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dubois

Sunroof assembly and installation.

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It appears that there is very little detailed information on this subject, so I will attempt to share what I have learned. I have taken several pictures to illustrate every step - so hopefully it will create a more comprehensive and easier way to perform this simple job, which somehow has, in the past, mistakenly been surrounded with an aura of difficulty.

I will start with the assembly process, so this time, disassembly is in reverse of assembly! I have also omitted how to re-install new sunroof cables, and how to reinstall the weatherstrips. I believe those are easy, and will be covered later.

Warning: do not use contact cement to glue the weatherstrip. The strong solvents have the tendency to melt fresh paint in the sunroof opening edge. The other negative is that it must be applied liberally to work well, so it is messy. Probably a better way is to use a small dose of super gel and work small areas at a time. Others can chime in with recommendations. The idea here is to build a nice FAQ.

If you replaced the weatherstrips wait 24 hours for the adhesive to cure, before trying to insert the sunroof panel. No special tools are needed for this job, allow 4 hours the first time. The weatherstrip may not sealed the cavity perfectly, especially around the back corners, do not be overly concerned, water will not go inside the car, but will be drained away. The weatherstrip is mostly to avoid metal to metal contact and reduce the wind noise.

The first step is to identify the left/right main rails. Here is a picture of both rails as viewed from top. The rail on the top of the picture is the left rail. The front on the rails is on the right side of the picture. Rails are shown with cables already inserted.

Stage both rails side by side and make sure that they look like this:

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Notice the anchors on the back of the rails and the proper position facing up (these anchors are attached to one end of the cable and their job is to pull/push the sunroof panel):

Notice on this picture how the cable on the left rail is inside the inboard groove. The cable on the right rail goes on the outboard groove.

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Here is a picture of the two grooves inside the main rails:

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IMPORTANT: the rectangular groove in the inboard side of each rail is where the sunroof headliner rides.

The next step is to insert one of the rails with the cable already in it, inside the sunroof cavity. Let the rest of the cable just hang out in front of the car. If you wish you can lay a towel to protect the paint. As a minimum use some masking tape to protect the front seal from grease from the cables.

IMPORTANT: when inserting the rails in the cavity make sure that the twin metal rods deep inside the roof cavity go inside the groves in the rail. These small metal rods position and retain the loose end of the rails and keep them from moving excessively. You must use a small flashlight to see them, and to make sure they are engaged. Another trick is to use a small diameter long wood dowel to move the twin rods up slightly to facilitate engagement. If properly inserted the rail will be flat, and the rods will no longer be visible. This step requires a lot of patience and a good flash light.

There is a aluminum retainer that is inserted in front of the rails. Three screws hold this retainer and the rail in place. See figures below:

Left rail showing the cable coming out in the inboard groove

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Left rail shown with center aluminum retainer in place. Anchoring brackets are pulled against the stop in this picture

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The next step is very IMPORTANT.

Insert the second rail AND the sunroof headliner inside the rectangular grooves. This the only time where this operation can be easily performed.

Headliner nicely in place, notice the cables are still exposed in the front. Also how both cables are inserted in the opposite rail.

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You can now slide the headliner inside towards the back to provide access for the next steps. Don't worry, it will not get lost.

The next step is to complete covering the cables with the corner brackets and the three front brackets. Make sure that there is a mylar type of material glued to the bottom surface on the car, this is where the two cables ride. If the anchoring brackets on the back of the cables move, do not worry they can be repositioned later. Following pictures show the assembly steps, including is a cool air dam available only as an option.

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Ok, you may doubt and ask why the headliner has to go first?

Here are some pictures of a late futile attempt:

NO, NOT THIS WAY

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NO, NOT THIS WAY - DO NOT BRUTE FORCE IT THIS WAY EITHER:

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So remember the headliner goes together with the second rail!

The next step is to prepare the sunroof panel for insertion. Turn it upside down. Remove one screw from the front guides so you can pivot them inward and out of the way. The back brackets have also a long metal tab that can be pivoted inwards:

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The next picture illustrates how the sunroof cable anchors are attached to the sunroof panel. You will do that later once the sunroof panel is in place in the roof opening.

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Notice in the picture above how the cables are connected to the sunroof panel with two screws. There is a small metal tab that below the screws. This will be done once the sunroof panel is inside the car. Picture is for illustration only.

Now you are ready to insert the sunroof panel in the roof opening. Back end first. Take great care on this step, to avoid scratching the sunroof panel or the front of the roof. It should go in easily and fit snugly in the opening.

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Notice how the back of the sunroof panel is below the roof line, that's ok.

Temporarily, insert the sunroof crank to move the cables anchors to line up with attaching location in the sunroof.

NOTE: The sunroof crack assembly is made of two parts: the base which attaches first and has a the gear that moves the cables, and the handle that attaches to the base.

CAUTION: The crank wheel can only be rotated free 5 or 6 rotations. It has two stops, one clockwise and the other counter clockwise. Make sure that you have enough free rotation on the crank to be able to move the sunroof panel completely closed and completely open.

IMPORTANT: If you find that you can only open the sunroof partially, or not close it completely, look at centering the crank gear wheel first! It is not really obvious that is not a free gear, so its position must coincide with the sunroof lid position. So remove it, rotate it and re-inserted.

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Slide the retainer between the two tabs. You may want to use a flashlight to make sure that they are inserted properly.

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Fasten the two screws and swing the sheet metal lever around and below the pin. This is the part that moves the sunroof up in the back. Brilliant design!

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Move now the front and swing the front guides. Do not tighten the two screws yet. Just finger tighten them at this point.

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Rotate the crank SLOWLY while observing outside the car, just in case. The sunroof should retract and clear the roof and come forward nicely. The last stroke should push the back of the sunroof up.

Stop if you feel any resistance.

NOTE: If the sunroof panel does not want to close or open completely, check your crank assembly first. The crank is not a freewheel, but it has a limited number of rotations only. Make sure that this is not preventing the full range of motion in the sunroof panel. Remove the base of the crank and manually test the gear to make sure it is not at one of the end positions. Manually rotate the wheel back away from this position and re-insert the crank.

Repeat the above steps a couple times - this allows the front guides to find their "natural" place and align themselves. Tighten the front guides now.

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Slide the sunroof headliner forward now and clip the front to the sunroof panel. Take care of lining up the clips with the holes, before pushing them in. Observe each one going in to avoid messing up the cardboard around them.

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Adjust the crank assembly in the closed position. The crank wheel must come to one of the end stops as the sunroof is closed to prevent overcranking and damage of the cables (also there might be a lock feature in this position to prevent entry, but I am not sure) . This is done by removing the crank assembly, rotating the wheel manually reattaching the assembly and testing. After achieving this, reposition the crank handle so it is in the right place in the closed position. Clean your fingerprints.

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That's it - enjoy your sunroof!

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this is fantastic, dubois! thanks! answers some of the questions that i would have inevitably had to ask!

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Guest

Hi,

you did not mention that at the back end of the

sunroof rails are mounting pieces that the long aluminum rail

fit into. they look like a fork from the grill but are made of

plastic and are black. these need to be properly aligned

so that there is no binding of the roof panel or the

headliner panel. most times they come out on the

rails but sometimes they are jamed in the back of the

roof frame. these keep the roof equipment from

rattleing and being tight at full open.

good luck

chris

stone racing co

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Good feedback. I am wondering now if mine are were they supposed to go! I can remove the sunroof real quick now - and find out.

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Also the crank assembly has a stop built into it to keep the sunroof from getting cranked too tight. Once the sunroof is closed the final step is to once again remove the crank assembly, rotate the handle in the direction of closing the roof until it hits its internal stop. Then back it up a bit and reinsert it. open and close testing that the roof reaches its final position just as the handle reaches its internal stop. THEN take the handle off the crank assembly and reposition it. Don't forget to add a little lithum grease to the friction washer between the handle and the crank assembly.

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Yea, this is good.

Don't do what I did and put it all together thinking you can do the weather strip later......

John

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doesn't the rear sunroof seal go on the sliding part? That's how I did mine but there is a bit of a gap. I'll post a picture of it later but I believe my sunroof may be slightly bent. Anyway here are my '02 cents.

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forgot to add in lieu of the cork sliders in the back that rub on the vinyl stips on the guides I went for 3M furniture sliders.

Thanks for the write-up dubois. I'm sure I would have struggled with the headliner had you not warned me. Thanks also to the person who described the setting of the stop in the crank. All made it so much easier.

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Guest Anonymous

HI i have a body guy who says i need new rails (sun Roof) could this be true or can i bring them back to life I can NOT find any [email protected] ps i like your post on the web with photo discriptions GREAT DES

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I have logged on, signed in, agreed to everything & still cannot open the photograph(s) for the 'sunroof" installation. What am I doing wrong ?

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Any update on pics? I would love to use this, but I am useless without being able to see pictures.

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