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  1. #1
    Cameron
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    Easy Sunroof Repair write-up

    After digging in to my sunroof, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to fix. The pics aren’t the best – all the parts are black and don’t stand out well.

    Sunroof Repair

    Here’s a simple fix for broken sunroof arms. Its moderate-easy difficulty, should take no more than 3 hours with these directions. The beauty part is that you don’t have to remove the sunroof cartridge and it requires minimal adjustments!

    Symptoms
    One day you’ll cruising along (at the speed limit, of course) and you’ll hear a ‘snap’ when tilting your sunroof – that’s one side failing. A few months later, you’ll hear another ‘snap’ - that’s the other side failing. After that, your tilt stops functioning. The retract feature will work, but the sunroof no longer locks down properly, causing it to rattle over bumps.

    If your symptoms are different (such as no retract), then you may have other problems such as a broken cable. This fix will probably not work and may require removing the cartridge.

    Parts List (for a 97 528i but cars with all E39s glass sunroof should be the same):
    54-12-8-202-295 Left control rail kit (Part 13)
    54-12-8-202-296 Right control rail kit

    These kits should be about $30 each from the dealer.



    Tools & supplies:
    T-25 Torx wrench
    Screwdriver
    Pliers
    Heavy lithium grease

    Step 1
    Retract the sunroof back slightly, and remove the front stops on both sides.



    Step 2
    Close the roof, then press the tilt button - you’ll probably have to tilt it manually. Place something soft between the glass and roof to keep it tilted. I used a chuck of plastic.

    Step 3
    Remove the top of the rubber gators (inside car) from the sunroof. Side it inward and back slightly, but be gentle. The bottom will NOT come detached.

    Step 4
    Remove 3 Torx head screws from each side of the sunroof (inside car). The sunroof can tilt up even more now, which makes the next step easier.

    Step 5
    Using a screwdriver, remove the sunroof glass sides from the tilt hinge slider pins (Part 9 in the diagram).

    Step 6
    Lift out the sunroof glass.

    Step 7
    You should be able to see your broken parts now. The front sliders (A) are broken and disconnected from the control rods (B). You’re in luck, so have a beer.



    Step 8
    To get the broken pieces out, you have to disconnect the wind deflector from its arms. Electronically, slide the sunroof guides back about 8 inches. Use pliers to pinch the plastics pin that connect the deflector to its arm. Tilt the deflector arms backs and remove them.



    Step 9
    Manually slide out the tilt hinge slider and the broken front slider piece. Electronically move the sunroof guides full forward.



    Step 10
    There is a short rubber cover at the back of the opening. Disconnect it from the main rear slider by popping it upward and then sliding it forward slightly. You can leave it in the opening. Note how it is held in place.

    Step 11
    Remove the screw on the plate over the main rear slider (E) and slide out the pin (C). Remove the cover and disconnect the main slider (E) from the rear guide arm (D).



    Step 12
    Remove the control rod (B) by slide it forward.

    Step 13
    Remove the rear guide lever (D).

    Step 14
    Clean and grease all contact surfaces.

    Step 15
    Install new rear guide lever (D).

    Step 16
    Place the front slider (A) on the control rod (B) and slide it on the track. Also slide on the tilt hinge slider (part 9).

    Step 17
    Install new cover and pin (C). Screw in place.

    Step 18
    Pop the rear rubber cover in place.

    Step 19
    Electronically slide the assembly back about 8 inches. Reinstall deflector arms and connect to wind deflector.

    Step 20
    Electronically slide the assembly forward and check the tilt function of the assembly. Leave the assembly tilted up.

    Step 21
    Reinstall sunroof glass. Getting the hinge pins in place is a bit tricky – align them as close as possible, and work from the inside of the car with a small screwdriver in the hole next to it to get them in. Expect some cussing.

    Step 22
    Install the 3 Torx screws on each side, but leave them just snug. These screws set the alignment.

    Step 23
    Close the sunroof electronically and check for alignment. There’s a BMW procedure, but I just winged it. If you have to make adjustments, tilt the sunroof back up, loosen the screws and reset.

    NOTE: Do NOT retract the sunroof more than ½” or you will crush the gators.

    Step 24
    Reinstall the gators and check full operation

    Step 25
    Reinitialize the sunroof by pressing the tilt button for 30 seconds.

    Step 26
    Take the $1400 you saved by NOT going to the dealer and put it toward a cool mod, like an upgraded theft deterrence system.



    Cameron in C-town
    97 528i





  2. #2
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    Thanks- Filed For Future Reference


  3. #3
    Cameron
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    Forgot to thank kowached and rsm for their help


  4. #4
    ZeroDfx
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    Good write-up; pix not showing for me

    Cameron:
    Thanks for your write-up; I know I have to do this project but have been reluctant to tackle it out of fear I won't get it all back together.

    I would love to see your pictures but they are coming thru as red X's for me; any chance you could email them my way?
    Thnx, Nick

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    Thanks for taking the time, I'm sure many of us


    1999 540i 6spd
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  6. #6
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    Inner Circle ©155 since: Jul 21, 2003 edjack will become famous soon enough edjack's Avatar
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    Same here: [email protected]


    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1980 (Nr. 62319).

    '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

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    Check your email


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  8. #8
    Cameron
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    Funny I can see them - can anyone else see them?

    I can email it tonight.

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    They are there now, weren't there a while ago (m)

    Cameron, thanks for posting this, I saved it to a Word doc and emailed to Zerodfx and edjack.


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    Got 'em from JimLev.


    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1980 (Nr. 62319).

    '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

  11. #11
    Crusader
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    Great post. Mine's getting this fix soon ...

    Soon as I schedule the "free" (but not much longer) maintenance appointment.

  12. #12
    blue(mola)
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    Nice write-up! Love the last picture with the dog!

    We had a german shepherd growing up, and somehow your picture just reminds me of him. Man I miss him!

    -blue(mola)

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    I'd never own a different breed -

    We're planning to train him as an search & rescue 'volunteer' dog for local emergencies.

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    Re: Easy Sunroof Repair write-up

    My rear slider is broken (E in the diagram). How do you get that piece in and out without damaging the cable that it is attached to?
    Thanks.

  15. #15
    E39Only
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    Re: Easy Sunroof Repair write-up

    I'd asked that in the past and, if I recall correctly, removing it requires removal of the entire sunroof cassette. Fortunately for me, mine wasn't too badly broken and slides fine. So I left it as is and sunroof works fine. Is yours broken badly that it can't slide or completely broken off the rail?

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    Re: Easy Sunroof Repair write-up

    Good write-up! Can I use it(text and pics) and translate it to finnish?

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    Re: Easy Sunroof Repair write-up - HELP!

    Your write-up was excellent unfortunatley I was not paying attention and broke one of the rear sliders which is attached to the cable. How can I get this off as your write-up did not have to go that far? I purchased both rail kits and it contains the rear slider so it has to come off somehow. Would it have something to do with the manual overide or do I need to take off the cassette?

    Thanks
    Rich

  18. #18
    E39_Silver
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    You will have to remove the cassette and to get (M

    the cassette you have to remove the headliner umong other things. Check this site under Headliner removal and replacement. Headliner is for an E38 but it is similar to E39. Once you remove the cassette the piece you broke piece will slide all the way to the back of the cassette.

    Headliner removal and replacement

  19. #19
    jrusher
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    Stuck Sunroof

    My E39 sunroof is stuck in the closed position. When I press the retract or up position on the switch, the shade moves about an inch, but not the sunroof. I have tried the reinitialize procedure, but that did not work. Also tried to rotate the motor using the allen tool. Any suggestion? I have a metal, not a glass sunroof.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote 68.109.83.32

  20. #20
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    Jim, were you ever able to convert to a .pdf my photo instruction for this operation?

    '03 540iA M-Sport, H&R springs & M5 trunk spoiler
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