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Old 07-29-2018, 07:53 PM   #1
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Location: Houston, TX
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Damn, it never ends. Now the convertible top mechanism is acting up. Ideas please?

My car is a 2002 Boxster S with 106,000 miles on it. The seemingly non-stop tidal wave of things going wrong continues. Now it's the convertible top. I never drive the car with the top up. Here in Houston, it's almost always warm enough to have it down. In the chilly months it's down with the heater on. In the really hot months it's down with the A/C on. The other 6 months it's just down.

A few weeks ago I was out driving and it started to rain. I raised the top, and it went up normally. However, the red dash light with the depiction of the top in it stayed on, along with a dash warning saying the top was not fully in the up position. I didn't bother much with it at that point, as honestly the only time I raise the top is to wash the car.

Today is a whole 'nother story. I washed the car and went to lower the top. The motor ran but sounded more labored than usual and the top wouldn't lower. I gave it a push to help it off the windshield top rail and it started to retract.. It sounded labored and hesitant, but it finally lowered. I usually hold the down button until the motor stops running. As the top reached the bottom I heard all sorts of crunching type noises over the drivers left shoulder. With the top now down, I have the round red dash idiot light on, as well as a message saying something to the effect that the top is not completely down. I used my finger and poked the top center microswitch.. It seems to be responding in that the door windows rise and fall when I activate the switch with my finger.

I raised and lowered is a couple of times. It sounds like hell, it's not operating smoothly at all. It's slow jerky, and there's a bunch of crunchy sounds coming from the drivers lower shoulder area. The dash idiot light and warning stay on regardless of if it's up or down. I'm guessing there's something bad going on in the area of the driver side top transmission. Is there a microswitch in there too? It seems to be two issues, I'm hoping they're related. The top is just not operating correctly and also the lights staying on with the top up or down.

One other thing, hopefully this is simple. The front of the headliner is hanging down. How do I attach the plastic strip at the front of the headliner to the plastic attach point on the top itself? Does the headliner hook to the front of the attach point or what? Sounds dumb, I know, but I just can't seem to figure it out. Thanks all, any help with this mess is appreciated. This car is a blast to drive, I just wish the major issues would just take a rest for a while.

Last edited by Doug427; 07-29-2018 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 08:30 PM   #2
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Not the end of the world! Take a breath...

I posted this earlier to another thread but it is the same advice for you...

So go back to basics....the top mechanism on these cars is not that complicated. Open the top and disconnect the pivot arms on each side for the top and the cover. Open and close your top manually to ensure that the top will travel the full range of motion when in full manual mode.

Inspect pivot arm ball sockets and add some lithium grease to the sockets and the track that the cover travels on.

Next thing to check is the cables that run from the motor to the top transmission on each side. Pull the end of the cable out and inspect for fraying.

The only things left are the transmissions and the motor. You can pull each transmission and look for a bad gear (missing tooth). The motor pretty much works or doesn't.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:33 AM   #3
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Just yesterday I was clearing my drains and I found one of the balls from the retraction mechanism in the drain tray (the one that attaches the arm to the triangular pivot). Apparently it had worked loose over time. I put it back in and lubed and reattached the arm. I didn't notice any strain or slowness, but it's worth checking.

As far as the headliner: Cut it out. They only added it in 2001 (or so), before that you could just see the frame. I'm not sure why Porsche added the headliner; the frame isn't ugly.

(Pic borrowed from Rennlist.)
Connor: 1999 Boxster
Stitch: 1982 928
Finn: 2005 Cayenne
"...the 928 is not a joy riding car; it's a tool, a road weapon designed to destroy distance and crush time."

Last edited by Shawn Stanford; 07-30-2018 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:47 PM   #4
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Did this years ago and never looked back...

Why I converted to a manual top...
When life throws you curves, aim for the apex...
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Doug427 View Post
... One other thing, hopefully this is simple. The front of the headliner is hanging down. How do I attach the plastic strip at the front of the headliner to the plastic attach point on the top itself? Does the headliner hook to the front of the attach point or what? ....
The plastic strips become brittle over time and are usually broken when they come down. Some people have had success gluing them back up. One of my cars had an ugly mess of glue and was still falling down, so as Shawn mentioned, I just ripped it out.
Here's a brief video I made recently for someone else who asked:

I am not an attorney, mechanic, or member of the clergy. Following any advice given in my posts is done at your own peril.
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