Cabriolet Hydraulics 3007 62nd Ave East • Bradenton, FL 34203 • (941) 756-1300

Welcome to Cabriolet Hydraulics

cabriolet hydraulics - Sarasota/Bradenton Florida

About Cabriolet Hydraulics

Cabriolet Hydraulics is located on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, a hot spot for convertible automobiles. Cabriolet Hydraulics rebuilds convertible top hydraulic cylinders as well as other convertible top-related components. We also produce new replacement hydraulic hose assemblies.

With a background in machine design and product development, we utilize proven engineering principles and innovation to produce a high quality, lower cost and improved alternative to expensive OEM replacement parts.

What Models We Serve

Cabriolet Hydraulics rebuilds convertible top hydraulic cylinders, and produces hydraulic hoses and related products for models made by Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Maserati, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Saab, Chrysler, Audi, and Volkswagen.

We are continually expanding our portfolio to other makes and models based on demand. Contact us for additional automotive hydraulic products and services.

Why Convertible Top Hydraulics Fail

Many of today's automobiles have automated convertible tops powered by hydraulic systems. Hydraulic cylinders, which are also known as hydraulic rams, hydraulic struts and hydraulic actuators, are a main element of this system. Through pressurization via a pump, the hydraulic ram delivers a reciprocating linear force to drive the components of the retractable top including convertible top locking/unlocking mechanisms.

The majority of operational malfunctions are caused by leaking rod seals in the convertible top hydraulic cylinders. Hydraulic fluid can also leak from failed seals in the end caps of certain cylinders and aged/broken hydraulic hoses. Hydraulic fluid leaks from the failing components and affects the convertible top operation in one or two ways:

1) Leaking hydraulic cylinders cannot build enough pressure to deliver the required force to open or close the convertible top.
2) Hydraulic fluid level in the reservoir becomes too low and the pump is unable to supply fluid to the cylinders.

Hydraulic Cylinder Seal and Hose Failure

Assuming that the recommended hydraulic fluid is used, two factors can accelerate material failure:

1) Hydraulic fluid contamination. The more obvious contamination comes from internal moving parts that wear and particles, mostly metal, enter into the fluid stream. More prevalent in humid environments and not so obvious is water contamination. Water decomposes the organic hydraulic fluid and the seals, and corrodes the metal. Water molecules are picked up by the exposed cylinder rod and introduced into the fluid through the seal/rod interface. Water molecules also diffuse through the thin wall plastic hydraulic hoses. Small cylinders with long thin hoses do not exchange fluid with the reservoir very well and so the fluid stagnates and ages the seals. For these reasons, frequent hydraulic fluid changes are vital in maintaining a healthy hydraulic system.
2) Heat. It is well known in the materials industry that heat reduces the shelf life of many compounds. Accelerated age studies are frequently conducted by introducing a known quantity of heat to predict the natural life span of a material. In many of these studies, higher heat results in a shorter life span. For convertible automobiles sitting out in the sun, heat radiates from the hot outer surfaces and into the often closed-in compartments where the hydraulic cylinders reside, consequently aging the seals.

Hydraulic hose materials are affected by heat as well. For example, in the Jaguar XK8/XKR, Bentley Azure and Rolls Royce Corniche the most common hose failure occurs above the windshield. The sun heats up the confined space where the hydraulic locking mechanism resides resulting in high temperatures. With these hot conditions the thermoplastic hose materials fail and as a result, the hoses blow out under operational pressure.

Visual Indicators of Hydraulic Cylinder Seal and Hose Failure

Some of the visual signs of leaky cylinders and hoses are oil-stained headliners and oil drips from above the windshield in automobiles with hydraulic cylinder-actuated front top locks. Other indicators of leaking hydraulic cylinders are oil leaks from the front and back of the rear wheels. Look for oil spots on the driveway or garage floor.

Please visit our DIY Carrera Cylinder Guide for instructions on how to inspect and remove convertible top hydraulic cylinders from your Porsche 911/996/997 Carrera Cabriolet.

Cabriolet Hydraulics Products

We have addressed the problems of failed OEM hydraulic cylinder seals by replacing them with new hard-wearing seals custom designed and made to our specifications. Our replacement cylinder seals and hoses are made from superior materials that have a high resistance to decomposition when exposed to hydraulic fluid, moisture, pressure, and high temperatures.