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Sunroof Glass and Shade Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Sunroof Glass and Shade Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

****

Tools:

T20 Torx bit, wrench to fit bit or ratcheting bit driver, small flat-head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan/Wagon (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-06)
BMW 328Ci Coupe (1999-00)
BMW 328i Sedan (1999-00)
BMW 330Ci Coupe (2001-06)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2001-06)
BMW M3 Coupe (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Sunroof shade guides, graphite lubricant, light-duty cleaner and clean rags

Hot Tip:

Be careful not to get shade fabric dirty.

Performance Gain:

Properly working sunroof shade

Complementary Modification:

Give your car a good wash

The sunroof sunshade in BMW E46 models can fail and bind up when you attempt to open the sunroof. The usual symptom is the sunshade jams or binds when sliding back to open it. When this happens it can jam up and not allow the sunroof itself to open or damage other parts in the sunroof. The shade has two plastic guides that are attached to the driver side of the sunshade. These plastic guides are lubricated at the factory and dry out over time. There is a good amount of heat and friction in that area, both contributing factors to guide failure. You can replace the plastic guides in a short amount of time and restore the sunroof and sunshade to working order. Once the plastic guides have been replaced, it is a good idea to add a small amount of graphite-based lubricant to the area about once a year. This will keep things well lubed and in working order. 

To avoid marring the trim if you need to pry anything, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

In this tech article I will cover how to remove the sunroof glass panel and repair the sun shade (green arrow) plastic guides.
Figure 1

In this tech article I will cover how to remove the sunroof glass panel and repair the sun shade (green arrow) plastic guides.

Slide sun shade all the way open, as far back as it will go.
Figure 2

Slide sun shade all the way open, as far back as it will go. This allows access to sunroof glass panel fasteners.

With sunroof glass panel exposed, remove three T25 Torx fasteners from each side of the sunroof glass panel (green arrows).
Figure 3

With sunroof glass panel exposed, remove three T25 Torx fasteners from each side of the sunroof glass panel (green arrows). Right side shown; left is similar.

Once sunroof glass panel fasteners have been removed, lift glass panel up and remove from vehicle.
Figure 4

Once sunroof glass panel fasteners have been removed, lift glass panel up and remove from vehicle. Store in a safe place.

With the sunroof glass panel removed, you can now see the two plastic guides on the left side of sun shade (green arrows).
Figure 5

With the sunroof glass panel removed, you can now see the two plastic guides on the left side of sun shade (green arrows). These are the parts that wear out and cause shade to jam.

When the rear plastic guide breaks (green arrow), it can push the power shade retractor (purple arrow) to the wrong side (behind) of the plastic guide.
Figure 6

When the rear plastic guide breaks (green arrow), it can push the power shade retractor (purple arrow) to the wrong side (behind) of the plastic guide. It might push it far enough back to make it difficult to see. If this happens, reach inside cavity and slide power shade retractor (purple arrow) back to the forward position, in front of rear plastic guide. If the power retractor (purple arrow) is bent, you can bend it back into place. This is something I do quite often.

Remove four T10 Torx fasteners from sun shade plastic guides.
Figure 7

Remove four T10 Torx fasteners from sun shade plastic guides. .

To remove front guide, slide toward front of vehicle and remove.
Figure 8

To remove front guide, slide toward front of vehicle and remove.

To remove front guide, slide toward rear of vehicle and remove.
Figure 9

To remove front guide, slide toward rear of vehicle and remove.

You can now remove sun shade by lifting up on left side and sliding out of right side of sunroof cassette.
Figure 10

You can now remove sun shade by lifting up on left side and sliding out of right side of sunroof cassette. With sun shade removed, clean all dirt and debris from guide tracks. Then lightly lubricate with a graphite based lubricant.

Install sun shade in sunroof cassette right side first.
Figure 11

Install sun shade in sunroof cassette right side first. Be sure to check that spring loaded sliders on right side are properly installed (green arrow).

If necessary, slide sun shade power retractor back to the forward-most position, in front of rear plastic guide.
Figure 12

If necessary, slide sun shade power retractor back to the forward-most position, in front of rear plastic guide. Slide new plastic guides into place and install fasteners. Be careful not to over torque. Once installed, check that sun shade moves freely back and forth.

Place glass panel into roof and install fasteners finger tight.
Figure 13

Place glass panel into roof and install fasteners finger tight. Then align top of sunroof glass with roof panel by lifting up. Once you have sunroof glass panel at correct height (about a millimeter below roof), tighten fasteners. Once installed, check operation of sunroof glass panel and sun shade.

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Comments and Suggestions:
railbubba Comments: 2003 BMW 325xi E46. The sunshade came off of its guides and jammed up the sunroof when it was about half ways open making an awful clicking noise. The sun shade was pulled way back inside the cavity. I was able to reach inside and pull the sunshade free and slide it forward. When I tried to close the sunroof it made that awful clicking noise again so I helped push the sunroof closed with my hand. I fallowed your technical guide and upon inspection I found the power shade retractor arm was bent upwards and the sunshade guides were broken. I cleaned and lubricated some of the moving parts on the sunroof cassette and bent the power shade retractor arm back into position. Oops. I broke the plastic tip on the power shade retractor arm. I installed the glass sunroof without the sunshade and it seems to work fine. What are your thoughts about the awful clicking noise? And, the broken plastic tip I broke on the power shade retractor arm. Thanks for your advice in advance.
September 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if still making noise, something is damaged or stuck in the track. I would remove the glass and inspect the tracks. You may have to replace some parts.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
brutus Comments: 1999 323i E46.My sunroof works just fine. But the sliding "cover" to the sunroof is really messed up. Material coming off, and it won't slide back but halfway and then gets caught on something. Can I replace the slide cover, and not the whole sunroof?
August 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think you are looking for a sunshade. If year's past they were available separately. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
MIKEH Comments: Is it common for the right clips to be molded in place ? could a replacement metal clip to be "kluged" using pop-rivets ? Id rather spend $10-15 than spend $200+ on a whole assembly !
April 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is common for them to be molded. I am not sure if it can be repaired. It is worth a shot, to spend just a few bucks and some time. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MUKEH Comments: Hpw do I replace the passenger right side metal clips on my 330ci sunroof shade, there arent any screws, are the metal clips molded into the shade ?
April 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If molded, you will have to replace the sun shade as a unit.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Roberto Comments: Thank you for Your reply. I really appreciate it. Everyone was talking about broken parts, I don't have any so I did not want to remove the entire sunroof, this is why I cannot see as much as it could be.
The problem might not be that one after all.
I removed the rear guide of the sunshade and now I can freely push it all the way back. It all works fine. I think that gray so-called shade retracror might be behind it... too much work removing the entire sunroof for such a small problem. I do really appreciate the unexpected reply. Thank You.
December 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Roberto Comments: here is the photo too. thanks a lot for anyone's input.
December 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The image is too small, can you upload a larger version? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Roberto Comments: Hello There, my guide's edge stuck againt the endge of the sunroof's mechanism's edge, that's why I cannot push the sunshade back more than 2-3cm... I've trimmed the plactic of the edge of the guide and so with slight bit of force I can push the shade backwards but once I close the roof I cannot do the same from the inside... Anyone has any thoughts on this one, please? Thnx a lot.
December 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume something is worn. It should clear, unless the wrong part has been installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
cnbmwe46 Comments: I had the same problem as many people, except I also had a messed up driver mechanism between the two clips on the driver side of the sliding shade. Seems its missing the plastic bumper or clip that "catches" the clips pulling the shade back, and forth. Now its just a piece of metal. Does anyone know where to get just that tiny little grey clip that fits on the driver head?
July 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: From Pelican Parts.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Marc Comments: Or does it sound like I have a bigger problem. Pulled sunshade forward guess too hard and heard plastic snap. Saw a small piece on top of the sunshade while looking through the moonroof. thanks again
September 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can remove the glass, then the sunshade, then replace the clips. With the cassette installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marc Comments: Hi so apparently I broke the "clips" to my sunshade because it wont go back anymore. It only goes back about 3 inches. Is this the same problem, because the mechanic I took said I need to take the whole cassette out of the car too fix it. Is that right? The sunroof works, but the shade is stuck. He said because the parts are all plastic its cheaper to take the whole thing out then trying to fix it. Also you have to take the whole cassette apart in order to fix the fixs.
September 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can remove the glass, then the sunshade, then replace the clips. With the cassette installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Altima360 Comments: Is there a way that the glass can be flushed with the roof or is it just towards the back that the glass goes down more than the front of the glass when sunroof is close. Is there some sort of automatic alignment that can be done like holding a certain switch? Hope you can help as this is getting frustrating for me and i don't want water coming in to the car.
August 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The front of the glass should not be flush, it should stick up about 1mm. See the last step in the tech article. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Altimized Comments: I have a sun shade that wont go all the way to the back and gets stuck due to probably a broken clip on top glass side. The problem is i cant get to the torx screw towards the end of the sun shade. Any suggestions on how i can get to that? I just need to replace the clips but it wont let me.
August 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is restricting your access? I have no issue accessing them using a 1/4 drive ratchet and Torx bit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Flipper Comments: I own a 2002 BMW 325Xi. The heat works perfectly through the defrost vents, but when switched to the dashboard and lower vents, only cold air comes out. Does anybody know what might be the cause?
February 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Have you checked for fault codes? There may be an issue with a mode door or flap. This would be the first place I would look. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
travisn Comments: Do you have part numbers for the frequently worn parts? I am pulling my sunshade soon to replace with a ZHP one and I want to change the parts while I am in there. 01 325i.

Thanks
February 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They would know what is being replaced frequently. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
EJATLANtA Comments: Update: So i have pulled out the sunshade. The driver side plastic slides have broke. No problem order from u guys and diy. However the left side has 2 metal sliders and the rear one was whats bent in the previous pictures. What can I do?
January 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The sliders on the back of the shade can be replaced. That is if the shade is in good shape. I would replace them, as well as the front guides. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ejatlanta Comments: Sorry about all the posts. Just realizing how much detail I left out. So its a 2004 325i. One day i tried to open the sunroof and as it was pulling the sunshade back it jammed, When I got the sunroof to close the sunshade was stuck. As a noob I forced it closed and this happened. Thats also as far back as it would will go now and I havent used my sunroof since.

January 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for additional info. I will respond in your final post. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ejatlanta Comments: here is a close up of the same shot
January 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks, got it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
EJATLANTA Comments: So it appears my sunshade metal if its metal is tearing. What can I do?
January 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Disassemble it and inspect the moving parts to see what is broken. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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