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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-02-2008, 04:29 PM   #1
Matt Smith
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 3
My Ride: 2000 - 323i
Sunroof Cassette Repair Experience - DIY

About a week ago, I heard the often mentioned cracking sound of the sunshade clips breaking only to next discover that I was unable to close the sunroof.

After reading that this job was at least $1,500 - $2,000 at the dealer, and seeing that a new sunroof cassette would cost about $600 delivered from one of our sponsor dealers, I decided to throw caution to wind and attempt to repair my sunroof first in my garage and wanted to share my experience.

The Short
Job took about 6 hours from removing the sunroof to reinstalling the sunroof.
At times you will need a second set of hands to assist with the headliner and sunroof cassette removal/reinstallation. This is doable DIY project, not especially difficult, but tedious due to all trim pieces involved.

The Long

Headliner
1) Remove Sunroof via the 6 T25 screws
2) Remove Air deflector at front of sunroof assembly(T20 screws I think)
3) Remove A, B, and C pillars
4) Remove sunscreen and suncreen clips
5) Remove light and sunroof motor cover
6) Remove air vent cover
7) Remove Rear headliner cover directly below 3rd middle stop light
8) Remove screw directly in front of sunroof motor that attachs aluminum headliner trim
9) Remove plastic black pop rivets at suncreen clips and middle rear
10) Remove the trim around sunroof hole. Note, this was pretty easy and just pulls right off.
11) With the help of a friend, unsnug headliner from weatherstripping, push forward and it should come right down.
12) With the front seats lowered back all the way, we were able to get the headliner out a back door.

Cassette
Removing the cassette is easy.

1) Detach the 4 water drain hoses at each corner of the cassette
2) There are 13 10mm socket bolts holding it to the car frame. I removed 11 and with my friend took the last 2 out togehter.
3) The cassette will come down and is not very heavy.

Repair of cassette
1)My cassette cable on the driver's side had literally pushed through the cassette assembly and had become kinked.
2)By removing the 12 +/- T20 screws, I was able to get the cable back in and the tracks moving again
3)Would suggest you clean and vacuum the cassette tracks at this time and lubricate if possible.

Reassembly is just the reverse.


The Results.
After putting everything back, I hand wound the sunroof to see if it was operational and it was.
However, after hooking the motor up, I was unable to retract the sunroof and could only raise it.

That being said, I decided to get back to its starting position, disconnected the sunroof motor and catch my breath before taking on this task again to replace my sunroof cassette, for it apparently has a permantly kinked cable.

Just wanted to share, for this board has helped me out a lot over the past year.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:02 PM   #2
djacs1
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TX
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Sorry the work did not solve your problem. Id be way pissed by now.

Was your issue that the sunroof would not close or the sunshade? I've had lots of issues with mine and solved a few through use of some DIY advice on this forum. But I still currently have an issue that I can not completely close the sunshade. It will not go the last 2 or 3 inches closed. I worked at it for a few hours but I only had the sunroof and sunshade removed, never the casette. Did you learn anything that would help me?

BTW, some pics would make this a world class DIY!
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:38 PM   #3
Tom Busby
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My Ride: 2001 325i, 1995 318i
Since you repaired rather than than replaced, you may not need to "initalize" the sunroof, but I suggest you do a search on this term, as it might be nessary. I think to "intialize" is nothing more than a short sequence of button pushing, in the right order, and doesn't require MODIC dealer-type software. Since you did all the hard work it's worth some research I think.
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:03 AM   #4
Matt Smith
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My Ride: 2000 - 323i
The sunshade issue is most likely related to a broken clip or debris in the tracks. It is probably something that can be fixed by removing the sunroof and problem solving.

Yes, you can reset the sunroof by holding the sunroof button for a certain length of time(20 seconds I think) and the owner's manual details this.

In my case, I cannot get the driver's side to retract via manually operating the sunroof and feel it is due to a kinked cable.

I have ordered a new sunshade and a sunroof repair kit($200 delivered) and plan to order a new cassette soon($600), but the $800 total for essentially a new sunroof system will be far less than the $1600 - $2000 a dealer would want.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:47 AM   #5
bmwmedic
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Location: Ft Worth TX
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My Ride: 323i 99 01 530i sp
Matt, I am not sure I liked the way you just said "remove the sunroof" so casually! Unless you mean the very first part of this painful story.
Seriously, my sons 99 323 has a sunroof that works perfectly w/o hesitation or
strange noise EXCEPT the shade is fubared
now the shade is stuck in back and some black 3 ft long gasket looking thing with tapered ends was hanging down so naturally I just pulled it out! lol
anyway I can see this piece on real oem but how Do I go about fixing the shade? any simple answers? or links
or just remove the roof, not the cassette?
thanks to you or anyone with advice
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:59 AM   #6
TKC
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Does anyone know if the entire sunroof cassette from my '99 328i can be replaced with one from a '02 330ci?

Are the coupe and sedan the same size?

The dealership was no help.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:42 PM   #7
gkinslow
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This is the type of thread I've been looking for all day. I have the same issue. I just bought a 2000 323i. The first time I opened the sunroof I heard a crackling, poping noise, but the sunroof did open and close then the next time, not so lucky. The left side wouldn't close. I removed enough to see into the left side of the headliner to find that the cable was wormed out of the broken cassette and into the headliner area.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:12 PM   #8
krasavezzz
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There is a DIY to fix the sunshade, I have done it and when I finally figured out what kind of mechanism BMW has created I wanted to shoot them. The sunshade is held on by two fragile clips on the drivers end and has a track it sits into with two fragile plastic pieces on the passenger side. I spent 5 hours trying to figure out why the hell it kept jumping off the track after I replaced the broken clips all around.. finally got pissed put the sunroof back on and magic, it worked.. to a point.
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:21 AM   #9
nismo1013
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Location: Knoxville, TN
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My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i
This may be a dumb question, but how do I identify our sponsor dealers? I went to my local BMW dealer and they wanted ~$900 for a sunroof cassette. $600 sounds much better to me. I've been looking for a used cassette, but have recently decided I might as well just get a new one (maybe it'll last another 6 years before it breaks )

I looked at Tischer BMW, but their website says $715 for the cassette. Is there another dealer with a cheaper price?

Last edited by nismo1013; 06-09-2009 at 10:46 AM. Reason: found Sponsor link
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #10
nismo1013
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Just an update on my sunroof cassette experience with Tischer BMW:

I emailed Jason at Tischer and explained my situation to him. He was very friendly and helpful, and had the parts I needed in stock. He even knocked more money off the cassette for me (which ended up costing $667). Shipping was VERY fast, and everything looks to be in order. Overall, a VERY pleasant experience (especially compared to my local BMW dealer). Kudos to Tischer BMW!
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:24 PM   #11
rev-head1
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After all the heart ache and drama,s i have had with the silly sun shade clips my advice is leave the bloody sun shade out and put some dark tint on the glass.I am just about to install a new sun roof motor(due to the sun shade got stuck and burnt the motor out)it looks easy enough to install but can anyone tell me how to set the sunroof motor up please.
thx Dave
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:53 AM   #12
did.that@live.com
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im trying to find a cassette for my 03 where did you get yours for 600 delivered. I cant find new one for that price. thanks
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:49 AM   #13
Darkoz
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^^You do realise that this thread is 3 years old, prices tend to rise over time
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