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Hi, I'm new here with a question about my 1999 9-3 convertible. The top won't go down and we get the dreaded "soft top failure" message. I bought a refurbished pump motor and had my dealer put it in, but $650 later they still don't have it working and say it would take hundreds of dollars more to figure out what the issues are and get them fixed.

I have no faith in them, and I have resigned myself to the fact that the top is not going to work and we are stuck with a car with no re-sell value.

But I started to wonder: is there an easy way to manually put the top up and down?

Thanks for any advise.

Mary
 

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maryb31 said:
But I started to wonder: is there an easy way to manually put the top up and down?
There is a manual method of putting top up and this is described in your owner's manual. As to putting it down, I don't think so.

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Hi Maryb31. What part of Ohio? The top is extremely complex and can be the source of much pain and great pleasure. The manual option for the top is for emergency use only. You will not be able to latch the rear of the top to the tonneau cover when using this option. It is designed to allow you to raise the top and protect most of the interior from the elements when there is a failure that prevents you from raising it in the usual fashion. Perhaps if you could provide more background information on howthe problem arose, including any funny noises, and all SID messages and any other thing that occurred out of the ordinary shortly prior to, during and after this failure occurred, we could be of more help. There are independent garages with Saab expertise that can perform service on the top, including a Tech 2 synchronization if you need one. Incidentally, we got 3+ inches of snow here in Columbus today, so I do not think I will be putting my top down today.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your replies. I'm in NW Ohio, and we got snow last night also.

Yes, I took it to a Saab dealer, and they talked about switches and other possibilities, but basically said they don't know what all will be necessary to fix it. I'm not willing to throw a ton more money at it, especially since I just wasted $650. I took it in with the understanding that they would replace the motor and all would be well, so I am feeling particularly stung and unsatisfied.

There is no way we'll be able to sell this with the top not working, and I was really hoping that we could put the top up/down manually. So basically we're stuck with a car that runs great but can not be used as intended, and we'll just have to drive it until it dies (it's at 94K miles).

Mary
 

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Don't write it off yet. Do you know if the pump was replaced because it was really faulty or was the dealer just throwing parts? If the original pump was really faulty, then you're getting closer to solving this problem. The pump is brand new about $3000 so you did well.

It would be a shame to not drive it top down next spring/summer. Find a dealership that has experience with diagnosing and repairing roof and I think few more hundred dollars and you should be good for many summers of fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They said the pump was leaking and the fluid was black. They said it wasn't flowing. The pump I provided (cost me $200 on Ebay) went in fine and they said it was flowing and looked good, but then they got all of the error messages.

They called Saab and they suggested that they use some of the old parts with some of the new parts, to see if that would help. I am confident that the part I bought was fine. I suspect that there was more to the problem, and would have liked to have known ahead of time....I may have decided not to try to fix it for that price. This was supposed to be a Christmas present for my husband...he desperately missed driving with the top down last summer. I was told if I provided a pump, they would put it in and my troubles would be over. It didn't happen, and I'm out $650.

They are the only Saab dealer in this area. I'm not sure if we want to go through the hassle of taking it 75 miles away and maneuvering schedules, etc.

Thanks again for all of your comments.
 

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progress in changeover to manual top operation?

Just wondering if anyone here has figured out an answer to this out yet. After a bit of tinkering, I was able to do this with my '96 vert. Now I am considering purchasing a 2001. Since I don't have a tech2 and don't plan on paying buckets of cash to fix the top when it goes south, I am very interest in finding out how to change the automatic top to manual operation. I am sure there must be others out there seeking the cure as these cars aren't getting any younger...
 

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Just wondering if anyone here has figured out an answer to this out yet. After a bit of tinkering, I was able to do this with my '96 vert. Now I am considering purchasing a 2001. Since I don't have a tech2 and don't plan on paying buckets of cash to fix the top when it goes south, I am very interest in finding out how to change the automatic top to manual operation. I am sure there must be others out there seeking the cure as these cars aren't getting any younger...
One of our members, rls120, did this with an ng900 which uses electric motors to move the top; My guess is that a similarapproach could work with 9-3, but a person would have to learn how the system works, and would need a wiring diagram. rls120 made a small control board with four reversible polarity momentary switches. By wiring this control panel into the system, he bypassed the electronic control box and the microswitches and potentiometers. Thereby he was in direct command of the motors which move the top. My guess is that in the 9-3, the control unit operates solenoid valves to move the top via the hydraulic pistons/cylinders.
 

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1999 9-3 top won't initiate down sequence

I'm not getting a "soft top failure" message. The sequence simply won't start. The hydraulic motor doesn't make a sound when I attempt to retract the roof. Nothing. However, when I press the roof "up" button, I hear the beep that signifies it's completed the sequence and ready to be latched shut.

No electrical issues as far as I can tell, but I haven't tested the battery or anything.
 

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The top switch is a 2 position switch the up section appears to be working as you said, the other side not ,have you spilled coffee on it lately? Check the fuses for the top. and then the switch, you could try wiggling it around a little to see if the contacts make.
 

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I'm not getting a "soft top failure" message. The sequence simply won't start. The hydraulic motor doesn't make a sound when I attempt to retract the roof. Nothing. However, when I press the roof "up" button, I hear the beep that signifies it's completed the sequence and ready to be latched shut.

No electrical issues as far as I can tell, but I haven't tested the battery or anything.
How long have you owned the car? Have you ever seen any soft top messages on the SID?
 

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I've had the car for a few months. I've never seen the top failure light appear.

One other thing to note that makes me think it might not be a fuse: after it stopped working, I randomly tried to put it down a few days later. The rear window lifted slightly then stopped. It went back down again and locked into position with no trouble. Since then, there's been no motor noise or anything when I try to initiate the down sequence.
 

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It sounds like the previous owner put a non-vert SID in the car which doesn't generate convertible-related messages. A Tech-II can update that. Look at the Tech-II sticky in the 9-3 SS forum. Maybe you can find someone local with the correct software for your car and who will do it cheaply... Ron
 

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Yeah, like Ron said. You need your SID tweaked then. They are all the same, except that the ones in the convertibles have a bit tweaked to display the messages.

While they have the Tech II hooked up, have them look for convertible error messages. There can be some detail in there as to what is wrong.

For fuses, the main one is in the main engine compartment fuse box and is a 60 amp fuse. There is also one in the passenger compartment aside the left hand door. Check the diagram for that one, I don't recall the number.
 

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Thanks. I'll check the fuses and ask about the SID. Could the SID itself be affecting the operation, or does that just need to be fixed to diagnose the problem?
 

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Thanks. I'll check the fuses and ask about the SID. Could the SID itself be affecting the operation, or does that just need to be fixed to diagnose the problem?
The SID will only affect your ability to see the messages. The roof works without a SID even installed in the car.

If you end up at someone with a Tech II, be sure to have them read out the diagnostic codes stored for the top. That will tell you exactly what the STCU (computer) is detecting and why it doesn't want to work. It won't always tell you what to fix, but it will tell you what is stopping the operation from proceeding.

If you can post the codes, someone where can probably steer you in the right direction.
 
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