Thanks so much for this write up… I have this issue on the top of my ‘09 BS and the dealer wanted $700 to do what you’ve done for $10 (plus some time). Nice of you to post it in such a thorough step by step manner!Are you troubled by the so typical stretched-out roof elastics - where the lip of the cloth top isn't falling into the door frame groove?
If you haven't experienced it - you will. It's not an IF sort of thing, it's a WHEN sort of thing. Or - "they all do it.."
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So what causes this? The edge of the top at that point, as the top is closing, wants to go straight - which unfortunately wouldn't result in it ending up correctly in the groove in the door frame plastic. Porsche engineering's solution was to add a thingie (cloth tab and elastic) that pulled that edge inward as the top closed - making it fall into the grove in the window-frame assembly.
The failure is - the thingie stops pulling on the top, and the top edge goes over the window frame assembly - putting extra force on the top mechanism, and setting the stage for additional top failures (like popped ball sockets in the drive mechanism.)
Digression - click to view: Aside - for real Rube Goldberg engineering solutions - I've never quite seen as many strange and wonderous and puzzling solutions as there are for convertible tops. Every design is different. It's just something that is half magic and half kludge. As long as the magic keeps working the world is good. In this case - the magic fails... For the best folding top I ever had, it's hard to beat the '65 Jag XKE, no motors, you just unclipped it from the windshield header and reached up, and folded it back. Done. To close it - just as simple, reach behind you in the center of the car, grab it, pull it up into position, and fasten the two clips. That really was magic.
Lots of cars run around like this for long periods - the owners don't know something is actually wrong. Some owners do get it fixed, but the quality of the fix is perhaps marginal, and the issue will probably reoccur in the not-so-distant future. And some owners DIY - with good or bad results, but they invariably write it up on the Internet for all to admire their handiwork (tongue in cheek here..) There are at least 20-30 writeups on this, and LOTS of YouTube videos.
What seats the roof correctly is - there is a cloth tab sewn into that edge of the roof, and that tab connects to an elastic that goes down to one of the moving arms on the top mechanism. As the roof closes - the elastic is pulled on, pulling the tab which pulls the edge of the roof into the track on the window frame parts. With time/heat/use - the elastic gets old (just like the elastics in underpants) and fails to exert enough pull on the tab.
Mine had been "fixed" at some prior time. The fix had been to sew a replacement elastic to the tab on the roof. It was sewn in parallel with the old elastic (which was left attached, dangling around) and it too had passed on, without enough stretch to pull the tab into position. The usual fix for this is to punch another hole in the elastic and move the elastic down one hole on the fastening screw. Eventually - as the elastic degrades - there is no more stretch left and you can't adjust it to close correctly.
So my goal was a better solution. Porsche dealerships will charge you a few hours of labor to attach a new elastic. You can DIY in about an hour by using the elastic I made.. at the cost of less than $1/per-side.
There are other solutions involving stapling things together. There are solutions involving sewing things together. There are solutions involving small bungee cords. My solution doesn't do any of those. Most of the work can be comfortably done at your desk. And the result is EASILY adjustable for future corrections.
Suggested reading: 987 Boxster convertible top sides not tucked in < other solutions.
First - what you'll need to order:
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The item above from Amazon costs $9.95. It comes with 4 of the above assemblies - giving you enough elastics to fix 6 cars on both sides. The rather obvious first step is to cut off one of the elastic straps and prepare it for use. See the photo for where to cut. SHARP scissors are a good thing for this job.
You're then left with a length of about 6" of elastic. With an adjusting clasp. The elastic is 1.2" wide - about 3.5x wider (and stronger) than the stock elastic. Since the elastic is stronger, you can adjust it to pull the top into position without stretching as much as the original elastic did. That should increase the life of the elastic. That's the magic of this cure - if it weakens over time, you can easily adjust it by shortening the length using the adjusting clasp. It's very easy, no tools are required to adjust it. You could adjust it on the side of the road with no tools at all.
Prep of the elastic:
After cutting it, I punched a hole in it centered on the width and about 3/4" from the end of the cutoff piece. I used a paper punch to make the hole. You probably could just use something like an awl to make the hole, that might be better since it would grip the fastening screw thread making it easier to put back in place... (I'll try that one the next one I do..)
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Once cut, I also trimmed off the corners a bit and melted the edge using a grille lighter (or any sort of lighter.) You want the edge melted together so it won't fray or come apart.
EDIT - 11/17/22 - I decided to do the other side of the elastics. This time I tried using an "awl" to make a hole in the elastic. The issue with punching a hole in the elastic is you weaken the elastic that way. The edge of the hole facing the clip now becomes the leading edge of those sections of elastic fibers, making for a weaker capture by the screw and washer. To some extent melting the hole edges helps a bit - but there IS a better solution. That solution is separating the fibers to push them aside and make room for the screw to be pushed through the elastic fibers without cutting them. This can be done with an awl. Just push it through where you want the screw and then put the screw in before the displaced fibers close back up.
Doing it this way results in a much stronger capture of the elastic by the washer and screw, and has a great secondary plus - the fibers capture the screw so you can put the screw (with washer) into the elastic and it's going to stay there, making getting the screw back into the hole in the metal arm MUCH easier, and no risk of dropping the screw to have it disappear somewhere in the bowels of the vehicle.
Here is what this solution looks like (threaded screw in the hole:
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More better solution. I also ended up redoing the side I'd already done (the passenger's side) to incorporate this improved solution. I believe it will be longer lasting than the punched-hole solution.
Installing the new elastic:
Next, I dove into the inside guts of the top to find the other end of the failed elastic.
This is made much easier if you (1) if you have one - remove the storage compartment or Bose subwoofer from behind the seat - two twist locks, disconnect the subwoofer wiring, then lift out while the top is in service position over the top of the roll bars, with the seats folded forward. I rested mine on the back of the seats (it left no marks.. and wasn't in the way then.) (2) two velcro tabs hold the edge of the headliner in place - open these so the edge of the headliner can be moved aside. Find a light you can use to illuminate the area (I used an old 4" photo reflector lamp with an LED bulb - no heat - clipped onto the center wind deflector bracket on the roll hoop.) (3) Remove the clear wind deflector if you have one - it makes it easier to get to things, and you don't have to worry about breaking or scratching it.
Take a look down - and you'll probably see:
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Note that I marked the arm it screws into with some tape so I'd have a general idea of where the screw hole is. I'd suggest a mini-ratcheting wrench that is made for Torx(TM) bits. It is a T20 screw (many writeups refer to it as T15, T15 will sorta work, but will be difficult and can damage the screw - use the right size.) Remove the screw (and don't drop it, much easier when you use the correct size Torx..)
The elastic and the tab can now be moved out of the top so that it's accessible.
My tab had remnants of several sewn-on fixes, and several stapled-on fixes. I spent some time removing all of those:
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The fold in it is where it had been folded, stapled, and sewn to put more tension on the elastic. A botched solution IMHO (I won't say who did this..)
I used some "Gorilla Tape" to strengthen the tab. It was applied to both sides and sticks quite well to the cloth the tab was made from and cut off the remnants of the old elastics:
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I then found a larger washer to use under the screw - to better secure the elastic to the moving arm. The elastic is roughly 3x wider than the original elastic, so the extra heft of the larger washer secures it quite nicely.
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Note the trimmed end and melted edge..
And at that point, I clipped the new elastic to the end of the tab and then put the screw back into the arm securing the elastic in place (no pic yet - maybe when I do the other side).
I then worked the top to see how it needed to be adjusted. It required moving the clasp to about 1" away from the bottom (screw) fastening point for it to work and pulling the edge of the top into place. The strap could easily be made 1" shorter or even 1.5" shorter - this would increase the adjustment range.
So I now have enough material (4 x 3-armed assembly, 12 elastics) to do several more cars or do my car 5 more times. If anyone in NJ wants to do theirs, get hold of me and I can guide you through doing it.
EDIT - 11/17/22 - In making up a new strap for the side previously done - I made a strap about 1.5" shorter. This ends up giving more future adjustment range. Easy enough to do.
I love $10 fixes that work.
Two additions - thanks to Foodbiker!
Folks - DO check for this problem with some frequency. If the top is allowed to not seat correctly in the window-frame channel, the rubber coating on the cable along the edge WILL eventually be damaged. There is no way to actually repair that once it happens, at least no economical way. It's either find a top repair shop (large $$$) or replace the top (even larger $$$$). Once you spot the issue - FIX IT IMMEDIATELY.
Additionally - this failure will also cause the top to not fully move to the close position at the end of travel for closing. This results in requiring much more force to be used on the latch assembly, which eventually could cause it to fail. Mine did this intermittently, and I'd taken to manually pulling the leading edge of the top forward (using the little hand-holds in the latch area) and then latching it. When mine did it the latch made a big KLACK! noise and I'm sure it would have eventually broken.
It's not an issue since I fixed the elastic - the top closes and at the end of travel, the leading edge of the top is touching the windshield header. The latch works effortlessly. No KLACK!
A further addition - I mentioned above using a small ratchet wrench made for use with small bits and sockets (screwdriver, Torx, Allen) - but failed to show it. Here it is:
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This is available as a stand-alone wrench, or as a kit with all sorts of bits that plug into it. The socket came with a Torx driver kit that I had and can be pulled from the ratchet assembly and used with fingers to get screws started or speed them into place if the threads aren't too tight. Once you have it, this is one of those tools - you wonder how you did without it.
Here is the kit I have: https://www.amazon.com/GearWrench-85035-35-MicroDriver-Set/dp/B0062FSAVI/ref=sr_1_3 - It makes a great holiday stocking stuffer suggestion for those people who never had anything when asked what they want. It's a GOOD THING. And only $18.00 - made by Gearwrench, a quality product.
The finished product in place:
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