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Thread: Glass Moonroof fix (with pics)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Pensacola, FL
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    98 528i RIP, 2010 SRX

    Post Glass Moonroof fix (with pics)

    I finally got around to trying to fix my moonroof and found success!

    A little background: Like many other posts I've read my '98 528i glass moonroof would slide back and forth, but not tilt up. When the button to raise it was pressed the motor would move and it would go up slightly, but not enough for the glass to get higher than the roof. I could push it up by hand, but it would not stay.

    A few months back I read this thread posted by WUMP:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...light=moonroof

    I used the instructions from post #9 and ordered the parts from my local dealer. The part #s I used were 54-12-8-202-295 & 296 ($60.39)

    The process was pretty straight forward in getting the glass off, but getting the pieces out and the rails aligned was another story. I ended up draining my battery sliding the rails back and forth trying to figure out what parts to replace and trying to re-align the tracks. The tracks were filthy black and I recommend cleaning the rails thouroughly before, during and after the process.

    *Tip: When you pull the accordian rubber pieces at the sides start at the back and work your way forward. Only the bottom part of each side comes loose. The top stays attached to the glass.

    I replaced the entire tilt rail assembly rather than just the broken pieces. In retrospect, either way would have been fine, but I did notice some bending on the trailing part of the old assembly. Look at the pictures below for reference of the rail positions and the broken pieces.

    *Tip: To remove and replace the broken pieces, slide the rail back past the "cutout" section of the rail. Use a flathead screwdriver and light pressure to remove. Simply push the new piece in at an angle from the back of the cutout and slide it forward until pops into place. Then attach the riser bar and remaining hardware.

    When putting the glass back in, position the rails so that they are in the tilt up position and double check that the trailing part of the rail is in the diverter track at each side and the rear gutter is attached loosely. (This was the most frustrating part of this repair as one side would slip out as the other went in and vice versa. I had to use wire graplers to recover the gutter slides from deep inside the roof, but it was easy to do so.) I also removed and cleaned the gutter and cleaned the top of the sliding cover which was covered with a thick layer of greasy dust.

    *Tip: Lay the glass on top and try to get the front part in first as there is a small post on each side that fits into the first hole. All the screw holes will line up automatically after that. If they don't, then the trailing arms are probably not in properly.

    Pics of the broken rail assembly still on the car:




    Old tilt rail assemblies with breaks shown:


    Close up of broken piece:


    Moonroof fixed!


    I hope this helps anyone considering this fix. As usual, I wish I had taken more pictures of the process, but I'm not taking it apart again!! By the way, the entire process took me about 4-5 hours. I started in the evening and had to quit when my battery got too weak. I ran out and got a battery charger and some spray lithium grease spray and finished the next morning. I could probably do it in 1-2 hours if I had to do it again.
    9/30/2007 - 200,000 Miles!
    11/29/10 - 300,000 miles and counting! 4/10/2012 - 332,635! 01/14/2013 - 350,000 miles! 10/25/15 - 395,872 End of the Road
    Never explain yourself... Your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway!

  2. #2
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    Thanks

    Nice write up, thanks

  3. #3
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    TTT FTW... And this too should be in the DIY section.........
    The Harder I work, the better I live!http://www.myspace.com/muaddibproductions

    This car has been widely praised in all aspects; many say it is the best BMW in the world. Consumer Reports gave the 2001 530i its highest car rating ever. The diesel engines available in the European models provide great torque and smoothness with better economy. The M5 has been called "the ultimate in discreet speed" with 369 lbft (500 Nm) of torque and a 060 mph time of 5.2 s. The only downside was its smallish cabin and trunk space of 11.1 ft (314 L)
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  4. #4
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    2001 BMW 525i
    going to try to attempt this this weekend. wish me luck.

    2001 E39

  5. #5
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    good luck!!!


    - 2000 528i Sport
    -
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  6. #6
    Join Date
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    The rear of the two carriages was also broken on mine, the only way to remove this was to take the whole sunroof cartridge out of the car. After a lot of cursing I went to it and was surprised at how easy it all went. Of course the headliner has to come out but I had everything sitting on the bench in about an hour. This made it really easy to clean everything up, replace the broken parts and check how it was all working.

    A few tricks:
    - I left the motor attached until I had to move the carriages, I scribed where they where so I could get them back in sync when I popped the motor back in. It all went together like a charm.
    - One of the tilt hinges was tight, which may have aggravated the weak plastic, it turned out it had a slight bend in it. A tap of a hammer in the center of the slide straightened it out enough to run smoothly.
    - Don't put the headliner back in until you have the glass installed and have checked that everything is working correctly.

    My recommendation? Pop the glass off as described previously to see what is broken. If it's the front carriages only you can do it in the car but if the back carriage is broken you'll have to dedicate a couple hours to it and pull the whole kit out.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHWELL View Post
    TTT FTW... And this too should be in the DIY section.........
    Thanks, but even I have to admit I left out too much information to call this a true DIY. Consider it a guide and a review of my own DIY experience.

    3 months after I did this fix, the sunroof got stuck in the tilt up position. Snap, crackle, pop and the cable either snapped or separated from the screw drive mechanism. Either way, I just repositioned the glass manually and pulled the fuse. I did remove the glass one more time to try and trouble shoot and discovered the cable on the left side was gone! Probably in the back of the assembly somwhere.

    I'm gonna just replace the entire cassette someday when I want my sunroof back again. Here in NW Florida, there are very few weeks to drive without either the AC or Heat on for comfort.
    9/30/2007 - 200,000 Miles!
    11/29/10 - 300,000 miles and counting! 4/10/2012 - 332,635! 01/14/2013 - 350,000 miles! 10/25/15 - 395,872 End of the Road
    Never explain yourself... Your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aero Guy View Post

    My recommendation? Pop the glass off as described previously to see what is broken. If it's the front carriages only you can do it in the car but if the back carriage is broken you'll have to dedicate a couple hours to it and pull the whole kit out.
    My rear carriages are not broken but are not even with each other. This is what cause my tilt assembly to crack. How do I get the rear carriages level with each other?

    Current:
    2012 Audi A4 S-Line
    2011 BMW X5 50i
    2000 BMW 540i

    Past:
    2010 Mercedes ML350
    2002 Lexus IS300
    1998 Audi A6 Quattro
    1988 Honda Prelude

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    00 540i, 11' X5 50i
    anybody know?

    Current:
    2012 Audi A4 S-Line
    2011 BMW X5 50i
    2000 BMW 540i

    Past:
    2010 Mercedes ML350
    2002 Lexus IS300
    1998 Audi A6 Quattro
    1988 Honda Prelude

  10. #10
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    Ottawa, Canada
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    '97 528, 2007 Cobra
    The carriages are indexed on the cables and the cable for each side runs off of the same gear on the motor. So you need to pull the motor and then manually move the carriages so they are at the same position then re-install the motor. Access the motor by popping off the headliner panel with the sunroof switch on it (behind the rearview mirror). Three screws hold the motor in place.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Colorado
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    1997 528i, 5spd

    Many Thanks

    Many Thanks for an excellent description. Mine crapped out, and because of what you have posted as a guide, I feel confident I'll be able to do this. It's not covered well in the Bentley manual so this is just what I needed.
    One point for those of you who do have the Bentley manual, its photos / illustration (probably from a 540) of locating the (3) torx screws securing the glass to the carriage do not match what I have on my 1997 528i. From another posting, the location of the (3) screws that need to be removed to remove the glass can be seen here (glass removed, but the locations are easy to see). Also, my gaiters were difficult to remove - I ended up using a paint stir stick inserted from the outside thru the opening under the tilted glass to push / assist the gaiter out of the track on the glass. Worked much easier than trying to pull the gaiter from the inside alone. I'm going to work the assy tomorrow. I'll post any other hints I come up with.
    Again, thanks to all....
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Apr 2004
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    1997 528i, 5spd

    E39 528 Sunroof Rear Guide Lever Position Question

    After working on the sunroof, I'm starting reassembly and notice my rear carriages are not even. I have read here that removing the motor allows free carriage movement. On removing the motor I could see it is a rack and pinion system. One rack for each carriage side. The pinion gear on the motor gear drives both racks. Removing the motor allows each rack gear to move independently as each individual rear carriage is moved. OK- that problem is solved. Note that the three motor mounting screws are not all of equal length.

    Also, I had a lot of trouble figuring out why my rear guide arms kept falling out of the guides on the outer sill of the window cavity. Behind the rear carriage is a separate sliding piece. I finally noticed that this piece has a cylindrical projection on it, facing outboard. Now look at the rear guide arm - The rear end of it has a cylindrical receptacle (i.e. a hole). Once I figured this out, I felt like an idiot for not seeing it sooner, but I didn't notice it when I started taking things apart. The rear rain block also attaches to the rear guide arms and these separate sliding pieces.

    Hope this helps someone.
    Last edited by ST1100; 07-10-2008 at 02:18 PM.

  13. #13
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    98 528i, 03 Ford Expedition XLT
    Quote Originally Posted by Aero Guy View Post
    The rear of the two carriages was also broken on mine, the only way to remove this was to take the whole sunroof cartridge out of the car. After a lot of cursing I went to it and was surprised at how easy it all went. Of course the headliner has to come out but I had everything sitting on the bench in about an hour. This made it really easy to clean everything up, replace the broken parts and check how it was all working.

    A few tricks:
    - I left the motor attached until I had to move the carriages, I scribed where they where so I could get them back in sync when I popped the motor back in. It all went together like a charm.
    - One of the tilt hinges was tight, which may have aggravated the weak plastic, it turned out it had a slight bend in it. A tap of a hammer in the center of the slide straightened it out enough to run smoothly.
    - Don't put the headliner back in until you have the glass installed and have checked that everything is working correctly.

    My recommendation? Pop the glass off as described previously to see what is broken. If it's the front carriages only you can do it in the car but if the back carriage is broken you'll have to dedicate a couple hours to it and pull the whole kit out.
    My moonroof wasnt working when I purchased my 98 528i. I was told that it would cost an arm and a leg to repair thus I left it alone the motor was unplugged. After seeing this I want my moonroof to work as well. How does the headliner come out?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Highland, CA, USA
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    2
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    2001 525
    I too have this moonroof problem. It started with a CLUNK and would not go up. It moves back & forth though. I took it to 2 different mechanics & they said it would have to be done by the dealer. Went to the dealer, $2600 to fix...$565 for diagnosing it! Reading this blog has shown me what RIP-OFF this dealer is! There has to be someone that can do this for cheaper. Unfortunately, I can't- sorry guys, I'm a gal without much mechanic skills but who loves BMRs to death! Thanks for the info... BMRBABE

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    BMW 530i 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100 View Post
    After working on the sunroof, I'm starting reassembly and notice my rear carriages are not even. I have read here that removing the motor allows free carriage movement. On removing the motor I could see it is a rack and pinion system. One rack for each carriage side. The pinion gear on the motor gear drives both racks. Removing the motor allows each rack gear to move independently as each individual rear carriage is moved. OK- that problem is solved. Note that the three motor mounting screws are not all of equal length.

    Also, I had a lot of trouble figuring out why my rear guide arms kept falling out of the guides on the outer sill of the window cavity. Behind the rear carriage is a separate sliding piece. I finally noticed that this piece has a cylindrical projection on it, facing outboard. Now look at the rear guide arm - The rear end of it has a cylindrical receptacle (i.e. a hole). Once I figured this out, I felt like an idiot for not seeing it sooner, but I didn't notice it when I started taking things apart. The rear rain block also attaches to the rear guide arms and these separate sliding pieces.

    Hope this helps someone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aero Guy View Post
    The rear of the two carriages was also broken on mine, the only way to remove this was to take the whole sunroof cartridge out of the car. After a lot of cursing I went to it and was surprised at how easy it all went. Of course the headliner has to come out but I had everything sitting on the bench in about an hour. This made it really easy to clean everything up, replace the broken parts and check how it was all working.

    A few tricks:
    - I left the motor attached until I had to move the carriages, I scribed where they where so I could get them back in sync when I popped the motor back in. It all went together like a charm.
    - One of the tilt hinges was tight, which may have aggravated the weak plastic, it turned out it had a slight bend in it. A tap of a hammer in the center of the slide straightened it out enough to run smoothly.
    - Don't put the headliner back in until you have the glass installed and have checked that everything is working correctly.

    My recommendation? Pop the glass off as described previously to see what is broken. If it's the front carriages only you can do it in the car but if the back carriage is broken you'll have to dedicate a couple hours to it and pull the whole kit out.
    Dear ST1100, does that mean that you need not to take the whole sunroof cartridge out to replace the broken rear carriages like Aero Guy did?

    I'm facing this problem of a broken rear carriages, and i don't know what to do!!

    Thanks,

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    wait wait wait.. after reading this thread, and others, How Many people have done this fix Without it actually breaking within a day or a few months??? Whats the point of 80 dollars if it is going to break in a month or two or the first tilt up time and lose not just the tilt up but back and fourth..
    Tsw Volcano Staggered 19's, H&R and Bilsteins,
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    5 for 5

  17. #17
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    I am thinking that the repair was not performed correctly if the repair was failing soon after. maybe the person was not performing the repair correctly becauser we are missing some important info required to have the repair be successful. I am going to repair mine soon but was curious how the mechanism works. the front to rear slide is not a mystery. but how does the more tilt it up?

    Mine currently moves front to back without any issues. It does not vent or go up properly. It moves up past the body about a quarter inch AND I can push it up the rest of the way. It does not stay up from there. Any ideas? Looks to me like th epart that pushes it up might be broken on both rails.

    Thanks for your ideas.

  18. #18
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    nice writeup, looks good.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve528 View Post
    wait wait wait.. after reading this thread, and others, How Many people have done this fix Without it actually breaking within a day or a few months??? Whats the point of 80 dollars if it is going to break in a month or two or the first tilt up time and lose not just the tilt up but back and fourth..
    I did mine about 2 years ago. Everything held until about a year ago when part of one piece holding the rear gutter (attached to the rear of the rail arms and sits inside the roof) broke. This dislodged the gutter piece and it slid around the inside of the roof whenever I hit the gas or brakes hard....PLUS it accounted for some water leak I think down the pillars and to the floor. I took it all apart several months ago, didn't have to replace pieces but did a crafty JB Weld job on the plastic part and it it holding together just fine. NO water leaks so far.

    It seems it is inevitable that all will have to replace these plastic pieces like lots of BMW parts.
    1998 (9/97 production date) 540i 6 Speed Sport / black on black / shadow trim / debadged / black-out grill / Carbon fiber roundels / 80w Yellow Fogs / 2.81 non- lsd diff. / 17" BBS Sport Style 19 wheels/ 245 all around tires / modified CDV / Stage I Dinan software / 5w30 synthetic/ 244k miles and counting

    E65 2007 Alpina B7: Black on Black, Supercharged autobahn eater, 500hp/515trq, 245/295 tires, 141k miles with major systems rebuilt/replaced!

  20. #20
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    A tip: buy 2x each of PN 54-12-8-202-295 & 296 before you start this job. I broke one in the process, and ended up having to wait for a replacement to ship 3 days later. These pieces are pretty cheaply made imo.

    I prefer to get the job done at once, even if I later have to ship a return to the parts supplier (e.g. the extra parts that were unused).

  21. #21
    Join Date
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    2008 535i
    Buy two each of the parts at $61 each? Not me. Anyhoo...

    "To remove and replace the broken pieces, slide the rail back past the "cutout" section of the rail. Use a flathead [COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue !important]screwdriver[/COLOR][/COLOR]

    and light pressure to remove. Simply push the new piece in at an angle from the back of the cutout and slide it forward until pops into place. Then attach the riser bar and remaining hardware."

    I can't believe people have so much problem getting the glass out then cruise through this part. The glass was a snap but I don't see how to get the arms and plastic out and the new stuff in. The above section talks about sliding the rail past the cutout section of the ... rail? Nothing will slide except the piece that's broken because (presumably) it's attached to the cable/chain/gear that tugs on it.

    I need help!!!

    Tks.

  22. #22
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    Mulepick,
    I am working on my moon roof currently and would like it if you could clarify how to get the broken assembly (54-12-8-202-295 & 296) out. I do not see a 'cutout' section other than the one that's a half inch wide and nothing seems to be able to come out of that opening. Do you mean there is something further back? Thanks for the help.
    SV
    Black Magic Variant

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Magic View Post
    Mulepick,
    I am working on my moon roof currently and would like it if you could clarify how to get the broken assembly (54-12-8-202-295 & 296) out. I do not see a 'cutout' section other than the one that's a half inch wide and nothing seems to be able to come out of that opening. Do you mean there is something further back? Thanks for the help.
    SV
    Sunroof Repair
    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).
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 03-20-2011 at 08:09 PM.

  24. #24
    Join Date
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    Can you get the sliding cover under the moon roof out without dropping the headliner? Maybe out through the top after the glass is out?

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    1998 BMW 528i
    Why does BMW insist on making stuff in these cars so cheap. Cup Holders, Sunroof Arms, Door Handles... If I recall these were $45,000-$60,000 dollar cars when they first came out.



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