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Raise Convt Top - What Am I Doing Wrong?


technoweenie
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Sometimes lifting the front portion of the top and extending it a bit (do it slowly - as if it is partially unfolding; opposite what padgett is saying) will allow the rear portion to slide out from under and then follow.

It is my experience with cloth tops (and don't know why), your situation is more common while vinyl tops is the opposite (but I'm guessing you have a vinyl top).

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My 91 with original vinyl (shrunken) top can be pulled up with only the leading edge. The rest of the top follows with no binding or clearance issues. Lowering is the reverse; the back edge (5th bow) needs to be allowed to drop into place in the trunk and let the rest of top follow folding each bow in sequentially. Trying to fold the top and push it in all at once will cause the hinges to bind against the edge of the tonneau cover opening.

KDirk

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Two days later and four different people giving it a try we're still collectively stumped on how to raise this top. I can find no way to lift the top out of the compartment in one piece as padgett suggested. It immediately begins to unfold. Bushwack, your suggestion hasn't worked yet, but I'll keep trying. I initially hesitated to post this problem anticipating I'd feel foolish when I was told how simple it was. Apparently I needn't have worried about that happening.

I can't imagine how furious I'd be if caught in the rain when this happened. All I want to do now is store the car for winter and the car cover doesn't fit well with the top down. Color me frustrated.

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With a name like 'technoweenie', you're foolishness was a given. :)

You shouldn't lift the entire top (as one piece) out from the compartment. Assuming the tonneau cover is fully raised and held in place without assistance...

- Raise the top slowly with your left hand so the front portion is straight up (perpendicular to the car - pointing to the sky). While raising the top, keep an eye on the back corner that is giving you trouble. It should move an inch or so forward; which may juuust clear the storage compartment. You shouldn't have to move the top portion any further for the back portion to show some movement. If it doesn't,...

I recall having a similar problem and it had to do with how the rear glass was sitting within the top. If the glass moves up and down, that can be an issue as to why you are having difficulty (how the top sits in the compartment). In my case, I did use gently force with my right hand under the back corner of the top to lift it out (might have scraped some knuckles). Once I did that, I secured the top in its upright position then started the process of how I would place it back in the compartment (to observe and for future reference). Unless someone can offer a solution, when the glass starts to move up and down an inch or two within the top, you may have to replace the entire top even though it may be OK (which I had to do but my top was already in bad shape). ...or maybe not. Possible with a good top but for glass movement, maybe there is a way to secure it so it doesn't move.

On a side note, I've seen in this forum someone scanned and posted Buick's instructions how to raise/lower the top. Possibly perform a search and what we all do as an automatic (muscle memory) procedure, reading the instructions may bring further enlightenment.

Two days later and four different people giving it a try we're still collectively stumped on how to raise this top. I can find no way to lift the top out of the compartment in one piece as padgett suggested. It immediately begins to unfold. Bushwack, your suggestion hasn't worked yet, but I'll keep trying. I initially hesitated to post this problem anticipating I'd feel foolish when I was told how simple it was. Apparently I needn't have worried about that happening.

I can't imagine how furious I'd be if caught in the rain when this happened. All I want to do now is store the car for winter and the car cover doesn't fit well with the top down. Color me frustrated.

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When pulling the top up, the 5th bow is supposed to trail the rest of the top a bit as it makes its way through the opening. In theory after the top is brought forward to the windshield, the 5th bow should be suspended above the tonneau at about a 45 degree angle. Then one releases the little red handle on the drivers side to release the bow. That said, sometimes the 5th bow needs a little help 'sticking' in the right place as you pull it out.

I suppose it is possible that your top stack somehow got bent by someone who was not careful with it. Does it have clearance on the other side?

BTW, I always press the pins into the tonneau cover first, then clip the latches by the windshield. This is backwards from the instructions, but I think it is a lot easier on the pins. I suspect that because the power pulldowns were planned for the 90s, but got deferred until '91, the instructions were botched in the re-edit.

Edited by wws944 (see edit history)
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It is possible that when the top was put down it was forced down in the wrong way and now you will have to take out the hex bolt to loosen up the top cage so it can come up. I had a problem in witch I had to do that. Just saying this might not be your case.

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The damn thing is up! Here's what worked: With two people, one on each side of the vehicle, we started lifting the top up and stopped lifting just before the interference was about to occur. Then while holding the top in that position with one hand, the other hand was used to grab the trailing edge of bow 5 and push it forward, towards the front of the vehicle. There was enough play/looseness in the linkage to allow the bow to move forward slightly. Not much, probably less than a half inch. But that was just enough to provide the needed clearance and allow us to raise the top the rest of the way.

If this were to happen again I don't see it being a two man job. There were two of today cause I didn't know what was going to work, wanted to be careful and wanted a second set of eyes to spot anything I was overlooking. Now that I know the trick that works on my car I think I could push forward on one side then walk around to do the same on the other side. Obviously that's a "maybe" for right now. I didn't have the courage today to lower the top again and try it solo.

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You definitely have something out of whack (technical term) with respect to your top linkage. HydroElectric sells a very inexpensive guide to the Reatta top mechanism including adjustments to the top frame. I'd suggest you buy a copy. The very first time I tried to raise my top I had issues with interference but I was lifting from the bottom of the 5th bow. You need to lift from the 1st bow or the side rail. If you lift from the side rail, be careful not to pinch your hand in the top frame as it comes together! Ask me how I know. Now I can lift and lower my top with a smooth motion using one hand. I have found that once the top is down in the well, it helps save wear on the material if you lift and then lower the fifth bow onto the 2 landing pads and insure it is sitting on the weatherstripping rather than on the bent over top material. It also helps with top wear if you make sure that the top material isn't pinched in the top frame at the base of roof rear quarters (B pillars). I should make a video of lifting and storing the Reatta top but I can't do it and film at the same time. I also have a knowledge issue with how to post a video on this website.

I can't believe I am contradicting Padgett on something Reatta but the top mechanism should unfold as it comes out of the well exactly as Walter (WWS944) describes. The catch should hold the 5th bow at a 90 degree angle to the body when fully up so the tonneau can be closed, and then be released by the red handle on the driver's side. I think this catch is often broken by past owners who didn't know it existed and pulled the 5th bow down gorilla style. I also agree it is best to latch the pins first and then the clamps at the top of the windshield.

Here is a link http://www.ebay.com/itm/1990-1991-Buick-Reatta-Convertible-Body-Manual-/110708568446?pt=Motors_Manuals_Literature&hash=item19c6beb17e&vxp=mtr to an Ebay auction for the book. Hydro-E-Lectric's website for some reason doesn't list Reattas although I know they sell this book and also sell the fifth bow weatherstripping.

Edited by ol' yeller
further enlightenment (see edit history)
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The convertible top manual is downloadable from Reatta.net.

I just did on mine and the correct answer is to raise the top section of the roof leaving the 5th bow down. As the front comes up the rear of the fifth bow will move forward. When enough to clear the edge of the tonneau, raise the fifth bow unil it locks against the 4th bow. Then continue raising until the front is against the windscreen frame. Close tonneau and pull orange lever to drop the fifth bow down on the tonneau. Press on the back to latch the fifth bow to the tonneau then push the front down and latch the top of the windscreen. Unlatch here first when dropping to remove tension from the two pins on the tonneau. If you try to pop the rear first it may take excessive force or not release.

Have now had three 'verts and all have worked the same way. I've never had anyone else to help.

Apologise about the first post, should know better than not to check on the car.

BTW when lowering, release the 5th bow and raise until it latches on 4th. Open tonneau. Release orange level & lower 5th. As I raise the front with my left hand I guide the 5th into the well with my right first, then lower the top the rest of the way.

pps if you see mention of locking the front first, then the rear, that was for the electric pull down like an Allante. I have never seen one on a Reatta but may exist.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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You may need to look behind the liner at the linkage. There is a small rod that is threaded on one end... there is also a spring hooked in that end.. and has a clevis end on the other that has sometimes broken or come undone. According to the Know-How convertible top book, this is called the "control rod" and in their words " The control rod actuates the B piller and the 5-bow extension in and out while raising and lowering the top stack"

They do not go into a lot of detail but the sides of the 5th bow must suck in to clear the body.

I am attaching a copy of the page.... hopefully it is readable ......if not send me your email address and I will send it directly to you.

post-30596-14314287248_thumb.jpg

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1990 Reatta literature says they have power pull down BUT there were no production convertibles made in 1990 with them. No one have every offered a reason they failed to appear in 1990... GM surely tried them on some internal cars and supposedly Ed Mertz Select Sixty had them. In 1991 all convertibles had the power pull down.

The power pull down was planned from the beginning ....confirmed by the switches that were on the 1988 prototype convertibles.

The problem that started this post is not associated with the fact that a convertible is a '90 or '91, the power pull down did not change the way the 5th bow moves.

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Thanks Barney, I must've been thinking of the Ed Mertz S60 being rumored to have them.. Just seemed to recall reading something about 1990 S60's and power pull downs a while back. That's probably what I was recalling. Agree on the latter point of the pulldowns having nothing to do with the matter at hand.

KDirk

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Thanks Barney, I must've been thinking of the Ed Mertz S60 being rumored to have them.. Just seemed to recall reading something about 1990 S60's and power pull downs a while back. That's probably what I was recalling. Agree on the latter point of the pulldowns having nothing to do with the matter at hand.

KDirk

The Ed Mertz Select 60 does have power pull downs. I purchased this car from Mr Mertz

in 1997. There is currently 23 thousand miles on the car and looks and drives excellent.

I appreciate all the information that I have got from this site that has helped me maintain my car.

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