Since 2003, a series of articles were freely published on the Peugeot Cabriolet Owners Club website providing technical guidance and other useful information.
These articles are then illegally reproduced and sold on eBay as a PDF guide. So, to help owners of 306 Cabriolets all over the world live with their chosen ride, this PDF is now published for free here - exactly how the original authors/contributors intended!
Thanks to all those who produced the original material for these articles (see www.pcoclub.org/articles for full details and additcional articles).
|Please note that neither the author nor the Peugeot Cabriolet Owners Club can guarantee the accuracy or consequences of any article published within this document. Use of any information published in these pages is entirely at your own risk.|
This quote from Peugeot was taken from the handbook for the 306 Cabriolet and Roadster ("phase 2" model from 1997). It is at the start of the section where they describe the procedure to remove and fit the hard top which was available for the 306 Cabriolet and came standard in Roadster trim. The hard top with its extra insulation from noise and grime and a glass heated rear screen is a much sought-after accessory and automatically ensures the Roadster is always in demand.
However, it comes at a price. A quote from Peugeot for a hard top as a later accessory can be around £2000 (€2,850) and finding a second hand one is akin to discovering gold a packet of cereals - even then it is never cheap. And then you have to find a place to store it in summer. But don't let this put you off - it is worth it when the weather turns all British. And, in effect, you get two cars for the price of one; a cabriolet and coupe - predating Peugeot's CC range.
|Hard top in place, the 306 Roadster takes on a new form|
Enough hard sell. This page is all about how you remove and fit this hard top.
The manual has a number of warnings when removing or fitting the hard top. These have been left in and highlighted as per original.
Your hard top is supplied with a tool kit containing:
The only irreplaceable item in the tool kit is the special spanner - item number 5. All other items can be replaced easily from general hardware stores apart from the two retraining straps (elasticized bands with plastic hooks at each end). These straps tend to lose their elastic nature over time anyway reducing their usefulness - but it is easy to improvise for when they are required.
One aspect the manual fails to cover are the parts needed to fit to hard top (not an issue if the car was supplied with the hood in place - ie. with all the parts fitted). These are unique items and can only be replaced at a fair expense by Peugeot dealers. If you are buying a used Roadster or separate hard top, ensure these are present:
This pair of metal brackets are fitted to protrude from the rear deck of the car just in front of the hood cover. The metal spikes provide locate and secure the rear of the hard top on the car. They are fixed in place with a single 17mm hex head bolt and washer which should also be present with the car.
The hardtop also comes with two additional covers (presumably these are also supplied with phase 1 models). These covers are not essential and are available separately from Peugeot dealers:
A pair of plastic covers fit over the hard top mounts (side brackets, shown above). They are located within the car by the small roof mechanism flap and are fixed in place with a single screw.
|Quarter panel covers|
The removal-refitting operations described below should have been demonstrated by your PEUGEOT dealer on delivery of your vehicle.
If your Hard-top was supplied as an accessory, the first removal operation must be carried out by an approved dealer. The operation must be carried out by three people.
The official Peugeot warning, above, is stated in the manual. You can ask your dealer to remove and refit the hard top for you at your home and the charge for this can vary. However, the alternative is that you find another owner who has performed this who is willing to help. Or you proceed with caution, following the instructions by the letter.
One aspect of this warning that rings very true is the number of people needed. Whereas it is possible to lift the roof with only two people, maneuvering it in a more restricted space really needs up to four people due to its weight and shape.
The ignition must be switched off for all operations (except during the hood cover maneuvering phase for the electric hood).
|Removing the quarter panels|
|Disconnecting the rear screen demister cable|
The manual simply says "Disconnect the heated rear screen harness connector 8". Easy to say, but the plug can be infuriating if you haven't come across these automotive style electrical connectors before.
In the case of this one, you first have to remove the metal wire C-clip that wraps around the connector. You can usually do this by using a flat-headed screwdriver to prize the wire off in the middle of the longest side of the connector. Once the wire clip has been removed, the connector just pulls apart as normal.
Remember to re-fit this wire clip when reconnecting the cable as it prevents the connector working loose.
|Detaching the rear of the hard top|
|Detaching the front of the hard top|
The part where the manual says "...place it on a clean and stable stand" can be seen as a bit of Gallic humor. They neglect to mention that as the roof is not as small as a tooth brush, or as light as one, you are quite unlikely to: (a) have a handy stand of the right shape or size or (b) have a spare barn in which to store it.
One option is to construct a "table" that spans a garage so that you can park the bonnet of your 306 under the roof is summer. An example of such a table is shown below.
|Example of where to stow the hard top|
But whatever you do, don't store the roof be resting it vertically on either end! This will only result in damage to the very-hard-to-repair glass fibre or a cracked rear screen. The roof is designed to only lay flat and you will need to support the front of the roof (ie. where the windscreen would support it) so that it is as horizontal as possible.
IMPORTANT: When positioning and moving the hard top, never push it along a surface without lifting it clear first. The seal that runs around the base under the rear windscreen and side surfaces is delicate and can easily be torn off!
|Opening the hood cover|
In the above stage, the handbook refers to "the control". If you haven't found this, open the boot and look right in the centre on the internal vertical wall of the roof/hood stowage compartment that infringes on the boot space. There is normally a rubber cap that covers a circular hole with a sticker underneath in French.
This sticker indicates a quarter turn clockwise/anticlockwise with the text OUVERTURE (open) and FERMETURE (close). Insert the wheel brace (the metal tool clipped into the left-hand side of the boot for undoing or tightening wheel nuts) and carefully, but firmly, do a quarter turn in the correct direction to open.
This "pops" the hood cover open slightly. After you remove the wheel brace and close the boot (never open the hood cover and boot at the same time - they clash!) very slowly open the hood cover to near-vertical. Do this with two people - one on either side of the hood cover - so as to not twist and warp the cover.
The handbook suggests that one elastic strap is used to keep the hood cover open (near vertical). A problem with this is that the elastic straps lose their strength over time and are incapable of holding the cover in place.
|Keeping the cover open.|
One solution is to have a helper hold the cover near vertical while you work on the next stage (not very long). Alternatively, find a suitable cardboard box to wedge (gently!) into place as shown in the photo above.
|Ignore the special spanner in this picture|
Ensure you don't lose the bolts or washers when removing these brackets. There is a drainage hole at the bottom of the hood stowage compartment where they could fall down.
To close the hood cover manually, one person hold both sides of the cover should lower it slowly and carefully and with a small amount of pressure press it so that it is nearly flush with the body. Then use the wheel brace and turn it in the closed direction until the cover is properly closed. Don't over-do the pressure you apply to the wheel brace!
Before folding the hood into its housing, ensure that it has been brushed and dried to remove moisture and that the rear screen is folded properly.
To prevent damage to the hood cover and the boot, the boot must be closed during the hood cover lowering and raising operations.
Although the hood cover may appear to support itself in the vertical position, it must be secured using the strap.
Handle the hard top carefully so as to not damage the seal.
Take extreme care when handling the hard top to avoid scratching or damaging it.
Do not lean the hard top against a wall or place it in an unstable position.
Store the hard top on a stand in a clean, dry environment and cover it.
When the hood has been folded for a long time, ask a PEUGEOT dealer to remove any creases.
The hard top heated rear screen harness must be connected at all times. If the harness is not connected significant damage may result from accidental operation.
It is strongly suggested that you read the whole of this page, especially the section describing the removal of the hard top as the same official Peugeot warnings apply and have not been repeated here, yet still apply.
The process of refitting the hard top is nearly the opposite of removing it and the suggestions in these darker boxes may also be of assistance - and again, have not been repeated.
The handbook is a bit unclear here whether it means you should open the hood cover manually of using the power hood system.
If you want to open the hood cover using the power system, press the roof power button as if to bring the roof up once more. Release the button when the hood cover is near-vertical. Ensure that the roof itself hasn't started to move upwards - if you missed the timing, raise the roof fully, lower again and try once more.
|Keeping the side flaps and hood cover open using the straps|
|Ignore the special spanner in this|
|Attaching the front of the hard top|
|Securing the quarter panels|
|Wonderful example of hard top chic!|
Only offered by Peugeot as an option, as an accessory or with the Roadster model, a removable hard top is extremely attractive for people who don't wish to drive with the roof down in winter. As well as transforming the cabriolet into an agreeable coupe, this addition adds undeniable comfort in terms of thermal and sound insulation. Additionally, the hood, which remains stowed in its compartment, is kept shielded from the rigors of winter weather.
A hard top can be found on the second hand market for between €1000 and €1500, or brand new from Peugeot for about €3000. In addition to these prices, you need to add the cost of painting to match the colour of your cabriolet.
For the purpose of roof fitment, 306's are divided into four types:
Various adaptations are needed to fit the hard top according to the date of the car's manufacture, but it we cannot go into too much detail here. 2 kits are available from Peugeot:
Fitting must be carried out by a qualified person since it requires the removal of the offside rear panel, the installation of the demister kit, adjustment of fit and parallelism and fit at the joints of windows. All these operations are outlined in the technical review.
First of all, you need to plan the fitting some days in advance, which will allow for cleaning the hood and allowing it to dry completely before long-term stowage. I cannot stress too much that the hood must be totally dry, otherwise it will succumb to mildew in its enclosed compartment in the ensuing months.
While on the subject of dampness, it is worth mentioning a fault (yet another) in the interior of the hood stowage compartment, with regard to the carpet in its base which soaks up water since is adjacent to the water drain hole. The solution is to cut off the pieces of carpet on each side that are too long, so that they are no longer in contact with the drain holes and will no longer go moldy. See photo below.
|Trimming of carpet lining|
|Note the washers to adjust the height|
Next, one can proceed to the maintenance of the joints with silicone, because once the hardtop is in place the joints of the hood compartment as well as the windscreen will remain inaccessible all winter.
Now comes the time to stow the hood in its compartment, but you need to leave the hood cover open and support it with elastic straps so that the side attachment plates of the hard top can be bolted on.
|Hood cover held open with elastic straps|
To screw on the side brackets, shown above, use the 17mm flat spanner and remember to disconnect the wiring loom for the hood (right-hand side) to bring it out next to the attachment plate. See photo below.
|Demister wiring loom|
Once this operation has been completed, you can remove the elastic straps and close the hood cover, which should be locked manually from inside the boot, using the spanner supplied and turning in the direction indicated by an arrow as shown below.
|Manual locking of hood cover|
Next, attach an elastic strap to hold the plastic trim covers open (see photo below) and to ensure that they are not broken when the hard top is installed. Clean the area where the hard top will be placed - the application of some wax will protect the bodywork.
|Elaestic strap keeping flaps open|
The fitting of the hard top is the most delicate operation; it takes at least two people, preferably three; two to lift and one to direct. Start by butting the hard top up to the top of the windscreen, and then place the rear of it onto the spikes on the side brackets, paying particular attention to the electrical connector.
Now tighten the front handles, like those on the folding hood, and the rear ones with the large spanner as shown below. Connect the demister loom and remove the elastic strap.
|Locking hard top down with large spanner|
The operation is almost complete; it remains only to fit the quarter panels (side trims), each of which is attached with one screw.
|Quarter panels fitted|
Check that the side windows fit correctly against the joints, otherwise adjustment is needed using the screws supplied for the purpose and whose use is detailed in the technical review.