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Old 08-28-2011, 06:12 PM   #1
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Unhappy *Pop! Pop!* went my top...

Well, I had a genius (read, EXTREME sarcasm) moment this past Friday. I was leaving work, lunch bag in one hand, phone in the other. When I reached my car I did something I never do and placed my lunch bag on the roof while I finished fiddling with my phone (so you can pretty much see where this is going). I won't kill your eyes with a novel, short version of it is that my lunch bag fell (without making a sound) under the clamshell and stopped the clamshell from fully closing. Figuring I'd raise the top back up and see what was up, the bag still there, the top came back up fully but the clamshell still did not close all the way (not known to me yet) and I heard a *POP! POP* and all movement and noise stopped, the idiot light (quite relevant ) on the dash still lit.

For those who care for any details: Again, me being the genius that I am, didn't bother to get out of the car and look to see what was up immediately, I just figured "ok, at least the top came all the way forward before that happened", so I closed the top and started my drive home. I look in my mirror about 2 miles from home and see the slightest bit of body color in my window. Look in the driver's side mirror, and see the clamshell is not down. So I figure "ok, something came out of adjustment and the safety pieces I've heard about broke to spare the top frame...joy." Then I happen to look in my passenger footwell and notice my lunch bag isn't there like it always is. So I start thinking "crap, did I drive off and it's sitting in the parking lot at work or on the edge of the highw.....aw, hell". Light bulb. Pulled off on a side road, got out, and saw the lunch bag (containing two plastic bottles and a sammich) trapped under my clamshell. I had to pry the clamshell up a bit to be able to muscle out the bag since the button on the dash now did nothing, but I did get it out and the clamshell edge went right down. Drove the rest of the way home and she's been in the driveway and braved the leftovers of the hurricane that came my way.

So, 3 things, I guess, that I need to know:

1. With the top broken in some unknown way at this point, what do I do to get it into the service position manually to observe what damage, if any, I've done?

2. Is the car driveable as is? I did drive it home with the top up and latched, but the light on the dash was still lit. Also, I've noticed that the passenger window no longer lowers when the handle is pulled, unsure if it just decided to go at the same time or has to do with the car thinking the top is out of position.

3. Most importantly, what & where exactly are the parts that I've heard about that break to protect the top from damage? And if those are indeed all that I broke, what sort of cost and work am I lookin at to make those repairs?

I figure I'm likely to answer my first question when I fish out the manual from the car, but any and all information and further questions members on here can provide will be greatly appreciated. No need to bust my chops, though, I've been doing that to myself since Friday afternoon, just looking for help. And for those who might be curious, the sandwich was still quite good, just kinda flattened out on one half. Thank you in advance for the guidance!


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Old 08-28-2011, 06:36 PM   #2
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Your top is balanced very well. Unlocking the latch will allow it to go down so be careful. Right behind the seats, outboard on both sides are 10" arms that have plastic cups on each end. These cups breaking is what you heard "POP'!, and they are now NOT hooked to your top. They're easy to replace ($100 a pair used) and you should be on your way. I've broke mine twice. Once my wife was dropping the top on the move and reversed it mid-way through the sequence...POP went the top.
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:49 PM   #3
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Ooops - Jaxonalden just pipped me.....But here goes anyway.

Sounds like you have had an intersting weekend....I hope the sanger didn't have a soft filling
The popping was the plastic ball joints on the control rods breaking off. The originals (white coloured) are weak & have been superceded by updated (red) ones.
I thinke there are a couple of "how to" install new ball joints if you use the search function.

June this year I was opening my roof, about halfway down I heard one pop (not two like you) and noticed the roof opening skewed over. I tried closing the roof with the dash switch but only one side closed - the drivers side (RHS here in Oz) just sat there.
Long story short, looked in the manual and it describes that to get the roof safely stowed, you have to prize off the ball joint on each side with the special tool in the toolkit.
The downside is that there is a possibility to damage the clamshell paintwork when popping off the ball joints as the clam is in tension - you really need 2 pairs of hands to do it safely I think. My wife wasn't up to having trapped pinkies so I rang the OPC and asked for guidance - they recommended 2 people to reinstall and re-align everything up.
But it was possible to drive the car (~75 miles to the OPC) if I wanted to for them to replace the ball joints/rods etc and to realign & tension the roof.

So I folded (call me weak, but possible repainting the clamshell + roof repairs = wifes skinned knuckles were staring me in the face) & took it to the OPC for the repairs.
I won't scare you with the bill because $$ costs in Australia are about 2 - 3 times what you guys pay....

But I will say that the car is a lot quieter at high speed since the roof was retensioned.
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:45 PM   #4
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Sometimes the locking clips pop off the arms and immediately fall into the drains.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:12 AM   #5
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Ok, I think I know what parts you guys are referring to, but I better ask just to make sure. When I changed out a few items in the engine bay last month I had to pop off these two ball joints caps connected to a couple of tension cables as I was working on getting the top in service position. Are these what you guys are referring to? Mine looked & felt like they were made of metal though, silver-ish in color rather than white or red.

Or am I mistaken there and there's a different component in the same area that has these white ball joint caps?
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:42 AM   #6
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No bro, Those are just cables that hold the back of the top down. The arms we're talking about are connected to the convertable top transmission and the top itself. If your standing next to the car just behind the drivers/passengers seat and facing the car you can put your hand down inside the pocket that the top folds into. Down there you'll find your rods, make sure to get all the pieces out because they can clog your water drain holes. Replacing is easy, you just need a 10mm wrench.

Wish you lived closer, I'd come over and swap them out for you.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:00 AM   #7
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" The originals (white coloured) are weak & have been superceded by updated (red) ones."

Other way around actually - the originals are red. You don't have to buy the whole arm. I have a contact to just get the plastic cups, about $40 for the pair if I remember correctly. Pm me if you want the contact info. I'll look it up when I get home from work.

next pic: Boxster with some guy's lunch jammed under the clamshell
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #8
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Damn it, Mark! I SHOULD'VE taken a picture of that!


Thanks for the offer, I'll be PM-ing you. Hopefully when I get under the top tonight all I'll find is a couple of broken red or white pieces of plastic and nothing else.

And I appreciate the willingness to help me out, Jaxonalden. Thanks for the clarification, and the next time I am in OKC (very likely sans Boxster) I'll hit you up just to say hi.
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
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Looking forward to it OD. Mark T, I'd love to have that contact info for the plastic cups. I can't believe you can't buy just the plastic cups...noooooo, you have to buy the whole stinkin' arm, until now.

Thanks for the hook-up Mark T!
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:27 PM   #10
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my pleasure!
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:30 PM   #11
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Here's one of the clips:



They go here:



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Old 08-29-2011, 06:43 PM   #12
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Have you tried new clips?
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:09 PM   #13
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Whoa....my mechanism looks totally different that that. If yours looks like that, my advice is totally worthless.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:58 PM   #14
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So wait...how do I get the clamshell up without power to the top mechanism? Do I really just have to pry it up by hand and disconnect its hinge?

Might be time to go all Popeye on some spinach.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:49 AM   #15
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Of course, that's the damn clam shell hinge, dah. OD, is you clam-shell up or down? If it's down you can run it up with the switch (the rods to the top are not hooked up because of the plastic cups being broken). Run up the clam-shell for clearance, then you'll have room to reach in and remove the broken rods. Until you get new parts you can now raise and lower your top manually...open the clam-shell, get out and raise/lower the top, get in and close the clam-shell.

When you get your new parts, open the clam-shell, pop the new rods on (at this time you'll need help because your top will be in a state of transition and you'll find this out when you hook up the rods). The rods are only so long and the top transmission will always move weather the top is hooked up or not. So no matter where you stop the clam-shell opening you'll need to raise or lower the top to get the rods installed. Once they're on just operate the switch and the whole convertible sequence will work.

If this sounds complicated, PM me with your phone number and I can talk you through it.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:40 AM   #16
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Clamshell is down (otherwise the hurricane would've REALLY sucked), hence I can't see what's broken just yet. Like I was saying before, the clamshell was trying to close when things went pop, and once I removed the bag from underneath it and let go of it, the clamshell dropped right down into place.

What you've explained sounds do-able, but the only problem is that my switch does nothing right now. Pressing the button in either direction provides no movement or sound from the top, clamshell, or the motor, so this is why I'm trying to find out how I'm supposed to raise the clamshell with no power going to any of the moving parts of the top operation.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:26 PM   #17
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that sounds like a blown fuse, unless....

Um, you do have you hand brake on when trying to operate the top, right?
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:53 PM   #18
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OD....you do have the convertible top locking handle unlocked right? Parking brake set? and whatever else you're suppose to do to drop the top? (I have a SmarTop and those aren't my requirements). If you still don't have any movement Mark T is right...no power.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:28 PM   #19
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I tell you what guys, I'm about 99.9% sure I did the usual when I pulled over and had the brake up and handle unlatched when I tried to move the top before and after removing my lunch bag from under the clamshell...but now you've got me doubting, lol. At the same time, I know that all activity stopped with the brake handle up because that's what happened when things went pop. I tried pressing the switch in either direction after the pop and nothing happened. I'm going to try tomorrow evening to work the top and see if the clamshell moves. The brake is already up so the latch is the only thing I'll have to do. Watch it make a liar out of me.

If not, then could the fuse have blown just as ironic timing or as a result of the malfunction?
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:21 AM   #20
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1. check to be sure your e-brake light on the dash comes on when you pull the brake up. if it doesn't, your ebrake microswitch could be bad.

2. if you can't get the clamshell to open:
a. remove your rollbar screens

b. looking at paul's 3rd picture above, use needlenose pliers to remove the clip holding the black bar to the clamshell hinge. do this on both sides. don't worry about damaging the clips; they're like nine cents.

c. push the black bars out of the hinges; you may hear a pop.

d. lift the clamshell by hand

e. remove the clips & put the back of the convertible top (at the window) upward into its service position; this will expose the motor hatch & the convertible top transmissions.

f. take a picture of the convertible top transmissions & post here.

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