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Q: Convertible top intermittently won't go up or down. Same thing 2 weeks ago. on 2008 Saab 9-3

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It would not go up the last time I put the top down. In the morning it worked. Today I tried to lower the top. Nothing. No error message on the SID and no clicking sound.
(2) Answers
(14) Comments
Hello,
The likely causes of failure are:
Failing motor, bad relay, bad fuse, bad switch (the one you press), or bad position sensor for the top.

If there is no click, check the fuse first, then the relay. Following that, you will have to start testing for voltage at various points on the circuit.

If you are diagnosing yourself, let me know whatever questions you have, if not, here is a list of certified shops in your area:

http://repairpal.com/saab-within-10-miles-of-delray-beach-florida-33446

For what it's worth, I'm SO glad it failed in the up position.
Have gone through the owner's manual list of fuses and none say which one is for the top. Can you help? Also, where is the relay that may be at fault.
Yes, there is one relay and one "MAXI" fuse under the rear seat, just pull it straight up to expose most of the components for the power roof.

There is a safety switch on the parking brake, so if the brake is not set, the top will never work. It is to prevent damage from lifting the top while driving. If the parking brake switch is bad, there will be no power to the top.

Power goes to the switch, then the parking brake sensor, then the fuse, then the relay, then the control module, then the motor for the roof. Somewhere in that circuit, you have an issue (or the parking brake is not set).

Does the parking brake warning light come on when the parking brake is applied?

You really will need to check for power arriving at the listed components, working forward or backwards, but check the fuse first.

With the rear seat bottom removed, apply the parking brake, press the button for the top, and listen/feel for clicking. If there is no clicking from the relay, and the fuse is confirmed good, check for power at the relay with a multimeter. If no power, start moving backwards.

I like to check the fuse, then relay, then switch before moving into more complicated things. Remember, buying parts and hoping it works is normally a very bad/wasteful idea.

Let me know how it goes, and, if needed, I can give you further diagnostic steps.

The system is not as complicated as it seems, but can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with electrical circuit diagnostics and repair.
The parking brake warning light does illuminate. Haven't yet removed the rear seat but from a picture it was difficult to see where precisely the power top components would be.
Ok, on the previous generation they were on the driver side, under the lower seat, and there are no a lot of other places it can go in that chassis.

You could just put your ear to the seat while having someone press the button. If the relay is getting power, you'll hear it click.

EDIT!*** The back of the seat for your model. Use the key, lay the seat-back down. Sorry about that. Driver side being the back of the reAR seat.
Began to follow your instructions to see whether I could hear a clicking sound under the rear seat and, lo and behold, when the person operating the switch raised it to lower the top, the windows went down and the top went down. I also was able to raise the top. Any thoughts? It should be noted that the parking brake was NOT on.
OK, I am nearly convinced the parking brake switch is the issue. That does not mean I would change it, but it does mean I would test it first.

I do not know if the switch is separate from the normal parking brake light switch, but either way, there is an issue at that junction.

I can walk you through diagnostics if you have a multimeter and some experience working with electrical circuits.

You will have to find the last place where power goes, and shake wires while testing to search for an open circuit. It is easy, but some prior knowledge is assumed.
No prior electrical knowledge but I thank you greatly for all of your help. On next occurrence I will bring it to one of the repairpal certified locations and present your diagnosis to the service manager there.
Not for them, but for you it can be. They need the Tech II for faster diagnostics, otherwise it is all done manually.

This circuit is nor very complicated, but the control module for the roof may be defective, and the Tech II can aid in checking that very quickly.

Check another shop. I am surprised to hear that any shop is not equipped with a Tech II. They are pretty inexpensive.

The other part is that most high end scanners can replicate many, if not all functions of the tech ii, so there may be something I'm not aware of.
Saab dealer said it is the switch and the top control module. Total cost $1200+. Sound right?
That makes total sense. If the module is allowing/disallowing the unit to raise/lower regardless of parking brake position, and it is receiving the correct input from the parking brake, then yes, it would need to be replaced.

The switch may or may not be faulty, and must be tested independent of the system, especially since the module it communicates with is faulty. I.e. they may think the switch is bad because the module does not recognize when it is pressed. That should be verified, but is really an insignificant part of the bill.

$1200 sound's like a dealership price, but if you areally paying for a couple of hours of diagnostics, that could play a part.

I can imagine you getting the repair done for less, but it depends on your comfortability level.

Also, the module may be a dealer part, specific to Saab, or it may be a standard module found on other GM vehicles.

If it is a common component, the dealer price can be bypassed.

The other side is that the dealer may roll the cost of diagnostics into the repair bill, or even partially.

I always, always recommend having a second estimate completed when a customer is not sure of the price of repairs.

Bottom line: $1200 after diagnosis and repair is not insane or unheard of, but it could probably** be beaten.
Was able to purchase an OEM control module for $150 and the OEM switch for $69, both from an out-of-state Saab dealer. PLUS $30! shipping/ no tax.
Wow. that is fantastic!! Good for you!
Now when you go to install it, I'll look up the excact location of the module (if you need), and don't forget to disconnect the battery before you begin working