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Crappy soft top cable broke - must be a better solution

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by wiztecy, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #1 wiztecy, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
    I just found the front cable to my soft top has frayed. Pretty crappy if failed after a little past 30k. I don't want to replace it again and have it prematurely fail and buying something that didn't fix the problem. Failures are bad and should be addressed after understanding why. Cables shouldn't break when not under that much of a load and not being abused or tugged on.

    Has anyone found a better solution? I have the old hardware so anything can be done.

    As for something close in relation, I've used steel and synthetic braided downrigger lines when fishing. The synthetic braided lines are amazing and have unbelievable strength. They also take being rolled up and kinked better than steel. That's where I feel my soft top wires failed, being rolled with that they want to kink inside top when stored in the truck.

    So an idea would be to replace these chinsey steel cables with braided synthetic for a durable fix.

    I put on / take off that soft top for the majority of the year and why I think it failed so early. Being used. The top is like new otherwise.
     
  2. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    I've replaced mine more than once. I think the rolling is not the problem, it is the bend applied to the cable as you latch/unlatch the side supports. The breaks I've experienced have been right at the side fitting, not at the center turnbuckle. I carry a spare and tools when going on a road trip. I believe the replacement may be available for $35 from a Lotus supplier vs. $100 from Tesla, but I have not tested that option yet.
     
  3. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #3 wiztecy, Jun 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
    You're right about the point of failure, mine busted in the same place at edge. One cable at the elise-shop is $75!!!

    No way man. Highway Robbery. I'm definitely going to reuse the hardware and use synthetic or at least attach my own cable.

    CABLE-SOFT TOP-SIDE ADJUSTER [B116V0064H] - 55.93 : Elise Shop, Performance parts for your Lotus Elise

    Here's a write up on how to replace it:
    Fixing a broken roof cable - TechWiki

    And Bingo, here's the write up on how to fix your broken one using a bicycle brake cable wire:

    How to fix the rear cable on the Elise S2 long roof soft top - TechWiki
     
  4. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    So I haven't fixed my broken cable yet, but now I have two busted so I guess that's better in a way. Knock both out in one shot.

    I also found what looks like a better alternative, the Taylor Mesh Top has a similar cable run which Eric/VFX is using. The cable is way thicker, I also noticed he's not using any adjusters in the top, just crimping the ends. Honestly I haven't played with my adjuster once.

    Have to ask him where he picked up the cable / ends, they don't seem specific at all and I'm sure available in the mass market.

    Also this would be a great add-on for Eric, to sell replacement / custom soft top cables but at the fraction of the Lotus/Tesla cost.
     
  5. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    DIY cable is a great idea unless you use cable that is NOT stainless steel.

    You will get rust marks and corrosion stains on the top and on the car that will be difficult to get rid of.

    ENSURE that you use stainless, or your "on the cheap repair" will wind up costing $$$.

    Best,

    T

    - - - Updated - - -

    From my experience with auto interior and convertible and roadster tops...

    Ideally the adjuster is a one time use item. The factory makes the top, places it on the car, adjusts it to fit, and then you leave it alone.

    Unless the cable and the rubber gaskets allow "creep" over time, adjustment may never be required. It is mainly for initial fitment, and makes initial fitment much easier.

    Best,

    T
     
  6. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Thanks, good point to make on the cable. The bike cables typically are galvanized coated cables and if you went that route best would be to run them through a plastic housing so that in any event they can't damage the soft top with stains that could bleed through. The mesh top appears to be a pure stainless steel cable.

    Good to know about the adjustments! I never had to adjust mine, and right when it appeared I needed to (top looked saggy/sloppy), the cables began to snap.
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I've had to adjust mine repeatedly. Mind you, this year I've not put it on. Or the hardtop. Since I got the Model S I take the Roadster out on the nice days!
     
  8. jstegall

    jstegall Member

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    Hi all, new to the forum. I read the FAQ and did a bit of digging, which lead me here.

    I've got a Roadster (#362) with both the soft and the hard top. My roadster is a daily driver, and for some reason in the past 18 months I've had my soft top cables break on me 5 times (front three times, rear twice). Yes, each time I paid Tesla to get them replaced. Just had my front one break again. Just as others mentioned, each time it's been about an inch away from the clasps. I decided there must be a better way, but when I search for aftermark Tesla Roadster parts, performance parts, etc. I get nothing. The only aftermarket part I'm aware of - which I do have - is The Can.

    I saw mention of "Eric/VFX" and another top. Are there other web sites that specialize in aftermarket parts for the Roadster? Is contacting Eric the best way to find out about other soft top cables or is there a web site where I can find this stuff? What about a noise reduction kit (while they're still on Tesla's site as upgrades for the Roadster, Tesla tells me they haven't been sold for a few years).

    There's a lot of stuff I'd love to do the car. I didn't see anything in the wiki or the FAQ about recommended vendors and such (I was in fact surprised not to even see mention of The Can).

    Thanks in advance!
     
  9. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    #9 hcsharp, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
    This is tricky. Where do you draw the line between a FAQ for roadster-specific aftermarket products and advertising? Who decides what qualifies to go in the FAQ and what doesn't? Maybe we can vote? It's not a clear-cut easy thing to do, but you're right it would be quite helpful. I need custom floor mats right now but I'll be darned if I can remember where to buy them. Wish I could go to the Wiki and find out!

    There is a Tesla Parts For Sale forum, and Sponsors forum in the Marketplace section. But they aren't organized to be helpful to a new owner who doesn't know what's out there. Maybe we could put a Roadster-specific vendor Wiki somewhere in the Marketplace section? I suggest to new owners OVMS, the Tattler, Mesh top, the glass hard top, and (ahem) The Can adapter.

    Disclosure: I sell The Can for profit.
     
  10. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    I've had three breaks, although one or two of those were with second-hand cables that the Tesla service center gave me.

    I believe that Tesla's cable is the same as the Lotus Elise cable with center turnbuckle (not the side turnbuckle used on older Elise models), but I have not sourced one that way yet. They were significantly cheaper than Tesla's $100 price.
     
  11. jstegall

    jstegall Member

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    I own your The Can adapter! It was the first thing I purchased for my Roadster when I learned about it a few years ago! Not just new owners though - I'm not a new owner - I've been on Tesla's forums for years now, and I admittedly avoided these for some time because they weren't very organized and I could always get what little info I needed on Tesla's forums. But the past year I've felt somewhat neglected as a Roadster owner on Tesla's forums. Not really feeling the "as early adopters you'll receive lifetime support and upgrades" I heard 6ish years ago. Admittedly we are getting a battery upgrade.

    But as my car is now 6 years old, what few things on it that can break down have started to. You mentioned the OVMS, Tattler, and mesh and glass tops. Where can I find those? Where can I get more info? I didn't see much in the sponsors forum and for sale I checked previously, but it's mostly used parts. Googling brings up nothing useful.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  12. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Use the search in the TMC forum with the keywords and you'll find what you need. And if you haven't found it that way then ask for help about where the links / info is. I've always found what I needed off the TMC search.

    As for the soft top cables, I'm not paying $70 bucks a pop per front/back for a POS under-designed (Lotus) product. Its just supporting that junk and their rip-off model if you do. I'm going to use the same SS hardware in the cables, I cut the cables off yesterday. Need to drill out the cable as in the link I posted earlier, but also I'm going to drill a hole in the side of the hardware. First I'm going to try running my braided "synthetic" downrigger line I used for my previous fishing season. 300#+ test, was snagged on rocks and it anchored my boat pulling it back around. It won't fail on the top. Its also flexible. I'll run it through some plastic tubes to add a little rigid structure to it and fish it out the side hole I drilled and tie a knot to set it. I'd bet that'll never have to be replaced after I re-design it. If its not to my liking I'm going to run a SS cable through a plastic tube as well to protect the top and then drill/tap the side holes I made so I can install an allen set screw to lock down the cable. My top still looks good and stays snug without the cables. I think the issue may arise once it starts raining and I have the soft top on while moving.... wind / water will work under anything that's not tight. Appears the cables create a tight seal via being taunt against weather seals of the Roadster's body.
     
  13. sethr

    sethr CPO Roadster #1089

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    I only started using my soft top two months ago, and am very curious to know roughly how many times you had your soft tops on and off before you started having cables break, so I have an idea of what to expect. I've only had mine off and on half a dozen times so far, since it's usually uncomfortably humid here in Virginia, and nice days are rare. I'm hoping this fall will be more conducive to driving with the top off.... On a related subject, I switched to the soft top because I was tired of constantly adjusting my hard top to minimize the squeaks and rattles. I find now I have at least as many squeaks and rattles, albeit different ones, with the soft top on, and even some squeaking with it off. (The roads in my area are horrendous - the prolific potholes are usually overfilled, to the point that the resultant bump is as high as the pothole was deep!) Curious as to other's experience with soft top noises as well. Appreciate your input/advice here.
     
  14. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    It should last you a long time Seth...I have 80,000 kms on my Roadster...I drive it all year round (Canadian winters) as it is my daily driver....I broke my first cable about 2 months ago...


     
  15. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #15 wiztecy, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
    I take my soft top on/off more than twice a day for half the year, typically from May to Nov (California). Top gets rolled up and placed in the trunk each time This is my 3rd season (30,000+ miles) doing that to give you an idea of the duration. But I've heard others where the cables broke way quicker than that. When it begins to start raining, I throw on my glasstop. There're threads on TMC that discuss how to remove squeaks and rattles coming from your hard-top.
     
  16. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    I stopped off at a bike shop, they sell stainless steel brake cables. 5 ft for $5. Looking for a plastic sleeve to run them through, if I can't find any I'll just use electrical shrink tubing. So if you don't have the braided downrigger line the SS cable route is the way to go:

    Amazon.com: stainless steel brake cable
     
  17. jstegall

    jstegall Member

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    Like Wiztecy I'm in California, use this car as my daily driver, and take it on/off at least twice a day, sometimes more.

    I don't think it has anything to do with how many miles you drive, but how you store the soft top and put it on and take it off. When I bought my Roadster years ago, they told - and showed me - that you "roll" it on and off. This has always been very easy for me and I'd say very quickly I could put the top on or take it off in under 30 seconds; it never strained the top, nor did I ever feel like I was pulling the wire.

    No, the stupid thing always broke while I was rolling it up. So sethr, I'd say it's all about how you roll it up, and I'd be willing to bet that if you never rolled it up but always somehow laid it out straight it'd probably last a lot longer.

    On another note, I did manage to find everything that chenry mentioned, albeit most of the items I found by using Google after I changed "Tesla Roadster" to "Lotus" suddenly many of the items started showing up.
     
  18. pgwoosley

    pgwoosley Member

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  19. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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  20. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Tried drilling out the cable from the Stainless hardware for the soft top cable, impossible to do with what I have. Keeps running off the center mark when drilling. May take it to a machine shop to see if they have proper tools to center the holes. Also may be better to have new hardware made from scratch, or find something similar that works.
     

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