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1999 SL500 - Black on Black, 1996 E320 White on Gray, 1998 C230 Green on Tan
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have checked thru this forum but could not find a problem like this that has been discussed. Also, at this time I have not tried to re-sync the windows to see if that helps. Will do so in the morning. This involves my 99 SL500.
The problem is that when I raise the soft top everthing works great except that at the very end of the cycle, just before the windows start to raise, the right rear lock seems to release and that corner of the top pops up about an inch or so. All others stay down, locked and flush with the car body. I have raised and lowered the top about a half dozen times and all works well except that final pop up of the right soft top corner.(no red light blinking) BTW, I just removed the hard top after being on for about a week and greased all the latches when I noticed the problem, but can't see how that would contribute to this issue. Any suggestions appreciated.
 

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Departed 1998 SL500 (and the Pano is in Bogota)
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11,116 Posts
Do you have same problem latching down the hardtop ?
Check that right side latch to see if it is (already) in the closed position (compare it with the left latch).
 

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2005 SLK350, 91 300SL with Pano Top, 04 S500, 2015 Tesla Model S
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The releasing at the end of the cycle happens if it did not fully lock in. If it does the same with the hard top, then adjust the mechanism upwards a bit. If the hardtop latches OK, then add a shim washer to the soft top latch finger to extend it a little.
 

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'97 SL500, 06 Subaru Outback, LL Bean 3.0
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735 Posts
Look in the latch hole with a flashlight. Mine had a piece of cloth stuffed in it once, but I think the grease screwed up the sensor or whatever makes it lock.
ALWAYS whatever you did just before a malfunction caused the malfunction, no matter how unlikely you think that would be.
Fwiw, my owners manual doesn't mention lubricating them and I learned to never lubricate something gratuitously. Picks up dirt if nothing else.
Maybe the grease keeps the latch from knowing what's going on.
 

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'03 SL Kleemann, 1997 SL320 Pano Top, Tesla Model X
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661 Posts
Rear locks

I agree with all three previous posts.

Here is what is causing confusion to many systems: Both old style and new style rear locks (change ~'97) have micro switches that indicate when the rear lock is engaged. (The old style has micro switches for the open position, as well, and that's why they have a 4-pin connector.) The 'locked signal' switches engage per factory setting already before the lock cylinder is in its end position. The controller gives it a little more hydraulic pressure time after the switch is engaged. See the photo below, showing an old style lock with the 'locked signal' switch just being engaged (it actually gets released to signal locked position), about 1/4 inch before end of travel for the cylinder.

If it gets particularly hard for the locks to travel that last 1/4 inch, or if the system is not able to build full pressure any more on account of leaks or air in the system, your locks may not get over the dead point and stay locked by themselves -- the soft top or hard top pops back up.

There are other electronic possibilities for this happening, but you would be well advised to first check out the suggestions in the previous posts, plus checking if you have any leaks in your system that coincidentally led to having less power to get the locks over the dead point.

Hope this helps,

-Klaus
 

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'97 SL500, 06 Subaru Outback, LL Bean 3.0
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735 Posts
I agree with all three previous posts.

Here is what is causing confusion to many systems: Both old style and new style rear locks (change ~'97) have micro switches that indicate when the rear lock is engaged. (The old style has micro switches for the open position, as well, and that's why they have a 4-pin connector.) The 'locked signal' switches engage per factory setting already before the lock cylinder is in its end position. The controller gives it a little more hydraulic pressure time after the switch is engaged. See the photo below, showing an old style lock with the 'locked signal' switch just being engaged (it actually gets released to signal locked position), about 1/4 inch before end of travel for the cylinder.

If it gets particularly hard for the locks to travel that last 1/4 inch, or if the system is not able to build full pressure any more on account of leaks or air in the system, your locks may not get over the dead point and stay locked by themselves -- the soft top or hard top pops back up.

There are other electronic possibilities for this happening, but you would be well advised to first check out the suggestions in the previous posts, plus checking if you have any leaks in your system that coincidentally led to having less power to get the locks over the dead point.

Hope this helps,

-Klaus
Hey,neat! You must got a X-Ray machine. :D
With all that mechanism in there, I'm doubly sure the grease done it.
 

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'03 SL Kleemann, 1997 SL320 Pano Top, Tesla Model X
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X-ray

Hey,neat! You must got a X-Ray machine. :D
With all that mechanism in there, I'm doubly sure the grease done it.
Actually, I have one, but I don't use it for looking at micro switches... :)

The grease may well make it easier for the tension on the soft top to pull it back from the almost engaged lock.

Curious what it turns out to be in this case!
 

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1999 SL500 - Black on Black, 1996 E320 White on Gray, 1998 C230 Green on Tan
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
RHK,Klaus,mlrb2113 and mrelbe thanks much for the advice. I just reinstalled the hard top and I'll remove it again tomorrow after getting back from work and see if maybe that reset something. I looked in the holes before reinstalling and all looked the same;however, I did lube the latches prettywell so I think the idea of too much lube might be it. When removing the top I'll clean the area out and hopefully I didn't mess things up too much. I hate to think of a trip to the stealer with the holidays fast approaching. I'll let you all know what transpires tomorrow. Thanks again
 

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Departed 1998 SL500 (and the Pano is in Bogota)
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The fact that you just re-installed the HT and it latched down OK, that means the latches are working. So you need to examine the soft top part. Next time you raise the soft top, stop it before the rear window comes down, then check that flat "thingy" part that goes into the hole to see if it is bend etc (compare left to right).
 

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1997 Mercedes SL500
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111 Posts
The fact that you just re-installed the HT and it latched down OK, that means the latches are working. So you need to examine the soft top part. Next time you raise the soft top, stop it before the rear window comes down, then check that flat "thingy" part that goes into the hole to see if it is bend etc (compare left to right).
This statement may not be true and grease is very likely not the cause even though it deserves to be considered strongly for those that have little understanding of how the mechanical part of the "lock" works.

The symtoms clearly point to the hydraulic cylinder working but the latch not engaging. This would be the most simple and obvious explanation and I don't believe anyone has mentioned this. Why would they? No one has looked at the latch system and considered how it could hang up with a broken spring, binding (as in a rag present), bent frame, not enough actuator travel, and so on.

No need to bother with any more trouble shooting. Just get another latch system as shown in the photo at a junkyard and replace. It doesn't matter if its mechanical, hydraulic actuator or microswitches, you are guaranteed to solve the problem.

Also, I agree with the poster that suggested shimming the latch travel. This might work for one kind of failure but it would require removal and some additional skills to disassemble so its only a possible fix.

Good luck.
 

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1999 SL500 - Black on Black, 1996 E320 White on Gray, 1998 C230 Green on Tan
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Discussion Starter #11
Strange Soft Top Locking Problem Found

First of all thanks to all that offered their valuable suggestions, feedback and pictures regarding the right rear side of my soft top not locking down but otherwise all ops normal. After reattaching and removing the hardtop one more time, I gave the old "look down into the lock hole and compare the left and right side" option another shot. After cleaning some of the grease out of the right lock opening I noticed that there was a spring in a different place then on the left side. Long story short, it looks like during my overzealous greasing, I may have knocked a return type spring off a latch/lock component. However, when comparing it to the left side and placing it back into the position that matched the left lock(into a small grove on a latch) I noticed that it did not"snap" back into the grove but just kind of layed there. I gave the soft top another try anyway and it locked down tight. Two more attempts also proved successfull. It remaines to be seen if this holds up but I am thinking I may have "sprung" or somehow dislodged the spring during the greasing and it is now just by luck staying in position. I quess time will tell. At least for now all is well. Thanks to all again.:bowdown:
 

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Mercedes Benz S350(2003) - 600SL(1993)
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The releasing at the end of the cycle happens if it did not fully lock in. If it does the same with the hard top, then adjust the mechanism upwards a bit. If the hardtop latches OK, then add a shim washer to the soft top latch finger to extend it a little.
Whats the shim washer please...
 
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