how to rebuild convertible top cylinders

how to rebuild convertible top cylinders

Rebuilding convertible top cylinders is a complex and potentially hazardous task that requires mechanical expertise and precision. It involves disassembling the hydraulic cylinders, replacing seals and other components, and then reassembling them. If you’re not experienced with hydraulic systems and don’t have the necessary tools, it’s highly recommended to seek professional assistance for this task. However, if you have the knowledge and skills, here’s a general outline of the steps to rebuild convertible top cylinders:

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Appropriate safety gear (safety glasses, gloves, etc.)
  • Wrenches and socket set
  • Hydraulic cylinder repair kit (seals, O-rings, gaskets)
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Clean rags
  • Vice or cylinder clamp
  • Vise-grip pliers
  • Pipe thread sealant
  • Workbench or clean, flat workspace


  1. Safety First: Ensure you are working in a safe and well-ventilated area. Wear appropriate safety gear, including safety glasses and gloves, as hydraulic fluid can be hazardous.
  2. Disconnect the Cylinder: If possible, remove the convertible top cylinder from the vehicle. This may involve removing interior trim or accessing it from the trunk area.
  3. Drain Hydraulic Fluid: Carefully drain the hydraulic fluid from the cylinder into a container for proper disposal or recycling.
  4. Disassemble the Cylinder:
    • Secure the cylinder in a vice or cylinder clamp to hold it steady.
    • Use the appropriate wrenches and socket set to carefully disassemble the cylinder. Start by removing the end caps and other components to access the internal seals.
    • Take note of the order and orientation of components as you disassemble them to aid in reassembly.
  5. Inspect Components: Examine the cylinder components for wear, damage, or corrosion. Replace any damaged or worn parts with new ones from the hydraulic cylinder repair kit.
  6. Replace Seals: Replace the seals, O-rings, and gaskets inside the cylinder with the new ones from the repair kit. Ensure they are properly lubricated with hydraulic fluid during installation.
  7. Reassemble the Cylinder: Carefully reassemble the cylinder components in the correct order and orientation. Ensure that all components are tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  8. Refill with Hydraulic Fluid: Refill the cylinder with the appropriate type and amount of hydraulic fluid, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  9. Bleed the System: If necessary, bleed the hydraulic system to remove air bubbles. This step varies depending on the vehicle and hydraulic system design.
  10. Test the Cylinder: Reinstall the cylinder in the vehicle and test the convertible top operation to ensure that it functions correctly.
  11. Check for Leaks: After reinstallation, inspect the cylinder and hydraulic lines for any signs of leaks. Address any leaks promptly to prevent hydraulic fluid loss.
  12. Dispose of Old Fluid: Dispose of the old hydraulic fluid properly, following local regulations.

Rebuilding convertible top cylinders can be challenging due to the precision required and the potential for hydraulic fluid leakage. If you’re not confident in your abilities, it’s best to seek the assistance of a professional mechanic or hydraulic specialist who has experience working with hydraulic systems. Incorrectly rebuilt cylinders can lead to safety hazards and damage to your convertible top system.