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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:01 AM
everybest everybest is offline
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Sunroof won't open all the way.

My 3 series sunroof is messed up now. A few days ago, I could open it about 4/5th of the way and it would start making some cracking noises and then open all the way. I thought maybe it was just like berries from trees or something getting crushed and I didn't think about it much more. Today I opened the sunroof again and about halfway, i hear the cracking sound again and it only opens 3/4 of the way before it gets stuck. I closed it and tried again, and now it'll only open about 1/4 of the way before it gets stuck and I still hear the cracking sound, even though everything looks fine when I close the sunroof.

Is this a common problem and does anybody know any fixes? Could it be the motor or regulator, assuming it works just like the windows? How hard would this be to fix DIY? It seems like it may be pretty labor intensive and if it's hard, I don't want to **** up my interior.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2009, 06:34 AM
eta242000 eta242000 is offline
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See this
http://www.jumboprawn.net/jesse/projs/bmw_e46_sunroof/
and check the rain gutter (23) slides.http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...05&hg=54&fg=05

Last edited by eta242000; 08-31-2009 at 08:33 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-31-2009, 08:32 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Commenting on the sunroof problem in general and the linked DIY in particular,
  • I believe that you can delay or eliminate the onset of the dreaded "dead sunroof lid" problem altogether just by sliding the cover open manually before engaging the electric motor. When I got my Bimmer, I noticed that when I opened the rear edge of the roof in auto, the lid would slide back but it got pinched somehow, so that if I wanted to slide it back more, I would have to fight the mechanism to release it. However, if I slid it back past the preprogrammed spot, it would not pinch when I slid it forward against the spot.
  • This "pinching" would get worse if I slid the glass back halfway or more, so there's definitely something wrong there. BTW, my Bimmer being a 2006, comes with the "sunroof lid repair kit" factory preinstalled, so it is not a question of the "old design" sliders.
  • The rails do get awfully dusty.
  • Smearing grease on said rails is a surefire way to attract yet more dust and contribute to yet more jamming. There are a number of new generation "dry" lubricants based on Teflon, silicone or even plain old powdered graphite that won't attract dust.
  • The "little mechanic" hidden inside tells me that preventive maintenance would probably eliminate the problem altogether. By this I mean taking the glass out and thoroughly cleaning and lubricating the whole mechanism every couple of years. However, lazyness sets in and we prefer to do corrective work when it fails...
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Last edited by jcourcoul; 08-31-2009 at 08:35 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-01-2009, 12:17 AM
everybest everybest is offline
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Thanks for the help.

I went to the DIY website and that helped out a lot but I don't think it was the problem. I used the steps however, to remove the sunroof and I may have found the problem, I just don't know how to fix it.

This piece right here somehow got detached, but I can't seem to put it back together. Earlier I was able to fit it into the hole but it was loose and would not hold. Not sure why it's different now, but it's slanted downwards and I can't twist it the right way:


Does anybody see any problems with anything else? The first one is the driver's side and the second is the passenger's.

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  #5  
Old 09-01-2009, 05:44 AM
gesoffen gesoffen is offline
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You need to get a sunroof cover repair kit. Check the wiki (as well as search here on the boards) for more info - this is a common problem on the e46. I was lucky, I recently had the dreaded pop noise too but was able to disassemble, clean and regrease (with white lithium) as I didn't have the common problem of broken guides for the interior panel.
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  #6  
Old 09-01-2009, 06:51 AM
eta242000 eta242000 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everybest View Post
Thanks for the help.

I went to the DIY website and that helped out a lot but I don't think it was the problem. I used the steps however, to remove the sunroof and I may have found the problem, I just don't know how to fix it.

This piece right here somehow got detached, but I can't seem to put it back together. Earlier I was able to fit it into the hole but it was loose and would not hold. Not sure why it's different now, but it's slanted downwards and I can't twist it the right way:


Does anybody see any problems with anything else? The first one is the driver's side and the second is the passenger's.

i had the same problem,that is the rain gutter,remove it from another side also and try to straighten up and check the Teflon (I think is Teflon) parts from the sliding end, you need to replace those or to improvise.See this also:http://www.lincomatic.com/e46sunroof/e46sunroof.html
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2009, 01:51 PM
everybest everybest is offline
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Thanks for that link. I opened up the sunroof again and noticed that this part:



was beaten up much worse than the one in the picture, i think the cracking sound was the sunroof crushing it and bending the entire piece out of place.

I can't seem to remove the piece passenger side where it's plugged into the hole, but worst case scenario, I find a shop to fix it for me. I'm looking on Tischer in the sunroof section for this piece:



But I don't see it. Any ideas?
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  #8  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:00 PM
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conzbmw conzbmw is offline
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I think the cracking noise is broken clips from the sunshade that get lodged in the tracks etc. Ive had this problem with mine but havnt had it fixed yet
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2009, 11:16 AM
everybest everybest is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conzbmw View Post
I think the cracking noise is broken clips from the sunshade that get lodged in the tracks etc. Ive had this problem with mine but havnt had it fixed yet
Do my clips look broken? I still can't find the part I need from Tischer.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2009, 12:24 PM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everybest View Post
Do my clips look broken? I still can't find the part I need from Tischer.
check realoem.com and get the part number, then call tischer if you want.
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