Convertible Top Hydraulic Cylinder Driver Side Or Passenger Side 1971Convertible Top Hydraulic Cylinder Driver Side Or Passenger Side 1971
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The power top system is going to consist of the switch, the motor, the lines and the convertible top cylinders. With the switches in the up position it's going to turn the motor in one direction, which will send fluid to the cylinders and it's going to lift them upward. When you flip the switch down it sends power to the other side of the motor and they'll spin in the opposite direction, pull the fluid out of the cylinders and bring your top down. When replacing any part of the power top hydraulic system you want to make sure you fill it using this hole here and use only automatic transmission fluid for the system.
When troubleshooting the system there are several areas you're going to want to look at to try to determine where your problem is. If you hit the switch and absolutely nothing happens, you'll want to check the switch to make sure it's getting power and then check your motor to see if power is getting to the motor. Many times it's actually going to be a switch failure, but it could be the motor. as well. In the case of our '71, the motor makes noise when we hit the switch which means our motor is okay. Our problem lies either on lines or our cylinders because our top won't go up at all. You can actually hear fluid behind the seats. Where going to pull out the cylinders, take a look and see what we have to repair.
For this installation, you'll need a Phillips head screwdriver, 3/8 ratchet, 7/16 socket, 0.5 socket, short extension, 1/4-inch ratchet, 1/4-inch socket, half-inch wrench, 7/16 wrench, plastic syringe or turkey baster, a pry bar, thread sealant and one quart of type F automatic transmission fluid.
The power top motor is mounted in the very front of the trunk floor right behind the back seat. You can see the hydraulic lines going out to the cylinders as well as the wiring going off the switch. Your convertible top cylinders are located below the front of the top frame, behind this quarter trim panel. Since we think our problem lies there we're going to remove the backseat and remove these panels so we can access them.
We're going to start by removing the lower seat cushions, simply pull up and pull it outwards. We'll pull out and slide up on the rear seat cushion. Now the backseat is out you can see the front of the motor as well as the rest of the hydraulic lines. The first step in removing the quarter trim panel is to remove our window cranks. Now we're going to remove the rest of the mounting screws that hold the quarter trim panel to the body. We'll get the last screw on the outside here and remove our quarter trim panel. We see a lot of fluid on the floor on the driver's side which is where we thought the problem was. We're going to hit the switch and see if we can locate where it's leaking. There we can see it's leaking from our upper fitting. We also noticed the driver's side Clevis pin was missing from our convertible top. The pin is what actually connects the cylinder to the top itself allowing it to push the top upward. In our case, it's just pushing against the top and not pushing it up, which probably also led to its failure.
I'm going to start removing the bolt that holds the cylinder into place. I'm going to get a pry bar in there and I'm going to gently pry it away from the bracket. Now we're going to disconnect the hydraulic lines from the hydraulic cylinder. If you still have fluid in the system you will want to use a drain pan. In our case it's already all over the floor so we're just going to take our fittings off. We're going to replace one line at a time. We're going to start with the one in front here and disconnect it from the motor. Now to remove the line we've got to loosen up these two brackets. Now we're going to install our first new line. The lines are actually different lengths. You want to grab the longer one since this one goes to the bottom of the cylinders. We're going to put a little bit of thread sealant on before we attach it to our motor.
We're going to fish the line over put this back underneath the bracket in the same opening as before. Now we're going to change out the other hydraulic line. There are a couple of ways to get to it, you can actually get a wrench through here; you can come through the trunk. I found the easiest way is just remove these two nuts that hold the motor in so you can get to the motor easier. At this point, if you were changing out your motor you would simply disconnect the harness and the ground wire and you can swap it out. Now let's just check our lines and remove it. Just like before, a little thread sealant. Put our motor back into place. With the lines long we've got to tighten this back down. Now we're ready to install the cylinder to our lines. Just like before you want to put a little thread sealant onto the fittings. The longer hose will go into the bottom.
You want to get it as tight as you can get it by hand, then another quarter to half turn with a wrench and that's as tight as you want to make it. Now we're ready to fill and bleed the system. Normally, you would want to take the cylinders and put them back in their brackets to do this. We're going to leave them out so you can actually see the process. If you do put them back in the brackets do not connect them to the convertible top yet. When you're replacing a single cylinder, make sure you disconnect the Clevis pin on the other side. You want the rams and the cylinders to be able to move freely to make the system much easier to bleed. The system gets filled by removing this rubber plug here and then filling with automatic transmission fluid right up to the edge so it will start to drain over.
You want to put a towel or rag of some sort underneath this when you're filling it. We're going to use this large plastic syringe to fill it. If you don't have something like this a turkey baster will work just as well. Now we're full. Once it stops dripping over the edge then you want to stop. Now we're going to start filling the cylinders from the reservoir by running the convertible top motor in the up position. You'll want to do this between ten and 20 seconds. You just want to give it a second for the fluid to move through and then we'll check the reservoir and we'll run it again. Now we have fluid in the lines and the cylinders. We want to top off the reservoir and our motor.
Now put the cap back in, run the system multiple times and make sure everything is good. Now we'll want to lower the cylinders all the way down, which will be the top in the down position and then we'll check our fluid levels. When it starts dripping out again we can put our cap back in. Once the system is filled and bled you'll want to check all the fittings on both the motor and the cylinders to make sure they're all dry and we're going to bolt the motor back down and install the cylinders. The cylinders are going to mount to this stud here and this outer stud here. Bolt removed earlier allows us to pivot just enough to get it in there. It can be a little work sometimes to get it lined up but it's a lot easier than taking the whole assembly off.
Now repeat the process on the other side. This is very hard to see on the car, we're going to use this old top frame, this old cylinder to show you how the ram from the cylinder connects to the Clevis pin itself. The ram is going to go through this opening in the top frame. The pin will then slide through and put the retainer on the other side. Here's a comparison of the Clevis pins from different years. This is a 1965 through 1968 Clevis pin which is available new. The second one here is 1969 to 1970, much longer and is not available new. The same thing goes for this one here which is our 1971 to 1973 version. What we do is pick up a universal Clevis pin at the local hardware store and then cut it to length.
Even though we have the cylinders closed and the top is all the way down the Clevis pin is not going to line up properly between the ram and our top frame. What you'll want to do is actually lift the top up manually to get them lined up. It's a good idea to have someone help you; while you do the pin they can lift up the roof.
Now that we have the Clevis pins installed, we're ready to test our top. There we go. Everything looks good. We'll double check everything for leaks and put our backseat back together. We're going to start with the interior quarter trim panel. Reinstall our window crank. Put our seat back in place and finally our seat bottom. And our installation is finished.
That's much better. Our '71 convertible wasn't much use to us without a working top. Now we're ready to take it for a cruise. Installation should take you no more than two to three hours. You'll be back on the road in no time.