SSR Roof Hydraulics - Chevy SSR Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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SSR Roof Hydraulics

I just bought a used 2004 SSR and keep getting a Roof timed out warning when I go to put the roof down. I got the cover opened and saw what I thought was water laying in the bottom of the roof well. It turned out to be a light oil. I also saw a reservoir that seemed to be very low on fluid. Would this be for the roof cylinders and if so what type of oil is it? With it being low I can't check for leaks till I can fill it. Has anyone else run into this?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 01:16 PM
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you have a hydraulic roof cylinder leaking. There are four on each side. Usually, you can tell which side and which cylinder is leaking by wear the oil is. also, you can feel around the top or bottom of each cylinder to find out which one is leaking. The only way to repair them is to pull them and have them sent off for rebuild. It is recommended that you do all eight. Otherwise you will be rebuilding one every few months. There is a place on the forum where service info is available. I am not at home so I can't get to the info now. I am sure someone will add to this link with the info you need. The hydraulic fluid is CHF11S and can be found at most auto parts places. I had to pull and rebuild mine so I know the feeling.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biker24 View Post
I just bought a used 2004 SSR and keep getting a Roof timed out warning when I go to put the roof down. I got the cover opened and saw what I thought was water laying in the bottom of the roof well. It turned out to be a light oil. I also saw a reservoir that seemed to be very low on fluid. Would this be for the roof cylinders and if so what type of oil is it? With it being low I can't check for leaks till I can fill it. Has anyone else run into this?
Biker24, yes, quite a few have experienced the hydraulic cylinder leak issue that you describe. First order of business, determine the source of the leak:

1. If you're lucky, you only have a leak at the reservoir mount on the hydraulic pump. There will be a bunch of hydraulic fluid directly below the hydraulic pump in the forward center of the roof storage bay. If you see fluid here, get a mirror and a flashlight and try to see if the white plastic reservoir is fully seated against the pump motor. Put the mirror under the pump and use the flashlight to light up the underside of the reservoir. There should be no space, or gap, between the plastic reservoir and where it mates up to the pump housing. There is a "hose clamp" that holds the reservoir to the pump, sometimes that clamp loosens and allows the reservoir to leak.
If you see a gap, loosen the clamp, and press the reservoir completely against the pump, then tighten the clamp. The reservoir is designed to tilt at a bit of angle from the pump, so don't expect it to be horizontal to the floorboard when seated. The outboard end of the reservoir sits up higher than the inboard end. If you can't see the bottom of the reservoir with the mirror, you will likely need to remove the vinyl cover from the hydraulic pump. The cover is held on with a zip-tie, just cut the zip-tie and remove the cover. Be careful that you don't cut any hydraulic lines or electric wires when you do this.

If the area under the pump is dry ...

2. Check for indications of a fluid leak at the base of either main lift cylinder, they are located in the top storage bay directly behind the driver and passenger seat locations. You should see evidence of fluid at the bottom of one of these cylinders and that fluid would flow into the recess at the extreme left and right sides of the storage bay. At the rear of each of these recesses is a drain hole that allows the fluid to spill onto the ground (or your garage floor, or your wife's flower bed). If it has been a long while since all the fluid leaked out the fluid may have dried up, but you can probably find evidence of the leak. In 90% of the cases, it is either the left or right main lift cylinder that has developed a leak.

Here is a link to Dicktator's Library file that discusses hydraulic cylinder removal:
Hydraulic Cylinder Removal

There are a lot of SSR owner's who have experienced this issue and have the knowledge to assist you in effecting this repair yourself. Or you can try a dealership and risk overpaying for work that you can do yourself.

I'm sure you will get responses from many others ... this is a COMMON and correctable problem.

Regards, Carl
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 01:39 PM
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Biker24, where are you located? If in Florida, you have access to a huge brain-trust of experienced folks who are more than happy to assist you in getting your roof back into operating condition.

Regards, Carl
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 03:21 PM
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One possible source of the problem if it is leaking at the pump/reservoir is if it has been overfilled with oil and it could have blew the reservoir off. Refer to a previous quote to reattach and tighten the clamp. I'm not going to say who made this stupid mistake, my first lesson learned by a newbie owner.
If you have a need for a source of repair parts for the pump or cylinders one source is Top Hydraulics in Florence Oregon or Washington, not sure, google it to get their web site and number, they are very helpful, there are probably others that can help.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 08:27 AM
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My SSR:
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Lot about roof on SSR How to Library

https://onedrive.live.com/?id=3EF39D...F39D9F5ADCE5E5

Reservoir is Plastic with radiator clamp which GM put out Buliton "Don't use radiator clamp on Plastic".

BE CAREFUL in removing/replacing Fill Plug!! Only Plastic reservoir, to much pressure/pulling can/will crack reservoir. Can't be repaired.

I have made several NEW reservoir for replacement but they are still in prototype stage.

Bigger, Better, Stronger, flexible and work on new clamp w/360 degree pressure.

Roof Hydraliic Cylinders can be sent to: About two day turnaround.

WEST COAST:
TOPHYDRAULICS,INC.
90730 Southview Lane
Florence, Oregon 97439
Phone 541-902-3214


EAST COAST:
CABRIOLET HYDRAULICS
3007 62nd Ave East
Bradenton, Fl 34203
Phone 941-756-1300

Dicktator

1. OEM Reservoir & Clamp
2. CHF-11S is the Hyd oil, can about $20.00 Advance/NAPA. Dealer pint $55.00
3.NEW reservoir and OEM reservoir.
4.Brass plug w/O ring. DO NOT overtighten.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 08:50 AM
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To further emphasize on Dicktator's warning, you can and probably will need a wrench to remove the fill plug. Make sure the o-ring stays on the plug. When replacing the fill plug, as long as the plug o-ring is properly in place, FINGER TIGHT is enough to adequately seal.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 06:09 PM
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Lift Struts.

Do not consider replacing the cylinders with out checking the supporting ability of the Top Lift Struts (not cylinders). When you can work the top, lower it and see if it drops the last few inches and lands with a "Bump". If so you need to also replace the Lift Struts. Yours are 13 years old. These struts support the weight of the top as it is raised or lowered, as they age they are prone to losing pressure and do not support the load as they should. If you get that "bump", the load falling that last few inches spikes the pressure in the hydraulic system, not good.

Jack
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 01:55 PM
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Hey thanks for the informative thread!

I have a question, I'm looking at SSR's now to buy - How do I stall the roof cycle so I can look at the cylinders to see if they are leaking.

Thanks In advance.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:06 PM
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Release the button near the bottom, they will bleed down as top drops. Watch, listen for last few inches of movement.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for the quick reply - where would I find the button and would a seller let me bleed the system down or does this just stop the pump.

Thanks
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:35 PM
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The button to operate the top is on the center console. With the engine running and your foot on the brake, you have to hold the button until the door for the roof opens, then take your finger off the button and the cycle will stop before the roof starts to retract. At this point you can get out and inspect the compartment for leaks or whatever. The seller certainly shouldn't object to that. Then get back in and continue the cycle by pushing the button(foot on brake?) and as the roof retracts into the compartment listen/watch for the thud at the end which would indicate the two pneumatic cylinders autoprof mentioned are tired. The pneumatic cylinders take something like 130 lbs each to compress, so you can see they are a big help to the hydraulic system.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autoprof View Post
Release the button near the bottom, they will bleed down as top drops. Watch, listen for last few inches of movement.
After you release the button, you need to turn the key to "off" in order for the pump solenoids to release and let the top fall on its own...

I actually like to do this with the top about half stowed. After shutting off the key, you can get out and gently push the top toward the stow position and gravity will take over. If the struts are good, it should stow smoothly without a hard landing. If the struts are not good, it is just a little effort and less than $200 to change them.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:59 PM
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Thanks so much guys I bookmarked this post in my phone to give it a try when looking!

Do you had to put a percentage how many SSR's have leaking cylinders? Also is it certain to happen on all SSR's or it just might. I'm guessing its just the shaft seal leaking since in most case I've been reading the top still works.

I have a number of Kubota's and while a right cylinder might fail the left might last another 10 years.

Thanks
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 03:07 PM
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The pros tell us the seal material GM used has a lifespan of about a dozen years and when one cylinder goes the others are close. Obviously that dozen years is plus or minus a lot. I suspect it's shorter in hot climates and longer in cold, but that's a guess. I also suspect garage queens that don't get used often will be different from daily drivers, but again that's a guess.

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 05:46 PM
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Thanks so much would seem to be the right thing to do is change them all and get it over with - I would guess the extreme temperature of darker SSR's might have a factor since that compartment appears to be somewhat closed.

Thanks Guys!
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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 10:24 PM
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You guys scare me to death reading about the roof cylinders. I have read the posts and photos by Dictator walking us through removal and repair. It is not simple by any means, a problem to get to them for an older fat guy like me, and beyond my limited skills. If and when mine go I will be in real trouble as I live in the middle of Missouri and it is apparently several hundred miles to any SSR tech group. I know no one in this area that either would be willing to replace them or I would trust to do it correctly. My only choice as I see it is to pay through the nose for the local Chevy dealer to tackle it. AS best I can tell mine are ok now, but based on what I read here (on a 12 year old vehicle) it is just a matter of time until they fail. NOT A PLEASANT SITUATION TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 04:59 AM
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If you get in that unfortunate situation you may also want to contact Cadillac dealers in your area. Evidently they also had a model utilizing a hardtop/convertible similar to our R's.

Ask their service manager if they have any experience in servicing these type tops.

Dave
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penny pincher View Post
You guys scare me to death reading about the roof cylinders. I have read the posts and photos by Dictator walking us through removal and repair. It is not simple by any means, a problem to get to them for an older fat guy like me, and beyond my limited skills. If and when mine go I will be in real trouble as I live in the middle of Missouri and it is apparently several hundred miles to any SSR tech group. I know no one in this area that either would be willing to replace them or I would trust to do it correctly. My only choice as I see it is to pay through the nose for the local Chevy dealer to tackle it. AS best I can tell mine are ok now, but based on what I read here (on a 12 year old vehicle) it is just a matter of time until they fail. NOT A PLEASANT SITUATION TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
Thanks for the reply - I learned many many years ago that you never bring anything more difficult than changing a tire to a dealer - as we all know most mechanics, even the trained ones could care less about the car they work on I could tell you horror stores about my wife's Vet but I'm sure we have all heard them.

While i would not attempt to rebuild them myself - I would pull them off to avoid the inevitable scratch or incorrect re-assembly.

Thanks
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Low On Cash View Post
Thanks so much would seem to be the right thing to do is change them all and get it over with - I would guess the extreme temperature of darker SSR's might have a factor since that compartment appears to be somewhat closed.

Thanks Guys!
I would strongly advise AGAINST messing with any of the hydraulics unless your system has experienced a failure. To date, we have not found any single root cause for hydraulic actuator failure. As in any hydraulic system, there are a myriad of possible contributing causes, but none that stand out as common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by penny pincher View Post
You guys scare me to death reading about the roof cylinders. I have read the posts and photos by Dictator walking us through removal and repair. It is not simple by any means, a problem to get to them for an older fat guy like me, and beyond my limited skills. If and when mine go I will be in real trouble as I live in the middle of Missouri and it is apparently several hundred miles to any SSR tech group. I know no one in this area that either would be willing to replace them or I would trust to do it correctly. My only choice as I see it is to pay through the nose for the local Chevy dealer to tackle it. AS best I can tell mine are ok now, but based on what I read here (on a 12 year old vehicle) it is just a matter of time until they fail. NOT A PLEASANT SITUATION TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
Again, let me be supportive of the original design of the system. There are 24,000 in service across the country and only a few failures each year. This is, by no means, any sort of statistical failure rate.

Dick's procedures are a blessing in document form. They give us all the confidence that there is nothing in the roof system that should give us pause in repair. If, as an owner, you don't have the skills or ability to replace them yourself, you can go to a skilled ship with a procedure in hand that anyone can follow.

If you have a failure in your hydraulic system, bring it to the forum and we will provide the support you need to get it repaired. Several people are experienced enough in doing this that they could, literally, walk you through this over the phone. If need be, I bet that a rescue team would be willing to dispatch to your location or have you come to theirs.

Bottom line here - - - don't let anything on this vehicle give you pause. There are very few real problems that surface on this truck and NONE of them are impossible. You are surrounded by a support group that has been monitoring the fleet for 10+ years and seen almost every possible problem crop up.

I have the highest regard for all the technical support and emotional support that the SSR family can bring to bear on any problem.

Keep the faith and enjoy the ride.

Mike

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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:03 AM
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I wouldn't worry about the hydraulic cylinders unless you see a leak. Preventative maintenance by checking to make sure there is enough fluid and that the reservoir is properly installed should be enough.

If the roof lands a bit hard, consider replacing the roof struts first. Mike supplies them already compressed and set in a tool, which you then return to Mike.

Had the struts on my 06 replaced a couple years ago by Stephen at LST - also a preventative maintenance thing, rather than a necessity at the time.

Replacing the struts will reduce the workload on the main hydraulic cylinders, likely extending their life.

Like Mike said - if it aint broke....................

Keep in mind that this group is excellent at posting about problems, and many members are excellent at solving them. I've had an 03 and now the 06, and the 03 is still in my neighborhood. Neither has experienced any significant issues. Replacing components with higher quality aftermarket parts is also more of a preventative maintenance effort.


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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 02:17 PM
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I've been thinking about having a major expense like a blown engine or trans would be expensive. Then at the barber shop I was thumbing through one of those trucks for sale magazines and saw this Ford. I realize itís a top of the line, King Ranch, diesel, dually, with all the bells and whistles, but $37,500 for a 7 year old truck with 96,000 miles blows my mind. Kind of puts things in perspective. Fix the SSR, it could cost far more for something less than half as cool.
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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 04:12 PM
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I just ordered the roof struts from Mike. He states in his website that 2 people are needed to perform the task but I was wondering if anyone has done it by themselves without a screw up or a hospital visit?

Thanks,

Dave
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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 04:58 PM
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I just ordered the roof struts from Mike. He states in his website that 2 people are needed to perform the task but I was wondering if anyone has done it by themselves without a screw up or a hospital visit?

Thanks,

Dave
Follow step by step on How to Library.

https://onedrive.live.com/?id=3EF39D...F39D9F5ADCE5E5

Look up Roof Pneumatic

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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 09:26 PM
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I just ordered the roof struts from Mike. He states in his website that 2 people are needed to perform the task but I was wondering if anyone has done it by themselves without a screw up or a hospital visit?

Thanks,

Dave
The second person is your spotter.......... You may never need him, but it makes me feel good.

If you are doing bench presses at the gym, are you confident in doing it by yourself????

Your call.

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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 05:28 AM
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Okay Mike since I've missed a few days at the gym I'll take your advice and cancel my one man install.

Thanks for getting back with me.

Dave
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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 08:00 AM
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Okay Mike since I've missed a few days at the gym I'll take your advice and cancel my one man install.

Thanks for getting back with me.

Dave
No need to fully cancel...... just put off replacing them a couple days. Just get a second person to keep you company while you follow the procedure that comes with the struts. You actually do all the work by yourself, it's just a good thing to have a second person on the other side to "watch" you. Does not need to be a mechanic or a strong person..... just a body.

Not difficult and certainly not dangerous. Takes me about 5 minutes to change a pair.

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post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 10:41 AM
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My spotter.........

My Spotter on the first set I changed was on my truck. She weighs 106 mean pounds and is not mechanically inclined. But she has attended 2 of Mike's Training Sessions and has the Certificate to prove it.

The first strut takes about 25 minutes, the second 2 to 5 minutes.

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