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Old 01-01-2017, 12:09 PM   #1
scottjk
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Default SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

I own a stock 1997 SC2 Coupe and I'm the original owner.

I've spent hours the last couple of days trying to find answers that might help but I think I'm pretty unique here. Some of you are gonna love this.

Most of the sunroof/moonroof issues I've seen on here are about the guide tracks, replacing them, replacing motors, and such, but, almost nothing regarding the cable and drive for them, such as replacing the cables or the gearbox that drive them. I was hoping for a closer look at what was behind the motor directly.

I had a hard freeze the other day and, while opening the sunroof, I heard a couple of pops overhead and, you guessed it, the passenger side lift arm went up, but not the driver side. Nope, it won't close now, either.

I removed the glass and did a quick inspection of the guides, lift arms, even looked under the 'J' plates. It all looks good, except, the lift arms are no longer aligned with each other. I've run them back and forth via the drive motor and everything seems solid, but it looks like the driver side might have jumped a few teeth.

Now, before I attempt exploratory surgery, and really, I'd like to avoid drilling out rivets and knifing out adhesives (very ugly thought), I'm hoping if any of you have taken a close look at what is behind the drive motor. Of the diagrams I've seen, I've only managed to locate the diagram of the entire module and the parts that connect to it, rather than a close look at the drive cable and gear assembly. That's what I need. Say, if I were to replace the cables, I'd have to align them somehow, right?

My Chilton is a laughable failure here. It doesn't even cover replacing the drive motor.

Now, I know how to get at the drive motor, and probably pull it, but I need to see what it looks like behind the drive motor before I get started on it. Better to have a map than to grope around, blindfolded.

So, first, can the cables be realigned? Second, anyone have pics or close diagram blowups?

Thanks!

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Old 01-01-2017, 01:48 PM   #2
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2001 SC2
Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

I had a "proper" Chiltons for a clutch swap, it pretty much got me to "drain the oil and coolant" then told me to bring it to a mechanic. Tossed it in the fire once I got that job done, went up really quick it was torn into so many piece's

Pop the sunroof switch out (think the lenses literally pop off then the housing is held in with a couple of Phillips head screws) then take the sunroof motor out. Don't even need to drop the headliner and you should be able to get the guides realigned and check if the plastic gear on the motor stripped out.

...
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

I was always intrigued how my L300 sunroof worked. Unfortunately, service manuals are lacking detailed info. I'm wondering if all Saturns share the same sunroof. My curiosity is with the actual mechanics. After reading many threads here about damage from wear and tear, I took a proactive attitude to use lube at least once a year, wiping off dirt before lubing what appears to be the cable running along the front guide. Still working. What no one has done; pictures of the drive system in detail. Anyone looking in my photos will see detailed inner workings of our a/c variable displacement compressors because I was given a damaged one from a member, was curious how the mechanics worked and shared the info since vdc's aren't wobble plate piston compressors (again, from curiosity). I have an idea of how our sunroofs work but pictures are better. At the time I disassembled the compressor, I would have disassembled a sunroof, sans glass, to take pictures for sharing where they fail.

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Old 01-01-2017, 06:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Pop the sunroof switch out (think the lenses literally pop off then the housing is held in with a couple of Phillips head screws) then take the sunroof motor out. Don't even need to drop the headliner and you should be able to get the guides realigned and check if the plastic gear on the motor stripped out.
Damn it's cold out there! It's 38 F here in Seattle. And the forecast says it'll get even colder.

No chance that the motor was where you hoped it would be. :P
It was just aft of the switch. Liner had to come down, but I just took the grab handle and visors down to do it. Lost a screw to a visor and broke a cover cap for the grab handle. Once I got the drive motor off, it was just a matter of pushing the slides in the lifts forward with a screwdriver so both lifts were flat and secured. No damage to the gear on the motor, though. It's metal. I guess I got lucky, because I read so much about stripped plastic gears. I'll snap some pics for everyone's benefit before I put everything back together. I just need to warm up first. :P

The arrangement of the cables and gears is unexpectedly simple. All I saw was a large flat plastic plate on the bottom side, with cable guides going in behind it. In the plate was the hole the gear goes into, and you can only see the sides of the cables.

Thanks for the help! I'll post the pics soon.

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Old 01-01-2017, 08:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

Well, it turned out I didn't lose a screw.

I'm sorry, but the temperature dropped like a stone, so I didn't take any pics, either. I wasn't feeling all that leisurely. LOL

I tested it with the glass installed. Worked like a charm. Left it open a bit and backed the Torx screws out a bit to let the glass settle in against the lifts and re-tightened them. Now the glass snugs in. Hope that wasn't a bad idea, but it's all working like it should.

It's a lesson to me as well. With temps crossing the freezing point so often, I should have known better than to open the sunroof when it's below freezing.

I got very lucky.

Again, thanks for the response.

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Old 01-01-2017, 09:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

Yeah, it's not directly above the switch but if you're careful the headliner doesn't have to come down. At least you have a coupe with proper doors for taking the headliner out, it's quite interesting with the shorter doors on the 4dr models.

...
The proper way to fix a S-Series automatic is to replace it with a 5spd O:)

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Old 01-01-2017, 09:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjk View Post
Damn it's cold out there! It's 38 F here in Seattle. And the forecast says it'll get even colder.

I'll snap some pics for everyone's benefit before I put everything back together. I just need to warm up first. :P

The arrangement of the cables and gears is unexpectedly simple. All I saw was a large flat plastic plate on the bottom side, with cable guides going in behind it. In the plate was the hole the gear goes into, and you can only see the sides of the cables.

Thanks for the help! I'll post the pics soon.
Argh!? So close and yet so far.................

Tip for next time when working on the car in the cold; if inside and the heater works, use it. Crank up the heat so at least some heat can help warm a foot, face, body, hands. The heat's free so why not use it?

And congratulations on repairs!

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Old 01-01-2017, 11:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: SC2 Sunroof cable system issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Argh!? So close and yet so far.................

Tip for next time when working on the car in the cold; if inside and the heater works, use it. Crank up the heat so at least some heat can help warm a foot, face, body, hands. The heat's free so why not use it?

And congratulations on repairs!
Thanks! This one was pretty simple, what I had to do last summer was a nightmare.

One day, it wouldn't start. Not a click.
After replacing the battery, pulling the alternator (Oddly, it WASN'T for a 97, but a 98, and I'm the original owner!) and finding that it was sound, I gave in and pulled the starter.

I'm sure you read all the horror stories.
Annoyingly, the starter tested out fine, but the tech gave me the "Don't trust the test." speech, so I got a new starter, used a masking tape trick I learned from my father to get that top bolt in blindly.

Without going into the gory details, it took me about four days from diagnosis to completion, and I NEVER want to do it again. The alternator was bad enough. I'm emotionally scarred. LOL

The sunroof was a cakewalk!

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