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  #1  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:45 AM
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Help! - R129 soft top not folding correctly

What timing!

Just went to put on the hard top for the winter. Surprise, the soft top is not folding correctly, and will not go into its compartment without help. As far as I can tell, the problem is that the fold that is closest to the head rail is folding inwards rather than outwards. It might be simply that the mechanism is not pushing it all back into the compartment hard enough. I have never had any roof problems before, and have not paid attention to how it is supposed to work.

I am attaching a series of pictures to show what is happening. (Hopefully the file names appear with the pictures.) As I can't see how to attach more than one file, I will put some in replies.

Roof1 shows the problem. The mechanism has finished folding everything at this point, and the cover wants to close. However, there is a fold of roof still on the roll bar. I don't know whether this is a fold that has gone the wrong way, or the mechanism not pushing the top hard enough to get it in.

Roof3 and Roof4 just show earlier stages of the same folding process.

Roof 5 shows that if I push (by hand) the topmost fold outwards rather than letting it fold inwards, it is possible to do so. Everything then fits into the compatment. However, I don't know whether that fold is supposed to go inwards or outwards. If outwards, I have no idea what would push it outwards. I can see no part of the mechanism that would do so.

Roof6 is just a closeup of part of the mechanism. Don't know whether it is relevant.

Over the last week, during which I have had the top up all the time, I noticed a new small rattle behind my left ear while driving, but was not able to locate it. I can't see anything loose or disconnected.

Anyone have any ideas? I don't want to put on the hard top before fixing this.

Momo
Attached Thumbnails
Help! - R129 soft top not folding correctly-roof1.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:46 AM
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Roof3

Roof3 - an earlier stage in the process.
Attached Thumbnails
Help! - R129 soft top not folding correctly-roof3.jpg  
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1990 500SL 65k km - until May 11 2004
2004 E320 4-Matic wagon
2004 CLK500 Cabrio from May 11 2004

Last edited by Momo; 10-29-2003 at 11:51 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:48 AM
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Roof4

Roof4 - an earlier stage in the unassisted folding process.
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Help! - R129 soft top not folding correctly-roof4.jpg  
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  #4  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:49 AM
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Roof5

Roof5 - where I have folded the roof manually the other way. Don't know whether this is correct, but it all fits.
Attached Thumbnails
Help! - R129 soft top not folding correctly-roof5.jpg  
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  #5  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:53 AM
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Roof6

Roof6 - a closeup of part of the mechanism. Don't know whether this is relevant.
Attached Thumbnails
Help! - R129 soft top not folding correctly-roof6.jpg  
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2003, 04:38 PM
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check out this thread by dmorrison on how to store the softtop properly...also illustrated.

107SL top folding technique-- Large pictures
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  #7  
Old 10-29-2003, 05:08 PM
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Momo, you are correct about the problem. The fold is going the wrong direction. The difference between your Roof4 and Roof5 photos illustrates the situation. The mechanism you highlight in Roof6 is responsible for this.

Last edited by bobterry99; 11-01-2003 at 05:38 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-29-2003, 08:08 PM
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I had a similar (but different location) problem with my soft top about 3 years ago. My problem turned out to be a worn bolt head at one of the "joints". The bolt head was shaped like a ball and the strut had a machined indentation which allowed it to rotate about the ball head bolt. I know, that's not very descriptive, but without pictures it's very difficult to describe. The strut jumped over the bolt head because of a lack of lubrication. With the strut off the bolt, the top folded the wrong direction. In fact, the grease in my entire mechanism had dried up and gotten hard. So although I can't advise on your particualar problem, for all those reading this, it would be a good practice to inspect your mechanism and clean and re-lubricate if it's dried up. My car is 1991 129 and the problem occured when it was 10 years old. BTW It took my dealer 2.5 eternities to get that special bolt. Good Luck. Tod
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2003, 05:13 AM
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Hi

I had exactly the same problem on my car. The problem is as described by bobterry99. When I got my car back form the Mercedes dealer there was a modified part fitted. The picture in (roof6) shows the hinge without a spring. My car now has a coil spring which puts backward tension and thus folds the roof correctly. In addition the rod is slightly different now in order to accomodate this spring.

I suspect the earlier cars like yours and mine did not have this fitted as standard but that as things wear out they need this spring.

Regards
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2003, 11:09 AM
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Will check

Thanks for the advice.

Hmm. Well I definitely do not have a spring on either side, so there is nothing that helps the rod push in the correct direction. Will do my best to identify the "worn bolt head", as I can't understand what has changed, meaning why this should happen right now. Otherwise, it seems as though I need the new spring and rod job. (Hopefully I will not discover that a coil spring for an SL roof costs $385.)

Momo
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  #11  
Old 10-30-2003, 03:39 PM
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Hi

The two rods and bits cost about 50. My total bill from the Mercedes dealer was around 200, the rest was labour.

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  #12  
Old 11-01-2003, 08:37 AM
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Just for completeness, managed to dig out the invoice. Part numbers are:

129 770 35 14 - Bracket 16.63
129 770 36 14- Bracket 16.63
129 774 43 14 Bracket 1.98
129 774 44 14 Bracket 1.98
129 984 06 29 Screw x2 0.92
129 992 61 01 Bushing x2 0.18
129 993 09 20 Spring 0.76
129 993 08 20 Spring 0.76
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2003, 02:36 PM
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Apparently this is more common than I thought. I have the same exact issue, the mechanism has two elastic fabric strips that normally pull the front rod into position for folding. Over time, the strips dry out and become loose (less elastic), and unable to pull the rod properly. These fabric strips don't seem replaceable as they are sewn into the top. I think springs would help some.

Eli.
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  #14  
Old 11-03-2003, 11:21 AM
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Momo,

I couldn't really tell from your pictures, but on the bar that goes above the rear window there are metal swivel pieces on each side. Does anyone know what fastens to them? I just had a new top put on and now nothing is fastened to these metal pieces. The top seems to work fine, but the metal pieces make a jingle sound that I never heard before. I wound up putting a strip of masking tape around each piece to stop the annoying jingle, but now I'm wondering what purpose they serve.

Bob
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  #15  
Old 11-04-2003, 02:03 PM
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Temporary fix...

Had to use the car today for a 550 km. ride to Zurich and back, so I had to put on the hard top last night. Didn't have much time to experiment. However, I was able to determine that stiffness at the central pivot point on the left side was at least partly to blame. I oiled it, and it folded correctly one time in three (the third time). I don't have any elastic in the strips referred to above. They are simple strips with velcro fastening and no elastic.

Hopefully I will get motivated to find a definitive fix before spring. The radial spring idea sounds good. My new CLK (below) is due in April, and I have not yet decided whether I will keep the SL. Probably not. Depends on the stock market, among other things.

Momo
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