Sunroof broken / stuck! Advice?

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
I was trying to tilt the sunroof today and heard a fairly loud clang / bang and then it stopped. If I had to guess, I would say it sounded like a piece of hard plastic that broke suddenly under stress but of course don't know if that is remotely true. Could be a piece of metal that got smashed too. I can't slide it back and forth either. It's almost closed but has an opening of somewhere around 1/2" and 3/4" left IIRC.
I remember that it was quite time-consuming to take the headliner off last time I was in there, so would like to proceed smartly.
Any advice on what to check / do and where to find good info before I start reading 200 posts here?
Any easy way to close that thing tightly before it starts raining again - and yes I do have duct tape - ?

PSA for the day: not a great idea to play with a 22 years-old sunroof if rain is coming soon... sheesh...
 

slow95z

Always parting 80s
GOLD Star
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2008
Messages
2,284
Location
Dublin GA
Man I can't think of anything that isn't going to require digging into it. Time to drop the head liner I am afraid.
 

Greenbriar

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
19
Location
Somerville AL
There are hard plastic connectors on both sides that link the "cable" to the sunroof. With one of them broken the canting force will bind it. You should be able to feel slop in the side that broke. Maybe see if someone will push the button while you help the broken side along? I was able to get mine most of the way closed this way, and both sides of mine were broken. This won't fix anything, but might make it easier to seal up for the rain before you pull the headliner to fix it...
 

MoJ

Moderator
 
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Messages
3,670
e, good to hear from you.

For a remedial fix, have you tried pulling on the sunroof glass assembly while pressing the controls? What about the manual crank?

For encouragement, pulling the 95+ headliner really isn’t that bad.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
6,560
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
Do what @Greenbriar said and help it while you push the switch. Odds are that the cabl on one side broke. That's what happened to mine. I have yet to fix it. I will need to drop the headliner and the sunroof to fix. Be aware that the factory sunroof cables are $450 EACH and there are two.

Maybe find someone that yanked out a good one........

Mine is duct taped shut for the last 8 months while I figure out what to do. Have had to replace the tap twice......at least it doesn;t leak with the tape on there......
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
thanks for the suggestions. Will try and check it out this weekend. Don't think I want to put a $1000 in it, though, I rarely opened it as it is. My bad luck. But I'd like it closed at least.
So if I take the headliner out, should I be able to reach most of the crucial parts like that or will it need more serious disassembly? I vaguely remember thinking that it was all pretty much hidden. I can still picture the scaffolding I built to support the headliner when I removed it, like 15 years ago...
And is there any chance the whole thing could fly off on the freeway?
 

slow95z

Always parting 80s
GOLD Star
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2008
Messages
2,284
Location
Dublin GA
1K ?? i will sell you a complete unit, with glass for a hell of a lot less than that.
 

Greenbriar

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
19
Location
Somerville AL
Once you pull the headliner, then you'll have to pull the entire assembly out to get at the cables and tracks from the top. Once I got mine out and priced parts, I found a complete local pull out assembly for the price of one cable. The offer from @slow95z is what I'd be looking at...
 

MoJ

Moderator
 
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Messages
3,670
What do the cables look like? Is there more to it that just a cable wire? What actually breaks the cable? A fastener?
 

Greenbriar

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
19
Location
Somerville AL
The cables are actually a coiled wire that gear teeth on the motor assembly engage with. They have a molded-on plastic end that looks like a block with a hole through it that attaches to a pin on the glass assembly. In my case, the block broke in half at the hole (on both sides/cables). This will let the broken side push the roof slightly in the rear direction, but wouldn't allow it to pull the roof closed. If you push the roof all the way against the broken part, and then follow the good/unbroken side by hand while pushing the button it should close. I had trouble getting mine to cam back into the up/sealed position, but my tracks had all kinds of crap in them... If you decide to tear into it, you have to pull the glass to get at the working parts of the track, and the plastic parts that hide the bolts for the glass are notoriously brittle. Try your best not to break them when you pull them off. In my case this was impossible, and once I had the pieces out I could literally crumble them in my hands.
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
anybody has any pics of the inside of that thing by any chance? TIA
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
thanks for the pics! This is not making me look forward to fixing that thing... The notion of using a BFH and then welding in some sheet metal seems more appealing by the day.... m.u.s.t.r.e.s.i.s.t........
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
So, to be sure, for anybody who has looked inside that nightmare, there is no chance that the glass pane would fly off if the thing has broken mechanism parts that prevent it from closing, correct?
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
eh, long shot but gotta ask: Would it work to try and close it with the manual closure system (the screw under the light IIRC) in case there is an alternate set of cables and what not ?

And another: IIRC, on the 100s you can remove the glass fully by taking off a couple of screws in each corner from the inside. Anything like that for the 80? If so, I could maybe see what broke...

If you are interested, I found a vid showing the full assembly off the vehicle. Helpful to see what you're dealing with.
which did show some hinges up front, which does indeed seem to preclude the thing from flying off, which is good.
 

MoJ

Moderator
 
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Messages
3,670
Remove the four interior plastic trim pieces from the sunroof and your see the bolts that hold it in place. Once they’re removed you can push the glass assembly outward to remove it. Go slow on removing the plastic trim pieces as they’re brittle. As you push the glass outward pay attention to the shims at each bolt.
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
thanks, good to know. May not want to try that first, though. The front trim piece was already partially broken and when I tried to pull off the remainder, it broke into pieces in my hands. Very brittle. UV I assume. Didn't help that I tried that pull backwards when I should have pulled downward either... But I'm sure it's the same with all of them. Not a big deal if there are missing but I'll wait a bit and try to get that thing closed another way first.
Are those trim pieces still available?

I did learn something though. That I never thought about. And that is that the sunroof can't really be sealing fully even when new probably and does likely depend greatly on the pan and drain tubes to avoid water going in the cabin. I knew of course about the pan but I had assumed that was a backup plan. Now looking at this more carefully, I can see that there is no pressure on the seal. Which of course makes perfect sense since the glass must be able to move downward to go back. So these sunroofs are probably not waterproof from the factory. Or at least it seems like that to me. Interesting.
 

mingles

GOLD Star
Joined
Nov 29, 2014
Messages
499
Location
Titusville, New Jersey
Thanks for the link to the video.

You are correct in that the sunroof seal around the edge of the glass is not really 100% waterproof (just tight enough to keep out most of the water and wind noise). That is what the drip pan is for.

The plastic trim was still available as of fall 2018, but only in gray. I just painted the new pieces tan when I redid mine and it worked out fine. Part #'s are below.

Trim Part numbers.jpg
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
16,672
Location
US
great info, thanks. Remember what it set you back? What kind of paint did you use?
 
Top Bottom