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Sunroof Repair and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Sunroof Repair and Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3-5 hours

Tab:

$500

Talent:

****

Tools:

Trim removal tool, 10mm wrench, Philips head screwdriver, 5mm, 4mm Allen

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 (1983-89)
Porsche 944 S2 (1989-91)
Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)
Porsche 944S (1987-88)

Hot Tip:

Work carefully around the old plastic pieces

Performance Gain:

Working sunroof

Complementary Modification:

Replace the weather seal

All sunroofs on the Porsche 944s and 951s are raised and lowered by two lifting arms at the rear edge of the roof. On Porsches produced before February 1986, there is a gear box between the two lifting arm mechanisms. This gear box has a single gear, which moves the lifting arms via two short lengths of drive cable. The guide tubes for the short sections of the flexible drive cable are routed such that the drive cables are directly engaged in the teeth on the lifting arms as opposed to using a plastic drive gear in each of the newer lifting arm housings. The sunroof drive motor assembly is located in the rear hatch area on the left side behind the carpet.

This article will deal with repairs on the sunroof. If the older style sunroof lifting mechanism fails, you must replace the entire unit, as parts are not sold separately.

The normal operation of the sunroof is run by the single sunroof switch on the center console (red arrow).
Figure 1

The normal operation of the sunroof is run by the single sunroof switch on the center console (red arrow). What operations the switch performs is dependent on the position of the ignition switch. If your sunroof has stopped moving you will need to access the motor assembly to manually move the sunroof mechanism and remove the roof.

The sunroof motor and assembly is located in the rear left quarter panel.
Figure 2

The sunroof motor and assembly is located in the rear left quarter panel. You access it by removing the carpet from inside the hatch area (red arrow).

Use a trim removal tool and carefully remove each of the plastic retaining snaps (red arrow) and pull the carpet back.
Figure 3

Use a trim removal tool and carefully remove each of the plastic retaining snaps (red arrow) and pull the carpet back.

With the carpet back you can see the sunroof motor assembly.
Figure 4

With the carpet back you can see the sunroof motor assembly. It includes the motor (red arrow), the guide rail with the limit switches (yellow arrow, on the other side of the rail) and the tool for manually moving the sunroof cable (green arrow).

Remove the two plastic wingnuts and the tool from the rail.
Figure 5

Remove the two plastic wingnuts and the tool from the rail. You are going to use the box wrench end of the tool (red arrow) to remove the adjusting screw/bolt and then the pronged end (yellow arrow) to advance or retract the cable.

Usually there would be the head of the adjusting screw/bolt that would be here (red arrow).
Figure 6

Usually there would be the head of the adjusting screw/bolt that would be here (red arrow). Using the tool you would back the adjustment screw out and then insert the pronged end of the tool and turn it to move the cable. Our screw/bolt was sheared off in the assembly so we had to remove the whole unit.

The sunroof motor puts out a lot of torque so if you have not already disconnected the battery make sure to unplug the unit.
Figure 7

The sunroof motor puts out a lot of torque so if you have not already disconnected the battery make sure to unplug the unit.

Next, you will need to remove the three Philips head screws from the assembly (red arrows) and the two 10mm nuts under the fender rail (yellow arrows).
Figure 8

Next, you will need to remove the three Philips head screws from the assembly (red arrows) and the two 10mm nuts under the fender rail (yellow arrows).

Remove the assembly from the fender area.
Figure 9

Remove the assembly from the fender area. If you are replacing the cable assembly or need to move the cable to move the sunroof, you unscrew the three Philips head screws on the top of the plastic cover (red arrows) on the rear of the motor.

Remove the plastic top that holds the cable against the gear of the motor.
Figure 10

Remove the plastic top that holds the cable against the gear of the motor. You can now slide the cable (red arrow) back and out from the guide track (yellow arrow). With the cable out you can push or pull the cable to move the sunroof.

The early sunroof assembly has a guide rail attached to the sunroof motor, which extends toward the rear of the car.
Figure 11

The early sunroof assembly has a guide rail attached to the sunroof motor, which extends toward the rear of the car. At the very back of the guide rail is two limit switches (yellow arrows). These are equivalent to Limit Switches I and II on the late model sunroof systems. They function together to stop the lifting arms in the locked position and are operated by a plastic dog that is attached to the end of the drive cable (red arrow). You can adjust the stop distance when it is installed by the adjustment screw (green arrow).

By having access to the cable you can now move the position of the lifting arms (red arrows) so you can remove the sunroof.
Figure 12

By having access to the cable you can now move the position of the lifting arms (red arrows) so you can remove the sunroof. You can see the main transfer box (yellow arrow) under the headliner. Remove the sunroof; please see our article on sunroof removal and maintenance for further instructions if needed.

With the sunroof out begin gently removing the trim around the inner sunroof (red arrow).
Figure 13

With the sunroof out begin gently removing the trim around the inner sunroof (red arrow). Peel it up carefully and set it aside.

Next, gently free up the adhesive (red arrow) from the headliner to sunroof and remove enough headliner to gain access to the distribution box and lifting arms.
Figure 14

Next, gently free up the adhesive (red arrow) from the headliner to sunroof and remove enough headliner to gain access to the distribution box and lifting arms. Take your time and use care, as the headliner can become very brittle and tear easily.

With the headliner loosened enough you can see the sunroof mechanism.
Figure 15

With the headliner loosened enough you can see the sunroof mechanism. It consists of the distribution box from the motor (yellow arrow) and the two lifting arms (red arrows).

Use a 5mm Allen and remove the four Allen screws holding the distribution box in the center of the roof (red arrows).
Figure 16

Use a 5mm Allen and remove the four Allen screws holding the distribution box in the center of the roof (red arrows).

Remove the two 5mm Allen bolts (red arrows) and the single 4mm (yellow arrow) top bolt from each lifting assembly.
Figure 17

Remove the two 5mm Allen bolts (red arrows) and the single 4mm (yellow arrow) top bolt from each lifting assembly.

You can now remove the assembly (red arrow) from the roof and gently pull the cable tube out from the C-pillar.
Figure 18

You can now remove the assembly (red arrow) from the roof and gently pull the cable tube out from the C-pillar.

You will need to carefully guide the new assembly and especially the pipe into place (red arrow).
Figure 19

You will need to carefully guide the new assembly and especially the pipe into place (red arrow). While sliding the pipe through the C-pillar you will need to turn the whole assembly to avoid bending the pipe. It is critical that the pipe does not bend.

Loosely mount the two 5mm Allen bolts on each lifting assembly (red arrow).
Figure 20

Loosely mount the two 5mm Allen bolts on each lifting assembly (red arrow).

Next, mount the transfer box.
Figure 21

Next, mount the transfer box.

With the cable through the C-pillar pull the cable all the way out.
Figure 22

With the cable through the C-pillar pull the cable all the way out. It should be 305mm +/- 1mm from the pipe to plastic (red arrows) and 40mm +/- when fully pushed in (yellow arrows).

You are going to use the long 4mm Allen bolt inserted through the forward mounting hole (red arrows) to perform the final adjustment of the sunroof panel.
Figure 23

You are going to use the long 4mm Allen bolt inserted through the forward mounting hole (red arrows) to perform the final adjustment of the sunroof panel. When the panel is installed this bolt on each lifter housing is used to raise or lower the panel until it sits flush in the roof.

Install the new cable into the track (yellow arrow) making sure that the wire coils in the opening of the pipe engage the gear in the drive unit (red arrow).
Figure 24

Install the new cable into the track (yellow arrow) making sure that the wire coils in the opening of the pipe engage the gear in the drive unit (red arrow).

With the cable engaged install the three cover screws (red arrows) and install the unit, which is the reverse from removal.
Figure 25

With the cable engaged install the three cover screws (red arrows) and install the unit, which is the reverse from removal.

If you need to adjust the travel of the cable and when it contacts the limiting switches, you can move the switches forward or back in the guide by using the Philips head screw to slide the switches (red arrow).
Figure 26

If you need to adjust the travel of the cable and when it contacts the limiting switches, you can move the switches forward or back in the guide by using the Philips head screw to slide the switches (red arrow).

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mbut013 Comments: One of the arms on my sunroof is not full retracted, leaving the sunroof lop sided. Is there a way of adjusting this? I tried undoing the lifter housing but there is no possibility for adjusting there. Do I have to remove the central white transfer box?
October 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to replace whatever part allowed the sunroof to move out of sync. Something is likely broken. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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