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Old 11-09-2011, 11:20 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
MT = Doppler Shifting
Location: Lorena & San Antonio, TX
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 928
Mein Auto: 2007 X3 (MT)
Originally Posted by swapsafari View Post
... I have read in some posts about people doing regular maintenance on their roof like greasing components and cleaning the gutter, etc. I haven't done it on my car yet from the time I have had it (which is few months) and don't know if the previous owner has done it. Do we have any DIY for that process here on the forum? I mean, is it like a time consuming process even to maintain it? Anything leads on it would be very helpful...
I've not seen a DIY for lubrication, and I'd like to get a good bead on this as well. In fact, I've posed the question on the forum before, and was essentially instructed to "slather lithium grease all over everything and call it good..." While that may work, it's a waste of material (lubricant); and being somewhat familiar with the German attitude toward such things, success may require specific application points. Perhaps someone can get their hands on the BMW procedure for lubricating the panorama roof? I know one exists for the MINI roof mechanism...

As a rule, I will clean (as necessary) the roof cassette gutters and drain hole openings every time I wash my X3. Doing so isn't particularly time-consuming, although you do need to budget the additional time to operate the roof to different positions (you can't actually get to all the necessary spots with the roof positioned in one spot), and will probably need a step stool or some other way to easily see and reach over top of the roofline (if you, like me, are not fond of using the seats or rocker panels to do such things). I don't get particularly involved with the cleaning process; just a clean, damp rag seems to work fine. I am, however, careful not to wipe away any exposed lubricant from the mechanism; mainly, I'm just aiming to get any obvious pieces of debris (dirt, dust, leaves, etc.) out of the roof mechanism.

Originally Posted by uboat View Post
I took the vehicle to the dealer for all the recommended maintenance. I never saw anything listed for the sunroof. As I mentioned in my post, the vehicle was garaged most of the day and every night. It was not exposed to extreme heat or cold. I inspected the failed unit at the dealer and the problem seems to be the use of cheap plastic parts. The mechanism seems prone to component failure because of the flimsy parts.
Well, that was part of my point: BMW doesn't seem to do anything -- include instruct owners -- with respect to the upkeep of this component. They give you other maintenance points (oil, tires, even cleaning the exterior), but nothing about this roof mechanism. And it clearly needs something.

I agree with that assessment as well: cheap plastic components. I'm willing to speculate that part of the issue is that these plastic roof parts do not tolerate intense sunlight (in particular, UV) very well; I wonder what the proportion of failures is in the southern parts of the U.S. compared to the northern parts and Canada...? But again, if the plastic is kept well-lubricated, the lubricant will act a bit like a sunscreen and keep the part protected. Well, at least, better protected...

I'm just speculating at this stage that the lubrication is not surviving well on the parts -- for whatever reason -- and plastic parts rubbing against other plastic parts is a recipe for failure...

X3 w/6-speed & Sport Package:
A sports sedan disguised as an SUV...
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