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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy,

I went to take the hard top off today for the first time this season and i couldn't get the rear center latch to release. I can see the big lever pull the latch down and release it up. so that part works. i have the small lever downward and i can hear something near the latch working as i move the small lever so i think it is connected properly. however its getting hung up at the end of the latch/post thing. The hard top can be raised a solid inch off the trunk of the car, but it catches at the end. Any ideas?

If i take apart the "back seat" area in the car can i get to that mechanism?

Thanks
 

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Premium Member
1975 450SL
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2,441 Posts
you may have to wiggle the small (rear) lever, that controls the side-to-side motion of the latching hook. It may be in the wrong position, or stuck.

Hope this helps,
Scott
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
If i take apart the "back seat" area in the car can i get to that mechanism?
No. The soft top is a sealed compartment and the only way to get into it is through the lid. If the suggestion above doesn't work, here's how to get it open:

The latch is supposed to pull to the passenger side of the car (US models). If you can't get it to release any other way, get a wire coat hanger and cut a straight section, then put a bend in it about 3/4" up from one end. Feed it into the hole and try to catch the latch and pull it to the passenger side. Have someone there to help you lift it up as it releases.

Alternative method: Get a pair of vise grips and lift the back of the hard top as far as it'll go. Grab hold of the center pin with the vise grips and unscrew it 90 degrees, so the notch no longer lines up with the hook. It's pretty much guaranteed to put marks in the center pin, so I'd hold off this unless you just can't manage it with the coat hanger.
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
If you can't get that thing to let go, try turning the whole top of the car to one side or the other. Once you get off square about 30 degrees the latch will lose it's grip and let the top go.:)
Um, take the smiley as a "just kidding". Trying to turn the hard top will almost certainly result in paint scratches on the trunk, as one side tries to clear the hump on the soft top lid, and the other side is forced into the paint.
 

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1977 280SL Euro
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202 Posts
Mine would not come off and I raised the front about 8 inches and it released. This requires 3 people, 2 to handle the top weight and control the swing and 1 to raise the front. This saves the possiblity of damaging the paint or the top. Do this very very slowly and keep the top under control. The person raising the front should be inside the car and the others outside on each side near the rear. Best of luck
Jerry - 1977 280SL
 

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'76 450 SL
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Um, take the smiley as a "just kidding". Trying to turn the hard top will almost certainly result in paint scratches on the trunk, as one side tries to clear the hump on the soft top lid, and the other side is forced into the paint.
If the rear latch has the tension removed via the crank and you just can't get the latch "tooth" to release, then it's quite possible to rotate the top enough to slip the latch pin off of the "tooth". I've done it before and didn't damage the paint at all.
 
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