1998 900S Convertible Troubles - The Saab Link Forums

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Old 04-15-2014, 07:02 AM   #1
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1998 900S Convertible Troubles

Hi Everyone,

Problems with my 98 Vert... The motor that drives the tonneau cover has been having trouble lately and I've been "gently" helping it lift up for the last few months. The motor driving the top itself seems perfectly fine. I put the top down on Sunday and the SID kept telling me to "check latches" even though the top was stored and everything else seemed fine.

Here's what happens now: when I tried to close the top last night, I gently helped the tonneau lift itself up (wonder if I've managed to shift it out of whack?), the top unfolded like normal and then the tonneau dropped into place. However, the SID/brain did not seem to recognize the tonneau is down and latched in place because the tonneau motor continued clicking away (when usually it would stop once the tonneau has dropped and latched). The top started to drop into the final spot but then hung up about 12 inches above the tonneau (I think this is the 5th bow people talk about?). I've tried the process several times and get this exact result every time. I've also noted that the trunk release button isn't working - but read that is a safety feature when the top isn't fully latched down; part of this same problem I expect.

It seems intuitive that the Saab brain thinks the tonneau isn't in place and won't let the top drop all the way down as a safety issue. Any thoughts? I would love to think it just needs a little manual shimmy to find the right spot to latch down or maybe a Tec2 to reprogram the SID brain to acknowledge that the tonneau is in the right place. Can I visually inspect the actual latching point it's talking about? Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:12 PM   #2
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the gearset in the tonneau cover mechanism is famous for "failing". saabers used to grab those motors (just like SID's and DI's) 'cause it's hard to find a good one and they get good money for them. they are rebuildable and the parts are available. or buy a new one, I sold my old one that was good before I found out how golden they are:
http://www.eeuroparts.com/Parts/5098...#axzz2yzYR1lk3 YIKES
anyway, good luck
www.thesaabsite.com also has an assortment of pictures, parts, and prices
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Old 04-19-2014, 09:37 AM   #3
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I took the Saab to a local mechanic who told me that a new tonneau motor was required and would cost more than $2000 to purchase and install. In the meantime he used a Tecs2 tool to coax the final part of the top to close and disconnect the roof switch. Unfortunately the SID still dings saying to "check latches" and the rear window controls don't work anymore! They told me to bring it back next week so they can try to fix these issues. Ugh.

Here's what I am wondering now:
What would happen if I pulled the fuse on the SID and then tried to work the top up and down? I was hoping that if the Saab "brain" is disconnected then it couldn't erroneously decide that the tonneau latches aren't closed and prevent the top from full closing. Alternatively, could we install a SID that is not programmed for a convertible? I read online that someone had done that to avoid the little alarms going off. Maybe that would allow the top to just work mechanically - and independently of the SID.

Looking forward to hearing back from anyone with convertible or SID experience - happy Easter all! Thanks~
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:40 AM   #4
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A tech II equipped indy can reprogram the SID to a 3 door or 5 door and it will not give the check latches message.
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:43 AM   #5
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Thanks! If I reprogram the SID, will the convertible top motors still run when I push the operating switch?
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:06 AM   #6
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Okay - so the problem is partially solved - or at least solved well enough for now. It turns out (and forgive me if I get the technical speak wrong) the cables and gearing that make the tonneau cover work have been pulled out of whack due to the overall failure of the tonneau mechanism. So even though the tonneau was closed, the potentiometer believed the tonneau did not have the right amount of cable played out to actually BE closed. This potentiometer reading would not allow the latches on the tonneau to lock which in turn blocked the 5th bow from locking all the way down to the tonneau.

Here’s the solution: the mechanic used a TECS 2 to override the system and shut the roof completely and engage all the locks. He then recalibrated the potentiometer to believe that the amount of cable currently played out to close the tonneau was the correct measurement. This made the check latches "bing bong” alert go away. By the way, the part-time specialist "Omar" at German Swedish Auto in Springfield, VA did a great job of working through the problem and being patient with my questions and ideas.

I expect I could probably open and close the top again a few more times until the cables once again stretched out of sync with the potentiometer reading. But I don’t think I’m going to test that theory anytime soon… Would love to hear some opinions on my analysis of the problem/solution and how to permanently deal with the cables stretching out to keep the potentiometer from locking out the system again. Thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:55 AM   #7
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Glad that you got it fixed and found a good person to work on Saabs! They are getting fewer and fewer as time goes on.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:07 AM   #8
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Does anyone have a link to the thread describing how to use vise grips (or similar) to keep the cables from slipping in the tonneau mechanism? Or can anyone post/send the instructions on how to accomplish it? I think (pray) that if I could lock the cables into position it would solve my potentiometer issue. Obviously I would probably have to help the tonneau lift every time but that is a small ask to make the top work again.
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