Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationMaintenance & Repairs · 1 decade ago

2000 Saab 9-3 Convertible: Hydraulic Hose Soft Top Problem?


I am in desperate need of advice and will appreciate any information that you can provide.

On June 6th, I purchased a 200 Saab 9-3 Convertible. The top seemed to operate slowly. The sales person said that “it just took a minute.” After driving the care for a few days, the top operated more smoothly. I thought that perhaps the car had been sitting on the lot and the battery had lost its charge. About a month later, the top failed to go down in mid-operation.

One of the hydraulic hoses that attach to the driver side cylinder blew off of the fitting. I ordered the hose from the dealer and was told that these hoses almost never need to be replaced. My general mechanic replaced the hose and as soon as we put the top down, a hose connecting to the cylinder on the passenger’s side blew off of the fitting.

I decided to take the care to a Saab mechanic to find out the cause of the hoses blowing off. It turns out that ALL of the hoses have lost the black plastic coating. The mechanic believes that I will continue to blow hoses and suggested replacing all of them. He has posted online threads to other mechanics but has yet to find anyone who has had this problem.

I took the hose to a hydraulic hose company. The owner said that the black plastic coating is an integral part of the crimping and since it is crumbling off, the fitting is not tight enough to withstand the pressure. He said that it should not be coming off and that it was poor workmanship from the manufacturer. He concurs with the fact that I will continue to blow off the hoses. He suggested just replacing the 2 hoses on each cylinder, since they provide the power to lift the top.

In addition, I have called a few other places to see if they have seen this problem. One mechanic said that the Saab mechanic doesn’t know what he was doing and that couldn’t possibly be the problem, since those hoses rarely fail. Both mechanics have worked on Saab’s for over 20 years. I feel like I am stuck between a battle of the experts. I know that I am running out of money and I certainly can’t afford to replace all of the hoses.

Have you ever seen this type of problem? Do you know where I can get the hoses cheaper? Ideally, I would like to find an overseas source, as the US sites are still very expensive. Do you have any advice? I can also send pictures of the hose if that helps, just e-mail me.



2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Hi Misty,

    It matters not whether hose failure is a common occurrence with your year/make/model. It is a fact that yours are failing and you have the salesman as a witness that the top worked poorly when you bought it. If the top worked slowly, you had a problem right there and then that should have been addressed by the dealer. They should now repair the problem under your warranty, no matter what it takes. Generaly once a problem is known to the dealer, you should be covered even if the warranty runs out.

    Convertible power systems are very sensitive to the type of fluid used. Sopme use transmission fluid (Red) and some use brake fluid (Clear). In either case you should be able to see throught it. I don't think any systems used brake fluid since the mid 50's. If your system leaked and someone topped it off with brake fluid, it may be attacking your hoses. This could have been done by the previous owner or the dealer where you bought it.

    If you have a mixture of the two, the fluid will appear either pink or maybe even frothy to the point that it is no longer translucent. Compare it to 100% transmission fluid.

    I believe that you have three options. Have the hoses replaced by the dealership or by a hydraulic hose company. The other part of the options is to do them all now or as they blow.

    IMHO, of course.

    Regards, Karl at

    Source(s): 41 years installing convertible tops
  • 1 decade ago

    Plastic isn't a good substance to withstand pressure in the first place, and add a little dryrot into the mix and it's a wonder that people haven't been having more problems with this.

    What happened to a good old fashioned metal hose clamp for Christ's sake!?!

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