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  1. #1
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    Saab 9-3 convertible - cabriolet soft-top system

    Brief description

    The soft-top system works with a combination of mechanical, hydraulic and electronic means. This provides fast and exact control of the motion. The soft top is opened and closed either with the control button in SIC-C or with the remote control and the function is fully automatic. No manual handling is necessary.

    The soft top, which is pulled taut on the mechanism, comprises three layers, one outer water- repellent, one insulating and one interior.

    The soft top mechanism is built of parallel three-part magnesium rails with six lateral bows. When the soft top is open, it is covered by the soft top cover and stored in a space between the rear seat and the luggage compartment.

    The soft top is opened and closed using a hydraulic system controlled by the STC (Soft Top Control).

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    1. Soft top mechanism
    2. Headlining
    3. Outer roof
    4. Rear window
    5. Soft top cover
    6. Hydraulic unit
    7. Hydraulic cylinders for soft top cover
    8. Hydraulic cylinders for soft top mechanism
    9. Hydraulic cylinders for locking first bow
    10. Hydraulic cylinders for sixth bow
    11. Soft top storage
    12. SID (Saab Information Display)
    13. SID-C (Saab Information Display Control)

  2. #2
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    Soft top system, detailed description

    Soft top mechanism

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Size:  23.8 KB 1. First bow with integrated front rail
    2. Centre rail
    3. Rear rail
    4. Second bow
    5. Third bow
    6. Reinforcing bow
    7. Fourth bow
    8. Fifth bow
    9. Sixth bow
    10. Front guide strap
    11. Rear guide belt
    12. Soft top mounting
    13. Hydraulic cylinder for locking first bow
    14. Lock hooks

    The soft top mechanism comprises two parallel metal rails running along the sides of the soft top. These rails are in three parts. One front rail that is integrated with the first bow (1), a centre rail (2) and a rear rail (3). The rails are made of magnesium to give a strong roof construction. The three rails are joined to each other with hinges. As the soft top opens, the mechanism folds at these hinges and at the main point of rotation (12), i.e. where the soft top mechanism is fastened to the body.

    Between the right-hand and left-hand metal rails are six bows. The bows are numbered from one to six with the front bow closest to the windscreen numbered one.

    The first bow (1) is made of magnesium in one piece with the front rails. The second (4), third (5), fourth (7) and fifth (8) bows are made of steel and mounted on a linkage, one on each side, from which they are controlled mechanically. The linkage is connected to the front, centre and rear rails. The sixth bow is made of aluminium.

    The reinforcing bow (6) is located between the third (5) and the fourth bow (7) and is mounted on the rear rail (3). It is not counted as a separate bow but is used only to hold the headlining taut and to reinforce the area between the two rear rails.
    The two guide straps (10, 11) join together the reinforcing bow on each side (6) with the fourth (7) and fifth (8) bows and the fifth bow (8) with the rear window frame attaching linkage. The guide straps (10, 11) are screwed to the reinforcing bow (6) and blind riveted to the fourth (7) and fifth (8) bows as well as the rear window frame attaching linkage. The guide straps (10, 11) control the fourth (7) and fifth (8) bows while the soft top is being operated and also secure the soft top when it is raised.

    The movement of the first (1), second (4), third (5), fourth (7) and fifth (8) bows is controlled by the main movement of the two hydraulic cylinders. The hydraulic cylinders are located one on each side.

    The sixth bow (9) joint is located where the soft top mechanism (12) is mounted to the body and is operated and secured by two hydraulic cylinders, one on each side. The sixth bow is made of aluminium.

    When closed, the soft top is locked to the windscreen member with rotating locking hooks (14) on both sides. These hooks are controlled by a hydraulic cylinder (13) on the first bow (1). The fastening mechanism can also be operated using a socket wrench (part of the emergency opening tool kit). Refer to emergency operation for more detailed information.

    Headlining

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    At the front of the headlining is a steel wire that is hooked onto nine hooks on the first bow of the soft top mechanism. The headlining is also fastened to the first bow on the right and left- hand sides with plastic clips. The headlining is fastened to the second, third and fourth bows with plastic rails that snap into the bows and are secured on both sides with plastic clips. The rear end of the headlining is fastened to the rear window frame and the bottom of the sixth bow. The sewn-on attaching profile has been pressed down into a groove in the bottom of the sixth bow. The sides of the headlining are also mounted to the rear rail with sewn-on attaching profiles pressed into a groove.

    Outer roof

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    The outer roof comprises two layers of fabric with a sealing layer in between. The sealing layer is used as a moisture barrier. Sewn along the sides is a drip moulding to prevent water droplets falling onto the seats when the doors are opened.

    The roof is folded over the edge of the first bow and is fastened with double-sided adhesive tape and riveted plastic rail. On the second, third and fourth bow, the roof is fastened with patches of fabric mounted with double-sided adhesive tape. This is kept in place by the plastic headlining rails, which are snap-fastened to the bows. The reinforcing bow is mounted between the third and fourth bows. It is not counted as one of the six main bows and is used only to support the outer roof and reinforce the two rear side frames.

    Around the sixth bow, the fabric is folded over the edge with a sewn-on attaching profile, which is inserted into a groove and fastened with a sealing profile. The outer roof snaps into the rear rail with plastic fasteners sewn into the fabric. Along both sides of the outer roof run wires that maintain the shape and fit of the roof even at high speeds.

    Between the outer roof and the headlining is a layer of insulating fleece material.

    The electrically heated rear window is fitted with clips to a frame integrated in the outer roof.

    Rear window

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    The electrically heated rear window (1) is mounted with clips (6) to two frames (4 and 5). The outer frame (4) is glued to the outer roof (2) and headlining (3). The upper corners of the inner frame (5) are joined to the soft top mechanism with guide straps. On the ends of the inner frame are linkages joined to the soft top mechanism. The guide straps and linkages control the rear window while the soft top is being opened and closed and ensure the final open and closed positions of the rear window (1).

    The soft top control module (STC, Soft Top Controller) blocks the "electrically heated rear window" function when the soft top is down. STC sends bus messages that are used by the BCM (Body Control Module).

    Soft top seals

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    The windscreen member seal (1) seals between the soft top first bow and the windscreen member and between the A-pillars and the door windows. The seal is pressed onto the windscreen member and the A-pillars with fastening strips and screwed to the upper corners.

    The front rail seal (2) seals between the soft top and the door windows. The seal is pressed onto a lip on the first rail and is screwed on at the front.

    The middle rail seal (3) seals between the soft top and the rear side windows as well as the trailing edge of the door window. The seal is pressed onto a lip on the middle rail.

    The rear rail and sixth bow seal (4) is one single unit. It seals between the soft top and the rear side windows as well as between the soft top sixth bow and the soft top cover. The seal is hooked and pressed into a slit at the top of the rear rails. On the sixth bow, the seal is pressed into a groove.

    The soft top seal (5) and the outer weatherstrips for the rear side windows are one unit. It seals between the soft top cover and the body as well as between the side wall and the outside of the rear side windows. The seal is pressed onto a fold in the metal and is fastened with four rubber plugs at the front.

    Seals

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    1. Soft top seals
    2. Side window seals
    3. Seals for doors and boot lid, CV

    Soft top cover

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    1. Hinge lock guide points
    2. Rear height adjustment
    3. Hydraulic cylinder
    4. Closes for emergency opening of soft top cover
    5. Soft top cover hinges

    The soft top cover protects the open soft top and acts as a sealing surface against the sixth bow when the soft top is closed. The soft top cover comprises three parts, an aluminium cover and a plastic cover with a moulding between. The soft top cover opens to the rear over the boot lid.

    The soft top cover is mounted on two hinges (5) and is operated by two hydraulic cylinders (3) located on the left and right hand sides. In order to ensure that the soft top cover is fully open while operating the soft top, there is a position sensor located on the right-hand hydraulic cylinder.

    The soft top cover is locked with the hinge (5) mechanism locking the soft top hinge at four points (1), providing a good seal against the body. To ensure that the soft top cover is fully closed, there is a position sensor located on each of the two hinges (5). At the front of the soft top cover is a lock guide that makes sure the soft top cover is in the correct position. Under the trailing edge of the soft top cover is a height adjuster (2).

    Using the soft top cover emergency opener (4) will move the rods on the left and right-hand sides of the hinges (5) and lift the hinges (5) over their dead centres.

    Soft top storage

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    The soft top storage (1) is a space between the luggage compartment and the rear seat. I comprises folding boards mounted with three hinges (2) to the torsion box and a wire driven mechanism, which lifts or lowers the soft top storage. It expands the space automatically to provide more luggage space when the soft top is closed. The space for the soft top storage is expanded when the soft top is opened.

    When the soft top is open (lowered), the soft top is kept in the space between the rear seat (torsion box) and the luggage compartment, where it is protected in the soft top storage (1).

    When the soft top is closed (raised), the soft top storage (1) is raised by its drive device (3) to make the luggage compartment bigger. The position of the soft top storage is indicated by a position sensor mounted in the mechanism (3).

    The soft top drive device (3) has a position sensor (hall sensor) mounted on the soft top drive hinge that informs the control module if the soft top storage (1) is down or not.

    If the soft top storage (1) is not at its lowest position, the control module will not operate the soft top but will send a bus message, after which the Saab information display (SID) will show: "Soft top blocked. Remove obstruction and try again", meanwhile an acoustic signal will be heard.

    Soft top storage drive device

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    The soft top storage drive (1) is operated by a cable (2) via an idler pulley (3) from the sixth bow hydraulic cylinder. The soft stop storage drive has a catch (4) that is controlled via a cable to the soft top cover hydraulic cylinder (5) from the soft top storage hinge.

    The catch for the soft top storage drive (4) makes sure the soft top storage is also raised when the soft top is closed (raised) and that it remains lowered when the soft top is opened (lowered). If the soft top cover is not closed, the drive cannot lift the soft top storage.

  3. #3
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    Soft top operation, brief description

    Overview

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    1. Soft top switch, SID-C
    2. STC control module (Soft Top Controller)
    3. Hydraulic unit
    4. Remote control
    5. ICM (Integrated Control Module)
    6. SID (Saab Information Display)
    7. Hydraulic cylinder, main mechanism with position sensor
    8. First bow position sensor (in windscreen frame)
    9. Sixth bow hydraulic cylinder
    10. Soft top cover hydraulic cylinder

    The soft top is opened and closed using a hydraulic unit and seven hydraulic cylinders. The system is operated with a switch on the instrument panel or a remote control. The movement of the soft top is controlled by the STC (Soft Top Controller).

    The position the soft top is in is detected by sensors integrated in the hydraulic system, soft top mechanism and windscreen frame. Information from each sensor is received by the STC. The soft top is controlled sequentially, which means that each soft top movement must be completed before the next one can start.

    The STC, which controls the pump and valves, must receive confirmation of the various movements from the sensors and switches within a certain time period. When one such condition is not fulfilled, all movement will cease and STC will generate an error message sent via the bus and shown on SID (Saab Information Display).

    The hydraulic unit, which is mounted in the right-hand side of the luggage compartment, comprises an electric hydraulic pump and a valve block. The hydraulic valves are located in the valve block and control the flow of fluid to the hydraulic cylinders.

    There is no pressure in the system when the soft top is completely closed or completely open. When the ignition is turned off, the pump will stop and the valves will return to their positions of rest. If work is being carried out with the soft top half raised, it must always be secured with a support to prevent it falling down.

    The soft top mechanism and soft top cover can be operated in emergencies to enable manual closing in case of a failure in the electric-hydraulic system.

    Soft top sequences, opening and closing of soft top, hydraulic functions

    The following description explains how the hydraulic system works when opening and closing the soft top.

    Opening

    Step 1, opening the sixth bow
    Pressing the soft top button on SID-C will send a command to the STC (Soft Top Control) to lower the soft top.

    Step 2, releasing first bow and opening soft top cover
    The first bow latch is released and the soft top cover is opened.

    Step 3, sixth bow, intermediate position
    Sixth bow is in intermediate position.

    Step 4, lowering the soft top
    The soft top is lowered into the soft top storage.

    Step 5, locking the soft top cover
    The first bow is secured and the soft top cover is closed and locked.

    Closing

    Step 1, opening the soft top cover
    The latch for the first bow is released and the soft top cover is opened.

    Step 2, raising the soft top
    The soft top is raised.

    Step 3, opening the sixth bow
    The sixth bow is raised.

    Step 4, locking the first bow and closing the soft top cover
    The first bow latch is secured and the soft top is closed.

    Step 5, closing the sixth bow
    The sixth bow is lowered to the soft top cover.

  4. #4
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    Soft top operation, main components

    Hydraulic system

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    1. Hydraulic valve 1 (green)
    2. Hydraulic valve 2 (blue)
    3. Hydraulic valve 3 (orange)
    4. Valve block with shuttle valves
    5. Hydraulic pump with relief valve and shuttle valves
    6. Oil reservoir
    7. Electric motor
    8. Control module
    9. Main hydraulic cylinder, LH
    10. Soft top cover hydraulic cylinder, left
    11. Sixth bow hydraulic cylinder, left
    12. Main hydraulic cylinder, RH
    13. Sixth bow hydraulic cylinder, right
    14. Soft top cover hydraulic cylinder, right 15. First bow hydraulic cylinder

    Electrical components

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    1. Soft top switch
    2. Control module STC
    3. Remote control
    4. Rear Electric Centre (REC)
    5. Driver door module (DDM)
    6. Passenger door module (PDM)
    7. Column integration module (CIM)
    8. Body control module (BCM)
    9. Infotainment control module (ICM)
    10. Rear left door module (RLDM)
    11. Rear right door module (RRDM)
    12. SID (Saab Information Display)

    Sensors

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    1. Windscreen frame, first bow locked left
    2. First bow, first bow secured
    3. Main cylinder, raised soft top
    4. Main cylinder, lowered soft top
    5. Hydraulic cylinder, sixth bow open
    6. Soft top cover hinge, soft top cover closed left
    7. Soft top cover hinge, soft top cover closed right
    8. Hydraulic cylinder, open soft top cover
    9. Soft top mechanism, sixth bow locked left
    10. Soft top mechanism, sixth bow locked right
    11. Soft top storage

    Soft top operation - detailed description (47 pages): Saab 9-3 Convertible - Cabriolet soft top operation.pdf

  5. #5
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    Hydraulic lines

    Removing

    The following is a description of changing the hydraulic lines on the hydraulic unit only. Changing hydraulic lines to the hydraulic cylinder is illustrated in the instructions for the respective hydraulic cylinder. See Soft top cover hydraulic cylinder, Hydraulic cylinders for locking first bow, Soft top hydraulic cylinder or Sixth bow hydraulic cylinder.

    It is not always necessary to dismantle the entire hydraulic cylinder when changing its hydraulic lines.

    1. Close the soft top completely.

    2. Remove Luggage compartment side trim, CV.

    3. Undo the nuts to the hydraulic unit and lift it out somewhat to access the connections.

    Important
    Lift up the hydraulic unit carefully so that the hydraulic hoses are not damaged.

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    4. Place some paper under the hydraulic unit to catch any hydraulic fluid that may run out.

    5. Remove the bolts for the hydraulic hose attaching plate.

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    6. Remove the attaching plate together with the hydraulic lines from the hydraulic unit.

    7. Remove the circlip from the hydraulic line connection piece being changed using a small screwdriver.

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    Important
    If several hydraulic lines are being replaced, they must be marked together with their connections to the hydraulic unit and hydraulic cylinders. They must not be mixed up. The hydraulic lines are marked with the same number at both ends and are different lengths. In addition, the entries through the attaching plate are marked to avoid confusion.

    8. Pull out the hydraulic line from the attaching plate.

    9. Remove the cable tie and open the hydraulic line attachments.

    10. Detach the relevant hydraulic line from the side of the hydraulic cylinder. See Soft top hydraulic cylinder, Hydraulic cylinders for locking first bow, Sixth bow hydraulic cylinder or Soft top cover hydraulic cylinder.

    11. Take out the hydraulic line.

    Fitting

    1. Put the hydraulic line in mounting position.

    Important
    Hydraulic lines must be refitted as they were earlier or there will be a risk of them being damaged when the soft top is operated.

    2. Connect the hydraulic line to the side of the relevant hydraulic cylinder. See Soft top hydraulic cylinder, Hydraulic cylinders for locking first bow, Sixth bow hydraulic cylinder or Soft top cover hydraulic cylinder.

    3. Fit the cable tie and close the fasteners used for fitting the hydraulic lines.

    Important
    Hydraulic lines must be refitted as they were earlier or there will be a risk of them being damaged when the soft top is operated.

    4. Insert the hydraulic lines into the attaching plate.

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    5. Press on special tool 82 93 854 Fitting tool, hydraulic line over the hydraulic line connection.

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    6. Place the circlip on the taper of the special tool. Press it over the flange on the line.

    7. Place the O-ring on the taper of the special tool. Fit the O-ring on the hydraulic line.

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    8. Remove the special tool.

    9. Place the attaching plate together with the hydraulic lines in mounting position.

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    10. Fit and tighten the bolts for the hydraulic line attaching plate.

    11. Place the hydraulic unit in mounting position. Fit the hydraulic unit nuts.

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    12. Fill the reservoir to MAX with fluid.
    See Checking/filling oil.
    Use 89 96 860 Power steering fluid.

    Important
    Never use the same fluid as in the Saab 900 Convertible -M94

    13. Open and close the soft top for 5 complete cycles to bleed the system and check its function.

    14. Check for any fluid leaks.

    15. Check the oil level and top up as necessary. See Checking/filling oil. Use 89 96 860 Power steering fluid.

    16. Connect the diagnostics tool and erase any diagnostic trouble code.

    17. Fit the luggage compartment trim. See Luggage compartment side trim, CV.

  6. #6
    New Member greggk's Avatar
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    06 Oct 2012
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    Hello,
    Is there a thread/link on how to replace the 1st bow cylinder? I'm assuming that's what it is unless a hydraulic line has a leak. Either way I have to get "in there" to see what it is. I have a 2004 9-3 with 91K miles. I heard the seals go between 6-9 years. Top worked yesterday and today there is a small puddle of oil on my ignition key hole and shifter and a stain on the outside of the top, and I also noticed some oil running down the inside of the trim piece on the 1st bow on passenger side. Someone recommended to have the cylinder seals replaced and rebuild... Saves hundreds?
    Is there anyway to block/clamp the lines going to that cylinder and unlock/lock the latches manually and then use the normal hydraulic system to do the rest of the auto operation? Is it easy to open and close (and secure) the top manually.
    I have also heard after a do-it-your-self-er replaces a cylinder the SID often says "Manual Operation Only Take to Dealer". Anyway to prevent this?
    Lastly, would you do all 7 cylinders or just 1 assuming the other 6 will follow...
    Thanks for any help you can give!

  7. #7
    New Member qualitygeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    09 Oct 2012
    Location
    NE Texas
    Posts
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    Saab(s)
    2004 9-3 Arc convertible
    greggk - your car sounds like a twin to mine. I had my front bow rebuilt by a guy on eBay - LeftCoastParts@aol.com then my mechanic neighbor helped my husband with the replacement of the cylinder. We just replaced the one. Fix it now before you have a spewed mess of green fluid, trust me, been there, done that...

  8. #8
    New Member saab1999's Avatar
    Join Date
    01 Oct 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
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    Saab(s)
    9-3 S eco
    Is it possible to convert the hood to manual where the back remains locked and the hood collapsing onto the back with some DIY effort to keep it secure.

    My 9-3 cab has been locked by a specialist after a fluid leak and it's too expensive to buy 4 rams that were leaking after previous owner used wrong fluid.

  9. #9
    New Member AVguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    01 Jun 2012
    Location
    Long Island, NY USA
    Posts
    46
    Saab(s)
    2004 9-3 Arc Convertible, 2008 9-3 2.0T
    This is a good guide to removing and replacing the locking (1st bow) cylinder. Just figured I would put a link to it here.

    http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/2003...structions.pdf

 

 

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