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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Guys. I need your assistance.

Yesterday I bought a beautiful little white '09 cabrio to replace my yellow '08, which was totaled last week. Car looks like brand new. One owner, 30k miles, not a single scratch to the panels, top looks like it has never been down, and seats look like they must have carefully laid down teflon panels before they sat their bottoms down. I mean it looks showroom new, and it ran like a top the 400 mile trip home. I got an unbelievably good deal on it. Felt like I stole the thing.

Now, here's the deal. I took a gamble on this car because it was SO clean and SO well maintained, I figured the one issue must be repairable.

When the cabrio top is in open position, it is perfectly normal. When it is closed, it sounds like the four horseman of the Apocalypse are in the passenger seat. I've had four other '08 cabrios. I KNOW what it's not supposed to sound like.

I had the salesman put some oil on the gasket in hopes that it was just dried out and lubrication would help the seal. It didn't.

About half way home, I tried opening and closing it several times, in hopes it would "work out" whatever the problem was. I realized if I didn't close the top all the way, it sounded "normal". When I got home, I checked, and while in the "almost closed" position there was about a half inch gap between the top and the bar, midway over the passenger window.

I don't think it's wise to drive it like that to deaden sound, and if I forget to close it the remaining fraction, well, Hello Rain!

When fully closed, it looks absolutely normal. But the noise is absolutely deafening at 45mph+.

Any suggestions on what the issue is here?

As I said, it appears the cabrio top was never used. The fabric is a tiny bit stiff, like new fabric would be. The seal at the windshield seems to be tight. I took out the side bars and put them back before I bought it to make sure they fit and hadn't been screwed up somehow.

The only visual flaw on the car is about a quarter sized tear or "peel" at the front right corner of the cabrio top, but the long drive didn't make it any bigger. I don't think the wind was pulling at it and making the racket, or it would have stripped the whole top off the car at 80mph.

The salesman said he had noticed the noise, but wasn't familiar with Smarts, and he thought it was normal for them. I just goggled at him. The thing has the decibels of standing under a jet engine.

She's a happy little car, and the more I drove her, the better she got. I think she knew she was going to a home where she'd be appreciated, and get a little plastic surgery on that one thing that ails her. I swear these things have personalities.

Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I've been looking at older threads. Has anyone tried the Krytox GPL 105 lubricant on the cabrio gasket with any success? Or can you recommend any other lubricant that might "plump" the gasket?

We parked our '08 cabrio next to the '09 and compared them. They are identical except that the gasket is slightly "wavier" and there is a slightly larger gap where the canvas meets the gasket on the just purchased car, noticeable but not more than a fraction of a millimeter.

There are no "creases" in the cabrio fabric, and none of the tell-tale dirt on the inner roof. I don't think the prior owner ever even put the top down. It seems to have a leak from simple lack of use.

I saw someone got a dealer quote (and this thread was years old) to replace the gasket for $700+. But the gasket seems to be sealing tight.

Any suggestions welcome.
 

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You can adjust the tension on the roof - there is a little strap that maintains tension between the headliner and outer fabric which has a sort of buckle. Each side has a separate adjustment. This is from a 450 but I should imagine the 451 is the same. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You can adjust the tension on the roof - there is a little strap that maintains tension between the headliner and outer fabric which has a sort of buckle. Each side has a separate adjustment. This is from a 450 but I should imagine the 451 is the same. Good luck.
Any possibility of getting a photo?
 

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Partially retract the roof, maybe halfway, and fish around inside between the headliner and outer shell and see if there is a strap. On the 450 there is one on either side and you can adjust the tension on each separately.

 

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Mine is a bit like yours when closed. I used some silicone spray on the sides and the wavy went streight. I can not pinpoint the area that the noise is coming from. Never thought to check the front. I do not think making the top tighter will help your nor my issue with noise better. The side seal seams to me to be the point of the noise ( towards the front by the seam of the rails). my thought is the rail is out of adj. and needs to be up a bit. my plan is to try and put a shim of some sort on the front of the rail ( Living in Ohio means this idea needs to wait till warmer weath to see if it is a cold weather issue)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is an old post, but I just wanted to follow up, in case it helped anyone else in the same boat.

I finally got around to getting this little car to an upholstery shop, and lo and behold, it just needed the corner glued down.

A tiny little fabric "peel" on the corner of the cabrio top, not even half an inch back from the edge, was the source of the deafening noise.

My guy fixed it, charged me a whopping $40, and it has been fine ever since.

I bought this little car on a gamble, and the gamble paid off. Woot!!!!!!

Still, I wish she was yellow.......
 
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