65 Convertible top help

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mark1965tbird
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:27 pm

65 Convertible top help

Post by mark1965tbird »

Hi everyone,
I just bought a 65 convertible tbird. I'm the 3rd owner, 82k miles. The last owner didn't drive it for a year and when I try to put the top down the deck lid raises 1", makes a thumping noise, and goes no higher. It sounds like it's slipping off a worm gear. Anyone have ideas? The troubleshooting manuals are pretty involved, I hope this sounds familiar to someone.
Thanks!
jtschug
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:33 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by jtschug »

It is unlocking, but the hydraulics are not kicking in. It could be a lot of things. Try having someone lift up the front passenger side corner while you hit the switch and see if the hydraulics kick in
mark1965tbird
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:27 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by mark1965tbird »

Thanks. I tried that, no luck. I'm pulling the backseats out and hope I can access the hydraulics, check fluid I guess?
jtschug
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:33 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by jtschug »

Start with the question: Is the hydraulic pump even running?

It is unlikely the problem is low fluid. These things don't leak, and if you do have a leak you've got to fix it because air in the system can have a lot of bad effects. The hydraulics are strong enough to fold the decklid into a taco and snap the big cast aluminum arms of the top. Hoses definitely burst sometimes, and then you will get a couple quarts of ATF draining out the bottom of the trunk. It is a big mess.

Once you get the back seats out, you will see the control relays. The shop manual gives instructions on how to construct a jumper to run the pump and open the decklid. Find the correct relay and do that. Once you have the deck open, prop it up with a 2x4 and start diagnosing what you see.
RAVEN
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by RAVEN »

Chances are that flipper has settled and the contacts are open. As jtschug has said, retry to lift deck lid and see if flipper has settled off its rubber stops, if so find a way to raise it. E.g. broom handle thru the opening and raise it
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
RAVEN
Posts: 1551
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by RAVEN »

We are all online right now, let's keep the discussion going
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
RAVEN
Posts: 1551
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by RAVEN »

We lost Mark
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
jtschug
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:33 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by jtschug »

Usually when the flipper lid droops and opens the upper back panel limit switch circuit then nothing happens.

In this case the deck is unlocking, so my guess is there is a problem with the pump circuitry. Could be the deck limit switch or the deck open relay. A lot of times it is a loose boot on the relay or a little bit of corrosion or dirt in the spade connectors.
RAVEN
Posts: 1551
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:33 am

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by RAVEN »

Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Figured before ripping back seat out, and by combining the fact that lifting the deck lid off of the deck lock limit and raising the flipper, may get the cycle to start. Making all contacts.
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
mark1965tbird
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:27 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by mark1965tbird »

Thanks for the advice everyone. I can't work on it more until later today at earliest. As I mentioned, it sat for a year on a garage, so I'm guessing/hoping for more minor problems. No fluid that I can see. Once I get the second seat back out I should have a pretty good view.
mark1965tbird
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:27 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by mark1965tbird »

I GOT THE TRUNK LIDS TO GO UP! HALLEJUYA!
I spayed WD40 on all contacts I could reach and 2 tries in, the trunk lid is up!!
Any advice on what to do now to tune it up/make it work better?
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Alan H. Tast
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Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by Alan H. Tast »

My advice: Start studying the manuals and search for/read previous Forum posts on convertible top operation to develop an understanding of how it all works before starting to tear things apart. There are numerous posts in the VTCI's 61-63 and 64-66 Forums on convertible top operation.
Alan H. Tast, AIA
Technical Director/Past President,
Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l.
Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"
1963 Hardtop & 1963 Sports Roadster
mark1965tbird
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:27 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by mark1965tbird »

Thanks Alan, I agree. Unfortunately it's opened all the way, flipper open too and it's stuck. Plenty of sound when I activate the switch but no movement in either direction. And I'm stuck outside....on Halloween. I barely got the car in the garage, checked pump fluid (full), tried to check the relays. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.
jtschug
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:33 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by jtschug »

I hope you got it in the garage last night.

OK, next steps:

1) Disconnect the battery
2) Get a rag like an old t-shirt or something
3) Disconnect the plugs and the power feeds to one bank of relays
4) Unscrew the plate holding them in the car and remove them as a set
5) Wipe them down and clean them as good as you can, especially the area around the pins
6) When I did this, I used an old toothbrush dipped in mineral spirits to get all oil and dirt off
7) Reinstall the relay bank into the car
8) Reinstall the wires. Be very careful to make sure the spade goes inside mating connector. It is very easy to push the spade in-between the connector and the rubber without making a firm mechanical connection. Take your time, use a mirror and a bright light this is the toughest part of the job and it will be a constant headache if any of these spades are not solidly connected
9) Repeat for the other relay bank
10) Reconnect the battery

After this is done try it again and let us know:

1) Position of the system (i.e. deck open, lid extended, top up and unlocked)
2) Direction you are pushing the switch (up or down)
3) What happens (i.e. screws spin clockwise, pump runs, etc.)
mark1965tbird
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:27 pm

Re: 65 Convertible top help

Post by mark1965tbird »

Thanks for the excellent advice jtschug! I will do that tonight/this weekend and report back. I was able to barely pull the car into the garage last night, propped the trunk open so reduced weight on the system, pulled the trunk light bulb. I should be happy the trunk is wide open for me to work on. Thanks again.
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