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  #1  
Old 29th March 2009
lurklad lurklad is offline
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Default Possible solution for leaking Convertible Top hydraulic cylinder seals

Hi, I have waited for a year to post this potential solution I have used on my 1999 Saab 9-3 Convertible, to solve leaking Convertible Top hydraulic cylinder seals. You know you have this problem by the following symptom(s):

1) You hear a straining sound as your top goes to close or open at its end of travel

2) You top wonít fully open or fully retract

3) You find puddles of thin oil just forward of the rear wheels on the ground.



Now you may simply need a topping off of you top hydraulic oil. You can get it from you dealer, but it is not cheap, at approx $60 for Ĺ liter. That is your best first shot. The hydraulic pump reservoir is located below the plastic trim piece and a metal plate at the pass thru opening behind the back seat and the trunk. You will need to remove the pump from its mounts to rotate it to add hydraulic fluid. Make sure not to over fill.



IF YOU ARE SURE YOU HAVE LEAKING SEALS, then modify the above procedure as follows;

1) Obtain a bottle of Lucas 100% Petroleum Hydraulic Oil Booster & Stop Leak. (this is not the same as their brake fluid stop leak, so you may have to order it on the web, thatís what I did)

2) Before you fill the reservoir, mix up a batch of 5 parts of Saab Hydraulic Oil to 1 part of Lucas Stop Leak, Make sure you have mixed it well.

3) Carefully add the mixture to the reservoir, and button it up and remount it.

4) Open and close the top automatically about 2 dozen times. A full cycle each time. This will get the solution in all the lines and the cylinders and the pump. If it has trouble opening or closing you can assist the top by hand while you have someone else toggle the switch. Watch for pinch points.

5) Look for leaks over the next week or 2 as you open and close you top. They should be on the ground just in front of the rear wheels. Leaks now are actually a good thing, as the mixture needs to find its way to the seal surface at the cylinder to work.

6) If after some time you start having a problem with the top again, make up a mixture of 3 parts of hydraulic oil to 1 part of stop leak, and use that in step 2 and repeat steps 2 thru 5



I did this repair a year ago and my top has worked like a champ over that year.

DISCLAIMER: THIS SOLUTION MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU, AND MAY ACTUALLY DO MORE DAMAGE TO YOUR TOP HYDRAULIC SYSTEM THAN YOU HAD BEFORE.

I figured it was worth the risk to me, as I could not stand to not use my convertible and wanted to try a low cost solution before I shelled out big bucks.
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  #2  
Old 30th March 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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I am going to try this - I will report back

thanks - Stephen
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  #3  
Old 30th March 2009
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Welcome to Saab Central, Lurklad

Your tip is now a favorite, may help other convertible owners.
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The earthworm
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Those who think in the past will have no future.
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  #4  
Old 30th March 2009
lurklad lurklad is offline
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Good to hear that. Before I tried it, I did talk with a product support engineer at Lucas that felt that it was really worth a try. Their product is mainly designed for leaking hydraulic cylinders on larger vehicles, like earth movers. But he felt that the cause and the systems were way too close to not try it.

Greg
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  #5  
Old 30th March 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurklad
Good to hear that. Before I tried it, I did talk with a product support engineer at Lucas that felt that it was really worth a try. Their product is mainly designed for leaking hydraulic cylinders on larger vehicles, like earth movers. But he felt that the cause and the systems were way too close to not try it.

Greg

ordered mine - advanced auto can order it for you $26 for a gallon - no shipping - couldn't do a QT
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  #6  
Old 31st March 2009
lurklad lurklad is offline
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A gallon! Wow, that should be enough to fix 100 Saabs!
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  #7  
Old 1st April 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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I know - but a qt worked out the same shipped - s...........

can i ask why the 5:1 ratio ?
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  #8  
Old 18th April 2009
poorgator poorgator is offline
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Talking 2000 SAAB 9-3 conv hydraulic fluid leak

Like symptons here - my son's car. The top wasn't moving and there were some noises going on - but nothing happening. I went to the dealer and bought the $55 little thing of oil and added nearly 2/3 of the bottle as the fluid tank was nearly empty. Cycled the top up and and down about 10 times and then it started working pretty well - the top would lower and store perfect and would retract slowly and really slowly about 1/2 way down. No change after several more cycles but out of nowhere a large puddle of my newly added expensive fluid appeared on the drive right in front of the passenger tire/wheel. Hope to avoid replacing expensive cylinders so I am going to do a 3 to 1 fill-up tomorrow with the LUCAS hydraulic fluid booster and stop leak stuff. Before I add it of course I will look for anything that popped lose/hose etc. after I added the fluid the first time but if nothing stands out I will add the LUCAS stuff and will report back with the results.

Sure hope to have the luck the other guy had with the repair lasting a year.

FYI - I called Advance Auto Parts here in Richmond and they were able to order the stuff by the quart for like $8.88 and have it for me on the next mornings truck. No shipping fees etc.

Last edited by poorgator; 18th April 2009 at 09:05 PM.
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  #9  
Old 20th April 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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either been wet here or i've been away on business - so still haven't tried it ...so watch this space ...
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  #10  
Old 14th May 2009
lurklad lurklad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen4444 View Post
I know - but a qt worked out the same shipped - s...........

can i ask why the 5:1 ratio ?
Up to 20% mix is what Lucas recommends. If you start at 5:1 and have some pure fluid in the system you will be well below 20%. Then I upped the second dose to 3:1. It is better to sneak up on the ratio, as the overall mix does get more viscous, and I was worried that the pump could not handle a higher viscosity solution.
Still working well this Spring!
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  #11  
Old 14th May 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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still haven't done mine - just no time - maybe this weekend
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  #12  
Old 28th June 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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So Guess - what - actually found time to do this - so far so good.

My reservoir was1/3 empty so i just topped it off with the Lucas solution and stirred i it mixed up good.

I cycled my hood 10 times - level dropped significantly and then stopped - which to me is a good sign - i topped res up again with neat solution. Cycled 10 more times - seems ok - so i'll monitor and let you know.

At least for now i'm a 'vert again -

Stephen
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  #13  
Old 29th June 2009
lurklad lurklad is offline
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I just topped mine off 2 weeks ago with a bit more of Murph's Magic Mix. Looks like that may need to be done each season. But it sure doesn't leak like the neat Saab fluid, that's for sure.
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  #14  
Old 29th June 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurklad View Post
... But it sure doesn't leak like the neat Saab fluid, that's for sure.
i agree
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  #15  
Old 29th June 2009
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sankuspr sankuspr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurklad View Post
Up to 20% mix is what Lucas recommends. If you start at 5:1 and have some pure fluid in the system you will be well below 20%. Then I upped the second dose to 3:1. It is better to sneak up on the ratio, as the overall mix does get more viscous, and I was worried that the pump could not handle a higher viscosity solution.
Still working well this Spring!
wouldn't 20% be a 4:1?
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  #16  
Old 29th June 2009
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sankuspr sankuspr is offline
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by the way, i am becomeing excessively jealous of you people. I have the ng 900 with the damn electronic top. The thing is a nightmare. I shelled out 450 bucks to fix it the first time (rebuild of tonnaue motor with support kit and a rebuild of the universal joint. Now it looks like i lost 1-2 mcroswitched for the 5th bow.
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  #17  
Old 29th June 2009
GaryG GaryG is offline
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I had a 1997 vert for a couple years and the top worked perfectly. It's a little louder than the hydraulic version though. Make sure you have the tonneau motor brace installed.
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  #18  
Old 19th July 2009
stephen4444 stephen4444 is offline
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So i have used the top 4 times a day for nearly every day - and no ,ore oil puddles - level seems to be holding
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  #19  
Old 4th August 2009
lurklad lurklad is offline
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Glad to hear that! Mine is still going well too.
Also to reply to Sankuspr above. Yes, 20% is 4:1, but since I was just topping off, I went to a 3:1 mix, which still gave me an about an overall 20% max mix.
Driving home with the top down today! WEEEEEEEEEE!
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  #20  
Old 30th September 2009
PascalG PascalG is offline
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Hi
Well I got a 9-3 2000 a year ago and of course the bows are leaking... Great car otherwise. So I bought a set on ebay, and 3 out og 4 have what seems to be a small leak-don't know yet as the repair is from this morning. So I am considering the Lucas fix. How has it been holding for you guys, Lurklad and Stefen? And did you drain the existing fluid beforehand so as to mix up properly? No damage to the pump as yet?
I sure hope this is the perfect solution...
Pascal

Last edited by PascalG; 30th September 2009 at 06:05 PM.
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