Retractable Top phase 2

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    At This point I'd like to show my appreciation to both of our technical advisors Dave Dudt and  Wayne Rollins. With their wealth of information these two gentlemen have inspired me to undertake and not given up on this retractable project. Their dedication to the Retractable Club and the top problems are an important part of the club's existence. Thank you.  

    On this page I will move forward expressing my problems and solutions on getting the top to operate properly. In my opinion the Retractable Top shop manual doesn't fully explain in enough detail how to solve some of the basic top malfunctions and hopefully the pictures on this site can be helpful. I'm in need of more understanding in reading wiring diagrams and using diagnostic tools on the electrical system.

Pic# 1

    A list of the electric tools I have from left to right: Multi-Meter, Probe Light, PowerProbe 2000, PowerProbe 3, and a Battery Tender. The PowerProbe 2000 is a tool to trace wiring and locate shorts through the wire covering and even carpet. I didn't find this tool very useful but it did have electrical adapters that were compatible with the PowerProbe 3. I found this tool a must if you worked on a retractable and especially pre 90"s cars. It has it's own light for working in dark places like under the dash. It checks for continuity, negative and positive current, bad grounds and powers up electrical components. It has a digital read out and audio tone.  

Pic# 2

     After using Ron's (from Michigan) method of resetting the roof (pg.1 pic. 36-37) I locked the roof down jumping the solenoid and it lined up perfectly. Using the same method with the solenoid to retract the roof, the front locks unlocked but the rear didn't fully unlock. I had to remove the 2 bolts on each side and split the locks per the shop manual to release the rear locks. I removed the assemblies, clean and reinstalled them leaving all the bolts loose. I used a spare nut and screw to set the switch.

Pic# 3

    Setting the switch using the extra screw in pic# 2 and the PowerProbe 3. With this tool you don't use the current through the battery and activator switch but I used one of two 20' leads hooked directly to the battery. I removed the probe and inserted the clip on adapter to adjust the switch. Now I have both hands free to adjust the switch and listen for the audio signal. I can also power up the lock motor or put the connection together and using the probe attachment to power up the top from that point.





Pic# 4

    One of the control pin supports was badly remade and loose with faulty welds. Pictured are the two replacement parts I ordered and an original factory part. The original part has a support brace and nuts welded to the underside while the replacement parts didn't have this under the mounting holes. I removed one support brace and fabricated the other and attached them as it was originally engineered. Pictured are the 2 support brackets with the control guides mounted. 

Pic# 5

    The floor under the control supports were poorly repaired and I fabricated new panels making sure they were welded in level. To place the control supports I lowered the top control arm pins to the point of entry into the control support guides and tack welded them.

Pic# 6

    The control pins slide into the guides and proceed down 2/3's  of the way and than stop. It seems to bind up as the motor dies letting the top stop as the picture shows. I've adjusted the control guides from side to side and the pins ride on the bottom of the guides as they should. There is very little tolerance for the pins to ride in the guide channels but they go smoothly to the point of stopping. I've greased the groves and now I'm stumped as how to proceed in fixing this problem.

Pic# 7

    When I erect the top the screws slide precisely into the lock nuts but I'm wondering if the jack screw isn't adjusted properly and is at it's bottom limit. I've pulled back the jack cover to exposed the jack screw for some opinions about this possible cause.  

PIC# 8

     When checking the level on the rear of the guide supports I found one side was 1/4" higher than the other causing a bind and not letting the guide pin slide to the rear of the guide. I removed and tweaked the support and welded it back in place making sure both sides were level. The guide pins slide down the supports as they should, problem fixed.

Pic# 9

    For various reasons I have never had the top roof lock motors to completly lock the roof. The front top will lock a thread or two and stop and the rear left  quarter seams to turn in the opposite direction of the right one or stop completely. In going through the shop manual I had previously overlooked the last sentence on page 8 and continuing on page 9 that may answer my left rear quarter problem.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

It states: It must be noted that the 3 roof lock motors are wired in such a way that an open circuit in one motor field winding will cause the current to flow through the other 2 motors and back to the opposite winding of the motor with the open circuit. This will cause the motor with the open circuit to turn in the opposite direction of the other motors, at a reduced speed, and act as a jammed lock.

     After purchasing another motor it was determined there wasn't an open circuit in the motors. The right side rear lock motor has the wires coming off the bottom of the motor case so I assumed the left side motor would be mounted the same way. I turned the motor over and the left side lock nut turns in the right direction. When posting this question on the retractable forum web site no one answered whether Ford intended the left side lock motor to be mounted with the wires coming off the top of the case. I'm going to assume this is correct but it would be nice if someone would confirm it.

     As to the other problem with the lock motors being weak and not fully ratcheting? I've replaced motors, lock receivers and circuit breakers, cleaned all connections, checked for broken wires and adjusted switches. After spending many hours and purchasing unneeded parts I finally solved the problem. The motor power circuit breaker under the dash had both mounting tabs and looked original but someone in the past had replaced the 45a breaker with a 15a. I replaced it with a $4- 40a breaker from Auto Zone and another option was a $8- 50a.    










Pic #10
Pic #11

    The roof link arms have to be parallel with one side not going over the center. Just sighting the arms they look pretty good but the slight bend in the roof lift tie bar may be an indication they aren't. 

Pic #12
Pic #13
Pic #14

    To check if there is a problem I'm going to erect the top to stop at 2"off the windshield header and manually check the rear quarters with a tape measure to make sure they are level. On this top I had to manually lift the left rear quarter to level it.

Pic #15

    Measuring from the body to the center of the roof lift jack upper bolt, both sides should be equal. The left side was 3/4" closer than the right side indicating the roof lift arms were not equal and the left side went over the top. I'm only illustrating how I came to this conclusion. You may be able to skip all these steps when you reset the top as were going to do now..

Pic #16

    I've reset the top numerous time so I'm getting pretty good at it. One thing I haven't done is adjusted the front panel so I set the top on the screws and loosened the front hinge bracket screws. I then used 2X4's from the floor to the front of the main roof on each side, which took the pressure off the front panel and made it easier to provide surface and clearance continuity. I adjusted the front roof stops to contact and 1/4 turn more. The shop manual is vague on making these adjustments but I think this helped the front screw angle into the locks.  

Pic #17

   I removed the 2X4's and set the top back on the screws to point of contact and adjusted the rear power link buckles to the point of releasing the pressure on the linkage.

Pic #18

    I loosened all the top arm adjustments including all the top locks and pushed the power link arms forward as far as possible, checking the measurements as in pictures 10 - 15. As I proceed I check this measurement several times to make sure that both sides of the roof lift arms are parallel. Letting one side of the roof lift arms go over center caused the left rear corner to be unstable binding the roof locks. I temporarily make this adjustment on the lift jack as it is still secured at both ends.    

Pic #19

    In order to adjust the control link adjusting screw to have more than 2 threads engaged in the lock nut I cut the head off another bolt and glued it on the control link arm using a space craft product found at swap meets. You can also tack weld it but this looks neater. This idea came from Dave Dudt.                                                                                                                                                   

    I tightened the control link adjusting screw to point of contact plus one more turn as a starting point.

Pic #20

    Using the activation switch I raise the top 2 inches off the header. Notice the right screw is not lined up to engage the lock. This adjustment is made by lowering the front of the roof with the left turn buckle and raising the left roof jack. To move the front of the top to the left takes a combination of these adjustments including the control link arm adjusting screw. It is important to have continuity between the front and rear of the roof when the locking screws are 2 inches off the windshield header.

Pic #21

    After lining up the front top screws with the locks I set the top down on the locks to the point of engagement using a jumper wire at the erect power relay. I now have the rear turn buckles adjusted correctly so I can proceed in resetting the roof. Disconnect the right and left flexible drive shafts and remove the bolts from the base of the lift jacks. Loosen the roof jack nuts and slide the lock washers out of the notch. Rotate the jack so you have 3/4" adjustment and lock the adjustments with the notched lock washer and lock nuts as pictured above. Push down and forward on the lift arms as far possible and measure (Pic #10 - #15) to make sure both arms are parallel. Rotate the lift jacks at the base until the bolts slip into the bracket and tighten them. Connect the right and left drive shafts. Re-measure the lift arms again and make any adjustments at the jack adjusting lock nut. The tolerance should be close to zero.

Pic #22

    I raised the front of the top off the windshield 2" with the activation switch (retract cycle) and rechecked the roof lift arms with the tape (Pic #10 - #15). At this point the power link pivot bracket bolts should still be loose and any difference in the measurements can be corrected with the jack adjusting lock nut. Again zero tolerance is the goal and not more than 1/8". The control link adjusting screw should already be adjusted (Pic #19 - #20) but as you lower the top to the point of front lock contact the front of the top should be 5 degrees above level so as the front locks engage, the screws enter the nuts at the right angle and the front top passes over the windshield with very little clearance. If necessary fine tune the control link adjusting screws but make sure the front of the top stays constant by checking at the 2" level. Also make sure if you make any adjustments the adjusting lock nuts are tightened before moving the top.   



Pic #23

    With the top 2" off the header I erect and lock down the top with the activation switch. The rear locks are ratcheting but by the picture the front locks didn't quite get to that point. Three possible reasons are the motor control circuit breaker calls for a 45a and I used a 40a. I might try a 50a. The rear locked but the front didn't have quite enough power to ratchet and the shop Manuel  states the front screws should enter first so maybe the rear screws locking first pushed the front screws ahead too far changing the angle and binding the front locks. This might be a switch adjustment solution or the pitch of the roof may need to be tweaked at the control link adjusting screws..  Anyway I powered up the front lock motor with the PowerProbe 3 to the point of ratchet and continued with the adjustments. I turned in the power link pivot brackets adjusting screws to point of contact and 1/2 turn more and tightened the 4 power link pivot bracket nuts on each side.

Pic #24

    Partially unlock the roof and tighten the front roof lock nuts and the rear roof upper and lower lock components. Raise the roof and tighten the front roof upper lock pivot mounting screws first and then the movable mounting screws. Check one last time with a tape measure that the roof lift arms are not over center and are parallel. I am now confident the top is square to engage the body locks.  


    I know this procedure does not fully follow the shop manual sequence to reset the top and I'm not saying this is a better way. The shop manual doesn't go into detail enough for the owners ability to understand many of these adjustments and not owning or working on a retractable before, my limited experience might be helpful to others.

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