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-   -   Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top? (http://www.ptcruiserlinks.com/forum/pt-cruiser-convertible-forum/52842-topping-off-hydraulic-fluid-motor-top.html)

Wineaux 30 Apr 2014 06:27 pm

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. :o 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?

quicksilverdon 30 Apr 2014 06:47 pm

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
Only thing wrong with your theory is that you have no evidence of a leak.
Get to the motor and look for signs of a leak, then you'll know...

Wineaux 01 May 2014 03:17 am

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by quicksilverdon (Post 522492)
Only thing wrong with your theory is that you have no evidence of a leak.
Get to the motor and look for signs of a leak, then you'll know...

But of course. However, I'd rather not waste my time ripping out the back seat without being prepared, because I'd really rather not have to do that job more than once, if possible.

So in the interest of looking before I leap, I'd still prefer to know the following before I start removing seats:
  1. Is there a plug on the motor reservoir for easy hydraulic fluid refilling?
  2. If not, is there another known way to "easily" refill the hydraulic fluid in the reservoir?
  3. If #1, #2, or both are not possible to do, then what parts will I need to replace (assuming that I'm just low on fluid)?

Wineaux 09 May 2014 03:53 pm

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
So, to answer my own questions after having visited a local convertible top repair shop...

1) Yes, you can refill the hydraulic fluid in the PT Cruiser's pump reservoir.

2) At the age of my Cruiser (2005), we should all be starting to see the seals and valves in our hydraulic cylinders (Which are indeed manufactured by/for Mercedes Benz) begin to deteriorate and fail like mine did.

3) Unless you are in the mood for a good belly laugh, or your Cruiser is still under warranty, don't even bother calling your local Chrysler dealership to ask about buying new hydraulic cylinders. They won't just sell you the cylinders. You have to buy not only the entire motor/pump/cylinder/hoses assembly, but a part of the frame of the car that they're bolted too! And what will that cost you may well ask? $2,000-2,500!!!!! Yet again driving home the expensive lessons that I've learned over the years to never ever ever ever ever own another Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep vehicle.

4) That when (Not if, but when...) the seals and valves in your hydraulic cylinders go south, you'll need to find a place that rebuilds hydraulic cylinders. My local convertible top repair shop (Tops Unlimited), has been using a company out of Oregon, but their turn around time is rather long, shipping is slow, and their prices seem a bit steep. I found a company located in Bradenton, FL who will rebuild them for $150/cylinder with a 3 year warranty on the rebuild the same day they receive your bad cylinders, and then ship them back out the next day! I got them to give me a 10% discount per cylinder for turning my local shop onto their business, so don't hesitate to ask them for a "bird dog" discount. ;)

5) Labor on the removal of the bad cylinders, re-installation of the reconditioned cylinders, plus hydraulic fluid is going to run me $384 on top of the $270 to have them reconditioned.

So be prepared folks. Your hydraulic cylinders are going to fail at some point. Mine lasted 9 years. Your mileage may vary.

quicksilverdon 09 May 2014 11:30 pm

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
How often you raise/lower the top? Daily?

Wineaux 11 May 2014 02:16 pm

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
Not that often.

NatalieAnn 18 Jul 2014 11:46 am

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
Hello,

My first time on any type of forum. I been having a PT convertible for a few months

Now, the top will not go down

There was fluid on the ground on the garage floor

Does anyone have instructions on how to fill and look for lines?

Pictures will be most helpful

CruiserConfusion 06 Aug 2014 08:10 am

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
Hello Wineaux, I am having the same problem with my 2005 convertible top. The motor is good, but no lowering or raising. I have bled the area in the top of the trunk, but can only lower and raise the top manually. Would you please tell me where to the part to refill is located and what technique you used to fill with fluid. Thank you.

NatalieAnn 03 Nov 2014 01:49 pm

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
My dad found the motor and pump on top the back dash.

He unbolted it and removed the reservoir.

He then drilled a hole in the reservoir and installed a plug

Now he can fill it

But some time after, the reservoir is empty

A new problem is a leak some where.

How can he find where?

Does he have to remove side panels?

soonercruiser 03 Nov 2014 10:19 pm

Re: Topping off the hydraulic fluid in the motor for the top?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wineaux (Post 523357)
So, to answer my own questions after having visited a local convertible top repair shop...

1) Yes, you can refill the hydraulic fluid in the PT Cruiser's pump reservoir.

2) At the age of my Cruiser (2005), we should all be starting to see the seals and valves in our hydraulic cylinders (Which are indeed manufactured by/for Mercedes Benz) begin to deteriorate and fail like mine did.

3) Unless you are in the mood for a good belly laugh, or your Cruiser is still under warranty, don't even bother calling your local Chrysler dealership to ask about buying new hydraulic cylinders. They won't just sell you the cylinders. You have to buy not only the entire motor/pump/cylinder/hoses assembly, but a part of the frame of the car that they're bolted too! And what will that cost you may well ask? $2,000-2,500!!!!! Yet again driving home the expensive lessons that I've learned over the years to never ever ever ever ever own another Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep vehicle.

4) That when (Not if, but when...) the seals and valves in your hydraulic cylinders go south, you'll need to find a place that rebuilds hydraulic cylinders. My local convertible top repair shop (Tops Unlimited), has been using a company out of Oregon, but their turn around time is rather long, shipping is slow, and their prices seem a bit steep. I found a company located in Bradenton, FL who will rebuild them for $150/cylinder with a 3 year warranty on the rebuild the same day they receive your bad cylinders, and then ship them back out the next day! I got them to give me a 10% discount per cylinder for turning my local shop onto their business, so don't hesitate to ask them for a "bird dog" discount. ;)

5) Labor on the removal of the bad cylinders, re-installation of the reconditioned cylinders, plus hydraulic fluid is going to run me $384 on top of the $270 to have them reconditioned.

So be prepared folks. Your hydraulic cylinders are going to fail at some point. Mine lasted 9 years. Your mileage may vary.

Duh!
That's the cost of owning a 10 year old vehicle, and not buying a new one every 5 years!
Mine's a 2005 vert also....NO PROBLEMS!!
LOVE MY PT CRUISERS!
:p


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