Convertible Top Motor/Pump Fluid Flush/Refill FYI POST
Hey guys I know this has been out on the web a lot, however I thought I'd make one describing my issue like that of so many others. My car/top motor is now 10.5 year old and basically it would still go down, just extremely fast, but then would take forever to come up and would need a little assistance from me physically pulling it up. So where to begin? I figured I'd inspect it to make sure it wasn't leaking prior to spending @200+ on a motor or around $525 for a whole kit. I figured if not leaking a fluid change may be necessary. So that’s what I did
****First and Foremost DO THIS WITH THE TOP DOWN******
1. Pull out the back seat: Lift up on each side gently/somewhat firm and use a flathead screwdriver and insert into slot and pry up and the bottom cushion will come loose. Using a 10mm socket and extension take off the two 10mm bolts holding the rear back support cushion to the car. Move the seatbelts to the side and pull up on the seat (there are two slots where the back support cushion slides into). Remove seat carefully.
2. Trunk Access: Remove the rear trunk panel by carefully removing the 5 or so black push pins. Be careful because like me I ripped one of them off and it tore the panel. You will be able to see the back of the pump.
3. Gain Access to the Motor reservoir cap: The Motor is easily accessible at this point and is in plain sight; however there are some small issues. On the driver’s side of the motor is the hydraulic fluid reservoir rubber grommet. The problem is it is hard to access due to the electronic connections and due to the fact that the motor is mounted with four rubber push pin style bolts. Here the first thing to do is to disconnect these electronic connections (Two of them). Compress their clips and pull and they should come out easily. Next one of the hydraulic lines (towards the trunk/rear) has a small clip attached to the line. I disconnected this as it gives you a little latitude to work with.
4. Unbolt the motor by using a flathead screwdriver/needle nose pliers to push up on the rubber push pins holding the motor in place. For the rear two pins attack them from the trunk area as they are much more accessible this way. Again be careful not to push too hard as they have only been sitting for 10 years and are slightly dry rotted. Once they are slightly loose get a good grip on the motor/pump/reservoir (it’s all one piece) and lift up. Now since the lines are still connected to the pump just lift it up enough to get some room to work and gain access to the rubber reservoir grommet. Now here can be a challenge. I carefully used needle nose pliers and some WD-40 and pulled it out. You will have to twist it some to get it out.
5. Flush/Refill: Using a cup I emptied the reservoir by tipping it on its side/upside down and let the old fluid run off into the cup. What I got was very surprising. Instead of Dextron III (nice red in color) I got a green nasty color (looked like burnt brake fluid) Now I know it may have originally been filled with brake fluid and this might explain why it looked this way, however in the pump it clearly states use Dextron III ATF. Once I emptied as much as I could I made a funnel with a piece of paper and filled it back up until it started to come out. You are not supposed to fill past the reservoir point because when the top is down the majority of the fluid is in the cylinders & when you put the top up the fluid transfers from the cylinders to the pump. Once I did this I mocked up the pump and made it level again, but did not mount it/just left it loose. I also left the pump's reservoir grommet off, reconnected the electronic connectors and put the top up, back down, up, and back down again. Some fluid comes out so I left 2 shop towel paper towels underneath where the grommet goes to catch any overflow fluid. Immediately the top went up much faster than it was going and did not need my physical assistance.
6. Reinstall Grommet and Remount Motor/Pump: This was by far the most difficult step. That grommet is a mother to get back in, however I found out the best way after dealing with no success for 10-15 mins. Spray the very tip with a little WD-40 and get it started into the hole. With the pump not mounted grab a small hammer and lightly tap the back of it in. Had I known this from the get-go I would have saved myself 15 minutes. Once the reservoir grommet is back in place re-mount the pump. You may need a flathead screwdriver to put it back in, but overall it’s pretty simple. Don't overdo it as they do not mount completely flush as their design is to prevent vibration while the motor is running putting the top up/down. Also don't forget to reconnect the line clip towards the rear and of course the electrical connectors.
Hope this helps all that have had this problem and my top works almost like new. I'm thinking about doing it over to get more old fluid out. In addition the purpose of the step where we did not put the grommet back it is to flush the cylinders with new fluid and to get any air out of them that may be affecting their performance. See pics below of my adventure.
2002 True Blue V6 to GT Vert
16.1@86 as an auto 3.8
2.15 60', 9.3@77, 14.4@96 as a 5spd SOHC 4.6