Replacing 306 Cabriolet Hydraulic Roof Hoses

The story so far…

In a previous life I owned a 1998 Peugeot 306 Cabriolet (for roughly 2 years), and in that time the most expensive and common breakage has been the hydraulic roof hoses (also called hydraulic lines) – they’d burst 3 times! The local Peugeot dealer offers two solutions: a whole new set of 8 hoses for $2800, or a replacement of the broken hose using a left over hose from another job or a wrecker for $500 to $600 a pop. I went the single hose option the first two times my roof had problems, but by the third time I’d had enough! I posted a plea for help in the ROAR magazine and was directed to the guides at http://www.pcoclub.org/articles/index.html

I was able to follow the guide for the older models and have successfully replaced my hoses, saved a stack of cash and learned a little along the way. I’d like to share these experiences with other owners as there were a few caveats which could have saved me time and effort if I’d known them at the outset.

Notes before we begin

There are two different pumps in the 306 cabriolets, I have the “old” style pump, if you have the new style pump the method is much the same but for the removal of the hydraulic hoses from the pump itself. The pump is located at the right hand side of your boot compartment. Pull away the lining and have a gander, if it looks like this (taken after completion of replacement):

its the old style pump and you can follow this guide exactly. The newer style pumps don’t have the 8 hoses connected through a block – they all attach separately. Those who own a newer model pump will have to use the guide from here (http://www.pcoclub.org/articles/cabland06.html) to remove the hoses from the pump end. Everything else in this article still applies.

Deconstruction

Firstly pull away the lining (if not done already) to expose your pump. It’s a good idea to pull up a bit of the boot floor lining as well, just so you don’t get it messy.

Undo the two bolts holding the pump to the car body – you have to undo the top one fully, but the bottom one can just be loosened. Put down a bed of rags and pull the pump off its mounting and onto the bed of rags.

We need to keep track of which end of the block is the top, so make a couple of scratches in it – I’ve scratched “TOP”, made a few lines and put some white electrical tape on mine, as can be seen in the following photo (also taken after completion):

Now, ensuring you are sitting on the bed of rags, undo the hex screws that attach the block to the pump (obviously you’ll need an Allen key to do this). Now pull the block away (I had to see-saw mine out using a screw driver). It will look like this when it comes off:

You should be able to manually operate the hood with much greater ease now – doing so will move hydraulic fluid through the system so be ready for a mess at the block end!

Identify which hose you need to replace, and match the hydraulic ram end with the block end by matching the numbers written on the hose. Each hose is held in the block by a circlip. Remove the circlip from the hose you want to replace – I used a nail file and a good dose of persistence and got mine off with only a little frustration and swearing. Pull the hose free of the block and tie a small rope or strong piece of string to this end, you will need this for when you pull the hose through to the ram end.

At the ram end, undo the nut attaching the line to the ram. In some circumstances it’s easiest to remove the ram completely by undoing the bolts that fix it to the body, and removing the clip and pin which attach it to the roof. The photo below shows me undoing the bolts that attach it to the body:

The nuts that attach the hose to the ram can be done up pretty tightly! I used a g-clamp and an extra set of hands to get better leverage – this also means no pressure is put on the ram itself:

TIP: Do one hose at a time or make detailed notes on which hose goes where as putting things together the wrong way would be disastrous!

TIP: Each ram has two connections to the pump (an inlet and an outlet) so it’s a good idea to replace them both to save yourself any possible hassle in the future.

Ensuring that the rope or string is attached to the other end, pull the line through to the ram compartment – since the hose I was replacing goes right the way around the back of the boot to the left side of the car I pulled it through in stages (just try and find an opening and pull it through to that point, then move on).

Replacements

This is where the other guides don’t really tell you much. This is also where I have the most advice to dispense! I took my broken hoses to the local Enzed guys in Fyswhick. Both ends were non-standard and the best they could do was weld the ends to some hose called “SpeedFlow”. Heres a photo of the old hose compared to the (sexy lookin’) new hose:

There was some too’ing and fro’ing as I worked with Enzed to get a working solution, so I’ll cut the idle chatter and give you a couple of hints for when you deal with the hose guys:

TIP 1: You need the full length of the pin that goes through the block. To do the welding, they cut the connection at the base of the pin and weld it to a nut. This means that the pin doesn’t penetrate the block far enough and hence doesn’t get a solid seal. Tell them straight away that you need the length of the pin preserved and they’ll weld it to something else. I had to get them to cut away parts of the nut. When you get the hose, take it out and put it through the block and make sure it sticks out far enough.

About half way up the pin you can see where they’ve welded it to a nut and then machined the nut away. With this in mind they made the 2nd hose a different way – they welded it to another pin (sorry about the picture):

TIP 2: I had a leak at one of the welded joints on the ram end of one of the hoses – when I took it back to them to while still in the car to demonstrate the problem they said “why didn’t you tell me it attached to that!”. They removed the elbow from the ram and replaced it with a series of off-the-shelf screw in connectors. No welding required! So instead of getting them to weld the ram end, show them what it connects to or undo the elbow and take it in. That will save one point of possible failure. Heres a photo of my ram using both types of connections:

On the right you can see the normal Peugeot ram attachment and the pin mechanism going into the nut attaching to the ram. On the left you can see the replacement ram attachment which just screws onto a bunch of other connectors – no fiddly welding of pins and nuts. I trust they would have told me if this different connector would affect the operation of the roof, and my roof seems to work fine.

Prices

So is it worth it to get the hoses made up? SpeedFlow is expensive at $24 a meter, and the hoses I was replacing were the longest in the car at 3.5 m each. Add labour and you end up paying roughly $135 a hose….which is STILL cheaper than the Peugeot replacements! Speedflow looks like pretty tough stuff too what with the metal braid and all.

Reconstruction

Attach the threaded rope/string to the ram end of the new hose and pull it through to the pump end. Once again, you might need to do this in stages. Here’s a photo of my hose at the “midway” stage (the side opposite the pump):

Now attach the ram end and re-attach the ram to the body and roof:

Now re-attach the hose to the block by replacing the circlip. You should end up with something like this:

(The g-clamp is just holding the block up so I can take a photo!)

Work the block back into the pump and screw the block back on. Fill the reservoir to the midway line with the roof closed. Heres a photo of the finished product (this photo is the same as the one to help identify the pump):



TIP: You can buy 300ml of hydraulic liquid from Peugeot for $35. I bought 20L of grade 32 hydraulic liquid for $75. You only need 300ml to fill up, but if you have any problems with your hoses (like I did with mine) you don’t want to pay another $35 for another 300ml! You may even be able to get the stuff in small quantities. Oh by the way – if anyone needs grade 32 hydraulic liquid in and around the Canberra region, I have 19.5L of it….

Operate the roof and look for leaks. If there are no leaks check the reservoir levels and top it up again if it needs it.

If you have any comments or feedback about this article, please email me (see my about page).