R3VLimited Forums

R3VLimited Forums (https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/index.php)
-   E30 FAQ and DIY (https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=107)
-   -   DIY: Sunroof cassette/frame removal - with pictures! (https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=135991)

Flood 04-13-2009 04:37 PM

DIY: Sunroof cassette/frame removal - with pictures!
This DIY will cover the removal of your E30 sunroof cassette/frame. Before doing this, I had found several thread on the topic with conflicting information and no pictures. I hope you can use this to remove yours without damage to your roof skin.

First, remove all the headliner and foam glued behind it. I just cut/tore it all out.

The sunroof panel is held in by 3 torx bolts on each side. Tilt the sunroof up to access the back two. I cut through the fabric to reach the front bolt. Once they are removed, the panel will come out through the top of the roof. You should now be able to remove the tracks and motor. Take out all the fasteners you see.

To get started with the cassette/frame removal you will need:
- Drill
- Angle grinder with cut-off discs
- Heat gun
- Center punch
- Spot weld cutter. I would not recommend you use a standard drill bit.
- Metal putty knife like this:
- A helper

For each spot weld, use the center punch to start the spot weld cutter.

Inside where the sunroof used to sit, there is one spot weld on each side, and five spot welds in the front.

Here is the driver side spot weld drilled out.

Do the same for the passenger side.

Begin on the 5 spot welds at the front. If you have a difficulty finding them, try moving your light source. You can also see them from inside the car, they are easy to see from the other side.

All 5 removed here.

Time to bust out the angle grinder. You'll find one of these brackets on each side of the car towards the front of the cassette, almost at the front edge of the sunroof hole. Work slowly and carefully here, if you cut too deep, you'll go into the roof!

Back to the drill for this part. Look right above the B-pillar and you'll see these five spot welds on each side. You are cutting into two sheets of metal, and there is a gap before you reach the roof. While you only have to go through the first sheet, I found that I could just drill all the way through until the spot weld fell out. There was no damage to the roof skin when I did this.

Working from the top side, insert the putty knife between the cassette and the roof frame (at this point in the roof, there is a frame running across the roof skin). Use a hammer to separate the cassette from the frame at the spot welds (see third picture, you are going through the glue surrounding the spot welds you drilled out earlier). You can use a fair amount of force here since the putty knife is not striking the roof skin.

Pick up the angle grinder again. Further back from the B-pillar, you'll find one bracket on each side of the car, just like in the front. Cut through these just like you did in the front.

At this point, the only thing holding the sunroof cassette is the glue. Start at the back with a heat gun and the putty knife. Be careful not to use too much force. I found that once the glue was heated up, it came right apart with a gentle pull. Once the back is loose, have your helper sit in the back and support the cassette. Do not have him pry, otherwise you could (and probably will) wrinkle your roof skin. Once the B-pillar section is loose, use your heat gun from the inside and also from the top to release the glue at the five from spot welds. Take your time and it should come out easily.

Here is mine removed.

The front bracket.

The middle B-pillar bracket.

The rear bracket.

Jparkr 04-17-2009 01:47 AM

great write up! Glad you could save the roof, unlike I could... :-(

jkl 04-18-2009 08:20 PM

all this just cause of rust???

Doughnut 04-18-2009 08:55 PM

So what do you do with the empty sunroof hole?

Flood 04-18-2009 09:48 PM


Originally Posted by jkl (Post 1483247)
all this just cause of rust???

Rust? Not sure where you got that idea, I made no mention of it. It's for a race car. This removes weight and lets you get the roll cage tucked right against the roof skin.


Originally Posted by Doughnut (Post 1483294)
So what do you do with the empty sunroof hole?

Fill it with a lexan piece or the old sunroof panel. There are various ways to mount it.

elsabor67 04-18-2009 11:47 PM

Awesome writeup. That is some serious work there.

1990m3 04-20-2009 06:29 PM

nice write up, have you weighed the cassette? what's the total savings in weight?

Jparkr 04-20-2009 06:49 PM

Its a good 30+ lbs. if I remember correctly from taking mine out.

Kaldar142 05-05-2009 05:44 AM

Wow 30 lbs off the top of the car... I might do this

Brian 89 325i 05-05-2009 07:37 AM

Yeah, I've done this once. It wasn't as bad as i thought it was going to be. Too bad that project ran out of money. :cry:


p0cket penguins 06-12-2009 07:23 AM

I didnt even cut out the spot welds i just cut along the bands (front middle and back) and along the edge of the sunroof colored portion, which made a nice lip to put this type of bracket in.
I added two layers of automotive grade weather stripping and then dropped the sunroof into the slots and held it down with bolts. Then masking taped the bottom gap and masking taped around both edges on the roof and sunroof and filled it with black window sealer... smoothed it with a card and pulled the tape off... looks pretty mint.. ill get pics up this afternoon.

etxxz 09-05-2009 04:31 PM

i just removed mine minutes ago... the cassette is only like 20-25lbs, the hardware (rails, motor, cables, sliders etc) ~ 3-5lbs and the sunroof panel itself is like 12-15lbs.

This s what i learned.
Front 5 spot welds: i just used my angle grinder and cut like 1/4" from the roofline across the entire thing in 2minutes.
B-pillar 5x spot welds: drilling didnt take too long to drill as I didint' have a spot weld drilling tool... it was a hell of a chest and shoulder work out that's for sure.
The glue :didn't need a heat gun just strong, but careful, pulling. Here you'll see how weak your roof is. Once one side starts to unstick, be ready, the rest of the cassette will fall on your face.

IMO its worth the effort for the 35-40lbs. It took me about as long as it did to take out the dashboard and go beserk on the heater unit :twisted:

coming up, home made fiberglass sunroof.

hotballs 09-10-2009 12:19 PM


Originally Posted by etxxz (Post 1663081)

IMO its worth the effort for the 35-40lbs. It took me about as long as it did to take out the dashboard and go beserk on the heater unit :twisted:

coming up, home made fiberglass sunroof.

+1 for that heater unit! about to my sunroof, good write up.

sennafan 04-14-2010 01:56 AM

I would like to see the fiberglass panel you made. Has anyone tried this:

evil_twin 05-21-2010 08:13 AM

Trying to find a way to mount my sunroof without the cassette there. Thinking of doing it like the guy 2 posts up :)

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:12 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2004 - 2020 R3VLimited LLC