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).