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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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.."
Vehicle Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting

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:

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:

Wood Tool Fashion accessory Hardwood Carmine

After cutting it, I melted the edges using a grille lighter so the elastic wouldn't unravel, and then punched a hole in it using a heated awl (make the tip hot enough to burn you.. and it will melt the fibers apart.) Make the hole about 1/8" diameter and about 3/4" from the cut end of the strap.

The awl:
Liquid Cosmetics Bottle Font Glass bottle

As shown below, you want the length of the strap, with it almost fully extended (adjusting clasp near the clamping jaw) between the hole for the screw and the midpoint of the locking clamp to be about 4.5" - this should work fine when installed at this length. If needed now or in the future, you have several inches of adjustment that can be easily made by moving the adjusting clasp further toward the end with the hole. No tools are needed to make that adjustment, and it can be done by feel quite easily by just releasing the edge of the headliner (the two velcro tabs) and reaching in.

Liquid Azure Fluid Bottle Art

EDIT - 11/25/22I - I decided to redo these instructions using a melted hole in the elastic for the screw that fastens it to the arm on the top mechanism. This is a better solution than the original idea which used a punched hole.

Here is what this solution looks like (threaded screw in the hole:

Wool Rectangle Woolen Fashion accessory Electric blue

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:

Automotive tire Automotive design Font Motor vehicle Rim

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:

Shoe Wheel Tire Automotive tire Bicycle tire

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:

Hood Automotive tire Tire Bumper Automotive lighting

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.

Wood Grey Gas Circle Table

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. :ROFLMAO:

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:

Water Street light Sky Surveillance camera Liquid

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: - 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:

Grey Wood Asphalt Road surface Tints and shades

2,000 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One other warning - when you're done with the job, don't leave the key in the ignition overnight.

I came out to my car (going to get a tooth extracted) and found the spoiler was up, the car had locked itself and the key was locked in the ignition (thank Dog I have 2 keys - I was able to unlock the door with the actual key part of the key.) This is how I discovered that no smart charger or battery-pack jump starter will put out volts without seeing some voltage. After trying 3 different chargers, and 1 battery pack - and not being able to unlock the frunk so I could charge the battery - I remembered my motorcycle was parked right next to the car, and it has a good and easily accessible 12V battery in it. It also has a 6' set of motorcycle jumper cables. I hooked the battery to the jumpers, hooked the jumpers to the door-stop and the power-pull-out in the fuse box, and voila! I was able to unlock the frunk. I also can report that the tiny little cover for the hole in the ignition lock that is used to release a key - the cover flies away never to be seen again. It actually must do that often enough that it has a part# 997-618-361-00, about $17 for a TINY piece of plastic (plus shipping.. I think I'll order it locally..)

My wife was amused that Porsche designed a car with a battery that is inaccessible if it goes bad, and came up with two complex ways to access the battery (the jumper thingie, and the cable behind the wheel-well liner.) Of course, if your jumper cables were in the frunk - that limits that option, and since you can't get the frunk open to get to the jack and lug wrench to remove the wheel so you can then remove the wheel liner. She felt it was some sort of engineer's prank. I found it hard to argue otherwise.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks much for the compliment. I'll be revising it a bit to eliminate the reference to the punched hole elastic (leaving the awl-made opening for the screw) and to shorten the recommended starting length. The length from where the screw goes to the end of the clip should be around 4" with the sliding clasp midway on it. I'm off to the garage today to change my passenger's side elastic. I'll let you know how that works out.

2,000 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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!
Dealers are pretty funny aren't they? Wonder what the hourly rate is at your dealership. I believe mine is now $225/hour.
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