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#1
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Marty or Marston
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The top on the car has problems closing. It gets part way up and it runs out of oomph about halfway. With a little assist it can complete the closing cycle. Everything with the hinges appears to be fine so I guessing it is a hydraulic issue either low fluid or a bad seals. Since both sides seem to come up equally I'm thinking it might be low fluid or more probably seals in the pump.

I don't know if the system still has brake fluid or if it has been switched to hydraulic fluid as some have suggested on this site. I've gone through this site and the manual and I'll be looking at it in the next week or so, but wanted to get a heads up as to where parts might be located especially seals and other soft goods.

Posted on: 2020/5/17 9:20
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#2
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HH56
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Hydro-E-Lectric https://www.hydroe.com has new pumps and may also be able to rebuild yours. I believe they suggest their pumps run on ATF.

If the viscosity is near the same I would definitely opt for the transmission or hydraulic fluid over brake fluid for the simple fact that any paint that leaking brake fluid might touch will be destroyed. This is evidenced by many of the earlier hydraulic window equipped cars with streaks, bubbles or bare spots under doors where the brake fluid has leaked and dripped down over the rocker panels. The question would be if the rubber parts in the rest of the top system can handle the ATF or hydraulic fluid. If they cannot and there is hydraulic fluid in there now then possibly there has been some swelling or deterioration which could be causing your issue.

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Posted on: 2020/5/17 10:13
Howard
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#3
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Leeedy
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Posted on: 2020/5/17 13:56
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#4
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Marty or Marston
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Howard & Leedy - Thanks for all of the invaluable information. Armed with a copy of the correct pages from the Body Section of the manual and a check list of things to look at, I was going to tackle the project today and scope it out, but Mother Nature threw me a curve ball here in SUNNY Southern California -rain. Not a good day to back the car out of the garage and put the top down and to remove the seats.

Hopefully the problem is a simple one to fix. I did call Hydro-E-Lectic and they expect to have pumps in stock mid week ($239) and rams are $129 each. So if worse comes to worse the damages would not be terrible.

Again thanks for everything. And we always leave the top up. It is nice to know of the side effects of not doing so.

Posted on: 2020/5/18 8:42
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#5
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Steve
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I have a convertible and I'm prone to leaving the top down. But if I think the car will be laid up for a month or so I will raise the top, the latches are about 4 or 5 inches away from locking. After about a week the weight of the raised top has slowly restretched the material and I can easily latch the top. Also, I have left the raised top in the midday sun and the top will slowly re stretch too. My top has lasted me almost 25 years.....your mileage may vary.
Steve

Posted on: 2020/5/18 13:15
Steve
Old cars are my passion

1951 Packard 200
1953 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan
1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Tri-tone
1966 Rambler Classic 770 Convertible
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#6
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Leeedy
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Posted on: 2020/5/18 17:06
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#7
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Marty or Marston
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Looking at the pump, hydraulic rams, and hoses they were all replaced 15 or 20 years ago when the car was restored. The system was filled with hydraulic fluid and was at the right level. Going through all of the steps outlined by Leeedy everything looked fine.

I've have a new pump on the way. I thought about pulling the pump and measuring the pressure output to see if it was OK before ordering, but decided with the hassle I'd replace it instead. I also have 2 rams on the way.

Posted on: 2020/5/21 10:12
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#8
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Marty or Marston
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I'm getting ready to remove the pump and the two hydraulic rams from the car. Reading the removal instructions on page 26 of the body section it appears that the Rams, the hoses connected to them and connected to the pump can be removed through the trunk in one complete assembly. It would appear for this to happen the top needs to be closed.

I want to confirm if this is true from anybody that may have already tried doing it.

Thanks Marty

Posted on: 2020/5/23 15:52
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#9
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Leeedy
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Posted on: 2020/5/23 22:59
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#10
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ewrecks
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One little addition. When I got my 55 Caribbean it was a basket case. The top frame was in place but no pump, Rams or hoses.
After removing the top frame for painting the unit was reinstalled. The rear seat and side panels were out of the car and the new pump was installed on the flat panel behind the rear seat. The rams were installed and attached to the top frame.
Since there was no clear guidance, i installed the hoses to the rams and filled the system with trans fluid.
The unit moved up and down but I did not attempt latching since the latches were out for chroming and the top was not yet installed .
We ran into a problem with the convertible top secured from Keppach...long story but it was cut wrong and the installer ruined the fabric.
A new top was secured through Superior and the car delivered to an upholsterer for top installation.
Everything looked fine but convertible season was over and the car was stored for the winter with the top in the up position.
When the weather broke,the top would not go down correctly. The driver side would go down properly but the passenger side would not go down far enough to enter the well.
I tried lubricating the jointS without success and even detached the rams from the frame and discovered the top would go down properly. We tried adjusting the length of the rams but had no luck .
Unfortunately, it the process of working the top up and down I succeeded in cracking the top frame. That drama was discussed in prior postings.
The solution was simple and stupid....the top fittings on the rams were installed facing the rear of the car. When the top was retracting, the brass fitting on the passenger side was striking the wheel well preventing the top from retracting. This twisted the frame and led to the break.
It was a dumb mistake which cost me a lot of grief and replacement of the passenger side ram before I discovered the problem....it bent.
Keep the top fittings for the rams to the outside.
Good luck with the project.

Posted on: 2020/5/24 5:10
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