An electric convertible top is almost standard these days! The electric version is more interesting for convertible enthusiasts than the manual version and can even be retrofitted in some older vehicles. However, retrofitting involves a certain amount of effort and does not always lead to the desired relief. Retrofitting electric convertible tops is sometimes controversial in internet forums because it also introduces a new source of error into the vehicle. The following explains in more detail what is required to retrofit an electric roof and why it does not only have advantages.
Note the cost-benefit factor
If you own an older convertible and want to convert from a manual convertible top to an electric version, you should definitely consider the cost-benefit factor. In some vehicles, an electric roof can be retrofitted, but of course corresponding parts are required for retrofitting. For electro-hydraulic convertible tops, for example, a complete hydraulic unit, the hydraulic cylinder, various brackets and plug connections and many other parts are required for the conversion. You can find conversion instructions for convertible models with a manual convertible top, such as a BMW Z3, on the Internet, since these could also be ordered from the factory with an electrical variant. This enables the OEM system of the electrical version to be installed in a vehicle with a manual roof. Technical skills of course required! It should absolutely be ensured that the conversion is carried out professionally. It is therefore advisable to have the conversion from manual convertible top to an electric variant carried out by professionals so that the interior remains dry and the convertible top opens and closes correctly over the long term. Before the conversion, the costs should be clarified and the advantages and disadvantages of an electric roof should be taken into account.
Electric hood - not only brings advantages
Retrofitting a convertible with an electric hood is not only advantageous. Because the built-in parts bring additional weight and, in many cases, the convertible top often has to be manually unlocked and locked again. A certain manual operation is still available even after the retrofit. A hydraulic-electric retrofitted convertible top for the Z3, for example, requires the brake to be permanently activated so that the electric convertible top can be operated. The driver must therefore open or close the soft top when the car is stationary. This function also needs to be retrofitted, which many are not aware of. If you still want to retrofit an e-roof for your convertible, you should pay attention to suitable components for the respective vehicle model. Due to the cost-benefit factor, there are not only supporters of the conversion to the electric roof.
universal e-roof conversion kit
So far there is no universal conversion kit from manual to electrical convertible top. Since the roof is constructed differently for each vehicle and the folding mechanism differs from car to car, it is almost impossible to produce a universal version. As a rule, therefore, only cars can be converted that were also available ex works with an electric roof. Individual solutions are of course excluded, such as the installation of the electrical locking mechanism of an Opel Astra F Cabriolet in a Kadett Cabrio. And even a VW Beetle with an electric hood from the Golf 1 or 2 is not impossible. However, such a conversion can never be accomplished using a plug-and-play solution, but is very time-consuming and complicated. But doable! And once the conversion is done, the technology can often even be done with one Remote Control be extended.
Retrofitting an electric convertible top - conclusion
If you own an older convertible and want to convert the convertible top from manual to electric convertible top, you should consider the cost-benefit factor. The conversion should be carried out professionally and costs money accordingly. Various parts, such as hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic units, must be installed that have a certain weight and can also become a source of errors. Furthermore, with many retrofit variants, the unlocking and locking of the electric soft top must still be carried out manually. There are also OEM variants in which the convertible top can only be operated when the driver applies the brakes. At that time it was so that the convertible top was not opened while driving and that the wind might bend it. Nowadays a convertible top, for example in the current Aston Martin Vantage Roadster, even open or close up to 50 km / h. In the older cars, the top can be opened and closed almost exclusively when the vehicle is stationary. In some cases, it even takes significantly longer than when closing by hand. However, an electric roof can be retrofitted for many convertibles. The interested convertible owner has to decide for himself whether the cost-benefit factor justifies retrofitting an electric roof.
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