Botched DIY spider roof repair job - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 9 Old 13-07-10 Thread Starter
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Botched DIY spider roof repair job

A few weeks ago I started having problems with the roof on my 916 spider. Having read some of the threads on here it seems that a common problem on the spiders is the gear in the motor that opens the hatch which houses the hood becomes worn and needs to be replaced.

So - I thought rather than spend 400 quid on a new motor (which is what my local alfa garage quoted me), I will attempt to change the plastic gear myself. So I purchased a new gear off of one of the guys on these forums (cheers Escy) and proceeded to fit it following the below instructions:

1. Remove the lining of the storage compartment behind the seats.

2. Now, you'll be able to see two cables coming from left and right to the motor in the centre.

3. Remember the position of the 'thing' where cables come together. (It is in the closed/lock position)

4. Unscrew the centre nut and remove the 'thing' that holds the cables. (do not remove the cables from it)

5. Unscrew the two nuts on the right. (the motor is now free to come out)

6. Pull out the motor and turn it around so that 'shiny' cover is facing you

7. Unscrew the bolts and remove the cover.

8. Replace the gear, grease it up, and assemble in the reverse order.

9. Don't forget to put the 'thing' that holds the cables in the same position as it was.

The problem I had was with stage 4. The 'thing' would not budge because the cables were so tight. So stupidly I half opened the hatch which loosened the cables and out came the 'thing' which reveled the motor. I opened up the motor and changed the gear. Then I refitted the motor and replaced the 'thing' which the cables screw onto.

This is where it all went **** up........

Having re-fitted all of the components the cables were still slack and the hatch half open. I pressed the button which initiates the 'roof up' sequence. As expected the roof came all the way up. But the hatch didnt close fully and there was a 1 inch gap which meant I had to press it down with my hands and use the manual button to screw the back of the hood in place.

Now the cables are slack when they should be tight and when I press the button to initiate the 'roof down' sequence noting happens.

As you have probably guessed, im no expect when it comes to these things. Im guessing I now have to take it to an alfa garage and get them to tighten the cables and plug a laptop into the car computer and re-set the roof sequence.

What do you guys rekon?

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A little tip to slacken off that bracket which holds the cables is to press the manual button, it'll give some slack in the cables and it will slide off easily.

Rather than going to Alfa, i'd suggest taking the cable bracket off, and using the manual buttons to try and take the slack up a bit and put it back together.
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(Post Link) post #3 of 9 Old 13-07-10 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice but unfortunately only one of the manual buttons works (The one which screws the hood in tight). The other one which controls the cables does nothing.

Ive got a feeling that I now need to re-set the open/close sequence (by plugging in a laptop at an alfa garage) because I manually closed it when it was half way open and the computer probably 'thinks' its half open when it is actually fully closed.

Any ideas know how much that would cost?
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I can only speak for the Phase 1 Alfa's. They do not have the same type of memory that needs to be reset (that the ABS brakes have, for example.) At least, not a memory that affects the manual buttons behind the seat. And I believe that later models would be operating in the same way.
Are you sure that the power supply to the motor is not affected - perhaps by an unplugged connector block. The lever that is to unlock the rear cover for the soft-top, should be visibly moving from the lock to unlock positions (and vice versa) as you operate the one button behind the seat. The motor may have become stuck - in which case you will have to release the tension in the cables by unscrewing the threaded ends where they go into the lever behind the rear parcel shelf/hole.
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Hi richelliot,

I replaced the gear in the motor a few days ago. I was lucky to complete the job without much of a problem. I just had to use lots of force the unscrew the nuts on the 2 cables but other than that, the whole process went fine.

However to my shocking, I realised the gear in the motor was pretty much perfect and without any worn parts at all. I still changed the new gear Escy provided though. Refit everything back and it does start to work again. It wasn't working properly before I changed the gear, and I had to use the hammer trick sometimes to get the motor to work. (It took me quite a while to free the motor to the ''open'' position before I changed the gear)

I have attached the gear pictures for you guys to take a look at. The left is original and the right is the new gear from Escy.

So what else could it be if it's not the gear playing up? Microswitch? the motor itself?
Although it is working fine now but Im scared it might start playing up again sometime soon...
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I was of the belief that the best cure was to replace the cog with a metal one!?
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Funny you say that because I experienced the same thing!

I was expecting the gear to be a mangled wreck with really worn teeth but to my amazement the gear appeared to be fine...maybe a little worn but it didnt look like it needed replacing.
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Hi To all does anyone know how to replace the fabric roof on a spider 916 or is there any threads one here cheers
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Originally Posted by Andyspider916 View Post
Hi To all does anyone know how to replace the fabric roof on a spider 916 or is there any threads one here cheers
I would advise you get the hood fitted by a specialist soft top company. Getting a new hood to fit properly is not that easy, besides it only costs about 150-200 for the labour. You can but hood kits, but if you can't fit it well, you'll have a hood that leaks and looks awful.
I'm an upholsterer by trade of 40 years and I'm not going to do mine. Save up the money and get a new one fitted professionally.
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