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Old 12-29-2011, 06:28 PM   #1
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Manual top for a 98 (possible?)

As I read through pages and pages of modifications, issues, repairs, preventative tips and other priceless gems from everyone...I was wondering about one issue regarding the top.

OK, the convertible drive cables can break and the transmission can give out...what is to stop from simply removing all the electric drive components for the top and raising it manually?

I am not talking about removing working parts...but if things give out, is this conversion possible?


I have been looking at the shop manual and if I am missing something as to why this should not work please let me know.

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:49 PM   #2
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Ive heard of this being done on a number of occasions, where the owner opted not to repair their top after a break. So, yeah. I just don't know first hand how difficult it is to raise and lower manually.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:59 AM   #3
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The mechanisms had been removed from my '98 Boxster when I bought it. It was quite easy to put the top up and down.

To put the top up, lean over and pull the clamshell up and back, then pull the top up (it's very lightweight), then drop the clamshell back into position, get in the car and clamp down the front. It takes about 15 seconds. Just do the reverse to put the top down.

That said, it costs you in resale value not to have the mechanism working, and you lose the experience of watching it, which is cool.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:14 AM   #4
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Two problems...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G View Post
As I read through pages and pages of modifications, issues, repairs, preventative tips and other priceless gems from everyone...I was wondering about one issue regarding the top.

OK, the convertible drive cables can break and the transmission can give out...what is to stop from simply removing all the electric drive components for the top and raising it manually?

I am not talking about removing working parts...but if things give out, is this conversion possible?


I have been looking at the shop manual and if I am missing something as to why this should not work please let me know.
... arise from converting the top to manual:
1.- When the top is lowered you would have to secure it somehow because a gust of wind could make it rise at speed and then...
2.- If you eliminate the mechanicals you no longer have control of the clamshell which needs to first open before the top can be raised or lowered.
Happy Boxstering,
Pedro
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:45 AM   #5
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Sure, I drove my car, mostly top down, for about a year and half with out power assist for the top. I believe I just disconnected the tie rods and opened and closed it about as described above. Pretty easy to open and close. The only drag is you have to be outside the car to put it up and back inside to latch it.

In addition to driving fast with the top down, we also get hot gusty winter winds around here up to 75mph+. Not a problem at all. It stays put either up or down.

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Old 12-30-2011, 09:58 AM   #6
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pothole has done it as well and swears by it. on my list of things to do (enroute to the true roadster experience).

to pedro's comments, the clamshell is hinged such that wind pushes it closed. so, if the clamshell has to open for the roof to go up, then a gust of wind will just keep everything closed ...
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:23 AM   #7
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Thank you for the response. I am not planning on selling this car at any point so resale will not be a worry. I drove an MG Midget for years and never had an issue on the manual function of the top...however, that was a much smaller top and lighter weight.

It was just one of those questions as I was putting the top up the other morning thinking...while this is a cool convenience, do I really need this if it breaks?
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:13 PM   #8
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Good post !!! Thank you . I have to get out of the car to help fold the rear window when going "down" position as the last owner replaced the window with a "Heavy duty" plastic. He showed me how to "down the top" so I would not crease the window. If..... the motor or cables were to break, I would not be bothered by manual mode. thanks again !!! Max
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Radium King View Post
to pedro's comments, the clamshell is hinged such that wind pushes it closed. so, if the clamshell has to open for the roof to go up, then a gust of wind will just keep everything closed ...
I know the clamshell is hinged that way.
My comment was that he would have to first manually lift the clamshell before putting the top up or down.
Happy Boxstering,
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:55 PM   #10
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So how much weight are we saving when eliminating the motors, etc. in order to make the roof manual?
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:59 PM   #11
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Folks,
I messed with two Boxster tops this summer/fall. Thanks to all the wonderful information available on various Boxster Boards, I had no problem getting things sorted.

I purchased a 98 whose top would not work at all. I replaced the top relay to get things moving.

About the same time, my 2000S, passenger side drive cable broke. I purchased two new cables and installed them along with new pivot rod ends (I screwed up and broke one). While awaiting the cables and pivot ends, I operated the top in manual mode with no issues. The top anc clamshell are not heavy and manual operation was not cumbersome in the least.

Even though manual operation worked fine for me, there is really no reason to be scared of the losing your power top operation as there are plenty of used parts available at reasonable prices.

The top mechanism on the Boxster is actually quite simple, one small motor($50-$100 used), a couple of cables($25 each), three limit switches and the two transmissions ($100-$200 used), which transition the spinning cable into a circular motion to drive the top and shell arms.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:20 AM   #12
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As mentioned, I've been running my roof with the mechansim disconnected for 18 months. I did buy all the parts required to fix the mechanism, but can't be bothered. It goes up and down manually so very easily (if you have a plastic rear screen you have to get out of the car to chop it anyway).

Also, there are absolutely no issues re wind and the clam popping up. I've run up to the low 130mph's with the clam resting disconnected. If you know how it's hinged, you'll know it simply isn't ever going to pop up - quite the opposite.

I'm now planning on taking all the unused parts of the mechanism out - transmissions, motor etc - as part of a weight loss program.

As when I do this, I will weigh all the removed parts. I doubt it will add up to much, but every little helps and I've been perfectly happy with the roof in manual mode.
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Last edited by pothole; 12-31-2011 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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Well, there have been a few threads posted since I first asked this question and several of them mentioned retaining the operation of the clam shell but ditching the top. Some have mentioned that they did this and it involved a fair bit of work??? So, knowing that someone had done this I dug into reading everything from Mike to Pedro and data in between when it dawned on me how simple this mod to do.

Step 1: Open the top to service mode
Step 2: Release the rain shield on the top to expose the push rod linkage and tension cable.
Step 3: Pop the safety tension cable off
Step 4: Using an allen head socket remove the bolt holding the push rod for that drives the convertible frame from each side (leave the hydraulic push rod for the clam shell alone)
Step 5: With the allen screw removed, pop the front of each push rod off of the "B" pillar connection (white on left side, red on the right side). You will probably have to pull back on the top to allow the push rod to have some space so it can come free from the ball connection it is attached to.
Step 6: Reattach the safety tension cable back in place.
Step 7: Reattach the rain shield.
Step 8: Enjoy the manual operation of the top and the motorized operation of the clam shell.

I also went ahead and did the electrical mod so I can operate the top with out having to engage the hand brake and what I have now ended up with is a top that I can open and close by hand while belted into my seat and have the clam shell controlled from the dash panel button. As for operation at speed, top was not going anywhere at very enjoyable speeds.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:35 PM   #14
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Nice, thanks Eric. Will give this a shot as have been running in full manual for a while.

Given that I have to get out of the car to put the roof down anyway for the Boxster chop, there's almost no reason to have the roof itself connected. Different if you have a glass screen, of course.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:36 PM   #15
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Eric: Your canvas top is not going anywhere at any speed because the black "hydraulic" pushrods are exerting pressure to keep the clamshell locked down tight.

If those pushrods are not connected, I believe that there is some risk in driving "at speed" without anything holding down the clamshell. While nothing may happen in almost every instance, even driving 130 mph, the right combination of factors could spell disaster. All you need is to be going over a bump or a rise, at speed, to slightly dislodge the clamshell and raise the top a couple of inches...

If it catches wind then, it doesn't matter which way the clamshell is hinged, the canvas top will deploy like a parachute.

As I said, Pothole has proved that it's been fine for him for almost two years, but it only takes one "perfect storm" and it's all over. I think it would be a simple matter to devise a small clip that holds down the clamshell to be 100% safe. It's like getting under a car with just a hydraulic jack and no jack stands...I wouldn't do it.

Regards, Maurice.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:47 PM   #16
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Maurice, if you look at how the clam is hinged and how the roof sits under it, I simply do not believe that it's possible for it to pop up at speed. Hitting bumps does not cause the clam to jump up more than a fraction due to the hinging which requires a backwards motion. Plus, the higher the clam moves the more it's going to be pushed down by the passing air. It's just not ever going to happen at any speed.

I too wouldn't go under a car on a hydraulic jack. But I do not believe there is any chance of the roof popping open at speed.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:08 PM   #17
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Maurice...all good points and thank you! Took her out for a spin at triple speeds on a less then smooth highway (good bumps) and there was not a hint of movement. Additionally, Pothole is correct...the clam shell does lock the top down as you are not able to lift the top up when it is held in place by the transmission which is why I wanted to keep the clam shell on the motor. Now...if the clam shell was not attached, yes you could have a very bad day based on the clam and top bouncing in the "perfect storm" setting.

Like any of the mods we do, you have to be first be comfortable with what you are doing; second accept the risks that may or may not come with said mods. I rate this mod based on my set up a "solid" on the comfortable factor and "low" on the risk factor.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric G View Post
...
Like any of the mods we do, you have to be first be comfortable with what you are doing; second accept the risks that may or may not come with said mods. I rate this a solid on the comfortable factor and low on the risk factor.
+1

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Old 04-11-2012, 03:50 PM   #19
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Now...if the clam shell was not attached, yes you could have a very bad day based on the clam and top bouncing in the "perfect storm" setting.
I was saying that with the clam unattached, it's never going to happen due to the way it's hinged. Mine is unattached. If you have a play around with the way it moves you'll realise it's a non issue. Would still be nice to have a power clam that locks down, if only because it's doesn't sit 100% flush when the roof is down, so I'm going to have a look into mine.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:56 PM   #20
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Pothole: If you are going to try to hook up the black "hydraulic" pushrods to the V-levers, take a look at the DIY I posted on Mike Focke's website for starting measurements. The photos and measurements are at page 39 of the Part III PDF, here: installinga'03-'04glasstopandframeona'97 - mikefocke2

Regards, Maurice.

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