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Old 07-20-2009, 10:04 AM   #1
GOOBER
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Answers to Common Sunroof Problems

Hi everyone, since most e30ís came with sunroofs and I couldnít find a really detailed sunroof write up to help everyone I decided to write my own.

Since Iíve really only dealt with crank sunroofs thatís what Iíll be referring too. The information is mainly universal however it may require a little creativity on your part.

For any problems use these diagrams as a reference:









Here are some answers to common questions concerning the e30 sunroofÖ

Question: My sunroof only tilts forward but doesnít slide back into the roof, whatís the problem?

Thereís a very simple solution to this problem but it isnít a fix, only a means of getting it open. With one hand put pressure on the back of the sunroof panel and with the other crank it back into the roof. It may require a little bit of banging with your hand to get it to seat down at the right angle so itíll go back into the roof. The fix to this problem is either adjustment or panel replacement as itís very likely that the bottom of the panel is rusted out.

Question: How do I adjust my sunroof panel?

In order to align your panel youíre going to have to get to the 6 torx bolts that attach the panel to the plastic guide mechanisms. First begin by cranking the sunroof back into the roof halfway. Then carefully pry the sunroof headliner piece from the panel as it is secured by clips. Crank the sunroof forward into the tilted upward position and slide the headliner piece back into the roof and out of the way. You will now be able to see the six torx bolts securing the panel to mechanism. Simply loosen the bolts and raise or lower the panel to the desired position, then retighten them. Immediately after adjustment make sure you crank the sunroof down to see how flush it sits with the roofline as this is what keeps the majority of the water out of the car. When finished, crank the sunroof into the halfway position and reattach the headliner piece to the panel.

Question: My panel is badly rusted and needs to be replaced how do I remove it?

Removing the panel is the same process as adjustment. Instead of loosening the torx bolts simply unbolt the torx bolts and remove the panel. Often times the torx bolts will be stripped or stuck in which be cautious not to break the plastic guide mechanisms. The panel is reinforced on the bottom but because moisture gets trapped it will often times begin to rust from the hinges and into the rest of the panel. Used Panels can run anywhere from $25-$75 and are fairly easy to get a hold of at your local junkyard. Look for rust on the bottom of the panel when looking for a replacement. Buying a new seal is also strongly recommended.

Question: My sunroof is leaking how do I fix it?

Most of the leakage can be prevented by proper sunroof adjustment and a new seal, however this only accounts for about 90% of the water that comes through the sunroof. What most people donít realize is that the sunroof seal is not primarily intended to repel all water. Itís mainly used to deaden outside noise and is designed to allow some water past the seal. On e30s and most other BMWs there are gutters that drain the water that comes past the seal, down the c-piller and out of the car. Due to improper maintenance (and the fact that most people didnít know that this is how the sunroof worked) the drains are often times clogged and the drain tubes are either knocked out place or removed, especially if the headliner piece isnít present. This is what causes the roof to rust.

To clean the gutters simply use a welding rod or something similar to get the gunk out. To test whether or not yours are clean pour water into them and see how long it takes it to exit the car. It shouldnít take too long Ė if nothing comes out you have clogging.

Question: My sunroof guide mechanisms are cracked and need to be replaced how do I remove them?

For ease think of the plastic guide mechanisms and all of the plastic pieces + the cables as being one piece, this will help in removing them because the entire assembly can be taken out as such. Begin by removing the panel and the headliner piece out of the way. Next remove the linkage that holds the wind deflector in place and allow the deflector to spring forward. Then begin by unscrewing the metal plates that hold the plastic guide pieces into place Ė thereís two per side. (Note: Thereís some puddy on each of the screws that repel water) Once youíve removed the plates the mechanisms should be ďfreeĒ to hold but still attached to the cables. Have a friend begin to crank the sunroof back as if it were going into the roof, while you hold each of the mechanisms. Once you reach the end of the cranking process put some tension on the cables and they should pull right out.

Question: I got some new cables and mechanisms how do I reattach them?

This is what people generally complain about when it comes to the sunroof as itís a bit difficult, though not impossible. First begin by greasing the cables. Then youíll want to push the cables all the way into their slots until they can be pushed no further. (Note: itís nice to have the correct mechanism on the correct side) Then have a friend crank the sunroof while you guide the cable. Hereís where the trial and error part comes in. One side has to be cranked before the other so you will have difficulty aligning them to be in the same position and it might take several attempts before you get it right. They need to be aligned in exactly the same position otherwise the sunroof will not function properly. Once you get them aligned screw the plates back (might want to add some more puddy) and reattach the linkage to the wind deflector. Give it a few test runs to make sure the mechanisms flow properly into the roof and then reattach the panel.

There's probably more that I can add this was just all I could think of at the moment. I hope this was helpful for you guys.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:50 PM   #2
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Has anyone converted a manual crank sunroof to power? I have all the parts needed. I just don't know how to do it.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:42 AM   #3
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None of the shops I went to want to even touch my sunroof and the ones that did wanted a lot of $$$. I then read this and had help from a friend to replace pretty much everything that slides on the track plus panel and interior bit.

I can't tell you how easy it is to actually work this one out. If you have something to take out, then reverse the process to put the new parts in. A little tip when trying to align the cables. The two cables, for me, finished coming out at different times. We quasi measured the difference and applied that when putting the new cables in.

Ex) The driver side came out two full rotations after the passenger side was full out. So when putting in the new cables the driver side went in two full rotations before the other side.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernzpeed View Post
Has anyone converted a manual crank sunroof to power? I have all the parts needed. I just don't know how to do it.
Leave it manual. Chicks dig the crank sunroof!
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Leave it manual. Chicks dig the crank sunroof!

Funny, I think electric is one more thing to break

I would turn my car into manual windows and manual sunroof if I had the parts lol
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:10 AM   #6
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biggest pain in the ass is to align it properly.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:32 PM   #7
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Got mine on the first try.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:02 PM   #8
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Leave it manual. Chicks dig the crank sunroof!
yes!!
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #9
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nice write up man...
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:26 PM   #10
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My rear sunroof drains are clogged. I can't figure out how to clean them though. I tried sticking various objects down the roof from the side of the sunroof but can't see anything or feel if it's actually unclogging anything. It's draining into the trunk. How exactly do I access the rear drains? I also heard that the drains could become dislodged or something. How do I fix this? Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:01 PM   #11
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try?

Quote:
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My rear sunroof drains are clogged. I can't figure out how to clean them though. I tried sticking various objects down the roof from the side of the sunroof but can't see anything or feel if it's actually unclogging anything. It's draining into the trunk. How exactly do I access the rear drains? I also heard that the drains could become dislodged or something. How do I fix this? Thanks.
Try using an air compressor... if you look into your trunk, after removing the trunk lining panels you should see some black plastic tubings coming down from the C pillars. Blow air from the compressor into those tubes... just know that you'll be blowing dust around your sunroof/car

hope this helps, someone chime in if this aint right.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:09 PM   #12
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Get a vinyl coated cable about 6 ft long from your local hardware store.
Its pretty stiff, so it won't easily curls or binds in the drain holes.
Feed that cable into the drain holes, under the sunroof all the way down and out.

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Old 02-13-2011, 11:20 PM   #13
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Anything on broken guide on one side, Can't open it or fully close it. passenger side is a little raised, but closed.

Only pic i have.

Any Suggestions...?
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinniE30 View Post
My rear sunroof drains are clogged. I can't figure out how to clean them though. I tried sticking various objects down the roof from the side of the sunroof but can't see anything or feel if it's actually unclogging anything. It's draining into the trunk. How exactly do I access the rear drains? I also heard that the drains could become dislodged or something. How do I fix this? Thanks.
My buddy gave me some plastic tubing of a narrower diameter and I pushed these down the roof drain to the back all the way in. Pulled them up and no problems. Water in your trunk means your drains are either clogged and water is running down behind the "C" pillar; or your tubes are disconnected from the sun roof drain hole; or your tube which exists behind the rear side bumper isn't in place. As mentioned behind the side paneling in the trunk you'll see the tubes running into the trunk vent held in place by a metal washer/fastener. Make sure the tube is in that opening otherwise you can get water in there that way.

My personal experience, I haven't had any tubes dislodge from the sunroof, usually they were clogged or not in place at the bottom. one other thing to consider, your tail light seal and your trunk seal.

If the tail light seal is worn, water can get in through there as well; Also if you open the trunk, you have that plastic cover running the length of the opening behind the trunk seal. Remove that cover pushing those tabs in the removing the 5 plugs; lift it off and then pull the trunk seal up. on the corners near the light you will see buttle tape(spelling) there should be a thin strip about 1 inch on either side. If this is bad or missing all together will allow water into the trunk. This was an after fix on bmw or preventative measure after realizing water was getting in. You can put some black duct tape or black hockey tape. then replace everything and see.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:34 AM   #15
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push the liner back by un clipping the 5 or 6 fasteners at the front of the liner; then push the liner back so you can see what is going on. Also, this allows you to remove the 6 hex screws to remove the sun roof. Then you can get a clear view of the tracks and any problems.
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