DIY: BMW E39 Sunroof Repair (Video Tutorial) - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-22-2013, 03:51 PM
ProStreetDriver ProStreetDriver is offline
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DIY: BMW E39 Sunroof Repair (Video Tutorial)



Video Tutorial on how to replace the sunroof rails on a BMW E39. This particular tutorial was done on a 1997 BMW 540i with a glass style sunroof. The sunroof rails do have plastic parts which can break over time due to a lack of lubrication, sunroof being forced open/closed, or just from the plastic fatiguing over time. I would recommend replacing both sunroof rails while you are doing this procedure. This can be a time consuming procedure and the old sunroof slider may break and put excessive strain on the new rail which could also cause it to break. You can only buy a kit from the dealer which comes with all the new parts rather than just the individual part you want to replace. I did use OEM parts for this repair as well. An easy way to detect if the sunroof rail is broken, you should be able to tilt the sunroof by hand, but the sunroof will not tilt on it's own by the sunroof motor.

Tools/Supplies Needed:
-flat screw driver
-T-25 torx bit
-small Phillips screwdriver
-brake cleaner
-lithium grease
-right control rail kit PN 54-12-8-202-296
-left control rail kit PN 54-12-8-202-295

Procedure:
-when doing this repair, make sure you don't get any grease on your headliner
-start my pulling back the rubber accordion pieces on each side by simply pulling straight out
-tilt the sunroof up by hand and use a rolled up cloth to hold it into place
-remove the 3 T-25 torx bolts on each side (total of 6)
-lift sunroof glass out and place in a safe area (I used my trunk)
-next remove the wind louver at the front of the sunroof opening by popping out the 2 springs on the front side, then pulling the louver straight up, and sliding out the arms on each side
-remove the stoppers at the front of each sunroof rail which are held in with T-25 torx bolts (1 on each side)
-remove the sliders from the rails on both sides
-now in this particular tutorial, we won't be replacing the rear sliders because that does involve removing the sunroof driver cables
-on the metal flat brackets at the rear, remove the T-25 torx bit (1 on each side), then slide the pin out
-slide the arm portion of the sliders from the rails out on each side
-clean sunroof rails out using brake cleaner or some other form of de-greaser, then re-lubricate sunroof rails with lithium grease
-split down new rear sliders and reinstall on existing rear slider
-re-installation in reverse
-as for re-installing sunroof glass, remove the brackets from the front slider rails by removing the Phillips screws (1 on each side) and install on the sunroof glass itself
-place sunroof glass back into place, then push front sliders forwards
-align sunroof and tighten bolts
-pushing sunroof back into roof, then tight Phillips screws on front sliders
-recheck to make sure sunroof is aligned with roof properly
-reinstall rubber accordion pieces
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Last edited by ProStreetDriver; 11-22-2013 at 03:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2014, 09:45 AM
avu3 avu3 is offline
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Excellent video. Thanks. I was just preparing to take this on today and wanted to refresh my memory.

I was able to find just the broken plastic pieces on eBay shipped from a guy in Europe. I think I searched something like e39 sunroof parts or e39 sunroof repair or something. I have not repaired mine yet so I can't tell you how well they work or durability... but they were recommended on one of the forums.

Scott
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2014, 12:40 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Great thread...

I just joined this club of moonroof "no tilt" and rattle business...

Questions...

1. If I understand correctly, then #7 is for people with metal roof and #13 is for glass roof.
Is that correct?





2. On the other hand, most people tell me all I need is the plastic thingy, which is only available from Istanbul Turkey for $9 + shipping. So about $23 for the pair (R and L) + shipping. Has anyone used this seller from Istanbul?

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  #4  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:13 PM
avu3 avu3 is offline
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I bought from Turkey, no problem. Came pretty quick, as I recall.

I bought #13 for my car (I bought both... ended up only using the plastic Turkey part exclusively). It looks more like what I took apart than 7. I didn't know about both before I did it, just trusted one of the tutorials or RealOEM (can't remember what I did).

S
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2014, 02:12 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks!

For a change, I just ordered a pair from the UK b/c it is somewhat cheaper than the Turkey seller.
Here is the UK ebay link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E36-E39-...-/131075882658
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2014, 02:15 PM
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GSA1 GSA1 is offline
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CN90
I bought 3 sets of these for me and buddies round here. They are fine. Took 2 weeks to deliver. Total price from either seller is almost the same. GL
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Last edited by GSA1; 02-07-2014 at 02:17 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2014, 02:18 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks, Good to know we don't need to whole assembly.

I learned that from JimLev (thanks Jim!), who ordered the whole thing (#13), but he only used the "1-dollar plastic part" LOL.

Here is JimLev link.

http://home.comcast.net/~jimlev/SunroofRepairComp.pdf
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2014, 02:38 PM
avu3 avu3 is offline
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When I did it.. initially i was thinking all the tutorials were crazy. I couldn't figure out how to get the screws out - very little room. The screws, basically, you're going braille on the front. And the gators were hard too. No matter how careful you are, they rip incredibly easy. Be patient. Brute Force is not your friend here (well, any of this project, really). I ended up poking the back loose from outside with the roof tilted and then working it off slowly. A hook might have worked, too. Make sure you are pulling/pushing on the c-channel pinched to the frame and not the thin part of the gator, that WILL NOT WORK. Once loose, you can slide the shade A LITTLE to gain more access to the front screw. That's just for the visual, remove/install was braille for me both ways.

I found it easier to do the driver side from the pass seat and vice versa.

Front and rear screws had different washers on them.

If you find your two arms are out of align/plane once the roof is out, drop the motor and then you can re-align them. Try not to do a reset or use the motor much (if at all) for fear of busting up the arms. If it tries to go too far forward, it will snap the arm that pulls the drip tray into place.

When you go to put it back together, the front is a little tricky. There's a nub on the front hinge that has to fit in along with the screw. It takes some fiddling to get them in. Just be patient.

One of the tutorials suggested you need two people... at no point did I feel that was necessary. A 2nd person would have been a bored distraction. If you're a super weakling or under 5' tall maybe you need a 2nd set of arms... but 95% of folks would be fine.

Expect to have to re-adjust after you assemble it. Put it together and cycle the tilt (TILT ONLY) before you put the gators back on for the shade. That way you know what you have to work with. In my case, it needed to be at max height of the adjustment, so I just took the screws loose, pushed up a good bit and tightened everything back down.

Carpet cleaner works good to clean the grease off the headliner. I sprayed it on a microfiber towel, not directly onto the headliner.

S

Last edited by avu3; 02-07-2014 at 02:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2016, 05:39 AM
chitown530 chitown530 is offline
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E39 Sunroof tilt

Being mine is only a tilt problem (sliding back is fine) can I simply purchase the plastic piece and try that?
Is there a tutorial for that repair?
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2016, 06:26 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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I had the other problem. I bought the plastic thingy, and found out that both the rail arms were completely munched. I never use the sunroof to begin with , so I just did a quick ugly fix and disabled the button that runs the sunroof motor.
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2016, 11:09 PM
Snuddi Snuddi is offline
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You guys that gave bought only the plastic and replaced that, is that as much trouble as the OP's procesidiours?
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2016, 05:28 AM
4thBMW 4thBMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 540iT Sportwagon
Sunroof inner liner.

Any of you guys know if the inner (fabric) liner can be released and removed without removing the glass panel? My sunroof is in excellent working order, only inner panel material starting to peal back from the front. I see from prior posts that this fabric is thinner and needs to be special ordered....I'm glad I am now looking into this after getting a $100 quote to replace panel fabric *color as close as possible* me bringing in the panel.
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2016, 11:41 AM
monkeyman_69 monkeyman_69 is offline
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You cannot drop the sliding cover into the pass compartment. The glass panel has to come out.
The good news is once the glass is out, getting the panel out is easy. There are 4 small screws on the L and R sides. Remove them and lift it out.

For what it's worth, I recently replaced my headliner. I found on ebay some "BMW headliner material" and ordered it. Turns out it's a bit thicker than OEM. However, I went w/ it. Paid a local guy $100 to do the sliding cover, sunroof switch cover, alarm cover, and the main headliner. Long term the extra drag of it being thicker may be a problem, but it's working great right now. The only problem is the thicker stuff dents easier. BMW is very thin like a piece of cloth. What I got is thin foam, so you can dent it with your fingers.
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2016, 01:33 PM
4thBMW 4thBMW is offline
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Hey monkeyman, thank you!

I will look into that and finding the OEM thinner stuff. Getting into time of year when >85degF and rainy season. So, prob. not have sunroof open again till, humm, end of October! Will give me time to sort in out.
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