Broken Cabriolet/convertible top mechanism- is manual operation possible? How?

Is there a way to manually raise or lower the cabriolet soft top?

I started to lower my top and heard a loud "POP" from the left side gearbox area.  The right side continues to function normally (no, I don't move it very far), but the left side appears frozen.  The small "disk" visible where the motor shaft enters the gearbox does not move on the left side.  I suspect a broken shaft, or stripped gears somewhere between motor and gearbox.  Anyone have an experience/solution to share?

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well, if you think about it, it doesn't tell you anything at all about restoring it to power mode.  they probably figured people would freak out if they knew it was a one way trip.

the cab top manual does tell you though.  it's buried in there, but it's there.  what it doesn't tell you is how to synch the motors if you get them out of synch.  that was a real bear.


I finally attacked my cab top, starting with the left cab main gearbox.  If you have never viewed the inside, it is fairly simple- the cable from the motor leads to a worm gear, which drives a small planetary gear system which reduces rpm and increases torque.  The planetary gears engage a semi-circular gear, the center of which is the rotating portion of the gearbox to which the activating arm is attached (the hole in the center of the gearbox where the large "one-use" bolt engages.  I would post pictures but didn't take any due to the large amounts of grease on my hands.

Problem 1) The semi-circular gear had turned beyond it's arc, disengaging from the planetary gear. This prevented the left side gearbox from moving when the up/down switch was activated by the driver.  This is probably a result of the gearboxes not being properly sync'd by the previous owner/mechanic. (This was mentioned by "Flash" in an earlier post.)

Problem 2)  As a result of the asymmetrical torque applied when the left gearbox disengaged, the right side "main folding top bow" (P/N 941-561-202-11) broke.  (Also mentioned by "Flash")

So, once I acquire an affordable main bow, I will be able to continue my repairs and get the top fully serviceable.  

Anyone have P/N 941-561-202-11 available at an affordable price?


I was in a hurry to go someplace a couple of years ago, and I did not bump the latch free from the windscreen. I got the same loud POP from the passenger side bow...The summer was almost over when it was finally back together. I had a welder repair the aluminum main bow. The difficult part was removal and replacement of the top and the window weather strips ... Lots of pop rivets and such secure these parts.

I found that the two limit switches in the pins that align the latch header to the windscreen were not functioning. So the motors were able to run even though the top was caught up by these pins. The main bow broke under the heavy torque.
Now I just operate the top manually which is much quicker with much less chance of damage, Sure you have to step out of th vehicle, but this has the added benefit of allowing you to neatly fold the rear window (and inserting a non chafe cloth).

There is no way I would go back to the motorized operation,,,I have left the motors and switches in place in case the next owner wants to get it operational,

I still have some minor damage to the interior roof padding if anyone knows where to get these parts reasonably priced,

UPDATE:  This is a belated posting.  I completed the repairs back in Nov-Dec 2015.

I carefully removed the right main bow without removing the entire top itself. Took some time but, but no issues.  I took the bow to a local (reputable) welder, who inquired about the nature of the part (to ensure the weld did not interfere with it's function) and who welded it for $30.00 (much better than $1250 new).   I took the welded bow home, ground smooth the side to which the fabric is adhered, then carefully reinstalled it using 3M heavy duty spray adhesive.  I have been (and always will be) using it in manual mode, with no further issues.  The fit is fine, as I was careful not to disturb the shims at the base of the bow's mounting bracket.  Pictures attached.

yes, there is the manual operation to crank down the top. most common problem is just a fuse for electric use of putting top up and down.  I DO have a suggestion for ALL cabriolet owners- either you or have your mechanic disable the entire mechanical top. and just put it up and down with your own hands.  If the support bars and motor screw up-ur lookin upwards of $7000

I disconnected the motor a year ago after hearing about all the "nightmares" people had with the out of sync syndrome. Keep in mind 90% of the operation is manual anyway.

If you decide to go to a Manual top consider the following. Having the top re-powered will cost you at least $500 and it is getting harder to find someone that can even do the job. I recently purchased a "manualized" cab but in the process of getting the car perfect I wanted it back to power. I shopped three locations before I could find a shop to do the job and that was the cost. Also, if you decide to do this make sure they do the alignment process while the car is on the ground as the cab does flex on a lift and will throw off the adjustment.  Don't ask how I know this :)

I have a coupe (just purchased) and a cab. I'm going through the nightmare of frame repair as we speak. I was able to find a used frame in great condition. I'm a lucky guy. Here's why...the pop may have been the frame (or main bow). It happened to mine. Obviously you're going to have to take a look. Somewhere along its life, somebody ghetto rigged the left transmission. It was under a little bit of extra tension, and then it got out of alignment. The drip rail and bow cracked on the left side under the tension. Leave it up, and take it to a specialist. I work on my own cars 90% of the time, but not this time. I sourced the parts, which my mech let me do. He knows the deal. 968 parts are not terrible overall pricewise...except for cabrio frame parts. My lord...if you have to get a new bow, let me know. I have the part number, and you can find one for $995, at Sonnen Porsche online. I don't endorse them, but they are literally the cheapest genuine new Porsche parts in the country. It's worth the shipping cost from CA. Let me know brother, sorry to hear the dreaded "pop" story. And hey, maybe it's not as bad as my situation.

Oh geez, I thought this was a recent post from 2017!!! You could have given me advice Matt! The dreaded bow, my pockets are lighter bc of this Cab.

Hey Adam- no worries.  You'll save a lot the next time!  :-)


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