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Replacing Sunroof Weatherstripping

Replacing Sunroof Weatherstripping

Doug Dwyer

Some of you may remember my sunroof adjustment trials and tribulations. I never mentioned, though, that in the process of all the fuss I determined the weatherstrip was shot and I ordered a replacement. I was in the right mood today to install it and I will detail the simple job in a few moments. But first.....

I discovered something that may be interesting to some of you as it relates to s/roof leaking and rust. The weatherstrip is hollow inside, a tubular affair. The underside of the weatherstrip....the "cabin side", lets' say......has openings in the tube at the corners. This is a little hard to put into words....but, if the outer portions of the weatherstrip (the "weather side") have splits (as mine did) water actually enters the weatherstrip "tube", travels along, and exits the "tube" at the two rear corners...or any other place where the tube is split open from age. The "corner leaks" are not that big of a deal as the water would drip into the sunroof tray and be carried away via the drains. But the areas where the weatherstrip is split where it is seated against the panel itself are likely to develop rust. I know this to be true........... ! Just something to think about.

Replacement is easy. Open the sunroof about 10 inches and remove the four screws at the forward edge of the panel. Now partially close the sunroof ....leave it open about 4 inches or so. Grasp the leading edge and pull the outer panel forwards and upward to disengage the panel from the rear-edge hold down clamps. It takes a good tug so don't worry about breaking something. Once the rear is disengaged you can wriggle the panel out.

I used my blanket-covered coffee table as my work bench. You'll see that three sides of the weatherstrip are held in place by retaining strips. Lots of tiny screws to remove careful. They are very soft and I couldn't find I couldn't find a Posi-drive or Phillips screwdriver with exactly the right head for a good purchase on the tiny screws . Remove the screws and retainers and peel away the old weatherstrip.

You'll see that the trailing edge of the weatherstrip doesn't use a retaining strip but, instead, the w/strip fits into a small channel. I started here and found it very easy to work the rubber into the channel using my thumb nails. I made mistake, though, with my choice of lubricant. Being out of silicone spray I used Armor-all instead and it worked fine dawned on me that I was introducing a water based product into the small channel ! Not a good thing ! I redid that section using (don't laugh) a small amount of vegetable oil. Hope this doesn't hurt the rubber.....I don't see how it would.

Anyhow, you'll also readily see how the steel retainer strips actually engage the weatherstrip and it's a very simple matter to slot the retainers and the w/strip together and screw the retainers back onto the panel. There is some sliding adjustment available so you may draw the w/strip tightly onto the edge of the panel. Of course you'll want to just get all the screws started into their holes first....then drive them home when the fit looks proper all way round.

Reinstalling the panel is easy. There are two tabs at the rear edge which are slid under the spring loaded retainers of the sunroof mechanism. Holding the panel at a rather steep angle eases the task of engaging the tabs under the retainers. Wriggle the panel in place, slide the roof rearwards a few inches and reinstall the four screws on the leading edge. Voila ! You're done!


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