Convertible top relay replacement project

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apines
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:05 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by apines » Mon May 23, 2016 7:35 am

D'oh. I was so focused on getting the deck lid operating I didn't bleed the top cylinders which are just lying there unbolted but still connected to the hydraulic lines. I won't worry about it until I get them mounted, which means I need to work out a replacement solution for that pivot. I guess I won't worry about the noise from the motor, either (it does have its rubber shock mounts).

Thanks for the input.
1955 Ford Thunderbird
1966 Ford Thunderbird Q-code convertible with Highway Pilot

jtschug
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:33 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by jtschug » Mon May 23, 2016 10:04 am

I was able to get used cylinder bushings and pins from Pat Wilson's. Call around to the T-bird houses. Many of them have used parts that aren't in the online catalog.

apines
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:05 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by apines » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:22 pm

So, I've replaced the top cylinders and without any trouble the top frame came up out of the trunk for the first time in probably a decade. The cylinders from Bird Nest came with bolts to use as pins but I also discovered the right size clevis pin from McMaster Carr, if anyone ever needs them.

The bad news is I'm still seeing the deck lid move when it's not supposed to. I kept the deck lid cylinders because they *seem* to be okay. They don't leak and they do move smoothly but I don't know how to tell if the seal inside has failed. I'm pretty sure the system is well-bled and it has no leaks anywhere. The deck lid drifts after being turned off (more when moving up than down) and it moves down when the top is also moving down. My guess is that this points to the deck solenoid valve -- maybe it's not fully closing when off. To test this I unplugged the power to the deck solenoid and ran the pump a little and indeed the deck still moved, though it sounded a little unhappy about it (I didn't run the motor for more than a second like that). Before I spring for a new solenoid valve, does this ring true to anyone who's been through this before? Still trying to keep whatever I can in there; these bits are really expensive. The shop manual is thick with convertible top electrical issue diagnostics but hardly mentions hydraulics (I guess, unlike me, Mr. 1960s Mechanic already knew all that).

Once I get the hydraulics working correctly I'll get back on making a controller to automate the whole thing. My deck limit switch brackets are both bent, my top down switch is corroded solid, and my upper back panel limit switch is falling apart -- I plan to replace it all with a modern solution.

Also, I now truly have the greatest respect for anyone who's resurrected one of these. I'm having a time of it even with my little cheater board which lets me run things randomly; I can't even imagine how difficult it would be with just the jumper spelled out in the shop manual.

-Andrew
1955 Ford Thunderbird
1966 Ford Thunderbird Q-code convertible with Highway Pilot

RAVEN
Posts: 1049
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by RAVEN » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:57 pm

When you do get the system figured out, and a PC board built and verified, I would be interested in the equipment.

Wally K
CDN Member since 1975 #2086
Flock: 1964 Landau Original Family Owned
1964 Sr Convertible "RAVEN"
Past: 2003 Blk Lab "RAVEN" "RIP"Nov 15/17
1964 Lincoln vin4Y86N00007
1964 Red Convertible

apines
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:05 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by apines » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:47 pm

Hi, all,
Time for a quick project update. I decided that the deck lid drifting was probably the solenoid valve not fully closing. I replaced it with a used one off eBay and now that issue is cured. Unfortunately the victory was short lived because not long after that one of the hoses failed. I'm only surprised that didn't happen earlier.

I've learned a couple of interesting things to apply to the new electronics:
1) the pump (on mine, anyway) draws about 55A when running the deck lid up and down. this is right at the edge of the limit of the transistor I'm using, and (predictably) it goes into thermal shutdown when running which means it will start cycling on and off. So, I need bigger transistors.
2) the tonneau panel motor draws about 11A unloaded (no panel) when raising/lowering, and about 30A stalled. I need to put the panel back on to find what it draws under normal conditions but where this is leading is that I think I can completely eliminate the problematic switch on the panel extension motor. I can detect when the current shoots up due to the motor stalling and shut it off essentially instantly. This should work in either direction (we use this trick in pinball to know when a coil is shorted and turn it off fast enough to keep from damaging the drive transistor).

I think I know enough now to respin the board and maybe have something ready to test the complete cycle (once I replace the hoses -- d'oh!).

-Andrew
1955 Ford Thunderbird
1966 Ford Thunderbird Q-code convertible with Highway Pilot

rabatvilla
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 2:30 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by rabatvilla » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:14 pm

apines wrote:
Sat May 07, 2016 7:15 pm
Hi, all,
I've been lurking and learning here for quite a bit and I want to share my project with you. I have a '66 Q-code convertible that looks as though it sat for many years. It runs pretty well but when I got it the convertible top bits had all been disassembled by a previous owner. It's all there but some of it's pretty rotted or bent. I'm trying to replace only what I have to (like the top ram with the bent shaft). Both banks of relays were pretty corroded. I know from what I've read here how difficult it can be to test and track down electrical problems with the top so I made my own solid state relay bank circuit board (day job, meet hobby). It connects without needing to cut the harness plus it has no mechanical contacts, just really big transistors. I sized it to mount on the plate where the relays were. Here's what it looks like next to the original relays:
Image

And here's what's underneath:
Image

This is it installed on the left side (if I ever re-spin it I need to make a little more room between the connectors and add cutouts to access the screws that hold the plate to the car):
Image

And it works! Pressing a button turns on the associated relay. A yellow LED next to the button lights to indicate that the "coil" is energized and a green one by each pole of the relay lights to show how much current is being drawn through that pole (brighter=more). Using it I've found that the deck lock and panel retract motors are both working, though the panel motor has a little jump in it as it cycles that makes me think its gearbox has a bad tooth (I haven't put the panel back on yet so it's running unloaded). I also learned that the solenoid valves all seem to work and the pump spins in both directions but it leaks. Next step will be to disassemble and (I hope) rebuild the pump. I've already replaced the top up limit switch, which was pretty well destroyed, and I need to somehow bend one of the deck cylinder limit switches' mounting bracket back into shape.

Anyway, I hope you find this interesting. It's been fun working it out.

Hello.

Can you proved me the schematics or better yet, what would you charge to build me one for a 1963 Bird? Electronics are great but I am not very god at specking things out

Thank you

Joe

-Andrew

RAVEN
Posts: 1049
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by RAVEN » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:22 am

Welcome Rabatvilla to the FORUM. A lot has happened since the post you were checking. A newer version of the control boards has been developed, complete with remote control operational station.

The newer version of the boards and controller were on display at the 50th Anniversary celebration in Tulsa Oklahoma, and were well liked, by the inquiries I received.

At this present time, we are in the process of finishing development of the 64/66 operational boards, and plan on starting on 61/63 boards in the near future.

I did not see a comment or post, from you, is there a question you have?


RAVEN Canadian Sales Rep

Wally Kent.
CDN Member since 1975 #2086
Flock: 1964 Landau Original Family Owned
1964 Sr Convertible "RAVEN"
Past: 2003 Blk Lab "RAVEN" "RIP"Nov 15/17
1964 Lincoln vin4Y86N00007
1964 Red Convertible

gordonr1959
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:23 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by gordonr1959 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:47 am

Just noticed this post. Well done.

Has there been any progress on your project? Seems like an elegant and easy upgrade for my Tbird.

Regards,


Gordon
1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible- 428 Q-Code, A/C, Highway Pilot, 8 Track
1972 Norton Commando Combat
1973 Suzuki Titan
2005 BMW R1150R

RAVEN
Posts: 1049
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by RAVEN » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:04 pm

Gord; boards are available and functional in two cars as of now. Apines and I. As of July, awaiting further inquiries, and verifying that no failures exist on our cars we feel confident to sell.
If you contact Apines via the Forum PM system or by email, he can further discuss your interest. To contact him, click on his Web name, and it will send you to the message board, for you to send an email.
By going directly to Apines, you are taking a step out of the process to contact him.
Thanks for the inquiry

Wally Kent "RAVEN" CDN Sales Rep.
CDN Member since 1975 #2086
Flock: 1964 Landau Original Family Owned
1964 Sr Convertible "RAVEN"
Past: 2003 Blk Lab "RAVEN" "RIP"Nov 15/17
1964 Lincoln vin4Y86N00007
1964 Red Convertible

gordonr1959
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:23 pm

Re: Convertible top relay replacement project

Post by gordonr1959 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:10 pm

Hi Wally,

Thanks for the quick response and update on the project. It seems to be a simpler solution than others that are out there. I would share the concern about the load spikes on the system so I’m glad your testing the reliability.

I used to run a printed circuit manufacturing company in the Toronto area. I wish I had the car back then! :)

I will follow up as you suggested when I get back from vacation.

Cheers!


Gordon

Email: gordonr1959@yahoo.ca
1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible- 428 Q-Code, A/C, Highway Pilot, 8 Track
1972 Norton Commando Combat
1973 Suzuki Titan
2005 BMW R1150R

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