I wrote about this a long time ago. I don't know how to search for it but I will paste it here:
Rear latch does not release all the way. How do I get to the latch and/or cables? (turning the crank does cinch it down, so it's connected. Any help would be appreciated.
Well I probably have dealt with this at least a hundred times.
The immediate solution requires freeing the center post from the retractor lever. Wiggling won't get you anywhere. To release it you have to understand what happens during normal operation.
The big window crank type lever has large strong links to the large strong retractor to pull the top tight in the center. Once the tention is released the smaller POS lever has a Mickey Mouse ability to pull the retractor out of engagement with the center pin of the top.
The almost universal fault here is the origional way the top is removed. The POS lever does not have the strength to pull the retracting lever away from the pin if it is under any tention. When you get done here and have made the easy adjustments to the POS cable, when removing the top the center pin should be released and then retracted before the other four positions are released. This is hard to do as one needs to remember the finished positions when doing this first as you can't feel whats
happening with the top held down.
NOW to get the pin out. It will take three people. Two to lift the roof gently to get enough room for a radiator hose/cotter key tool to be inserted and manuvered next to the pin. Beneath the surface about one inch down is the hook on the pin. The hook on the retractor needs to be pushed with the tool to the outside and then the roof lifted away. This tool is basicaly a quarter inch diameter rod on a screw driver handle with a inch and a quarter right angle bend in the last part which tapers to a point. You put the point against the side of the pin and follow it down (I think from the pass side of the pin - the lever/retractor will be pushed to the passengers side). The notch that is engaged is about one inch down, you will come at the retractor lever from the top and will use the point to work between the two and push the retractor lever off its perch. Its actually easier to explain this than to accomplish it.
When you get it off remember what I said above and adjust the POS cable to fully back off the retractor when it gets to the end of its travel. The cable adjustment will not hold any force so the thing has to be properly adjusted for clearance by the position of the control levers and like I said above it can not be retracted under any tention.
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician