Manually Raising the XLR’s Top
As you mentioned, there is a procedure in the manual. It is somewhat helpful, but there are some tricks. It is easier than it looks.
I have not discovered a way to manually lower the top. I believe this procedure to be an emergency measure to raise the top in case you are out somewhere and the top is stuck in a half-open position.
Here is what I’ve learned:
1) In the trunk there are two wells below the carpet cover. One is on the left the other is on the right adjacent the sidewall. Each has a plastic cover. Remove both covers.
2) Look in the right well. There should be a fair-sized “L” shaped special Allen wrench which I shall affectionately refer to as Your Tool. You MUST locate Your Tool. It may also be in the glove box or the console. The car is supposed to have one. If not contact your dealer and they will give it to you.
3) Look in the left well. This is where the hydraulic pump that operates the top lives. Reach inside the well on the side of the pump and find a small T shaped handle. Turn the handle counter-clockwise. This relieves and equalizes the pressure on the hydraulic system. Leave this valve open for now.
4) Wait a few (5-10) minutes to let the system bleed off and equalize.
5) Confirm that the system is equalized by gently pulling down on the trunk lid. Don’t force it. This should only take a light tug. The trunk lid should try to close, but leave it open. If pressure is still on the system the trunk won’t budge. YOU SHOULD NEVER TRY TO MANUALLY OPERATE THE TOP MECHANISM WITH PRESSURE ON THE SYSTEM. You’ll bend something or blow out a seal, so don’t get tough. Easy does it.
6) Gently lift the top up and forward until the little “hooker deals” on the top align with the grooves on the windshield. It may look as if the top is not quite unfolded – sticking up slightly in the back. We’ll fix that in a minute.
7) Grab Your Tool and sit in either the driver or passenger side depending on your right or left hand preference.
8) There is a small round cover on the inside center of the top just above the mirror. This should remove easily with just your fingers or a small (clean) screwdriver, exposing an access hole.
9) While still sitting in the car reach out and pull down on the top at a location close to the folding joint. Simultaneously, place Your Tool in the access hole and turn clockwise approximately ¼ turn or 90 degrees. This requires a little muscle. I thought I was going to damage My Tool, before it finally clicked. Ahhh! It should give you a satisfying click when the top is properly locked. If not, you will get a “Top Not Secure” message when you crank up.
10) Immediately behind the headrest there are three interconnected covers: two small “wings” that rotate outwards and a large rectangular “flap”. Don’t mess with the flap. Reach behind the headrest and rotate one or both of the wings outward. They should easily move, and when they do, the flap will also lower.
11) IMPORTANT! Go back into the trunk, reach in the left well and close the T shaped hydraulic bleed valve by turning clockwise. If you forget, the hydraulic system will not be able to develop pressure for subsequent top (and trunk opening) operations, and you will have to open the trunk with your key. (Do you know how to do that?)
12) You now can close the trunk manually, and you’re ready to rock. Always put Your Tool where you know where it is – as with everything in life.
In reading/reviewing this epistle, the procedure looks more difficult than it actually is. It only takes about two minutes after the system is bled down. It really beats calling a wrecker and seeing Your Precious hauled off with the trunk stuck open and the top down, and/or getting the interior wet. It’s also a lot easier than putting the top up normally on a Jeep Wrangler.