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Starting in the up position, I can unlock it and put it down manually. I then pull the switch up until I hear the locks engage to make sure it's locked down. The indicator that shows the top in operation will blink until that happens and then go off and show the temp again. But the only sound I hear from the mechanism the entire time is the down locks engaging.

From the down position, I press the switch until the locks disengage and put it up manually and lock it in place in the up position. I then have to press the switch until the indicator stops blinking.

If it was my car, this wouldn't be a problem. My 1968 Mustang convertible is a power now manual top and I'm OK with that. This, however, is my 17 year old daughters car. And manual operation while also being encumbered with the inoperable power mechanics makes it difficult for her.

I would think that the previous owner disengaged/unhooked/disconnected the power mechanism. What should my steps be?

Thanks.
 

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These power tops, are relatively sophisticated and diagnosing them; can require a factory level vw scan tool and understanding, how vw designed the mechanism, how they work.

Here is some info and links, to older thrads; that can get you started:

 

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The previous owner probably opened the pressure relief valve. Scan for codes though it probably wont tell you much. Check if the hydraulic pump has fluid. If the fluid level is normal you'll need to have the scan tool show you live data to see what's going.
 
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