Convertible Top Trouble Shooting

Convertible Top Trouble Shooting
2008
Convertible Top Trouble Shooting
Convertible Top Trouble Shooting
Good Information to know when working on
Convertible Top Systems
8/20/2008
Convertible Top Trouble Shooting
The first four pages are a reprint of an article by
Richard Holloway printed some 20 years ago but still
applicable for our use today. The information
includes personal photos of a 63 Thunderbird.
Additional information includes information taken
from the “Convertible Top Maintenance, Diagnosis,
and Light Repair Manual put out by Ford. The
intention of this compilation of information is to put
it in a simple concise form so the common
Thunderbird Convertible owner can service and
trouble shoot top problems with their Thunderbird
convertible.
2
TROUBLE – SHOOTING
1960-1966 THUNDERBIRD
CONVERTIBLE TOPS
By Richard Holloway
If your malfunctioning electric top makes you want to blow your top—
read this. The author might be able to help you fix your electrical woes
in a few minutes with a few tools, by following these simple hints.
Top problems fall into three groups: 1. Electrical 2. Hydraulic: and 3. Mechanical. Electrical malfunction causes most top operating failures, simply because
there are more electrical components. The “flip-top” birds build
from 1961 to 1966 go through eight operations: 1. Deck Lid
Unlock: 2. Deck Lid Lock: 3. Deck Lid Open: 4. Deck Lid close: 5.
Tray Extend: 6. Tray Fold: 7. Top Up: 8. Top Down. Therefore,
there are eight relays, one for each of these operations.
The most common problems, in order of occurrence,
are: Frozen pump: Broken or maladjusted tray fold switch:
Burned-out relay: Low fluid level in the pump reservoir: Worn
pump “O-ring: Poor ground: and Weak battery. (Pictures of 63)
HOW TO GET A LOCKED TRUNK OPEN
TOP DOWN – The right hinge “Down” switch
is located next to the spare tire.
Locate the 9/16 –inch bolts forward of the rear wheels up under the wheel well area. Remove the bolts,
and, using a screwdriver wrapped in cloth to prevent marring the paint, pry up the deck lid at the left forward
R
corner until it can be raised three or four inches. Then find a chisel or
screwdriver about five inches in length and wedge it the deck lid and
pull it up until you can wedge a five-inch or so chisel or screwdriver
under it. Return to the left corner and remove the five inch wedge and,
pulling up, insert a nine inch or longer wedge. Return to the right side
and, pulling up. Insert a nine or ten-inch wedge, and then do the same
to the left side. This is as far as you can go without damaging the top
parts.
This will now allow you to get your arm in under the deck lid
to unfasten the hinge pins or bolts on the deck hinges. Sometimes
these pins or bolts bind due to the stress of the wedges and it becomes
necessary to remove the hydraulic lines at the pump or deck cylinders.
Be sure to use plenty of rags to absorb the fluid.
Once the problem is found, refill the pump reservoir until it
RIGHT HINGE – The right rear deck hinge and
begins to overflow the fill hole. Then replace the cap with a
deck “open” switch, (R) are seen here. See
screwdriver. Or can use brake, transmission, or shock absorber fluid.
figure II in this article.
Tighten all fittings and run the top and deck lid up and down three or
four times. Checking and refilling the reservoir each time. Air will be bled automatically from the system each time
you open the reservoir plug to refill it. Do not run the top or deck lid up or down more than four times at once as
this strains the battery, and solenoids and motors can become too hot and burn out.
3
Tray Erect Limit Switch
Deck Lock Screw Motor
Fuses
Tray (Flip Lid) Motor
Tray Retract Limit Switch
HOW TO TRACE THE ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT
Figure I
To test the circuit, use a multimeter or a circuit tester such
as a pen-light. Refer to the shop manual for your model for
the accurate location of switches, relays, solenoids, motors,
and wireing for your particular model. The following
diagram is a generalized route the current follows from the
moment you press the top switch to lower the top to the
moment you release it after the top has been raised:
4
Refer to Figure II for identification
and location of alphabet letters
below circuit components.
THE CIRCUIT PROTECTORS
There are a 60-amp and 1—amp fuse at the
starter solenoid, and a safety relay under the
dash, just above the steering column at the
firewall, there are two 15-amp fuses on top of
the deck lid, near the screw motor. These
protectors open when excessive current is
drawn through the curcuit, to keep expensive
parts from burning out.
HOW TO OPERATE THE TOP SWITCH
The top will work only in the “Park”
or “Neurtal” positions, with key turned to
“ACC” or “START”. You may have to move
the transmissiokn selector lever back and
forth until contact is made at the neutral
switch at the bottom of the steering column.,
and you have to maintain firm pressure on
the top switch while the top is ooperating up
and down.
MECHANICAL CHECKS TO MAKE
Be sure all joints are well lubricated.
Light oil will do, Otherwise, excessive friction
overloads athe pump, causing the pump to
stall. Also be sure linkage, hinges, etc., are in
proper alignment, or te top movement will be
jerky, Hinges, screws, and arms are set to
allow these parts to move forward and back.,
up an down, and left nd right.
Set all plunger-type switches at
0.060 of an inch gap or clesarsance for best
results, Otherwise the switches will open too
early, too late, or not at all.
HYDRAULIC CHECKS TO MAKE
Be sure the hose fittings are tight, hoses are
good and not cracked or leaking, and
cylinders, pump and solenoids don’t leak. In
time , a leak will show itself by soiling and
discoloring the trunk mat and by a gradual
worsening of the top’s movement as the
system loses its fluid.
Deck Lid Close Limit Switch
Top Down Solenoid
Top Up Solenoid
Reservoir (O) in center
Deck Lid Solenoid
Valve
5
6
Relay Switch Positions
61-63 (first chapter) 64-66 (second chapter)
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Tools that may be helpful for testing the Top System limit switches, circuits, relays
and fuses are:
1. A single jumper wire with Alligator clips on each end.
2. A Y – Jumper, with one alligator clip and two spade connectors to
push into the cap when it is removed from the relay.
a. Recommended in your Ford manual
b. Used to override the relay and make each Top function work
manually
c. Using the double spade end will activate both the related
solenoid and pump motor in the appropriate cycle requiring both
functions.
3. Quality, Volt/Ohm/Continuity Meter (VOM)
14
Know the Position of each Hydraulic Component, each hose, and its function.
Know the position of each relay for the Top System (1961-1963)
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16
17
18
19
20
21
22
Relay connections above 64-66, Relay locations below 64-66:
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