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Old 07-04-2013, 11:39 AM   #1
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Top stopped working (intermittently)

Gents,
Backstory: other day, nice weather so i drove with the top down. after arriving at destination, went to put it back up and... nothing... tapping the button a few times I could see the top "jerking" a bit.

So i did some research which led me to believe it was the ebrake microswitch not engaging properly. Just finished replacing as of 10 minutes ago and no dice... still an intermittent issue going both up and down with the top. The PARK light on the dash is lighting up and is very consistent (no dead spots in the lever pull).

So what is my next step here? The fact that it is "sluggish" in intermittent spurts tells me it's getting some power at least. All fuses are good, the relay is good, etc. If I raise it about an inch, let it sit for a few minutes, it'll go another inch or so. Once it gets around half way I can "hand assist" the top all the way closed at that point (still kinda jerky).

It almost seems like something is "overheating" (no smells or smoke or anything), or it's not getting enough consistent power maybe?? I'd actually almost prefer if this was not working at all which I think would make it easier to diagnose...

Anyone experience this? I have a multimeter, but not that handy with it. Willing to learn though! Not looking for links to "i converted to a manual top" or "I built my own relays to bypass all that stuff", etc... I want to fix this properly.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 07-04-2013, 11:49 AM   #2
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Put the top in service position and disconnect the drive cables from the motor under the clamshell in the rear center. You can then have someone watch and listen while you engage the switch to see if the drive motor is running intermittently. If it is then it may be a microswitch, or the motor itself. If not, it may be mechanical (stripped gear in the transmission?)

See the 101 projects site for details on the parts

http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/71-BODY-Convertible_Top_Repair/71-BODY-Convertible_Top_Repair.htm
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:38 PM   #3
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So.. did what you recommended and the motor (under the clamshell) ran the entire time without any hiccups while the button was pressed in. It's hard to rule this out though as the motor may function differently when there's no "strain" on it. Maybe replacement of the motor first makes more sense? It could be failing and not have enough "ooomph" to raise and lower any more.

When replacing the transmissions, is it best to replace them both at the same time? Is this a DIY? I saw there's a "revised" version of the transmissions available, so I may go that route. Pretty pricey though.. sigh..

Is there a way to test the actual switch in the dash? Is that even a possible cause at this point?

note: after replacing the motor cables and clips, I was able to "close" the clamshell just fine with the button, but not lower it. after they were reconnected, it goes back to sounding like it's "struggling" to make that initial lift of the clamshell to lower the top.

Last edited by stateofidleness; 07-04-2013 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
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What's the correct part numbers for the updated transmissions and standoffs? The Pelican article doesn't mention the numbers, only that they're the new versions.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:28 PM   #5
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This will sound dumb.. but I was just out looking into the microswitch thing in the top latch above the windshield. All seemed in order, but something dawned on me...

At no point do I ever see a "convertible top" dash light go on... even with just the key in the ignition (engine off). Is there a convertible top dash light on a 2000 base model? It's been a while since I've used my top so now I can't even remember if there's supposed to be a dash light indicating it's all the way or down...

Tried googling for a pic of it and even checked the manual, but couldn't find anything.

My windows do drop the correct 4" in unison each and every time, so could that switch still be the culprit? I understand it serves two purposes, not just the windows.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
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Don't know if this will help or not. On my 01S when the key is turned to the first position (not running the starter), all warning/caution lights illuminate including the top light. The top light goes out after a few seconds. When opening the windshield latch, the windows drop but the top (in transit) light stays out. It should come on as soon as you select the top to open to indicate that the top is "in transit". It will stay on until the top is fully open (or closed) and then extinguish to indicate the desired cycle is completed.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
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Could you post a pic of the dash light? The only one that kinda looks right is the spoiler light. I don't see a top light even with the ignition key trick.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofidleness View Post
Could you post a pic of the dash light? The only one that kinda looks right is the spoiler light. I don't see a top light even with the ignition key trick.
It's the one lit up on the right -- there is one spot next to it on my '03 S, but I've never seen it lit up.



If the motor is turning, there are probably a number of things that could cause the inconsistent operation; a bad gear in one transmission or the other, binding due to having the transmissions out of alignment are the things that come to mind immediately.

It seems odd to me that you can operate the top manually, there is no situation that mine will move by hand as long as the motor is connected to the transmission cables...

Be sure to check the push rods & the plastic caps on the end & make sure everything is in the place it is supposed to be, this doesn't sound like a push-rod problem, but that's one of the more common failures, I've been through 3...
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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A description of instrument lights from my owner's manual.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:23 PM   #10
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Very cool. Appreciate you doing that. I remember seeing that when it was working properly, now I don't see it all, even just turning the ignition on. That's gotta mean something right??

I'm not able to manually raise and lower the top. Apologies if I gave that impression. I am able to "manually assist" the top by working it in conjunction with the switch. Seemed to take some strain off the motor.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 2003S View Post
It's the one lit up on the right -- there is one spot next to it on my '03 S, but I've never seen it lit up.



If the motor is turning, there are probably a number of things that could cause the inconsistent operation; a bad gear in one transmission or the other, binding due to having the transmissions out of alignment are the things that come to mind immediately.

It seems odd to me that you can operate the top manually, there is no situation that mine will move by hand as long as the motor is connected to the transmission cables...

Be sure to check the push rods & the plastic caps on the end & make sure everything is in the place it is supposed to be, this doesn't sound like a push-rod problem, but that's one of the more common failures, I've been through 3...

Looks like your airbag light is burned out or disconnected.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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I've never had to dig into this problem myself. There are several threads on top issues, here's a link to one that might help answer some questions:

http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/46528-convertible-top-now-kaput.html
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:52 PM   #13
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Looks like your airbag light is burned out or disconnected.
Does sort of look that way doesn't it?
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by stateofidleness View Post
Gents,
Backstory: other day, nice weather so i drove with the top down. after arriving at destination, went to put it back up and... nothing... tapping the button a few times I could see the top "jerking" a bit.

.....
What you describe here (i.e., the top "jerking" a bit) could very well be caused by one of the plastic ball cups having broken off. I'm referring to the plastic ball cups on the end of the front pushrods.

The top can operate with just one front pushrod attached, but it will lurch forward or backward depending on the part of the cycle at which the top finds itself.

The "straining" part that you describe could be the now-dangling pushrod (because the plastic ball cup is no longer attached to the steel ball at the base of the B-Pillar) digging in and jamming itself against the foam drain tray or under the black "hydraulic" pushrod.

If this turns out to be the problem, replace the plastic ball cup and be sure to maintain the same overall length for the front pushrod. Also double check for any tears or rips in the foam drain tray on that side.

It would also be a good idea to lubricate the channels in which the black plastic sliders ride back and forth. You will find these sliders by following the body-colored support arms of the clamshell down to where they meet the inside of quarter-panel, just above the top edge of the convertible top well. Use some spray white lithium grease (or Dupont Krytox if you want to splurge on a lubricant that does not attract dust or dirt). That will make the operation of the clamshell a lot smoother and lessen the strain on the electric motor, cables and transmissions.

Also, the "top open" idiot light on the dashboard display is supposed to light up the moment that you open the latch and press the button. It's supposed to go out at the end of the cycle when a microswitch is tripped. In your case on your 2000 Boxster, that microswitch is one of two microswitches located INSIDE the driver's side transmission.

Regards, Maurice.

Last edited by schoir; 07-04-2013 at 07:34 PM. Reason: add more info
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:21 PM   #15
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Also, the "top open" idiot light on the dashboard display is supposed to light up the moment that you open the latch and press the button. It's supposed to go out at the end of the cycle when a microswitch is tripped. In your case on your 2000 Boxster, that microswitch is one of two microswitches located INSIDE the driver's side transmission.

Regards, Maurice.
Ahhh, see my idiot light doesn't come on at all (even just turning the key to the "on" position. It used to in the past every time. I didn't notice this before the top failed to go up that day.

Is the microswitch inside the transmission replaceable by itself or am I looking at a replacement transmission? If it is replaceable by itself, would you happen to know the latest part number for it? Is it replaceable without having to worry about all the "sync" issues between left and right if I don't operate it during the replacement process?
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:33 AM   #16
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Ahhh, see my idiot light doesn't come on at all (even just turning the key to the "on" position. It used to in the past every time. I didn't notice this before the top failed to go up that day.

Is the microswitch inside the transmission replaceable by itself or am I looking at a replacement transmission? If it is replaceable by itself, would you happen to know the latest part number for it? Is it replaceable without having to worry about all the "sync" issues between left and right if I don't operate it during the replacement process?
The transmission can be opened up to get access to the microswitch for replacement, but Porsche does not sell that microswitch by itself. So, there is no Porsche part number for that microswitch. You would have to remove the microswitch and try to get it matched up with a microswitch from an electronics parts supplier. (It's the same situation with the microswitches inside the door lock assembly).

If you don't operate the top (or more accurately, rotate the V-levers) during the replacement process, you won't have to deal with the synchronization issue. Synchronizing the two transmissions is relatively easy, as long as you pay attention to the orientation of the keyway behind the V-lever. It can only be installed two ways: the correct way and 180 degrees off.

Regards, Maurice.

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