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  #1  
Old 08-28-2003, 05:01 PM
afmcorp's Avatar
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Location: NW Indiana LaPorte
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72 350sl hard top removal

hello

can someone tell me where this rear latch is. got my winch installed and played with it a bit. i found the front and 2 rear/side latches ok. but i don't recall seeing a rear one.

also what do the bodine [spell??] cables do?

help!!!
tks
craig
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Thanks Much!
Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2003, 06:01 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
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There is a handle to the rear of the driver's seat. Rotate it half a turn or so (I think toward the rear), and the latch in the center rear should release.

The cable is probably the one from the handle to the latch.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2003, 06:11 PM
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thank you chuck!

do you know what the handle is for. the pass side had a button down flap but i only remember seeing the cable no handle.

well it's just about time to go home so i know what i'll be doing tonight.
tks
craig
__________________
Thanks Much!
Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2003, 06:39 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
The handle releases/locks the hard and soft tops in place at the rear, and controls the opening of the rear hatch. The flap is where the rear window defrost hooks up.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2003, 07:31 PM
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thanks very much chuck. i forgot all about the defroster.
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Thanks Much!
Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2003, 11:17 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 766
I think the setup for the 107 was constant through the entire run, in which case you've got two levers on the driver's side of the aft bay. The longer one operates the rear top latch; the shorter one affects the range of the hook's motion also.
The normal closed/locked position has the long handle fully forward (clockwise if viewed from the center of the car), and the short handle lying right with the long one.
To release the latch, move the short handle clockwise til it stops, and the long one counterclockwise to about 10 o'clock when viewed from the center of the car. If you move it too far, the hook will catch the latch pin.
When you're releasing the soft top at the rear, the handle move is the same, except that the spring-loading of the soft top frame will normally pop the rear bow up as soon as the latch releases, making it much easier to know when it's free.
To open the soft top cover, move the long handle fully counterclockwise.
My own method with the hoist is to release all four of the catches with the removable handles, and loosen the rear latch to about 10 o'clock. Then I attach the hoist and start lifting slowly. If the rear releases immediately, fine, but if not, I fasten the hoist so that the top is up but not pulling much on the pin. That lets me work the release with one hand and move the rear edge of the top with the other until it releases.
Some time with the soft top locked on the windshield and loose at the rear, open the rear cover and work the latch. Move both levers, and study the way the latch hook moves. Understanding that will allow the whole thing to make sense for you.
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Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2003, 01:21 AM
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thank you craig. i sat down here tonite to ask if i was doing anything wrong.

the handle and small lever don't seem to be releasing the rear completely. as you rotate the handle lever you can hear and feel some release of the rear latch but it doesn't go all the way free. your description of jiggleing the top with slight tension on the lift sounds good. that just maybe the one thing i need to do.

the po (little old lady) had someone silicone the front of the hard top. took me some time to get that cut thru. i find the silicone trick out of sorts because there was hardly an old part on the car. in it's recent past just about every maintenance item had been replaced. believe it or not she was the original owner. her husband had just died and she was sell off the toys.

if the jiggle fails to work is there an alternative fix. the handle didn't want to go all the way back like the book said so it didn't totally release the back latch.

thanks much
craig
__________________
Thanks Much!
Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2003, 10:15 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
I just went out and looked at mine. Just like Craig said, the small lever controls the release of the latch and the long one serves to open the hatch and also provides leverage to lock the top down. I don't know that there is a good backup plan. I don't see how you can get to cables with the top on.

The only thing I can suggest is with eveything loose, give the back of the top a shove toward the driver's side - that is away from the notch in the latch.

If you send me an email, I will send you the owners' manual which has instructions and a picture.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2003, 10:43 AM
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Location: Deerfield, Illinois
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Here are instructions for lowering and raising soft top and removing and replacing hard top.

http://www.zianet.com/SLlover/page62d.html

Check out the SL forum for lots of good tips on your car!

Regards,
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Dan

1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)
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  #10  
Old 08-29-2003, 10:56 AM
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Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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Quote:
also what do the bodine [spell??] cables do?
You mean a bowden cable. Any steel wire cable can be called a bowden cable, like a brake cable on a bicycle. In the case of your SL, they connect the levers on the side of your rear compartment to the latch mechanism in the center of the back panel.
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Cheers, Neil
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2003, 12:05 PM
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If the top lifts up a little but does not disengage from the pin at the rear, it is probably due to a bad cable adjustment.

The small lever inside the car should pull a locking pin to the right. Once you get the top off, you will see how simple it is.

When I had trouble with mine, I made a little tool from a bicycle spoke. A coat hanger would do as well. Just bend it into an "L" shape, with the "L" about an inch long.

Lift the hardtop a fraction and support it. Then insert the short end of the tool into right hand side of the hole. You need to push the locking pin a little to the right. Should only take a few seconds, and voila - the hardtop is free to lift.
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Steve

1982 380SL

Previous cars of interest
1981 500SE
1976 Jaguar XJS
1974 Rover 3500
1953 Riley (before they became scarce)
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2003, 11:50 PM
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Many times you need to "flick" the large handle as you undo the top - The hard top does not always want to come off. I find it best to remove the rear and then the front -- get new gaskets for the front two sockets ($2) when you do get it off -- this will allow the front to release when you pivot the rear. In many years of fooling with many tops I do not find that it is an ajustments with the cables -- They all work the same way -- The hard top is rear heavy and does not want to come out -- the soft top will spring right out. this with the same clip and the same handle position.
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  #13  
Old 08-29-2003, 11:56 PM
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I just reread my post -- to be clear -- The top will NOT come off if you lift the front first -- the rear will bind. The gaskets in the front keep the front pins from sticking as you release the rear.

The extra movement in the large handle is to set the top -- both hard and sorft from the rear -- in the old days all the tension was set from the front.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2003, 12:34 AM
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Interesting cars, aren't they? Every one of them seems to have its own set of a few quirks.
Mine does actually release the rear pretty well with the front already off using the hoist, but then I don't lift it more than just enough to get the rear just off the car. I set the handle to release position before starting to raise the top, and when I start to raise the top it tilts only slightly to the rear before the rear starts to rise (thanks to my hoist sling being carefully balanced). If the rear pin hangs up, it does so with the rear edge of the top perhaps a half-inch or so off the car; the front will be maybe 3-4 inches off at most. At that point, I can work the release a few times while gently supporting the top and get it to release.

The backup maneuvers that can be used have filled several threads on other boards, but basically reduce to these three:
1) Rotate the top 90 degrees til the pin releases--NOT recommended, but it's been done;
2) Use a bent wire/screwdriver/whatever to move the latch hook toward the passenger side of the car to get it to release; and
3) Get a narrow-nose visegrip on the pin and rotate it 90 degrees, counterclockwise as viewed from below (passenger's side of pin moves toward back of car).

I did have mine hang up early on, and I just now realized why number 2 above wouldn't work for me. The hook has to move toward the PASSENGER side of the car, and I spent an hour trying to move it the wrong way. But then, I'd never have invented number 3.....
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Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)

Last edited by cbdo; 09-01-2003 at 06:22 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2003, 01:16 AM
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Location: NW Indiana LaPorte
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hello to everybody!

well i finally got it off about an hour ago. i think what finally got it loose was a gentle bounce and push to the pass side. once it got a small rock it bounced free.

it's been almost 2 years that i've had this car and i'll drive it tomorrow for the first time. i just hope the weather holds. i've spent the last month buffing and polishing. now i got to polish again after i've had my greasey hands on the paint. wouldn't be proper for her first drive.

thank you all for your input. i don't think i'd have gotten it off without some directions.

tks
craig
__________________
Thanks Much!
Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
Reply With Quote
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