Saturday, February 13, 2010


In this section, sunroof maintenance is illustrated so that the owner gets to enjoy the sunroof for many years to come. Proper and scheduled maintenance does make a BIG difference in prolonging the life of the sunroof. Of course, the sunroof can always be rebuilt if it fails to operate, but that is a job that requires an expert not easily found, and fees that is not usually expected. So, it pays to take care of the sunroof now and then.

The photo above shows a new sunroof with attached plastic wrap during installation to prevent scratches on the deflector panel. It has to be removed, or later use will cause the plastic wrap to come loose and may get entangled in the mechanisms.

This is the front mating portion of the sunroof to the chasis It is imperative that this portion is kept clean and free from rust.

A top view of my favorite ride, with the sunroof in a full retracted position.

Notice the accumulation of dirt after hours of fun with the open top. Dirt such as these are often acidic in nature and will eat into the water drain pan if left in a prolonged state.

After carefull cleaning, it looks good as new. When the sunroof was first rebuilt in 2003, I patched up certain spots that were rusted with fibre glass, and painted it over with the special yellow anti-rust paint from Hammerite.

This is a close-up view of the front drain hole located below the sliding mechanism. There will be a total of 4 drain holes for draining water from the sunroof water catchment pan, 2 in front, and 2 at the rear of the pan that is hidden below the chasis roof. This is due to the car body roof that is curved with the apex at the center, and sliding down towards the rear of the car.

Scheduled maintenance should include pouring of soap water into the water catchment pan of the sunroof. This is meant for neutralizing the build up of acidic particles in the drain system, as well as to clear any minor blockages. Of course, this method can be used similarly to check if the drain system is choked up. If it is, the use of compressed air pumped into the drain hole will be the last resort, as the rubber hose may burst if the blockage is serious. Tee soap water should be poured on both front left and right sides, as the drain pan is curved with the apex in the center.

To check the rear drainage system, pour the soap water towards the rear left and right of the sunroof, so as to allow the soap water to flow backwards toward the rear of the water catchment pan.

After each pouring (each of the 4 drain holes), check to see if the soap water flows out at the bottom of the car, at the body silts. If the flow is not progressive, use a mild steel wire to clear any accumulated dirt at the body silt openings. There should be four openings, 2 at each sides of the car. If the flow shows a clean flow of soap water, the job is done right.

Cleaning of the sides of the sunroof opening where the glass panel slides past is imperative to ensure a good seal. Accumulation of dirt will increase friction and reduce the lifespan of the rubber moulding, to the extent of tearing it apart on extreme cases of friction.

The front edge takes a good dose of dirt as it is at the front edge.

Note the accumulation of dirt at the corners.

This is how I do it, with a cottom cloth that is soaked wet with soap water and wrung dry. The soap will neutralize any acidic built up, as well as function as a lubricant for the sliding action of the rubber / furry contact surfaces.

The rear of the sunroof is cleaned by reaching into the cavity to ensure no particles stuck at the sealing surfaces. If there are, water & wind will be leaked into the cabin.

Another shot at the front edge furry sealing surface, after cleaning is done.
Proper maintenance of the sunroof ensures a long lasting usage without any issues. As the sunroof is located at the top of the car, exposure to the sun will accelerate the deterioration, so care is certainly required. Use of "Armour All", or any other rubber protectant is recommended. If there are any details not addressed here, leave a comment, and I will see to it.

And to all chinese viewers ;
Gong Xi Fatt Chai, Wan Sze Ru I, Welcome to the year of the TIGER !

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