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Old 30 Apr 2014, 06:27 pm
Wineaux Wineaux is offline
Fresh Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Question Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?

I have a 2005 PT Cruiser Convertible Turbo, and am having issues with my top. The motor runs, but I cannot put the top down. I read through the forums, found the bleeder screw, loosened that, and can manually raise and lower the top. If I open the bleeder screw and put the top down manually, and then tighten the screw, the top will close by pressing the button. VERY.GRUDGINGLY. The motor is very loud and the top closes VERY slowly. I haven't seen or smelled any hydraulic fluids in the trunk, or under the vehicle. Of all the PITA things that have gone wrong with this car, leaking fluids is thankfully not one of them. So this leads me to believe that over time (9 years) I've managed to slowly lose enough hydraulic fluid so there just isn't enough pressure in the lines to raise and lower the top properly.

This SHOULD be a relatively easy task, one would think, although Chrysler did a lot of things in the 2005 PT Cruiser Convertible to make what should be relatively easy tasks non-trivial, and requiring a trip to a mechanic to do them. So after ripping out the entire passenger side back seat to get to the top motor, my internet research has shown that Chrysler made the pump a totally sealed system without a way to add more hydraulic fluid, necessitating a complete replacement of the entire working pump. Go go planned obsolescence! I called my local dealer about the problem and their response was, "Uhhhhhhh....."

I've seen one "guide" on the web which suggests VERY carefully drilling a hole in the plastic top of the reservoir, making sure that no plastic shavings get into the system, topping off the reservoir using a turkey baster to squirt the correct fluid ($25/qt?????), and then plugging up the hole with a rubber V stopper from your local hardware store. Another certified tech on another web answer site stated that there already was a rubber plug for refilling the hydraulic fluid, so I'm doubly confused as to what I might actually find once I spend an afternoon ripping out my back passenger seat. Any help here to save me that exploratory mission would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, while calling around to try and find a used top motor ($125 is the lowest price several states away), which will already have the elusive hydraulic fluid inside its self contained little ecosystem, the used parts salesman had what seems to be a rather brilliant solution, I think... The hydraulic lines have to push AND pull hydraulic fluid through the system, right? Is it possible to easily remove the end from one of the intake lines (there are 4 total), stick that line into the container of hydraulic fluid, and let the pump suck new fluid into the sealed reservoir? Or am I SOL on this method because like the reservoir, everything in this bloody top motor assembly is completely sealed and impossible to access?

I'd really like to get this done as easily and cheaply as possible so I can sell my Cruiser. I'm in the process of buying another vehicle as we speak, but not doing a trade-in so I have the luxury of a little time. The top does need to work, because no one wants a convertible with a broken top, although I am far from concerned about the longevity of the fix, so using a used part is fine with me, although just adding a little more hydraulic fluid would make me a heck of a lot happier.

So... Suggestions? Fixes? Ideas? Solutions?
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