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Registered
1994 E320, 1985 280SL
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My new to me has a fairly new convertible top, it's in pretty good shape. But, it's about 1/2 inch too short to reach the peg holes. If I do the front as instructed first, the back center peg is 1/2 inch short and I cannot get it to the hole. I tried doing the back first and secured it, then I am 1/2 inch too short of reaching the holes on the header. I tried pulling and pushing, I may need to get my neighbor to help, but it doesn't have the slack to make it it seems. I put it in storage yesterday and wanted the soft top up over the 6 month's it's away this winter. Any ideas on how to help with this?
 

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1987 560SL signal red, palomino interior
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12 Posts
heat or the sun will help stretch loosen it up. it is best to store the top up for sure. might be hard to do it now if you are in cold env.
 

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Premium Member
2007 ML320CDI, 1959 220SE, 1971 280SL, 1982 380SL
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596 Posts
Old and shrunk. Yes-, as suggested by "scnstir", let it sit in the sun, attach the rear peg but do not pull it down with the large handle yet. Have a second person help place the front windshield screws into place and secure them down. Maybe let it sit in the sun a bit longer in this streched postion and when you can, then crank the rear peg down.
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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1,240 Posts
I was just writing my "workaround" when Rick's reply came in, which is what I'd recommend as I've exactly the same challenge with my 1979 soft top - it seems too short, but once locked it fits perfect like a glove.
 

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Premium Member
'72 350SL, '85 300D, '98 E320, '19 Subaru Outback (sold '14 GLK250)
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10,068 Posts
My top is just like that and always has been. It's not a bad thing. Once in place it will be nice and tight!

At the front, you can get the pins just partially located (cams 1/2 turned). The front will still be up about 1/2". Then go to back and push down until pin clicks in place (make sure release lever/handle is in proper position). Then go back to front and fully turn the cams. Then go to back and rotate handle to pull back down and fully tension the top.
 

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Registered
1994 E320, 1985 280SL
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
That's a good idea to get a bit more leverage, but I have Euro bumpers so I can't do that, but I can see how that could help! Thanks guys I will use these tricks. If anything I feel better that I am not the only one with it being overly tight!
 

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1989 560SL; 2014 E350
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1,522 Posts
Every fall I have to stop and remember the sequence of events mentioned above in order to get the top to finally fit perfectly snug. It involves a few steps, but done in the right order, I just think that's the way it's designed!
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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22,133 Posts
Always get the front pegs screwed in first when the top is too tight.

Here’s a video I took a few weeks ago. The special trick is just after 4:30 in the video that’s just over 5 minutes long.




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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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31,873 Posts
My top is just like that and always has been. It's not a bad thing. Once in place it will be nice and tight!

At the front, you can get the pins just partially located (cams 1/2 turned). The front will still be up about 1/2". Then go to back and push down until pin clicks in place (make sure release lever/handle is in proper position). Then go back to front and fully turn the cams. Then go to back and rotate handle to pull back down and fully tension the top.
Yep. (y)
 

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Premium Member
1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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5,194 Posts
I had that problem with my new top. Keep wetting it and that helps it stretch if its the heavy twill type. If it's vinyl the sun is the best- I remember struggling with my old TR3 roof on cold days.
 

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1994 E320, 1985 280SL
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
UPDATE: Last night I got on a stool - thanks to the member saying to get on the bumper to get leverage. For some reason, maybe it stretched how I had it from this weekend or it was warmer in the garage - it's been cold here, but the holes lined up! BUT, i pressed it down in back after the header being secured and went to do the final step with the crank and as it was tightening down almost all the way, it lost it's hold and flipped up! But, I'm happy I was able to get it in all 3 pegs/screws. I'm waiting for it to maybe stretch further now that I have all 3 in before I crank down on the handle again. I hope it doesn't pop up again.
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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22,133 Posts
UPDATE: Last night I got on a stool - thanks to the member saying to get on the bumper to get leverage. For some reason, maybe it stretched how I had it from this weekend or it was warmer in the garage - it's been cold here, but the holes lined up! BUT, i pressed it down in back after the header being secured and went to do the final step with the crank and as it was tightening down almost all the way, it lost it's hold and flipped up! But, I'm happy I was able to get it in all 3 pegs/screws. I'm waiting for it to maybe stretch further now that I have all 3 in before I crank down on the handle again. I hope it doesn't pop up again.
Just curious, did you watch my 5 minute video? I think it shows you exactly what is going on with the levers, which I believe is important to understand while operating the top. Perhaps you had the small lever in the release position. Whatever the case, it sounds like the two hooks did not make a good connection. When you push the back of the soft top down, you should hear that spring loaded lower latch clicking onto the soft top pin.


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1994 E320, 1985 280SL
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I did watch it, Fonzi. I didn't pay too close attention on the levers part, more on like the end part that had to do with the trick to get the back to snap down. I will watch it again and pay more attention on the levers in case there was an issue there. I don't think there was, my main handle was at 9 position (raising it to 1 o'clock position to tighten it) and the locking lever was up at 1 as well the whole time, I didn't touch it during this. Thanks for the video and I will watch again shortly!
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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22,133 Posts
I did watch it, Fonzi. I didn't pay too close attention on the levers part, more on like the end part that had to do with the trick to get the back to snap down. I will watch it again and pay more attention on the levers in case there was an issue there. I don't think there was, my main handle was at 9 position (raising it to 1 o'clock position to tighten it) and the locking lever was up at 1 as well the whole time, I didn't touch it during this. Thanks for the video and I will watch again shortly!
The handles/levers can be taken off and repositioned, so don’t trust the positioning.


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1990 300E 4Matic, 1987 560SL
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427 Posts
My top is just like that and always has been. It's not a bad thing. Once in place it will be nice and tight!

At the front, you can get the pins just partially located (cams 1/2 turned). The front will still be up about 1/2". Then go to back and push down until pin clicks in place (make sure release lever/handle is in proper position). Then go back to front and fully turn the cams. Then go to back and rotate handle to pull back down and fully tension the top.
This is also exactly what I do.
 

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Registered
1994 E320, 1985 280SL
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
So I cannot rotate the handle to pull the back all the way tight. When I get 3/4 of the way to locking it and being done going from 9 o'clock to 1 o'clock position, it rear section of the top snaps up! It pulls it down and when it gets almost all the way to locking, it slips. Great............ so close! It is about 45 degrees in my garage..........
 

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Premium Member
1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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5,194 Posts
Can the rear pin be adjusted ? Sounds like you are so close. Very frustrating. :(
 
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