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Old 07-13-2002, 07:48 PM
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Sunroof problem

The sunroof on my recently purchased 87 420SEL does not slide or lift, something I knew when I bought the car. I used the tool to open the roof to check cables, etc. but when almost half open it became very hard to turn the wrench. So I decided to close. When I got to within four inches of closure the plastic nut broke and I can go no further. I have the CD for the 126 chassis, but it does not address this situation. Can anyone tell me what to do?

Doug Dejmal
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Old 07-19-2002, 10:32 PM
grey500se's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: VA 20 miles west of D.C.
Posts: 245
its a lot of work fixing that sunroof, you'll have to pull the entire inside roof liner down and see where it is damaged
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Old 07-20-2002, 12:35 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,105
its not quite as much work as you would think IMO. True, you have to take down a small panel in the roof liner, should be held on by a few "pops" in the front, and then it slides out the top of the car. Have you tested to see if you have power at the motor? as you know, the motor is in the trunk. It order to get the roof closed you are going to have to take out the motor, take off the roof panel (on the sunroof) and push it closed manually untill you can figure out what's up. First things to check are fuses, the switch(done by checking to see if you have power at the motor) and what was mainly wrong with mine, check underneath the fuse box to make sure the wires hasn't fall off(if you dont have power at the motor when you hit the switch) this should give you a basic jump start at it, and i can try to help when i can, but your car is much differant and more sophisticated than my simple SD's roof, with yours haveing the tilt mechanism and all. Good luck.

oh yea, the roof must be at least half open to take the panel off, if it is closed or partially closed you can pop the panel off and slide it backwards into the "back" of the roof. keep us posted
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Old 07-20-2002, 02:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

I believe you can make the sunroof work manually by doing as has been mentioned, removing the sunroof headliner by unsnapping it from the front edge of the sunroof (steel) panel, then lifting it out the openning in the roof. It is much harder to do this if the roof is closed.

Once the panel is out of the way the cable is attached to a cross beam at the rear of the sliding roof panel. Disconnect this and see if the roof can be moved by hand. Pulling the cross beam aft should release the roof panel and make it able to be slid open or closed all the way. If it won't move freely you will have to figure out the problem as something is not right - there will be some kind of rubbing or interference. Once you have that cleared up, you can check out the function of the motor and cable. With the cable disconnected there is no load to speak of, and you should be able to get the cable to move by turning the nut in the trunk. If yours is really broken off, get another from the dealer. It is just a plastic nut/cover and I believe the new one just pops back on over the stuff that is underneath the old one (which I believe is a clutch adjustment feature).

If the motor gears or the cable is bad you will have to replace one or both. I found the problems were with the attachement feature to the crossbeam on the end of the cable. But the only one I have worked on does not have the tilting feature, which complicates things significantly.

Electrical continuity is another story. Fuses, connections and the switch on the dash are all possible problems. You will have to sort these out one at a time. I found I had to wind the cable back into the motor area fully to reset the system, as for a while the unit only worked in one direction, then the open function closed the roof and the close function on the switch opened the roof. In the end it got fixed for a total of less than $0.50 for the new clip to the crossbeam. Good luck, 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.
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1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
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Old 07-20-2002, 07:25 AM
it leaks, its german
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
Posts: 1,111
Sounds like lift/angle brakets and posibly motor time.

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