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Old 10-11-2019, 10:17 PM   #1
StarLady
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1992 SC
Default Sunroof won't close!

Help!
I was coming back home, and when I tried closing my sunroof, it wouldn't close. I tried opening it more and it did go back normally, but it won't go forward. Tried again a couple of inches back, and it does move back. But it just won't go forward (to closed). What could be the problem? And how difficult / costly would it be to fix?

We're expecting heavy rains....

...
1992 SC - TwinCam (Automagic)
Bought it brand new, and still loving it today.

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Old 10-11-2019, 10:52 PM   #2
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1992 SC
Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

So, I was all set to go to the hardware store to get tape so that I could cover the opening with plastic. Got in the car, and as I was backing out I decided to give the sunroof another try, accompanied by a firm, "C'mon, baby, move!" And it moved! I'm super thrilled!

But still... this means that there's something wrong somewhere, so I won't be opening the sunroof anymore. Can't risk it. But I love having my sunroof open when I drive. So, if there's a simple and/or inexpensive way to fix whatever is wrong, I'd love to hear it. The sunroof had never failed me before, but it's approaching 28 years...

...
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Bought it brand new, and still loving it today.

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Old 10-11-2019, 11:35 PM   #3
focusofheart
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

I would start by cleaning the tracks very well then lubricating all moving parts. I would use the spray White Lithium Grease by CRC.

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Old 10-12-2019, 04:09 AM   #4
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1992 SC
Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

Yes, I usually keep the tracks clean and well lubed with lithium grease. But I haven't done it in a long time, so they're definitely due. But I think that today's hiccup has more to do with an electrical problem. It think that would explain the sunroof moving in only one direction.

...
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Bought it brand new, and still loving it today.

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Old 10-12-2019, 10:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

Just some things to consider. A 28yr old sun/moon roof operating without problems due to periodic lubrication may be the main reason for so many years of trouble free use. Unfortunately, there are several things that allows electrically driven sunroofs to run; electrical switches, a motor with gears and mechanical linkages like cables and guides. Yearly maintenance of cleaning goes a long way towards prolonging sunroofs but only addressed part of the mechanical portion. Motor and gears, wiring and switch aren't part of maintenance as it's presumed they're relatively trouble free. Trouble free under new car warranty is one thing. After a new car warranty expires, wear and tear creates normal issues from long term use. Most S-series sunroof issues seem related to one or both cable guides breaking, made of plastic, rendering the roof unusable. Repairs require either a whole roof assembly or replacing the guides with machined metal. This repair requires sunroof removal and disassembly. Many here bought parts from the sunroof doctor. Whether this site still exists or not isn't known. The motor/gear unit is basically a small dc motor similar to windshield wiper motors with expected trouble free use. Brushes in these motors wear with no timeline on when they wear out due to individual usage patterns varying from everyday opening/closing to occasional use. The sunroof switch probably suffers the most wear as electrical current creates arcing similar to welding where electrical contacts wear away.

If you can find a replacement sunroof switch, this may be the best way to attempt a simple repair but assumes everything else is in working order (motor/gear unit, cables to move the sunroof, sunroof guides, lubrication of cables and guides). The switch is designed to reverse polarity to make the motor run in two directions. As you have come to believe, the reverse portion of the switch may be worn out. If this switch can be disassembled, it may be reveal and confirm what you believe. Disassembling switches isn't considered when its replaced. If a member disassembled one and posted snapshots, detailed info can help illuminate how switches work. 28 years of reliable sunroof use is a very long time with many things that can break or wear down.

Last edited by fdryer; 10-12-2019 at 10:23 PM..

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Old 10-16-2019, 01:58 AM   #6
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1992 SC
Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

Thanks for your input, fdryer.
Yes, I'm inclined to believe that the problem is with the switch. I'll check around and see if I can find a DIY guide. Hopefully someone who has experience with this problem will chime in.

Foe now, I have resigned myself to not use it anymore.
And, yes, I consider myself extremely lucky that my sunroof has been so good all these years. I absolutely loved it.

...
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Bought it brand new, and still loving it today.

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Old 10-16-2019, 10:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

I had the same problem happen to mine. Over time the signal wires for the relay module got loose when their solder joints cracked - probably from the heat of being on the ceiling for 25 years. This made the power to the relays unreliable. It would work sometimes, but not others. I cut a small section of each of the wires attached to the module off and then resoldered them to the board. After doing this and going over the relay solder joints it worked fine again. If you want to test if this is the issue with your situation a good way to do it is to take the wires for the module and pull them in different directions while you are operating the switch. If you can get it to cut out then you know that is the problem. When I first had the problem with mine I thought it was the switch. I got a replacement and the issue did not go away.

In case you never had it out the control module is underneath the sunroof switch / reading lights. I tried finding pictures of one that I had apart but I can't find any, sorry. I have an extra module or two somewhere also but moving has a fun way of making you not remember where anything is... If you have any questions about it I will try to help you as best as I can.

Also, I'm not sure I remember which model years have it (I've ripped open quite a few sunroofs) but some of the sunroof motors come with a portion that you can operate with a screwdriver to open or close the sunroof in a pinch.

...
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Last edited by Chub; 10-16-2019 at 10:25 PM..

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Old 10-19-2019, 10:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chub View Post
. . . In case you never had it out the control module is underneath the sunroof switch / reading lights. I tried finding pictures of one that I had apart but I can't find any, sorry. I have an extra module or two somewhere also but moving has a fun way of making you not remember where anything is... If you have any questions about it I will try to help you as best as I can.

Also, I'm not sure I remember which model years have it (I've ripped open quite a few sunroofs) but some of the sunroof motors come with a portion that you can operate with a screwdriver to open or close the sunroof in a pinch.
Thanks, Chub, for your reply. This is great info!
I've never had the control module out (never needed to), so I have no idea what it looks like, but your info is very helpful. Now that I know where it is and how to test it, it feels more "doable." I'm not good with electrical stuff, so I'll have to find someone to help me with this. And your tip about using a screwdriver is also most helpful. If you ever find the pictures, please come back and post them. If not me, they might help someone else.

Thank again.

...
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Bought it brand new, and still loving it today.

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Old 10-19-2019, 11:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarLady View Post
Help!
I was coming back home, and when I tried closing my sunroof, it wouldn't close. I tried opening it more and it did go back normally, but it won't go forward. Tried again a couple of inches back, and it does move back. But it just won't go forward (to closed). What could be the problem? And how difficult / costly would it be to fix?

We're expecting heavy rains....
Pretty much every time I've ever had an intermittently
operating power window, the switch was the problem.
That's where I'd start.

...
All GM, all the time.

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Old 10-20-2019, 11:35 PM   #10
Chub
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1995 SC2
Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

I found some pictures of the sunroof module. If you want to see bigger versions of these images, you can find them in my user gallery. For some reason I can't figure out how to link them at full size from the gallery. Hope it helps.

In the top image the map light and base for it have been removed since I was completely gutting my car at that point to redo the interior. Also, the original motor that came with my sunroof didn't have the feature where you could use pressure and a screwdriver to manually shut it. The replacement motor I pulled from another 1st gen saturn, did however have this feature. You can finesse out the black controller box without dropping the headliner (it is just in a slot and can slide out very easily). Getting to the sunroof motor to manually screw it closed with the headliner up is not very easy.



...
1995 SC2: Back on the road again after my second engine rebuild in two years.

Last edited by Chub; 10-20-2019 at 11:45 PM..

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Old 10-21-2019, 10:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

I have a similar problem, and the problem is not the switch. There is a small plastic piece (I'll find the part name and number for your later) on both sides of the sunroof that has broken. UNFORTUNATELY, that part is listed as discontinued on all GM parts websites. I plan to try a wrecking yard or perhaps have the part 3D printed.

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Old 10-21-2019, 12:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sunroof won't close!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pickettt View Post
I have a similar problem, and the problem is not the switch. There is a small plastic piece (I'll find the part name and number for your later) on both sides of the sunroof that has broken. UNFORTUNATELY, that part is listed as discontinued on all GM parts websites. I plan to try a wrecking yard or perhaps have the part 3D printed.
Until recently you could get the upgraded aluminum slides from the www.sunroofdoctor.com. It currently says currently unavailable so I'm not sure what that means. Perhaps they are running another batch.

...
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:49 PM   #13
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Thumbs Up Re: Sunroof won't close!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
Until recently you could get the upgraded aluminum slides from the www.sunroofdoctor.com. It currently says currently unavailable so I'm not sure what that means. Perhaps they are running another batch.
Thanks for the tip. I'll keep an eye out periodically.

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