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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have 2 e39s a 2003 525i/a and a 98 540i/6, my son has a 2001 530i/a. There isn't a working sunroof to be had. I took the 525 apart (parts car) to replace my 540s sunroof parts. I did the 525 first in case there's a learning curve. Easy peasy. Then I pull the 540 apart and get all the used parts into the 540. That's when I notice the carriers are not square (in the same line) so I mess about with that for about an hour or so, of course getting the headliner dirty in the process, all to no avail. Finally I look into the cavity as I'm turning the wrench and there is a cable either broken or just out of place. Now what? Remove the headliner and replace the cassette with a new or used one that I rebuild? Why can't this car work without all this dumb **** for, I don't know, say a month? I love this car but damn! I've already got about $4k worth of "needed" parts on the roster, of course there are some fun bits in there too.
Has anyone had this happen to their sunroof? What was the fix? What causes it?

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Learning Every Day
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Sunroof Cassette

Sorry to hear about your troubles, but taking the sunroof cassette out and replacing it with a used one is a THOUSAND times easier than taking the current one apart and trying to get it back together and work correctly.

I've been down the path of taking one apart and putting it back together, and it's a BITCH! The sunroof guides and such will go back together at least two (2) different ways and still partially operate, but only ONE way works 100%.

Strange thing is I just saw an e39 sunroof cassette that a guy was giving away, and I went to find it when I saw your post (thought it was on Craigslist), but now I can't find it... :-(
 

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ive got some broken parts on mine as well...
my intention is to take it apart soon when the weather becomes better..

(*acutally once she gets her 550 out of the garage for the season and i can drive the x3)

nothing good comes from working on the headliner... not a job i want to do
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry to hear about your troubles, but taking the sunroof cassette out and replacing it with a used one is a THOUSAND times easier than taking the current one apart and trying to get it back together and work correctly.

I've been down the path of taking one apart and putting it back together, and it's a BITCH! The sunroof guides and such will go back together at least two (2) different ways and still partially operate, but only ONE way works 100%.

Strange thing is I just saw an e39 sunroof cassette that a guy was giving away, and I went to find it when I saw your post (thought it was on Craigslist), but now I can't find it... :-(
Thats how it goes for me too, I'll See something that's free and dismiss it because mine works, then Murphy shows up....

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Discussion Starter #5
ive got some broken parts on mine as well...
my intention is to take it apart soon when the weather becomes better..

(*acutally once she gets her 550 out of the garage for the season and i can drive the x3)

nothing good comes from working on the headliner... not a job i want to do
It's the peel an onion thing, if I take the headliner out I'd be dumb to put it back without re-covering it. I also have an airbag light from the driver side airbag, so the dash will come out also. Who knows what I'll break doing that job, just glad I have a parts car to practice on!

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Murphy does show up at inopportune times. I'll keep looking for that cassette, but it's really not a bad job to take the headliner and/or cassette out if you take your time and pay attention to how everything is oriented and installed.

Why does the dash need to come out for an airbag light on driver's side?? Airbags, on the driver's side, are in the steering wheel, along the A-pillar, and in the door...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not really worried about pulling the headliner, just another job that takes time and doesn't fix my ever present check engine light. The a pillar airbag has a couple bolts under the dash get to it out and it's a lot easier to pull the explod-0-pop cartridge out with the dash at least pulled back a bit.

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did you take the seats out to get the liner out?

Ive never pulled a liner on a e39,

most of the time.. both front seats come out, and then all the trim and the liner, then ill put the seats back in and drive on while i figure out what i have to order
 

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we have a 04 2.5 its a dog.. but we also have 2 v8's so everything is dog i guess respectively

 

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did you take the seats out to get the liner out?

Ive never pulled a liner on a e39,

most of the time.. both front seats come out, and then all the trim and the liner, then ill put the seats back in and drive on while i figure out what i have to order


I didn't remove the seats, but they're easy to take out. The reason I left them in was that you kinda want to have a place to rest the headliner while you're working it loose to take it down AND working it up to put back in position (at least when you're doing it by yourself). As I recall, I put the R seat all the way forward (tilt and slide) and I put the L seat back a little, and that configuration gave me the necessary room to work the liner out of the car and back in the car; it's pretty obvious which way the seats need to be oriented before taking the liner out, and, of course, re-installation is a reverse of removal...
 

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+1 to SamD's last comment. Leave the seat in, just recline. It will come out the front, but you'll bend it a bit and could kink it. Out the back seems wrong, but it is noticeably easier.
 

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Almost forgot: IF, IF, IF you plan to take the headliner down, be VERY, VERY, VERY careful separating the plastic press-fit items that hold the motion sensor to the center of the headliner (the squarish dome in the dead center of the headliner). Due to years of heating and cooling at the top of the box (enclosed car) that becomes an over in the summer, these pieces are incredibly brittle. Might just want to get some new ones before you start if you have any doubt. Also, don't forget the row of screws holding the headliner to the back of the sunroof opening that are hidden until you get the glass/slider out. Finally, once the headliner is released from the mounting points (ALL screws removed), it MUST slide backward slightly to come off the tongue at the front of the roof near the sunroof motor and to come off the lip at the top of the rear glass. Force either of those incorrectly, and you'll damage the headliner backing material by kinking it or breaking it...
 
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