How to fix a sunroof, totally DIY (Pt. 3)

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Sliding Moonroof on a 1992 Acura Integra LS .

Does your car have a sunroof or a moonroof? (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/ren0/Wikipedia)

The most basic problem that can occur with a car’s sunroof is clogs that impede smooth opening. Thankfully, there is a way to clean it at home – read on! Click if you missed PART 1 or PART 2 of this article.

How to fix a sunroof – Clog-busting tools you’ll need

In many cases, a problem with your sunroof can be traced to clogs in the mechanism. If such is the case for your sunroof, you’ll need a shop vacuum to do the job properly. In addition, the following materials will save you a great deal of time and frustration, as there are few things more painful in life than attempting a semi-intricate repair job with the wrong tools. If you want to know how to fix a sunroof, About.com Auto Repair advises that you’ll need:

  • A PVC trap adapter – This fits onto the end of the vacuum hose
  • A PVC cap – Fits onto the adapter
  • A 3/8-inch PVC barbed adapter
  • A vinyl hose that fits the barbed adapter
  • A speedometer cable

How to fix a sunroof – Getting down and dirty

The first thing you’ll need to do to get debris out of the tracks of your sunroof mechanism is to vacuum the drain tube. Make a hose-reducing attachment with PVC plumbing parts. Then, affix a vinyl hose on one end. You’re ready to use your shop vac to suck the dirt and other small foreign objects out of the water channel and drain tube surrounding the sunroof hole.

But what if the vacuuming isn’t enough? If you can still see clogs in there, you’ll need to snake them out. Use the speedometer cable, do not use a bent coathanger, as it can poke straight through the tubing or even disconnect it from the drain hole! A small plumbing snake may be an acceptable substitute, but honestly, at only about $8 at an auto parts store, the speedometer cable isn’t expensive.

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Feed the cable down the drain tube, twisting it all the while, and fish out what ails your malfunctioning sunroof. It should only take about 20 minutes to complete the maneuvers, 20 important minutes that could save you from having to pay an arm and a leg for a pro to do it, or even save you from yourself, as the natural inclination for many weekend DIY auto repair warriors is to rip linings away to get down to the bone. Then, they’ll caulk away – or, if they’re of the lazy variety, just caulk the roof without exploring further, assuming that’s all that is need to keep water at bay.

How to fix a sunroof – Don’t caulk out!

If you don’t care about your care, caulk it up with silicone and look like a loser. But I’m telling you, it’s a mistake. Once the debris is actually gone, water can drain away properly – not into the cabin of your car, but outside the vehicle. If cleaning the tubes doesn’t work, don’t try to disassemble the mechanism or bend the sheet metal to get a better fit. That’s a job for a top-notch body shop. If the car isn’t worth the cost of the repair, we rescind our earlier warning. Go for the silicone and live without the wind in your hair.

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Sources

About.com Auto Repair

eHow

The Family Handyman: http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Car—Truck/Auto-Repair/how-to-fix-a-leaking-sunroof/View-All

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