Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

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Alan H. Tast
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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by Alan H. Tast » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:44 pm

'61-'62 shown: the 50A breaker on mid-production '62s was mounted under the front upper radiator support on a bracket, then moved to the right inner fender wall by '63 production. The 10A breaker originally was placed by the starter solenoid for '61-'62, and was relocated to the fuse panel on the right kick panel in the passenger compartment for '63.
'61-'62 shown: the 50A breaker on mid-production '62s was mounted under the front upper radiator support on a bracket, then moved to the right inner fender wall by '63 production. The 10A breaker originally was placed by the starter solenoid for '61-'62, and was relocated to the fuse panel on the right kick panel in the passenger compartment for '63.
Update: I spent "quality time" with the mechanics after lunch today - provided them with a copy of Ford Service Handbook 20801 - Convertible Tops - Diagnosis, Adjustments and Light Repair - Lincoln Continental - Thunderbird - Galaxie - Montery - Falcon - Comet (Form 7794-T Vol. 63 S1 L2, First Printing- August 1962 (this was used in conjunction with a filmstrip training program which I now wish I had). The Handbook has some additional information the the 1962 Thunderbird Shop Manual doesn't, primarily a series of step-by-step schematics of the electrical system for each stage of the top retract cycle (deck lid unlock, deck lid open, package tray extend, top retract, deck lid close, deck lid lock) and top erect cycle (deck lid unlock, deck lid open, top erect, package tray fold, deck lid close, deck lid lock).

Re. R&R of the lines/cylinders, here's what they did (if I understood them correctly, and I'm open for correction in order to accurately document this). First, they disconnected parts of the wiring at the plug connectors at the rear of the car, then unpinned the deck lid cylinders, unplugged wiring toward the front of the trunk, unpinned the top cylinders, then lifted out the lines/cylinders/pump motor/solenoids as a sealed system so that they could swap the solenoids out with the new hoses/cylinders on the bench, "close" the system (leaving the fittings loose until back in the car), place back in the car, reconnect wiring, tighten the fittings, then cycle the system to bleed it.

The mystery of the clicking 60A breaker was solved by them yesterday. When the "mechanic" pulled out the hoses and cylinders, they also disconnected various pieces of wiring in order to pull the hoses out. One of the wires disconnected was the 8-ga black wire from the 60A breaker to the bus bar. The "mechainic," thinking black = ground, grounded the wire to the body next to the left relay bank instead of connecting it to the bus bar. Once they traced this down and reconnected the black wire to the bus bar, voila! With the top in the trunk, and the lid closed, they energized the system - the pump started working, the closed deck unlocked and opened, the flipper panel/package tray (which was extended) stayed up, and then...nothing! The pump was working, but the top cylinders were fully extended and not retracting to pull the top up. It was as if the solenoids/hydraulic lines were working opposite of what they were supposed to do. Something appeared to be out of sequence -it seemed like the pump was still pushing the pistons for the top to extend instead of reversing flow to pull the pistons back.

Going back to the aforementioned Handbook, we reviewed the hydraulic circuit and line routing. The deck (rear) solenoid valve was connected to the deck lid, and the deck lid functioned as it should (at least to open and close), so that was OK. The two solenoids forward of the pump and hose connections were "replaced exactly like they were taken out" they said. We actually need to check this out a little closer.

We ID'd the line going from the top of the pump that Tee's to the deck lid solenoid (this line goes from the deck solenoid and feeds the bottom of the deck lid lift cylinders to push the piston up and raise the deck lid) and to the 'upper' top solenoid, which then goes to a Tee placed over the right top cylinder so that separate lines feed into the top of the top lift cylinders (this should be the feed that pushes the pistons into the top of the top lift cylinder body, causing the top to raise).

The lines coming out of the bottom of the pump Tee off like the top ones do - one line going to the deck lid cylinders and then splitting off to feed the top of the deck lid cylinders to push the pistons down to close the deck lid, and the other line going from the pump into the 'lower' top solenoid, which then goes to the bottom of the right top lift cylinder and passes through to the bottom of the bottom of the left top lift cylinder.

At this point I told them to read tbird's instructions on how to bleed the top system and double-check the line connections.

I had previously given them a copy of an article copied from "Thunderbird Illustrated" magazine (and reprinted on the 'Net in 2008) which had diagrams of the relays and a troubleshooting diagram for '61-'63 and '64-66, but not the full-blown wiring schematic (i.e. no wiring colors). The person working on the wiring was missing some vital information (aside from not fully looking into the '62 shop manual and the full wiring schematics in it) by not having the wiring schematics. Part of their confusion was not seeing the difference between the two generations' descriptions, so I had to point this out to them.

By drawing a small sketch next to each part of the Handbook's sequence wiring diagrams, i.e. the deck lid unlocking, deck lid raising, deck lid opening, package tray unfolding, top going down, deck lid closing, deck lid locking, deck lid unlocking, deck lid raising, top tumbling up out of the trunk into place, package tray folding under the opened deck lid, deck lid closing, deck lid locking), it helped him to understand each step of the process. At this point I suggested tagging/marking each plug connector and relay based on the diagrams in the Shop Manual/Service Handbook to ID each relay's part of the sequence (Left bank - LF - Deck unlock, RF - tray retract, LR - deck open, RR - tray retract (fold)) (Right bank - LF - deck lock, RF - top retract, LR - deck close, RR - top erect). By this time, I was due back at the office and had to leave them to keep tracing things down.

I'll report back when I get word if they've made headway in figuring the hydraulic/electrical system out. Meanwhile, the meter is spinning with at least 24 hours' of shop time used already. I'm not going to like this bill...
Attachments
'61-'62 Specs shown: a 60A breaker took the place of the 50A breaker by beginning of 1963 production. Location of the 10A breaker for the top switch changed from next to the starter solenoid for '61-'62 to the fuse block mounted on the right cowl kick panel for '63.
'61-'62 Specs shown: a 60A breaker took the place of the 50A breaker by beginning of 1963 production. Location of the 10A breaker for the top switch changed from next to the starter solenoid for '61-'62 to the fuse block mounted on the right cowl kick panel for '63.
fig 3-3 solenoid-motor feed circuits.gif
'61-'62 shown: the 50A breaker on mid-production '62s was mounted under the front upper radiator support on a bracket, then moved to the right inner fender wall by '63 production. The 10A breaker originally was placed by the starter solenoid for '61-'62, and was relocated to the fuse panel on the right kick panel in the passenger compartment for '63.
'61-'62 shown: the 50A breaker on mid-production '62s was mounted under the front upper radiator support on a bracket, then moved to the right inner fender wall by '63 production. The 10A breaker originally was placed by the starter solenoid for '61-'62, and was relocated to the fuse panel on the right kick panel in the passenger compartment for '63.
fig 3-1 hydraulic system.gif
fig 3-4 control relay locns 61-63.gif
Last edited by Alan H. Tast on Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
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

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Alan H. Tast
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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by Alan H. Tast » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:18 am

This saga is nearing its conclusion. Got word late this afternoon the top is now working and work is done. The reason the top wasn't extending, as near as I can tell, was probably because the hydraulic solenoid not getting power to energize it, open and allow the fluid in the top pistons to move and push the rams back into the cylinder body to raise the top. The comment from the mechanic was "we messed around with various things, then tightened the electrical connections and it started working."

To put things in perspective, what I paid for parts (pump, hose set, new top and deck lid cylinders) was roughly what the cost of labor was to go through R&R plus the 2-3 days' worth of fiddling with the electrical system. Had the electrical system, starting with the main power feed to the breaker bus bar and continuing with the numerous electrical connections, grounds, etc. been systematically and properly reconnected, and had the mechanics had the wiring schematics and Workbook to begin with and thoroughly read and studied it, I think the time spent in getting things sorted out would have been much less. As it stands, I cannot complain about the bill I'm going to get as I didn't have the time to take this all on, and hopefully a few people have learned how to work on a specialized system should it happen to run into problems again.

So, what are the 'lessons learned' about this experience? Make sure you as an owner understand how your top system works, that your technician has ALL AVAILABLE literature at their disposal before starting work, and most especially get a copy of the '61-'63 convertible top manual (which is available in reproduction for Bulletbirds, along with one for the '64-'66s) with not only the diagnosis guide and wiring diagrams but also descriptions of each of the steps in the top's operation, an understanding of how the hydraulic system works and flows, how it interacts with all the relays and limit switches, and that all electrical connections are methodically disconnected, cleaned and reconnected as part of the process. Another lesson is that the '62 Shop Manual and '63 Supplement have a few 'holes' that required the Top Manual to fill re. the wiring schematics and hydraulic circuits, and even then the top manual could have done a better job illustrating how it all works on a step-by-step basis. And, for me at least, I now understand that there needs to be a better tutorial written on how each step of the process works. Which means guess what I'll be working on for some future Scoop articles...now that it's working, maybe I can start documenting.
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

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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by RAVEN » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:29 am

Alan, I wonder if it would have been cheaper to have flown Jim W, Jim M or I down for the repairs?
One of us might have enjoyed a mini holiday on your tab. LOL
CDN Member since 1975 #2086
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Alan H. Tast
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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by Alan H. Tast » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:39 pm

I should have!! But how much Canadian whiskey would we consume?
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

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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by Alan H. Tast » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:24 pm

Follow-up: took delivery today, set credit card to "stun" but top now cycles as it's supposed to. Cleaning the electrical connections obviously helped, too, meaning it may be a good idea to clean other grounds, etc. But, more importantly, I now need to remember to work the top several times a season to make sure things are exercised.

For the record, travelling repairmen like John Cashman advertise they'll replace your hydraulic system (cylinders, hoses and pump) starting at about $1800 complete (parts and labor), and having someone like this redo the entire hydraulic and electrical system can run north of $4000, but getting an appointment scheduled may be tough and require months of waiting as he has a set pattern of travelling the country and is very much in demand by Lincoln owners. Others like John Brewer in Denver, CO advertise they'll help diagnose your problems for $125/hour on the phone with a minimum of $125 to start IIRC.

Long story short: the more you know about how to trouble-shoot and repair your top system, the better off you'll be, if for nothing else than to speak intelligently with people who do this for a living.
Attachments
64706930_2152346624813931_8474909878844915712_n.jpg
64443373_2152346711480589_3618822938326728704_n.jpg
64355106_2152346751480585_1419316498953928704_n.jpg
64127721_2152346664813927_8405227294347493376_n.jpg
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

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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by Alan H. Tast » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:50 pm

Well, this may be the beginning of a new thread on troubleshooting the top electrical system. Yesterday morning I went to get ready to take the Roadster out for a parade in my home town. Raised the deck lid to get into the trunk (thankfully the top was up) and change out the spare wheel/tire, then went to hit the top switch to close the deck lid, and everything stalled out. No action from the top switch, couldn't get the deck lid to go down to at least drive around with the top up.

I didn't have time to check to see if I knocked off one or more of the relay plugs under the package tray when I R&R'd the spare wheel/tire. I did notice that my flipper panel has slack in the gearbox - the panel won't hit the plunger when the deck lid is in the down positon, and with the deck lid up it wasn't hitting it, so I had my wife help push on the flipper panel so that the flipper panel depressed the plunger for the limit switch. Depressing the plunger still resulted in nothing happening, i.e. no power to the pump/solenoids to open them so that the deck lid would close.

So for now I need to start the electrical trouble-shooting process. And probably adjust and/or replace the gears in the flipper panel gearbox. Just when I thought I could start enjoying the car again...ugh...
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

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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by tbird » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:19 pm

Alan

it usually takes several times repairing a stubborn Thunderbird top to get it reliable especially when a downpour starts. At least you have the info on how to make a remote control now, better get a parts list together and go shopping at lunch time tomorrow.
Jim Mills
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Re: Replacing Top Hoses/Cylinders/Pump - No Action?

Post by Jim Wulf » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:59 am

Alan H. Tast wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:50 pm
Well, this may be the beginning of a new thread on troubleshooting the top electrical system. Yesterday morning I went to get ready to take the Roadster out for a parade in my home town. Raised the deck lid to get into the trunk (thankfully the top was up) and change out the spare wheel/tire, then went to hit the top switch to close the deck lid, and everything stalled out. No action from the top switch, couldn't get the deck lid to go down to at least drive around with the top up.

I didn't have time to check to see if I knocked off one or more of the relay plugs under the package tray when I R&R'd the spare wheel/tire. I did notice that my flipper panel has slack in the gearbox - the panel won't hit the plunger when the deck lid is in the down positon, and with the deck lid up it wasn't hitting it, so I had my wife help push on the flipper panel so that the flipper panel depressed the plunger for the limit switch. Depressing the plunger still resulted in nothing happening, i.e. no power to the pump/solenoids to open them so that the deck lid would close.

So for now I need to start the electrical trouble-shooting process. And probably adjust and/or replace the gears in the flipper panel gearbox. Just when I thought I could start enjoying the car again...ugh...
Alan,
After you correct the adjustment issue with the tray erect and retract panel limit switches, check that the deck rams are fully extending and holding the deck firmly in the upright position. If there is any wobble in the deck lid and the deck erect switches aren't fully closed, everything else will stop including the action from the tray switches.
Jim W, VTCI 1961-1963 Technical Editor
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