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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading the ultimate thread on dealing with the hydraulic cylinder issue with the convertible top; I am leaking hydraulic fluid and will need to work on this. However, as it is close to winter, I am thinking of just getting the hardtop put on. Is it possible to lock the hard top in place manually?
Thanks for any help!
Patti

1997 SL320
 

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Yes, you can manually lock it, just do an 'advanced search' on the subject in the R129 Forum.
If your hydraulic is just leaking and still functional, one way to lock it is to add some hydraulic fluid so that you can operate the top one more time to latch it down for the winter. Make sure you use MB approved fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! Just this last weekend I discovered that the hydraulics are not functioning so I will need to do it manually. I will search again but am only finding limited info on manually putting on the hardtop. I appreciate the help.
 

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The owners manual says it is not possible to manually lock the rear posts on a 96 and later vehicle. In some correspondence I had with Dennis Ficken, he said that it was possible by turning a hex nut on the rear latches but you have to remove the rear partition to get access.

If you do this, would you please take pictures and write it up? It would be a good addition to the knowledge here.

Also, if your hydraulics are not functioning, it likely means your rollbar is not functioning either. Be careful - its a critical safety system.
 

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While the owner's manual said the rear latches can't be locked manually, some Forum member here figured out how to do it (I can't recall his name at the moment). You have to do it at or near the hinges from the trunk.
Do an 'advanced search' on the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Manually Locking Hard Top

I worked on putting the hardtop on manually (on my 97 SL320). While having fastened the soft top manually (& locking the rear latches), we have been unable to do it with the hard top. We can lock the front of the hard top just fine, but with moving the hex nuts in the trunk, the rear latches just do not want to go in fully. Most on the forum seem to have been able to lock the soft top rear latches manually, but has anyone actually done it successfully with the hard top? Thanks for any advice!
 

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Also, if your hydraulics are not functioning, it likely means your rollbar is not functioning either. Be careful - its a critical safety system.
Matt, if I recall correctly the soft top hydraulic circuit is isolated from the roll bar hydraulic circuit; if so, a lack of pressure in one due to a leak will not affect the other. Further, the roll bar automatic deployment does not rely on the hydraulics -- it uses a spring and solenoid.
 

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Matt, if I recall correctly the soft top hydraulic circuit is isolated from the roll bar hydraulic circuit; if so, a lack of pressure in one due to a leak will not affect the other. Further, the roll bar automatic deployment does not rely on the hydraulics -- it uses a spring and solenoid.
Of course you're correct Bob. Even in the event the roll bar might not cycle from the switch because of a leaking cylinder or a faulty pump, the emergency deployment is completely mechanical. I should have remembered that. I guess I was just trying to make up an excuse to fix it correctly.
 

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Manually locking hard top on 2000 r129

I've already relied on the amazing posts on this forum for a few projects on my 2000 r129. I was recently putting the hard top on after it had been in storage for the summer months and had replaced the headliner because the fabric had begun sagging (FYI, I got a pretty good deal on the OEM replacement at parts.com). Unfortunately I didn't hold the button that retracts the softtop down long enough for it to complete a cycle and as a result, the rear hard top latches refused to operate when i pressed the button forward to lock the hardtop into place. I thought I would have to use the locking wrench from the tool kit to lock/unlock the rear latch levers through the access points near the trunk hinges, but nothing happened--the latch levers would move about 15-20 degrees but the rear prongs of the hardtop weren't being slowly locked into place. Fortunately for me, my brother was able to somehow reset the power latch mechanism by turning the ignition on and off and pumping the brakes a few times and we were able to electronically lock the hardtop into place. I was just curious as to whether folks have run into a situation with a 96+ R129 (and apologies in advance if this has already been posted on).
 

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why rear locks become inoperable

Unfortunately I didn't hold the button that retracts the softtop down long enough for it to complete a cycle and as a result, the rear hard top latches refused to operate when i pressed the button forward to lock the hardtop into place.
R129SS,

welcome to the forum! You might have a coincidence at your hands here, where the hard top was either not seated exactly on the receiving end of the rear latches, or some wiring got disturbed when you previously worked on replacing the headliner. The problem of freezing rear locks normally happens after hard top removal.

In any case, I will describe below what makes the rear locks inoperable on model years '95+.

Model years '95+ don't have a full readout for the open position of the rear latches - someone had the bright idea of saving a few dollars in manufacturing. This would be okay if there wasn't a glitch in the rear locks' tolerances where it is possible to pull out the hard top with it's flexible rear prongs before the rear locks are fully open. (That's what the posts about rear locks in opposite position or both in closed position are about: http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r129-sl-class/1592024-1995-roadster-soft-top-rst-rear.html and http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r129-sl-class/1608418-soft-top-hydraulics-totally-dead-i.html).

The above scenario happens when the hard top gets removed and the rear locks do not get fully opened by the system, i.e., the red button wasn't pulled back long enough. The rear locks cannot close hydraulically without the hard top or soft top prongs being present inside the locks, and triggering a release lever. That's a good thing. However, if one of the rear locks wasn't fully opened previously and the hard top prongs were pulled out, then the hydraulic system will be pulling one lock into the closed position. One lock being open and one being closed creates an illogical readout for the controller, and it will freeze operation. Again, that's described in http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r129-sl-class/1592024-1995-roadster-soft-top-rst-rear.html, and the solution is discussed.

The rear locks will oftentimes not fully open, by the way, if for hard top removal you manually open the rear and front locks without using the pump. In that case, you will need to use the methods described in one of the above referenced posts.

Hope this makes sense,

Klaus

Top Hydraulics | Rebuilt Convertible Top Hydraulic Cylinders - Top Hydraulics, Inc
 

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