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PCA tech states that conv-top cables should be replaced before they break and cause damage to other components. They recommend changing them if they are exposed to prolonged high heat.

Has anyone done this? Are there other premaintance items included? I'm looking for DIY info.

Thanks in advance

Carl

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I am going to ask Peter if there is a mistake on the PCA tech section. The question had to do with a 2001, but Peter's answer talked about a 1998. The original top transmissions and the cables that drive them are very different for 1997-1999 vs. 2000-2003.

There are 2 parts to the cables. A black plastic housing and an inner metal cable that is like a speedometer cable with square ends. One end is driven by the motor and the other end turns the transmission. It is the plastic housing that stretches/grows with heat and age, and when it does the square end pulls out of the drive motor. Then when one cable turns and the other does not you break or bend things.

The original cable housing was made of unreinforced plastic which permitted them to stretch. A reinforced replacement cable came out last year for 1997-1999. This is what we have been replacing on the older cars. The picture shows the replacement reinforced cable housing on top which you can tell from the texture, and the old plain smooth housing on the bottom. You can see that there is very little of the square drive cable sticking out of the old cable as the plastic housing has stretched.

2000 up has always had reinforced cable housings, and that is why I think there is a mistake on the PCA tech site. Jeff

top_fix_bruce3_001.sized.jpg

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Sounds like this is a good time for a part number request. (I could put it there, but for continuity, it would be nicer here)

Are Dealers taking any initiative for replacing these drive cables, or are they just playing dumb. I would need to have a discussion with my dealer if this was a known problem and he played possum.

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There was a period of time when you could not buy the reinforced cables for the old style top transmissions. You could shorten the plastic housing on the original cables, but dealers do not work that way. Instead they would replace your old transmissions and cables with the post 2000 style, which is expensive, and why you hear about $2,000 top repairs.

I would check to see if you already have the reinforced cable housing, look for the diamond texture on the housing. This will not be a true test if you bought a used car, as you may have the new style transmissions which also have the same texture. So look for the part number on the housing. Left is 986 561 717 01, and right is 986 561 718 01. The cables are about $30 each or less if you shop around, and since they are so cheap our local guys just replace them instead of making the plastic housing shorter.

top_fix_bruce1_001.sized.jpg

You have to remove the transmissions to replace the cables. This is Calvin when we worked on his car.

top_fix_calvin5_002.sized.jpg

Both transmissions are out, ready to install the new cables. Jeff

top_fix_calvin6_001.sized.jpg

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Thanks again Jeff,

I'm not sure I understand. I have the "old" original 99 transmisions, with the original factory cables, but I cannot retrofit the newer cables. So my best bet is to replace with the same breakage prone cable?

How about buying new "old" cables, cut the outers back, and install in place. Now I would have new hardware that has been modified for longevity, correct?

If this is the perferred route, how much (length) are they trimmed back? How about access?

One last thing, YOU ARE THE MAN!! THE TOOLMAN!!

Carl

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I said more than I should have and that is why it is not clear. I wanted people to know that you cannot use the plastic cable housing for the 2000-2003 on a 1997-1999 as it is longer.

For a 1997-1999 you have 3 choices. Replace the original smooth cables with the reinforced cables that just came out for 1997-1999 using the 2 part numbers I listed, but you have to remove the transmissions to do this. You cannot even buy the smooth cables anymore even if you wanted them for some reason.

Second, if you do not want to spend any money or do not want to take out the transmissions, then shorten the plastic housing of your original smooth cables a bit so that 3/4" of the square inner drive sticks out past the metal ferrule that goes into the top motor. Remove the brass clip that holds the cable to the motor, pull the cable out, and see if the square end is sticking out 3/4". Repeat on the other side. Do not operate the top while you are doing this. If not enough is not sticking out then remove the silver metal ferrule, cut a bit off the end of the plastic housing so that when you put the ferrule back on 3/4" sticks out. Put the cable and clip back into the motor. You can see why a dealer does not want to do this. They want to replace everything with new parts.

Third, use the cables for the new style transmission but you will have to replace the plastic housing and metal drive cable.

top_fix_calvin3_001.sized.jpg

top_transmission_cable1_002.sized.jpg

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I would not replace anything until you have determined whether or not your have 3/4" sticking out. With a 1999 the plastic has grown/stretched all it will. If you have 3/4" then leave it alone. But I bet you will not have 3/4".

There are some issues with parts coming loose, but you can inspect for that.

The thing that does break are the red plastic joints. Some say the plastic becomes brittle from the heat and breaks. There is a guy that makes the joints out of metal. Last year Porsche changed the plastic and now it is white, not red. But you cannot just buy the joint, but have to buy the push arm joint as a unit which is about $48 each.

top_fix_calvin15_001.sized.jpg

top_fix_white_001.sized.jpg

top_fix_scott_levy.jpg

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I spoke to Peter today about the tech tip on the PCA site. He said that he has seen cars in the shop with the new style top transmissions that had problems. Apparently the first cars with the new style transmissions also had unreinforced plastic housings which 'grew' like the original housing on the old style transmissions.

The bottom line, check to see if you have 3/4" of the square drive cable sticking out.

First picture is the old transmission I took apart, and the second is the new style taken by Ethan.

top_transmission_apart_002.sized.jpg

top_ethan11a.sized.jpg

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Thanks for all the information. The question I have is how do you remove the transmission drive gear from the end of the cable. Mine's in there real tight and I'd like to remove it without damaging the gear.

Mark

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We do not remove or replace the metal drive cable since they have always turned out to be fine. We just replace the plastic housing.

The drive cable is a very tight press fit in the worm gear but you can get it out. Clamp a vise-grip on the square part of the cable then use side cutters against the vise-grip to lever off the worm drive.

top_cable_square_end1.sized.jpg

top_cable_square_end3.sized.jpg

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  • 2 months later...
Second, if you do not want to spend any money or do not want to take out the transmissions, then shorten the plastic housing of your original smooth cables a bit so that 3/4" of the square inner drive sticks out past the metal ferrule that goes into the top motor.  Remove the brass clip that holds the cable to the motor, pull the cable out, and see if the square end is sticking out 3/4".  Repeat on the other side.  Do not operate the top while you are doing this.  If not enough is not sticking out then remove the silver metal ferrule, cut a bit off the end of the plastic housing so that when you put the ferrule back on 3/4" sticks out.  Put the cable and clip back into the motor.  You can see why a dealer does not want to do this.  They want to replace everything with new parts.

1. What is involved with taking out the transmissions? Do I need any special tools?

2. Is there a special tool to remove the silver metal ferrule? Will I need to cut the inner metal casing or just the plastic?

Thanks for posting all of the info. I printed it and showed it to the the mechanic at the dealership. He got a chuckle when he saw the part about dealerships not wanting to fix the tops the cheap way. He took the time to explain to me where everything was at with my top so I could try to fix it on my own. Now, I need to decide if I pull the transmissions or just remove the ferrel and snip the wire. BTW, my top is currently up and the cables are disconnected from the motor - mechanic said he hooked two drills up to the cables to raise the top so I could take it home. Do I need to lower the top all of the way, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 of the way to work on the transmissions and cables?

Thanks,

Hardy Macia

Grand Isle, VT

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You can remove the transmissions with a normal socket set. First remove the bolt that holds the arm that moves the top linkage - I think it was a 17mm bolt. Then remove with your hands the round black plastic thing behind the arm. Then pull the foam cover back and you will see 3 nuts that hold the transmission in. Think they were 13mm. Remove the 3 nuts and the transmission comes off the mounting studs.

To get room to work you need to put the top in the service position as if you were going to remove the engine lid, which means you have to lower your top a bit.

2 ways to remove the ferrule. It is crimped in place with barbs that dig into the plastic housing, and I doubt you will be able to just pull it off. I heated the ferrule a bit with propane and pulled it off the plastic housing with pliers. Then figure out how much of the plastic housing you have to cut so that when you put the ferrule back on 3/4" of the drive cable will be sticking out.

The other way is to cut the ferrule off with a utility knife at it's base. Then dig out the small piece of plastic housing.

I thought I invented using a drill to move the transmissions. Much better control than trying to use the top motor. You will have to adjust the timing of the transmissions since they were turned independently.

First pic is the transmission, and the second is Mark using my drill with a special bit to do the timing. You can see that the top is in the service position. Jeff

top_fix_calvin7.sized.jpg

top_fix_calvin12.sized.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
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You lower the top a few inches so that the clamshell has started to come up. Look under the clamshell and you will see a black cable on each side, that has a ball joint on the end. Disconnect the ball joint by pulling it - it takes some effort. Each cable has a ball joint at each end of the cable - I disconnect the bottom joint.

There is a cloth dust cover held in place by 2 hooks - unclip it. Then you fold the rear of the top forward so that the plastic window is folded in half.

We call this the service position as that is how you get to the lid for the engine.

foam_below_top.sized.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
2 ways to remove the ferrule.  It is crimped in place with barbs that dig into the plastic housing, and I doubt you will be able to just pull it off.  I heated the ferrule a bit with propane and pulled it off the plastic housing with pliers.  Then figure out how much of the plastic housing you have to cut so that when you put the ferrule back on 3/4" od the drive cable will be sticking out.

The other way is to cut the ferrule off with a utility knife at it's base.  Then dig out the small piece of plastic housing.

A mechanic friend of mine helped me fix my cabled today on my 98 Boxster.

He chose to remove the metal ferrule a third way so I thought I'd share.

He drilled out the metal that was crimped into the plastic with a small drill bit. He was able then to slip the ferrule off the plastic. He cut the plastic to the proper size. Then I held the old ferrule while he took a awl/punch to put 4 dimples back into the ferrule to resecure it.

Tops works again after a couple months and it took under an hour to fix when we actually got to fixing it..

Thanks for the help on the forum..

Hardy

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
I said more than I should have and that is why it is not clear.  I wanted people to know that you cannot use the cables for the 2000-2003 on a 1997-1999 as they are different as to how they attach to the transmissions.

For a 1997-1999 you  have 2 choices.  Replace the original smooth cables with the reinforced cables that just came out for 1997-1999 using the 2 part numbers I listed, but you have to remove the transmissions to do this.  You cannot even buy the smooth cables anymore even if you wanted them for some reason.

Second, if you do not want to spend any money or do not want to take out the transmissions, then shorten the plastic housing of your original smooth cables a bit so that 3/4" of the square inner drive sticks out past the metal ferrule that goes into the top motor.  Remove the brass clip that holds the cable to the motor, pull the cable out, and see if the square end is sticking out 3/4".  Repeat on the other side.  Do not operate the top while you are doing this.  If not enough is not sticking out then remove the silver metal ferrule, cut a bit off the end of the plastic housing so that when you put the ferrule back on 3/4" sticks out.  Put the cable and clip back into the motor.  You can see why a dealer does not want to do this.  They want to replace everything with new parts.

top_fix_calvin3_001.sized.jpg

top_transmission_cable1_002.sized.jpg

Have searched the web, looking for 1997 993 Cabriolet cables. Want to get the reinforced ones you mentioned. Had my car only 2 months before the cable(s) snapped & stranded me! Cable or cable(s) still broken, & top only capable of manual operation. Didn't want to pull the back apart until I had the replacement part(s). I cannot see either cable. Does that mean both mine are broken?

Can you recommend where I can find the reinforced cables?

Thanks for going to all the trouble of referencing all this. Maybe I can return the favor someday.

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I do not know anything about the 993 cab. I did look at the parts diagram for your top and it is very much like a Boxster.

We have a single electric drive motor for both cables. You have a separate motor for each cable. You have a left and right transmission like we do. The motors drives the top transmissions via the cables just like our cars.

I have no idea if your problem is due to the cables. On our cars it is easy to tell as one side moves and the other side does not, and it would be unusual for both cables to fail at the same time.

Your cables are side specific. The right is 993 561 922 02 and the left is 993 561 921 02. The 02 at the end of the part numbers indicate there have been changes to the cables. Double check with your parts department as Porsche likes to change part numbers. Have no idea where you could buy the cables outside of a Porsche dealer. Jeff

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  • 1 year later...
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Almost 2 years after this topic started it was time to follow my own advice with my January 1997 with the original unreinforced cables.

Before shows that I have just about 1/4" sticking out past the top of the ferrules. Not good.

Mytop025.jpg

After I removed the ferrule and shortened the plastic housing. Now I have 3/4" sticking out.

Mytop025a.JPG

I used the heat method to remove the ferrule from the plastic housing. It takes very little heat and effort to pull it off. I wish I had a smaller heat source. I used the propane torch at the lowest setting. Very little heat for a split second is all it takes to pull the ferrule off. Don't melt the plastic with too much heat. I used a vise on top of the engine lid to hold the housing steady because I was working by myself and did not have a third hand to take pictures. I used the needle nose vise grips simply because I could clamp the ferrule and take a picture of the tool.

Mytop030.jpg

Measure how much of the plastic housing you need to remove to end up with 3/4" of the drive cable sticking out past the ferrule.

Mytop033.jpg

I put masking tape to mark where I want the bottom of the ferrule to end up when I put it back on the housing so that I end up with 3/4". With the ferrule and tape as a guide I know how much of the housing to cut and remove.

Mytop035.jpg

Pulling off the cut housing.

Mytop036.jpg

The ferrule has been put back on the now shorter cable with the help of very little heat. I stopped when the bottom of the ferrule touched the masking tape.

Mytop040.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
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I also just bought a set of the sided reinforced cables for the old style transmissions. These are the cables that are the proper size but were discontinued and superseded by 986 561 717 03, which is the current replacement cable used on the new style for both sides, but which is 1" longer.

My dealer searched on the computer and I saw that the Porsche Exchange in Illinois had a set of the discontinued cables on their shelf. So I bought the pair for $20 each.

post-4-1123020100_thumb.jpg

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