View Full Version : Checking the top hydraulics
12-21-2013, 11:23 PM
I just noticed today that there was a small puddle of fluid on the ground beneath where the pump for the convertible top is located in the trunk. The underbody in that area is moist also. My top is working fine but there is evidence of fluid here and there around the fittings. The shop manual says to operate the top and check for leaks and to use heavy duty brake fluid to top up the reservoir. Can anyone add to this before I go blundering in?
Best regards and Merry Christmas!!!
12-21-2013, 11:43 PM
Most times the fluid leaks through the small rubber o ring that's around the shaft and comes out the end where the motor is. Try and feel around where the wires come out of the pump and see if it is wet there. If it's not wet there then feel around where the reservoir meets the motor and see if it is leaking there. There are also rubber o rings where the hoses connect to the motor. It could be leaking in any of those areas. I would also check and make sure that your pump has brake fluid in it and not transmission fluid. Many times if the pump was replaced transmission fluid was used instead. It will be red instead of clear like brake fluid.
12-21-2013, 11:49 PM
Will do. The fluid on the ground is definitely clear rather than red and so I assume that it is brake fluid. Is it a big job to replace these o-rings?
12-21-2013, 11:57 PM
It's not a big job replacing the o rings. It's more of a problem finding the correct size. I have a kit that has an assortment of o rings in all different sizes that I've been using for years. The pumps themselves are fairly easy to take apart and reassemble. I would make sure that it's the pump first and not a loose or worn hose or solenoid that's leaking.
12-23-2013, 09:23 PM
Thanks John. This will now have to wait until after Christmas now. By the way, when topping up the pump with brake fluid, do you just fill the reservoir to the top?
Regards and Merry Christmas
12-23-2013, 09:59 PM
When filling the reservoir make sure the top is up and fill it so that it's just about up to the bottom of fill hole. Then cycle the top up and down a few times after filling and loosen the screw to let any air out after each cycle.
12-29-2013, 04:50 PM
Nothing is ever straightforward!!! I checked the fluid level in the top motor and it didn't require much to top it up. The motor and pump have been replaced at some stage and it now uses auto transmission fluid and not brake fluid as I initially thought. There is some dampness around the pump but no obvious leaks.
The puddle on the garage floor was not a red colour as would be expected but there's no evidence of brake fluid leaking and the master cylinder does not need topping up. Curiouser and curiouser. I'll keep an eye on things as I'm not convinced that the pump isn't leaking.
12-29-2013, 05:20 PM
Where is the puddle? If it's not directly under the rear passenger side quarter panel then it's probably not the top pump. If it's in the rear area it can only be brake fluid, a leaking shock absorber, differential oil or fuel. I assume you didn't have the car out in the rain.
12-30-2013, 08:16 AM
Sometimes water condenses inside mufflers. (It always drips into the warm side.) Some mufflers have a small drain hole for this condensate to escape.
Put some cardboard under the car and let it catch whatever is 'leaking'. As the fluid absorbs and creeps, you can more easily tell what it is when you pull it back out for inspection.
Heavy gear lube will sit on top, water will kinda seep in, DOT-3 brake fluid will absorb then evaporate but leave a witness mark and trans fluid will look very oily and spread.
BTW, what kind of brake fluid is in your system? Is it DOT-3 or DOT-5? (You need to be sure about this.) If you're not sure, use an eye dropper and pull a few drops out of your M/C. Drop it in a bowl of water. If it floats on top, it's DOT-5. If it immediately mixes, it's DOT-3. Never mix different types of brake fluid. - Dave
12-30-2013, 10:21 AM
BTW, what kind of brake fluid is in your system? Is it DOT-3 or DOT-5? (You need to be sure about this.) If you're not sure, use an eye dropper and pull a few drops out of your M/C. Drop it in a bowl of water. If it floats on top, it's DOT-5. If it immediately mixes, it's DOT-3. Never mix different types of brake fluid.
And an easy way to remember this is the words "Five" and "Float" both begin with the letter "F". No reason to "F"orget! :rolleyes:
12-30-2013, 05:07 PM
Definitely Dot-3. I checked with the previous owner when I bought the car. DOT-5 is silicone based isn't it? The puddle was on the passenger side of the car behind the rear wheel but further out from the wheel if you get what I mean. If it is the pump then I would expect the puddle on the floor to be red, which it isn't.
I'm away from home for this week but I will be back on the weekend and will check to see if there is another puddle as well as keep an eye on fluid levels.
Happy New Year everyone!
03-08-2014, 05:13 AM
I think I've found that hydraulic leak. It appears to be coming from the lower of the two solenoid switches next to the pump. The hole where the wire inserts is full of fluid. Are these solenoids repairable or do I just replace it?
03-08-2014, 10:18 AM
I've never had any luck trying to repair them. They're not being reproduced to my knowledge so you'll have to find a good used one. You can try Carl Heller(partsetal) to see if he has one as the 1960 squarebird solenoids are the same. If not try Bob's Bird House or the Birds Nest.
03-08-2014, 03:29 PM
Do the electrics work? A leak is one thing but a burned coil is another.
If you absolutely cannot find a replacement, I'm not promising anything but Detroit Coil Co. (http://www.rossdecco.com/index.html) is just down the street from me. They wind hydraulic solenoid coils for all the big names. - Dave
03-08-2014, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the info, and your offer Dave. The electrics work fine. It is only a slow leak and the top still works. I'll see if I can source one locally and then look further afield.
03-08-2014, 04:35 PM
Rebuilt units are available through most of the Thunderbird parts suppliers. I replaced all of mine just for the sake not wanting a failure.
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