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Old 03-05-2002, 12:45 AM
JimSmith JimSmith is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
There seem to be a number of problems here, and Pete and I (I am Pete's Dad) managed to fix his car's sunroof for the cost of a clip Pete has mentioned. We are on vacation and Pete got a little too much of the 11,500 ft. altitude and local water, so he is somewhat out of commision. He asked that I check this thread and offer any help I can, so here goes.

First,to get the interior liner off, you do as Pete suggested, you unsnap what are four (maybe five) evenly spaced spring clips at the front edge of the sunroof. The spring clips are attached to a sheet metal insert in the front edge of the liner. Once you get them unsnapped you have to remove the liner. Pete and I did this by carefully just pulling it down. You kind of have to bow it down in the middle so the edges come free. When you put it back in, you open the roof, and feed it in from the top. If you can get the roof open to start with, it is much easier to pull the liner up and out through the hole in the roof as well. This is because the liner is wider than the interior openning in the roof, while the hole in the steel roof of the car is wider than the liner.

Some of the troubles each of you are having, except the individual with the roof that sags at the rear of the panel, sound much like Pete's. The sagging rear and slight movement under power are most likely clutch issues with the motor. There just is not enough clutch left to avoid slipping when the load increases. The cable has to push a cross beam forward once the roof is as far forward as it goes, and then lift and lock the rear of the roof panel. The motor load typically increases at this point, and can increase at any point along the sliding panel's track where there is dirt, lack of lubricant, or any other obstruction. There is an adjustment screw back on the motor in the trunk to fix that problem by tightening the clutch. If you have leakage of rain water or anything else it is most likely due to having one or more of the roof drains clogged. The sliding panel has no real seals to the steel roof. It is designed to leak into some gutters outside the rails, and then down drain lines in the "A" pillars and the "C" pillars. These can get clogged with junk, like leaves and pine needles, if you park under trees with the roof open. The "A" pillar drains can be seen just forward and outboard of the sunroof openning/rails.

For the others, when you get your liner off, you will see the cross beam the cable is attached to by the "gold" clip. It is actually galvanized sheet steel and is held in position by two screws. Pete's was so deformed you could not figure out how the whole mechanism worked by just looking at it.

Anyway, the clip connects the cable to the cross beam, and there is a tube behind the roof openning that guides the cable. The guide tube has a slit on the bottom. The clip is attached to the cable end "head" at the center of the clip, and then has a small, maybe 1/8" long, stub that points straight down, which then flares out into a delta wing shape (the clip has a 3-D shape, with the connection to the cable at the center and top of the clip, with the connections to the cross beam at the bottom). This is kind of hard to describe clearly, but when you see it you will catch on. The wings each have a hole for the screw that attaches the clip to the cross beam. As the cable is drawn into the guide tube, that vertical stub of the clip has to stick through the slit in the bottom of the guide tube. On Pete's car one of the screws fell out and the clip rotated and got all bent up so the stub would not line up with the slit in the guide tube. So the cable could not retract the roof.

While all this may sound simple, it was not that obvious when we got to the damaged clip, especially the clip interface with the cable and the guide tube.

I believe there are some limit switches in the system as well, as when Pete and I were installing the cable the dash switch action got reversed, meaning openning the roof actually shot the cable out, while closing it with the switch sucked the cable in towards the trunk. I ran the cable all the way in with the hand crank tool (attached to a ratchet with a big lever arm) a couple of times and the switch anomoly seemed to cure itself. I guessed there was a torque limit switch that got activated when the roof would not run at all and winding the cable all the way in reset it. This is pure conjecture though.

To get the clip lined up with the cross beam bolt holes, we had to fiddle with the switch a bunch of times. This would be easier using the hand crank feature, I think.

The cable had a serious coating of grease, which we did not renew. I read another thread here that you need some special grease for this purpose, and we concluded the thing was really covered with the stuff already, and it seemed reasonably clean. We did lubricate the rails with a synthetic spray lubricant. I owned the car for 16 years before Pete got it (I told him he could have it when he turned 16, when he was about 4. He often seems like he is not listening to me, but he heard that and held me to it.) and routinely lubed the rails.

This sliding roof setup is relatively simple, and be glad you do not have the tilting feature!

Good Luck, and contact Pete if you need more help as he was all over this job on his new car. I think we started this at about the time he got his license. It felt good fixing a Benz for the $.38 that clip cost. Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)

Last edited by JimSmith; 03-05-2002 at 12:54 AM.
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