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1998 SL500 Black on black
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Discussion Starter #1
I've spent hours reading through threads and can't find a solution. I eventually want to remove this thread too just so it doesn't add to the clutter.

Long story short, my soft top is inoperable at the moment and will try to fix when it stops raining (in Seattle btw). I manually put my hard top back on. Locked the front latches okay.

As for the rear latches, I had to manually push up on the hooks in the oval hole to lock into the "up" position. Eventually I got them to lock up so when the rear pins of the hard top drop into place the latch caught the hook. They went down but there is a gap between the hard top and the car. I can move the hard top up and down but the hard top is locked to the car but not locked down tightly. How do I tightly lock down the rear manually?
 

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1998 SL500 Black on black
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Also, the manually knob in the trunk only allows me to move up feeling resistance from a spring. It will not move down.
 

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2000 SL500
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352 Posts
Rear locks are adjustable. There are three nuts that can be loosened to adjust. Moving the rear locks downward will pull the hardtop (and soft top bow) pins down more and reduce the gap. For the inside nut you'll have to pull the cover down some to get access for loosening.

Are you manually locking down the front and rear locks for the hardtop?
 

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1998 SL500 Black on black
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you! I will try this once it stops raining. I’ve yet to try this method.

I amjust trying to lock in the rear hardtop tightly. I’m able to pull the rear of the hard top up to a certain point since the latch has caught the pins. It justwon’t securely tighten down
 

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2002 SL500 Silver Arrow
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610 Posts
Thank you! I will try this once it stops raining. I’ve yet to try this method.

I amjust trying to lock in the rear hardtop tightly. I’m able to pull the rear of the hard top up to a certain point since the latch has caught the pins. It justwon’t securely tighten down
fwiw - A few seasons ago -- after being stored in my shed -- my hardtop required a slight adjustment to the angle of the rear pins to get it to seat fully. Not sure why/how this happened but I was trying all kinds of different things with the locks and whatnot, and a simple tweak of the angle and has been fine since.
 

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97 E-420 (180K miles), 97 SL500, (93K miles) 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD CC/SB/4x4 Duramax(55K)
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fwiw - A few seasons ago -- after being stored in my shed -- my hardtop required a slight adjustment to the angle of the rear pins to get it to seat fully. Not sure why/how this happened but I was trying all kinds of different things with the locks and whatnot, and a simple tweak of the angle and has been fine since.
Yes, it's pretty easy to have the hardtop rear pins to get bent slightly if your not careful handling and storing the hardtop. And it may only take a very slight change before the pin won't get grabbed by the lock. Been there, done that. just adjusted them to drop into the center of the hole so the lock could grab it.
 

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1998 SL500 Black on black
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I’ll give this a try. So even if the latch pulls it down, bent pins can cause the latch to not fully lock securely down? I mean, when I pull up the hard top in the rear, it’ll move up but stop at a certain point because it seems the latch has caught it when the latch was locked up when dropping in the hard top. You guys are great hep btw thanks for your time and input as I learn about my SL500. It’s a flawless car minus this issue.
 

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2002 SL500 Silver Arrow
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610 Posts
I’ll give this a try. So even if the latch pulls it down, bent pins can cause the latch to not fully lock securely down? I mean, when I pull up the hard top in the rear, it’ll move up but stop at a certain point because it seems the latch has caught it when the latch was locked up when dropping in the hard top. You guys are great hep btw thanks for your time and input as I learn about my SL500. It’s a flawless car minus this issue.
Yes - in my case the angle was such that the locks would grab the pin and pull down, but it would essentially wedge against one of the sides and cease the movement -- leaving the hardtop just a touch from snug.
 

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1998 SL500 Black on black
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks! I will try it once this damn rain leaves which isn’t any time soon. Did it take you a few tries and adjustments to get it to lock securely?
 

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2002 SL500 Silver Arrow
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Thanks! I will try it once this damn rain leaves which isn’t any time soon. Did it take you a few tries and adjustments to get it to lock securely?
well I was futzing with the heights of the locks and it wasn't fixing the problem. Then I looked at the hardtop resting off to the side and the rear pin angles seemed a little forward -- I don't remember exactly but I'm sure I jumped on this site and did a quick search to find out if it was ok to bend the pins a little - and sure enough, pulling them back to perpendicular did the trick for me. I don't recall it being more than one try, but I do remember a 'that was a lot of messing around for what was a really simple solution' feeling. Your results may vary -- but in my case it wasn't the first time putting the top on, so the idea of the locks walking on their own didn't make sense because all the bolts were plenty tight.
 

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1998 SL500 Black on black
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Discussion Starter #11
well I was futzing with the heights of the locks and it wasn't fixing the problem. Then I looked at the hardtop resting off to the side and the rear pin angles seemed a little forward -- I don't remember exactly but I'm sure I jumped on this site and did a quick search to find out if it was ok to bend the pins a little - and sure enough, pulling them back to perpendicular did the trick for me. I don't recall it being more than one try, but I do remember a 'that was a lot of messing around for what was a really simple solution' feeling. Your results may vary -- but in my case it wasn't the first time putting the top on, so the idea of the locks walking on their own didn't make sense because all the bolts were plenty tight.
Going to give the hardtop another try by bending the pins today. When it worked for you, did you place the hardtop on and everything fell into a secure tight lock? Or did you have to use the rear latch adjustment to make it lock into place? If so, what’d you do?
 

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2002 SL500 Silver Arrow
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Going to give the hardtop another try by bending the pins today. When it worked for you, did you place the hardtop on and everything fell into a secure tight lock? Or did you have to use the rear latch adjustment to make it lock into place? If so, what’d you do?
well I marked the original height of the rear locks before I started futzing with them, so I put them back where they were initially and dropped the hardtop in place. It snugged down just like it had every other time before.
 

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1998 SL500 Black on black
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
So weird. I unlocked the front latches manually, went behind the trunk and pulled down on the driver side rear latch and it locked down! Go figure. The passenger side was locked too. Yay! But the roll bar just clicks and doesn’t go up. Thankfully no chiming or red button
 

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94 SL320 98 SL500 99 SL600
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So weird. I unlocked the front latches manually, went behind the trunk and pulled down on the driver side rear latch and it locked down! Go figure. The passenger side was locked too. Yay! But the roll bar just clicks and doesn’t go up. Thankfully no chiming or red button
Possible you need to adjust front pins. Loosen them and just snug them then lock down the top so they can move into place the re-tighten, same goes for soft top. It may help.
 
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