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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:36 AM
Scorchpa Scorchpa is offline
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Sunroof explosion

Well, after 3 months owning my 335, I get my first meeting with the awesome service department of my local dealership.

I was driving to work, about 50mph in traffic, when I suddenly hear a huge explosion right above my head. I looked in the rear view mirror and glass is falling all over the place. I pulled over to the shoulder to find out my sunroof had shattered.

When I brought it to the dealership, they stated it should be covered under warranty (as long as they don't find any damage nearby), and they mentioned they had just replaced another sunroof with the same problem. I go to pick up my loaner, and the rep there says they have people who've been driving and the back window just blows out..... is this a common occurance in BMWs? Seems pretty dangerous. I'm just glad I had the interior sunroof visor shut, otherwise I would have been covered in glass.

Anyways, I was super impressed with the service department. They had a loaner waiting for me... drove up, dropped off, and picked up the loaner in less than 10 minutes.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2012, 08:05 AM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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The general consensus is that "exploding" sunroofs are most likely caused by debris hitting the sunroof while driving. It's great they'll cover this under warranty, but many have had issues getting this covered under warranty, since it's really not caused by a manufacturing defect.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:25 AM
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dhc3 dhc3 is offline
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Happy to hear you were not hurt by the glass.
dhc3
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2012, 09:59 AM
Scorchpa Scorchpa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
The general consensus is that "exploding" sunroofs are most likely caused by debris hitting the sunroof while driving. It's great they'll cover this under warranty, but many have had issues getting this covered under warranty, since it's really not caused by a manufacturing defect.
I guess we'll see whether it's covered or not (I am definitely hopeful, since he said the last time he saw this it was covered).

I don't quite understand why you would state "it's really not caused by a manufacturing defect". As an engineer, I know that often manufacturers will receive inferior raw materials, or there is a problem in the manufacturing process that may not be noticed when it initially occurs, allowing inferior parts to leave the plant. Maybe when the glass was installed it was done incorrectly, causing excessive tension on the glass?

Now, could it have been caused by an object hitting it? I dunno, how often do you get rock chips on your roof? I think it would be very unlikely. Also, I definitely didn't see any debris coming at me, and I wasn't going under an overpass. So based on that, I would think it is likely a manufacturing defect, either in the glass itself or how it was installed.
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:24 AM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorchpa View Post
I guess we'll see whether it's covered or not (I am definitely hopeful, since he said the last time he saw this it was covered).

I don't quite understand why you would state "it's really not caused by a manufacturing defect". As an engineer, I know that often manufacturers will receive inferior raw materials, or there is a problem in the manufacturing process that may not be noticed when it initially occurs, allowing inferior parts to leave the plant. Maybe when the glass was installed it was done incorrectly, causing excessive tension on the glass?

Now, could it have been caused by an object hitting it? I dunno, how often do you get rock chips on your roof? I think it would be very unlikely. Also, I definitely didn't see any debris coming at me, and I wasn't going under an overpass. So based on that, I would think it is likely a manufacturing defect, either in the glass itself or how it was installed.
Just search on here for "exploding sunroof" and read the threads. It's been beaten to death that tempered glass is highly unlikely to end up in a car if it has a manufacturing defect.

If you want, I can show you how the roof right before my sunroof looks after 40k miles of driving. I know for a fact that my sunroof has been subjected to debris and as is the case with tempered glass, if you hit it just right, it'll burst very quickly.

I'm glad you did not get hurt and even better news if it is covered under warranty.
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:38 AM
GG Hyundai GG Hyundai is offline
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Was it tilted at the time?

I am so worried this will happen to me.
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  #7  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:39 AM
Scorchpa Scorchpa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
Just search on here for "exploding sunroof" and read the threads. It's been beaten to death that tempered glass is highly unlikely to end up in a car if it has a manufacturing defect.

If you want, I can show you how the roof right before my sunroof looks after 40k miles of driving. I know for a fact that my sunroof has been subjected to debris and as is the case with tempered glass, if you hit it just right, it'll burst very quickly.

I'm glad you did not get hurt and even better news if it is covered under warranty.
I've been looking, and it definitely seems hit or miss as to whether or not warranty will cover it. I guess it would still be covered by insurance if not.

As I was thinking about it though, yesterday was the first time that I recall opening the sunroof (since I bought the car in November). I wonder if that might have had something to do with it.... didn't seat back properly when I closed it or something to that extent. hmmm
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  #8  
Old 02-28-2012, 12:04 PM
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MB330 MB330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorchpa View Post
I've been looking, and it definitely seems hit or miss as to whether or not warranty will cover it. I guess it would still be covered by insurance if not.

As I was thinking about it though, yesterday was the first time that I recall opening the sunroof (since I bought the car in November). I wonder if that might have had something to do with it.... didn't seat back properly when I closed it or something to that extent. hmmm
The are few post over Audi forums of explosion of sunroof under low temperature (-10C).
Glad you OK - sound to my like glass was under pressure from not proper installation and just get "tired" and exploded - this happen not only to automotive glass - any glass.
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  #9  
Old 02-28-2012, 02:22 PM
Haley Haley is offline
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Sunroofs are nice. Should not be a problem. Really strange. Good luck!
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  #10  
Old 02-28-2012, 02:23 PM
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Sunroofs are nice. Should not be a problem. Really strange. Good luck!
I think flowers smell pretty, too.
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2012, 02:44 PM
JONNYCHIRO JONNYCHIRO is offline
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Who pays to dry clean your shorts?
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  #12  
Old 02-28-2012, 04:32 PM
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GarySL GarySL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorchpa View Post
I've been looking, and it definitely seems hit or miss as to whether or not warranty will cover it. I guess it would still be covered by insurance if not.

As I was thinking about it though, yesterday was the first time that I recall opening the sunroof (since I bought the car in November). I wonder if that might have had something to do with it.... didn't seat back properly when I closed it or something to that extent. hmmm
Do you have any photos of the breakage?
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  #13  
Old 02-28-2012, 06:11 PM
Scorchpa Scorchpa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarySL View Post
Do you have any photos of the breakage?
No pics.... But essentially the entire sunroof just shattered into thousands of pieces.

Good news is that the dealership called back and is fixing it under warranty.... Now I just have to drive the loaner for a couple of days.
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  #14  
Old 02-28-2012, 06:13 PM
Scorchpa Scorchpa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GG Hyundai View Post
Was it tilted at the time?

I am so worried this will happen to me.
Nope... It was closed at the time
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  #15  
Old 02-28-2012, 06:33 PM
JONNYCHIRO JONNYCHIRO is offline
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You weren't showered in glass?
It all blew out behind you?

Not even in the back seat?

Craziness!!!!
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  #16  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:17 PM
Scorchpa Scorchpa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONNYCHIRO View Post
You weren't showered in glass?
It all blew out behind you?

Not even in the back seat?

Craziness!!!!
Luckily I had the screen across the sunroof, so none of the glass came inside...

... not only is my local dealer replacing it under warranty, but also a full detail! I love BMW Service!
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  #17  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:37 PM
Wihelm G Wihelm G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorchpa View Post
Luckily I had the screen across the sunroof, so none of the glass came inside...

... not only is my local dealer replacing it under warranty, but also a full detail! I love BMW Service!
Take a moment to leave a nice note about your dealer in the Dealer Feedback forum. And free dealership details sometimes do more harm than good to your paint.
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  #18  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:53 PM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
The general consensus is that "exploding" sunroofs are most likely caused by debris hitting the sunroof while driving. It's great they'll cover this under warranty, but many have had issues getting this covered under warranty, since it's really not caused by a manufacturing defect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorchpa View Post
I guess we'll see whether it's covered or not (I am definitely hopeful, since he said the last time he saw this it was covered).

I don't quite understand why you would state "it's really not caused by a manufacturing defect". As an engineer, I know that often manufacturers will receive inferior raw materials, or there is a problem in the manufacturing process that may not be noticed when it initially occurs, allowing inferior parts to leave the plant. Maybe when the glass was installed it was done incorrectly, causing excessive tension on the glass?

Now, could it have been caused by an object hitting it? I dunno, how often do you get rock chips on your roof? I think it would be very unlikely. Also, I definitely didn't see any debris coming at me, and I wasn't going under an overpass. So based on that, I would think it is likely a manufacturing defect, either in the glass itself or how it was installed.
Hate to have to disagree with my friend cwinter, but it probably is a manufacturing defect. It has happened to a fairly large number of 'festers.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:00 PM
JONNYCHIRO JONNYCHIRO is offline
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All's Well!

Glad it worked out for you!
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  #20  
Old 02-29-2012, 02:07 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorchpa View Post

I was driving to work, about 50mph in traffic, when I suddenly hear a huge explosion right above my head. I looked in the rear view mirror and glass is falling all over the place. I pulled over to the shoulder to find out my sunroof had shattered.
I personally am waiting for my entire top to disengage, like separating stages of a Saturn V.

As an E93 owner, I'm all too aware of BMW's strict policy of no top up/down operation at any speed.

Gusty winds are bad enough - - allowing the top to act as a 'scoop' at even low speed has potential to snap the frame at the base, transforming the amazing $20K folding top into a high tech kite, heavy window glass acting like a 'tail,' curved aluminum as high performance airfoils.

True, there's little chatter on the problem, as those who have paid the premium for BMW's Engineering Master Work are loath to admit the trauma of Sudden Nonauthorized Articulation Pirouettation (SNAP).

Some governments have actually enabled SNAP for agents needing ejection of themselves or passengers at speed.

It is suspected that 'exploding sunroof' syndrome is no more than an inadvertant pre-ejection sunroof function, initiated by a special series of control stalk and button activations. Thus, your problem is a warranty item under covert National Security rules, though there will be no mention of same.
.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 02-29-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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  #21  
Old 02-29-2012, 06:38 AM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Some governments have actually enabled SNAP for agents needing ejection of themselves or passengers at speed.


.
well, that just blew my cover.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:49 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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well, that just blew my cover.
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Good morning Kat!
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:19 AM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
Hate to have to disagree with my friend cwinter, but it probably is a manufacturing defect. It has happened to a fairly large number of 'festers.
Interesting. I recall this certainly coming up from time to time (often people posting for the first time and never returning) and it seems that most of these get pushed aside as something must have hit the glass. I don't recall this being a huge issue though.

Again, I'm just summarizing what I recall having read, and two items come to mind:

1) Someone explained how this glass is made and shipped to the final destination for installation, and I recall that it was indication that if the glass had a manufacturing defect, the shipping and installation process would already break it. If tempered glass has a weak spot, it usually leads to failure very quickly. This would count against the theory of a manufacturing defect.

2) I recall someone explaining how difficult it is to break tempered glass on purpose. This I guess would be a counter argument to something just hitting it at speed.

In any case, good thing the OP didn't get hurt and it appears the dealership is taking care of it.
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  #24  
Old 02-29-2012, 03:31 PM
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mclaren mclaren is offline
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The problem BMW has is what caused the moonroof to shatter ? If they replace under warranty everyone who had a rock hit the glass would want a warranty replacement. If I remember correctly in other threads BMW would not replace under warranty. In Florida auto glass is replaced by the insurance company at no cost to the owner.
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  #25  
Old 02-29-2012, 05:01 PM
dtc100 dtc100 is offline
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By replacing the moonroof under warranty, does BMW not agree it was a manufacture defect? It would be very difficult to argue the glass was shattered by a flying object, because one would also agree, for safety reasons the moonroof should not shatter under normal highway driving conditions, when debris hitting various parts of the car is the norm, not exception.
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