) up and back position. If you do too much on one side, you may end up twisting or tweaking the clamshell and thus putting a crease in it.

If you do a search in the Convertible top DIY section here, you will see posts by Tool Pants that describe the 3/4" problem.

Try the above so that you can have good access to all of the parts that you will need to inspect and/or replace and post your results here, then we can try to tackle the repair.

Regards, Maurice.

Edited by 1schoir

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My TOP fabric also got caught with scratch as indicated on picture 1 & 2, and the gap between the clamshell & body fender is quite big ...

First thing I need to get the TOP fix as above 1st problem, then my 2nd problem is to find what cause the fabric to scratch, afraid the scratch will get bigger & cause water leakage to inside ....

What happens ... all problem come once at a blue moon :P Big Headache & panic ... help needed :o

GTO:

From your photos it looks like your clamshell may be misaligned. In the second photo you can clearly see that the forward inboard edge of the point of the clamshell is further in than the same edge of the small (body-paint colored) metal trim piece ahead of it.

You will have to re-align your clamshell, but that will have to wait until after you can get your top functioning again.

Regards, Maurice.

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Hope it will be a sunny weekend to go with ...a pain DIY :P

Otherwise I will go with other alternative open air toys B)

Thank you for all the feedback, special thks to Maurice ... will report on the DIY status ...

post-11128-1202872689_thumb.jpg

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I'm having the same issue (Top stuck in up position). I can see in the back where it appears one of the Black Ball Joints is not connected. I don't know if it broke, but it looks like I will be doing what appears to be a pain in the a$$ procedure of disconnecting everything so I can see what's going on. Hopefully it's not too difficult.

If anyone has a problem where the top is stuck in the up position, you have to open it manually in order to access the parts to repair it.

If that is what you have to do, here is a procedure I recently wrote up for disconnecting the push rods from the V-levers so that you can get good access:

First, unlatch the latch of the convertible top at the top center of the windshield frame.

To get the top to open manually, you must disconnect the white (or red if yours are original and have never been replaced) plastic cups at the base of the B-Pillar and the black hydraulic pushrods where they connect to the V-levers.

Disconnecting the white plastic cups will allow you to operate the convertible top manually.

Disconnecting the black hydraulic pushrods will allow you to operated the clamshell manually.

Here is a diagram of the mechanism, which should help you orient yourself as to what you are looking for:

post-6627-1202874124_thumb.jpg

The V-lever is part #6, the black hydraulic pushrod is part #12, and the white (or red) plastic cup is located on the forward end of part #3. Part #14 is the clamshell, and Part #1 is the canvas top.

To have a better chance to see the parts that must be disconnected, you will have to pull aside the (vinyl) rain curtain. That curtain is loosely held in place by yet another cable that is located at the rearmost corners of the (carpet-covered) engine compartment lid (on the car body, not on the lid). That cable is held on to a small metal ball and you must pry it apart from that metal ball.

Here is a photo of the flexible cable that leads to the metal ball (hidden under the metal cup at the bottom of the cable) at the side of the curtain:

post-6627-1202874484_thumb.jpg

That particular connection is easy to separate, unlike the black hydraulic pushrod.

Once you have the curtain's cable separated, you may also have to remove the black plastic cosmetic covers that are simply clipped onto the arms that support the clamshell (those arms are part #10 in the diagram, and extend from where it is numbered all the way to the front towards part #3 in the diagram).

To access the white plastic cups, sit sideways in the driver's seat with the door open and your feet on the ground. Look down from above the side of the car (just behind where the rear quarter panel meets the rear of the door if the door were closed) and you should be able to see the white (or red) plastic cup. Pry that cup off by levering it outboard. You will nee a fat screwdriver or pry bar.

Then you will have to reach between the roll bar hoops, or possibly reach through them, to get at the connection of the hydraulic push rod to the V-lever. That connection is a real bear, so you will have to apply a great deal of pressure to separate it. Be careful not to hurt yourself there, but you just have to get the connection apart, again with the red plastic capped tool in the tool kit, a fat screwdriver or, preferably an angled screwdriver-type pry bar. I have also had success using a non-automotive tool called a cat's claw, which is usually used to pull nails.

Once you have the various parts disconnected, DO NOT press the dashboard switch without CAREFULLY marking (and photographing) the position of the V-levers relative to the sides of the body that they are mounted on. Otherwise, it will be much more difficult to re-sychronize the V-levers (part # 6 in diagram).

Also, be very careful if you decide to operate your top manually because the push rod arms (part #3 ins dagram) that are normally connected to the steel balls at the base of the B-pillars will be dangling from the V-levers. When they are dangling and you move the convertible top V-levers, those push rod arms can dig into the foam liner and tear it, which will cause leaks into the cabin later on. Those push rod arms can also dig in and prevent the V-levers from turning.

Regards, Maurice.

Edited by 1schoir

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Confusing to figure out the model year of your car. In prior messages you said a 1999, then a 1998, and you have an aftermarket Boxster S logo on the rear tunk lid. From the pictures of your car it looks like a model year 1997, RHD.

Your left (passenger) side top transmission is not working. That is almost always due to a problem with the cable that drives the transmissions. There is a cable and transmission on each side of the car. A single motor drives both cables.

You need to disconnect the clamshell so you can open it all the way. Then put the top in the service position. Then check the cables where they attach to the motor to see if you have 3/4" sticking out past the silver metal ferrule. Fix or replace both cables. Replace broken and bent parts. Retime the transmissions. Rebend the clamshell back into shape. This is all already covered in the top section of this message board.

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Hi, Finally I manage to manually lowering my top by loose up all the Black hydraulic pushrod part #12 (by un-clip the pin), and the white (or red) plastic cup is located on the forward end of part #3 as attach photo, Thank to the Informative & helpful forums member.

I try to turn my V-Lever Part #6, it only turn a bit & stuck there like clockwise from 3 to 8, then stuck ...

Could the problem come from there ... what is the normal movement or turning circle of V-Lever ??? 180 or 270 degree turn ....

Appreciate any feedback .... TQ :P

post-11128-1204807420_thumb.jpg

Edited by gto3000

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I am going through this same problem and this thread is an absolute Godsend, particularly the part about actually getting the top down so that you are able to get at the cables and transmissions. Thank you to all the contributors.

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