E46Fanatics - View Single Post - BMW E46 Sunshade Sunroof Final Fix COMPLETE Pictorial DIY!
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Westchester, NY
Posts: 6,342
My Ride: 335i xDrive Deep Sea
Year: 2011
Model: 335i
Transmission: Steptronic
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After cleaning out the tracks, especially on the driver's side of the cavity where all the drama seem to happen, I applied some lube. DO NOT USE: WD40, Armor All, Baby Oil, Olive Oil, or liquid based/liquid liquid lubricants. These lubricants WILL DRY and LEAVE A STICKY FILM/GUNK that WILL attract dust and debris. The Sunroof Cavity sees extreme temperatures and a heavy duty long lasting lubricant paste or gel is your best bet. Make sure all moving parts get a little smear. Try not to get any on the sunshade fabric or headliner as they are notorious for staining easily.

After the lube I laid down the shade Passenger Side first (or the side with the spring clips # 3 and #4). There is a groove along the Passenger Side edge of the cavity where the spring clips go into and it is very obvious to see how it works.

Next drop the driver's side down, make sure the Sunshade Driver's head is in the middle between where the clips # 1 and #2 screw into the Sunshade, and begin inserting the sliding clips # 2 from the rear edge of the sunshade (because it MUST go behind the driver's head) and #1 from the front edge of the shade.

In my pictures you will see that because my sunshade driver's head was still loose off it's track I was able to slide both #1 and #2 clips in from the front and slide my #2 clip past the driver head (or what is left of my driver's mangled head) into it's Rear position #2 Clip in point on the Sunshade.


The picture's caption-insert in this picture below claim that my Sunshade Driver's head during my testing seemed unusable as it kept jumping the track and not coming all the way forward with the moonroof mechanism in the fully closed position but my issues with it didn't end there and in the end I was lucky that it worked for me after I placed the sunshade in the cavity.

The Sunshade Driver in it's entirety has a odd Z shape when looked at head on or on it's edge.

The head and neck of the driver slides along the same track as the Sunshade Driver's Side Sliding clips #1 and #2. The flat metal body and legs of the driver is a flat metal surface that slides or rather scrapes along the metal frame ledge below the track whiles the motor mechanism or leg end of the driver attaches firmly to another track deep inside the sunroof cavity. The deeper track is DIRECTLY connected to the Moonroof's sliding mechanism as well.

This design principle seems to keep everything on the same track and in sync. So as main Moonroof element moves, so does the Driver's legs, body and head which in turns moves the Sunshade's #2 Rear Clip to open the Sunshade when the Moonroof fully opens or the #1 Front Clip to push the Sunshade out of hiding exposing just the front tip of the Sunshade for the manual grip to be accessible when the Moonroof fully closes. This as far as I can tell, and anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, is the ONLY function of the Sunshade Driver. Without the Driver's presence the Moonroof's sliding mechanism should move freely in that deeper track.

That said, the eventual problem of the Sunshade Driver is a multiple one; It seemed in my car that the lube around the flat metal body dried up causing it to drag or move slower in it's deeper track. This may have cause the head and neck sections to vibrate, jump the Sunshade Clip #1 and #2 track and contact other parts of the sliding system. When this happens the first thing to go is the #1 and #2 Driver's side clips as the head of the Driver shreds them to bits, then the head of the Driver itself, which when new is capped in a soft rubber bumper/stopper cap, is destroyed. This is followed by the metal on the inside of the head-which as you see in my pictures is all that is left and even that got mangled over the years.

Now if you remove the Sunshade completely AND clean out the broken #1 and #2 Sunshade clips (which is exactly what the previous owner did in my car and just left the glass Moonroof) the Driver's head, body and leg will still move up and down the track and the mangled metal head will keep jumping the track and blocking the Moonroof when it closes (which was the cause of my Moonroof automatically reversing itself back to the fully open position when I tried to close it) as the un-lubed body continues to scrape and drag slower than it's Moonroof sliding mechanism.

The eventual outcome is the metal skeleton head of the Driver continues to warp and mangle itself and damaging anything in it's path. The pictures you see here is the result of this over the years of still using the Moonroof glass in my car with a damaged Driver. Every time I opened and closed the glass the Driver head and neck got more and more mangled and twisted.

As a result of this I assumed the Driver was completely shot and would only tear apart my new Sunshade and the #1 and #2 clips. So for 30 minutes I attempted to remove the entire Driver body from it's deeper track. This seemed impossible given the tools that I had before me. And I saw a DIY mentioning that said replacing the entire Driver was ONLY done by removing the headliner and the entire Sunroof Cassette and accessing the Driver body from underneath. I really didn't have the stomach or time to do all that (since it was January and 30 degrees outside) so I did my best to flatten out the head so it wouldn't shred my new clips #1 and #2 and I lubed up the underside of the flat metal body with tons of lube paste.

To my surprise this did the trick. Even though I am happy this worked I strongly suspect it will turn out to be a temporary fix for obvious reasons. But it seems as long as everything is well lubed in the Sunroof cavity there is little to no friction and less chance of damage between parts touching.

Last edited by delmarco; 01-28-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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