CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Stuck Sunroof, HELP

My friend has an 02 Saturn S-Series, the previous owner had the sunroof sealed shut but we didnt know that and tried to open it, it tilted but wouldn’t actually open the only issue is not it wont close, what can we do?

The sealant/weather-stripping will have to be removed and the sunroof motor checked out.

You mentioned the sunroof wouldn’t close? Perhaps the motor died or the linkage is jammed.

Ensure the correct weather-stripping is replaced.

Even if the motor has died, there may be hope. On many makes of cars, there is a provision to insert what looks like a giant hex key into a special covered receptacle on the car’s ceiling, near the controls for the sunroof. By taking off the cover, inserting this giant hex key and doing a lot of turning, the sunroof can be moved even if the motor is dead.

Take a look in the trunk for the car’s original tool kit. If you are lucky, you will find the tool that I described in a vinyl pouch or in some other container.
However, with many used cars, you find nothing of value, due to either the previous owner’s larcenous habits or due to a dealership’s desire to “clean” the car.

if we take it to a saturn dealership do you think they can just manually lower it?
my friend does not really care if it opens so long as its closed

You can manually lower it if you follow my advice (above)–and if the specified tool is present in the car.

okay, we were able to manually lower it but it didn’t close completely and isn’t really sealed, do you have any idea how much that would be?

When mechanics tell you they must take a look at your car to tell you what the cost to fix it will be they are not putting you on.

I had to replace a motor on a Saturn of about that vintage. There’s a plastic gear, driven by the motor, that operates the sunroof drive mechanism. That gear breaks and the roof doesn’t move. If you manually move the sunroof there’s nothing to hold it in position, since the same gear does that too. And there’s no place to insert the aforementioned tool, the gear it would operate is what breaks.

Replacing the motor/gear assembly is not a terribly difficult procedure, but it does start with removing the headliner.

According to this site, the Saturn sunroof is similar to the one on my 2000 Blazer. I tried to open it in the winter when the sunroof was frozen shut and a piece of each side bracket broke off and jammed the mechanism. I was going to order new side brackets from Sunroof Doctor. They also sell repair kits, motors, and complete sunroof modules for the Saturn. Select “Sunroof Parts” from the main menu.

http://www.sunroofdoctor.com/

On the Blazer the glass is held in postion by four Torx screws (one in each corner). Remove the screws and the glass can be removed from the top. Once the glass was out, I was able to remove the broken pieces of the brackets and free up the mechanism.

Take a picture or two of the mechanism in case you have to remove the brackets. I took them out and had a dickens of a time figuring out how to reassemble the brackets. Since the pieces were removed, the sunroof has been working, but at some point I will need to replace the brackets.

Ed B.

haha, okay, thanks for all of your help!