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Hi, I have a 1997 Saab 900 SE Turbo convertible and would like to fix the top so it can fold down completely. No problems when the top is up, but when I try to put it down, it hits the hinges (see pictures). It has been put into manual mode using the red lever behind the back passenger seats. The tonneau cover locking motor has been disconnected. The top motor in the trunk has been disconnect as well and can be reconnected.
In the Troubleshooting Guide for 1995s it says the 5th bow hitting the Tonneau cover hinges can be caused by either programming or tonneau motor drive shaft being twisted. What is the problem and how can it be fixed? The car is now worth less than $5,000, which is why I did not want to pay $2,000 to have it repaired professionally. Thank you very much for your time and help!


Top hits hinges and cannot go any further.


Close up of hinges.


Automatic locking mechanism removed. Still use locks manually with pull-ties, instead of vice-grips, like other people use.


View of disconnected convertible drive motor in trunk. Disconnecting the motor allowed the top to fold down further than before, but still not enough.


Extra picture of convertible top parts located on both the right and left sides of the car, next to the back passenger seats.
 

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Hi

I don't have a solution for your problem, but maybe you have one for me.

I had to use the lever to manually operate the top but - how do I get the latches to lock the top either up or down in manual mode?

Everywhere I look people only refer to using the lever to operate the top manually but I find no references to how to operate the locks.

Any tips?

BR
Bjorn
 

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manual mode is for emergency raising of the top only, so all you get is the manual latches on the first bow. the tonneau and fifth bow won't operate, so you're supposed to immediately go to get the problem remedied after emergency operation.

when it comes to the fifth bow hitting the hinges, a reprogram is the simplest way to resolve it. my top was starting to get tears in the piping around the fifth bow due to it hitting the hinges, and it was simply reprogrammed to pause and lift the fifth bow further in order to clear the hinges. at your stage, however, the top would have to be totally reprogrammed due to being switched into manual operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bjorns SAAB Cab,

Which locks are you referring to?

To gain access to the 5th bow locks in the back, the plastic cover attached to the underside of the Tonneau cover was removed, the motor for the locks removed, and the back seat folded down. If you are inside the car and kneeling on the now folded down passenger seat, there should be 2 slots about 5 inches wide, just big enough for you to put your arm through, in the cover bag. You can manually lock and unlock the latches now. I attached a pull-cord to act as a handle for each lock.

For when you want to lock the Tonneau cover down with the top down and folded away, small springs about 2 inches long were removed from both the left and right sides. If you pull on the large black, metal arm located in the truck with 2 metal cables/wires connected, you will notice this operates the locks.

Fold away the top and make sure the locks are open. Then put the Tonneau cover down. Use a carabiner clip to attach a 20 lb weight to the metal arm discussed earlier; pulling it down. This will activate the locks. Walk to each side and push down on the Tonneau cover to ensure they are fully engaged. Has worked fine at speeds over 70 miles per hour.

It now takes about 5 minutes to put up/down the top, instead of 2. However, to have it fixed professionally was going to cost at least $2,000 and the car is only worth $5,000. Did not want to put that much money into it, especially for something not necessarily and only used a couple months a year.

Good luck and post how it goes.
 

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Hi

Thanks for the replies. As for what locks/latches I am referring to, it is both the locks/latches locking the fifth bow down when the roof is up, as well as the locks for keeping the Tonneau down when the roof is down.

I read somewhere here on the forum that the motors operating the locks for the fifth bow (when the roof is up) can be simply operated through switching the polarity to the motors. (Locked one way, unlocked the other.) Hopefully the locks for the Tonneau can be operated the same way.

I will have somethings to test over the weekend. I will post the results.

BR
Bjorn
 

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Update.
I have dismantled the Tonneau motor assembly, (The one seen in the fourth picture above) and I can now raise and lower the top manually. As for the latches locking the fifth bow - the motor operating them can be run by simply switching the current. At the moment I just have a cable attached to the motor and I run the motor directly of the battery. Not very sleek but it works. (Might put in a toggle switch:)
There is obviously a reinforcement from SAAB for the Tonneau motor assembly. I found info about it on a Swedish site. (If anyone can read Swedish, here is the link. http://saabcabriolet.forum24.se/saabcabriolet-about12-0-asc-0.html)
Taliaferro Imports also have a pdf-description on how to mount it. (http://www.genuinesaab.com/psi/index.htm; "Under headline "8 Body", "900 CV Tonneau Motor Reinforcement.pdf".

That's it for now
 

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How's it going with your fifth bow hitting the hinges? I am at the moment operating my top manually and I noticed that when folding the top down, the fifth bow had to be folded back down before I started to fold the rest of the roof down. Otherwise it caught on the hinges. Also, I needed to hold the Tonneau cover back while folding, to clear the hinges. Translated to automatic operation, the program should fold the fifth bow down and raise the Tonneau cover high enough to clear the hinges.
Regarding the cost for repair. I live in Sweden so I have no tips for you other than - ask around. Dealer price for fitting the reinforcement detail I mention here (above or below, somewhere) was roughly $150. I drove to a mechanical workshop, borrowed their gear and mounted it myself in 20 minutes. Hardly worth $150.
Reprogramming the top should take about one and a half hour according to the same dealer. Even at their prices ($150/hour) it shouldn't cost more than $225.
Lastly a tip for not having to hang a 20 lb weight anywhere.
If you have released the motors for manual operation, the motor driving the Tonneau has folded back from the gears. You should be able to move the levers on the motor assembly with ease. If you move the levers so the arm operating the locks is down enough to engage the locks - you can fold the motor back into the gears with you hand. This will hold the levers in position.
I have disconnected the wire from the emergency release so I just pull on the release on the motor when I want to unlock again.
It's easy to see what I mean if you take the motor assembly out.
Good luck. I'll post how things go for me and hope you find a solution cheaper than $2000.
 

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Tonneau cover stays up when closing roof

Suddenly my '97 vert is having a weird problem. It seems to be "out of sequence". when closing roof; all goes normally until the stage where the rear window area of roof is supposed to pick up & allow tonneau down, then rear window area closes & latches.. Well rear window area goes down but doesn't complete the cycle & tonneau stays up like a giant spoiler. obviously can't drive like this. Hepl?
 

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Suddenly my '97 vert is having a weird problem. It seems to be "out of sequence". when closing roof; all goes normally until the stage where the rear window area of roof is supposed to pick up & allow tonneau down, then rear window area closes & latches.. Well rear window area goes down but doesn't complete the cycle & tonneau stays up like a giant spoiler. obviously can't drive like this. Hepl?
I have this same issue but it is when I'm putting the top down. Everything goes fine as the roof lowers into the compartment, but then when the tonneau cover is supposed to close over it, it just stays up in the vertical position and I get the beep and the CHECK SOFT TOP message. It worked fine when I put it in storage last fall... :cry:
 
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