Date registered: Jan 2019
Vehicle: 1988 560SL, 1969 280SL
Location: USA and Italy
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Hard Top Removal Problem
I had intended to remove the hard top on my 560SL a couple of days ago as the good weather is upon us. “Honey do” projects got in the way and I finally got to it this morning.
The car is new to me, purchased in January, and this is the third time I removed the hard top. The first time was at purchase when I helped the PO remove it so I could check the condition of the soft top. This was done with some difficulty as the small locking lever that releases the pin at the back of the hard top was not functioning properly. I was ignorant of this system as my 113 has a simple single lever release that has never presented a problem. I was surprised that taking the top off was so difficult. The PO was apparently not aware of this problem.
A couple of weeks after purchase I again removed the hard top as I had planned a visit to a few soft top suppliers to price a replacement soft top. I did this removal alone with the aid of the hoist in my garage that I use for my 113 top removal and again I had difficulties but finally succeeded in getting the hard top off. After this experience I started researching the problem here on this forum and found that I was experiencing a common problem.
When I started the removal process today I was armed with a bent coat hanger, allen wrenches and needle nosed vice grips in case I had difficulty with the small locking pin/release lever. My first attempts at releasing the back center pin with the small locking lever were unsuccessful. I tried a bent coat hanger and an allen wrench in the hole adjacent to the center pin with no luck. The roof was loose on the car except for the rear center pin being blocked but I had not tried elevating the roof with my hoist.
After lunch, a rest and a further review of the information in the EGv107 I had another go. This time I attached the hoist and lifted the roof so that it was elevated about four inches at the windshield. At the pin location in the rear, the roof was elevated about an inch. With the roof elevated in this manner I was able to release the hook holding the pin with my bent coat hanger.
After I removed the hard top and raised the soft top out of the storage well, I expected to find a problem with the cable from the small lever at its origin behind the drivers seat. This was not the case. There was no movement of the cable sheath in this area and all appeared tight there. See two pictures, one with lever in open position and one in closed (locked) position. The problem was at the other end of the cable at the mechanism under the center pin. Activation of the small locking lever barely moves the locking hook. There is a gap between the cable sheath and the housing of the mechanism thus the cable does not move the hook. See the two pictures, one with the small lever in locked position and one in the unlocked position. I don’t know if there was originally a spacer of some type here that filled this gap. Can some one provide a picture of an original setup? If there is not a missing spacer between the cable sheath and the housing I suppose I can just adjust the cable length to reduce this gap to zero. Any suggestions?