Author Topic: Sunroof Care and Maintenance - Pre-Repair so you don't have to repair it later!  (Read 5218 times)

Shovel

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This is just the beginning of a thread I hope to add more info as I make the time to do so, but I'll start with some quick bits:

1.  Clean your damn drains.    If you've never cleaned them, you should clean them.    If it's been like a year or two, clean them.   You can jam a length of lawn trimmer "cable" down them to un-jam any crap that's jammed in there.   If you live somewhere with mud or leaves, or if you go wheeling in mud a lot then you probably have crud in the back part of your front fenders too,  you need to clean that out so the sunroof drains can do their job.    Failure to do this leads to sunroof failure and possible leakage.   

2.  The only proper way to refurb your sunroof mechanism is to remove it.    Now that I've seen how it's done, it's not THAT bad.   You remove all the upper plastic interior covers (a-pillars to all the way back) and then pull down the front half of the headliner and then back half.    Then the whole sunroof assembly unbolts and comes out the back door in one piece. 

3.  If you know darn well that you will not be properly refurbishing your sunroof you can at least try to do a little preventative maintenance on it.     This part requires photos and/or video which I have not yet recorded.. so I guess I had better go do that soon.     This part also requires some fancy ass lubricants.   How fancy-ass?   Like $500/kg fancy ass.   (A lower cost, high grade equivalent has been found, see below!)  Thankfully you don't need a whole kilogram of it.     After some digging around I found out the Mercedes-Benz glide paste is repacked Dupont Krytox GPL-105 or GPL-205 (there are 2 different Benz numbers but they can be used semi-interchangeably, the GPL-105 is better suited to the rubber edges while the GPL-205 is better suited to the tracks.. 205 is a little cheaper)  .  Krytox grease is an engineered paste/grease form of teflon and kinda the definition of space age - in other words it's not sil-glyde or dry lithium grease.   It's very inert, very stable and very slippery and it doesn't change viscosity appreciably with temperature (so it won't run away from where it's needed when your roof is hot out in the sun). 

4.  After (not before) you have your sunroof lubricated - either the right way by taking it all out and cleaning it or the less proper way (not judging you, just providing realistic options) by working it in from the rails - you will definitely want to operate the sunroof periodically to keep the lubricant worked in and prevent any rust or gack accretions from preventing future use.    You will also want to re-lube it all annually.     Yeah with that crazy expensive stuff. 

So what's the stuff you need?   

OK man buckle up.


For your rails & cables:


Krytox 205 if you want to go space age.   

OR

Gleitpaste if you want to get The Mercedes Benz Stuff  (because I could not find The Mitsubishi Stuff)  -  this stuff actually is repackaged Krytox 205

OR

An alternate manufacturer of what they claim is chemically identical to Krytox  <- This is what I'm buying next time.   

OR

VW Sunroof Track Lubricant  if you want to go service grade.   I was not able to find out exactly what this is yet, other than it's recommended for the job on VW's.

OR

Super Lube 20130 if you kinda.. you know,  like the cheap stuff works doesn't it?   This stuff might actually be just fine, especially for a strategy of "look I'm just going to grease the heck out of it!!!" since it's so affordable.     I should add that I don't endorse using this, I personally used the Mercedes Benz gleitpaste..  but I'm including this cheap product suggestion because if you're kinda priced out of doing it with the really good stuff you should at least have the option of doing it the best cheap way possible, right?   This is going to be better than using some crap like WD40 or wheel grease. 

For all of your rubber seals (around the doors, windows, the sunroof edge seal, etc):

Shin-Etsu Grease.   .  This stuff should be rubbed onto all your rubber stuff every few months.   Keeps rattles, squeaks, chirps,  other mystery sounds at bay particularly if you have an out of balance tire that makes your truck jiggle at speed or something.     And helps your sunroof & power windows work their best.     Not for use on metal-metal (like the sunroof rails) - this is for rubber-to-metal or rubber-to-glass contact. 



Special thanks to Wm F Coleman for showing me the inner workings of the factory sunroof,  giving me a whole assembly to work with so I visually understand it,  and directing me to the Mercedes track/cable lubricant. 





Se7en62

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Thanks for putting this together! I "serviced" mine after I bought it at 194k with white-lithium grease and it works, but I can tell the mechanism is not quite right. How much should be applied to the inner rails if I were to use the Krytox 205 0.5oz tube?
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1999 Montero "Winter Package" Overland - X3 / ADD / ADHD / ARB / AVN / OME / Bilstein / CVT / DFG / Dometic

Shovel

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How much should be applied to the inner rails if I were to use the Krytox 205 0.5oz tube?

I'll still have to take photos and video because there's a bit more to it than just the guide rails and it really can't be explained without photos.    But I'm not home at the moment... so standby and check back once I've begun the visual part of this presentation   :) 

It would be very easy to use a whole 0.5oz tube on upkeep lubrication..and if you're servicing your 15+ year old sunroof for the first time you'll need an ounce or more which is why it's really tempting to take this the other route and just buy the cheap stuff and use tons of it.   I'll leave that up to each owner's personal discretion.     I've even been considering using the cheap stuff as a "rinse" of sorts,  to mobilize gack from the mechanism and then go back over it with the Benz stuff or officially packaged Krytox. - Just found out it's not wise to mix these lubricants with hydrocarbon lubricants.  Doesn't create damage just can crust up, which is kinda the opposite of what we want.

In any case I think any educated action taken is better than doing nothing,  so hopefully this thread will help keep a few more sunroofs working until the whole vehicle must be retired years from now.   

 


concealer404

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Any tips and tricks for removing the stupid thing entirely and welding the huge gaping hole in the roof shut without warping?
1998 Montero Winter Package (For Sale)
1994 FZJ80 Land Cruiser (Wife's)
2006 V8 4Runner Sport Edition (Mine)

Shovel

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Any tips and tricks for removing the stupid thing entirely and welding the huge gaping hole in the roof shut without warping?

My man!!

concealer404

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*shudders*
1998 Montero Winter Package (For Sale)
1994 FZJ80 Land Cruiser (Wife's)
2006 V8 4Runner Sport Edition (Mine)

Shovel

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Always looking for alternatives,  the manufacturer claims this stuff is equivalent to GPL205 with a corrosion inhibitor.    Sure is a lot lower priced!

reversecaoboy

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Oh...I should probably clean the drains.

Shovel

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Time for a photo or two!

First, the whole assembly.   



The lower part of that photo is the front of your Montero, see the copper tubes?   

The sunroof is pulled and pushed by metal cables that are arranged with "gear teeth" and go through those copper tubes and into the aluminum channels in the sunroof rails.  As you can guess there is a LOT of surface area there and that means a LOT of friction.

The metal "gear cables" are built with little hairs, felt-like, assembled into it and those presumably serve to hold lubricant and sort of polish the inside of the tubes, possibly keep everything quiet when it's new and working well.   But, they also can hold a lot of dust over time.   



That is why ideally you should remove the whole assembly and deep clean it.   That's also why ideally you should keep the sunroof closed while driving out in dusty terrain.    I know that's probably when you most want to have it open to feel close to nature or whatever,  don't kill the messenger. 




If you do remove your whole assembly, clean and clean and clean and clean and clean.   And lube.  And lube more.   

If your sunroof doesn't move you pretty much need to remove it. I wouldn't count on being able to work lube into it because.. well, it doesn't move does it?

If you don't remove your whole sunroof assembly at least do a lot of lubricating.   If it wasn't clear before, don't mix hydrocarbon based (petroleum...) greases with perflouro (teflon) greases.    They harden together and that makes it worse.     Your OEM grease was either a silicone or a teflon grease. 



Shovel

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Here's a close up of the cable in the rail.



Disposable brushes are useful.   



Lube the bars that push the wind deflector too 







Shovel

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Get the rubber edges of the sunroof with Shin-Etsu .   I linked to it above at the top of this topic, or you can google it up on your own.

You want to eliminate every point of friction, that means a non-petroleum grease in the metal-on-metal rail bits and it means a rubber-safe grease on the rubber. 





There are drains at the front and rear of your sunroof,  so that no matter what angle you park at the sunroof "tray" can drain.    That's great, when they're clean.      You can reach the front ones easily with the sunroof in the vehicle if it opens,  but the ones in back are pretty much impossible with the assembly in the vehicle.      Good news is I think they're a bit less likely to clog.. 



Or always remember to park with the front of your truck downhill?   ;)


Sedole

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Kicking myself for not thinking to do this when I had the whole thing out last year...

You're right, it's not thaaaat bad to remove.  A pain if your by yourself (use your head and both arms as a tripod lol).  But be careful of those plastics.  I don't know about you Gen2 guys, but I broke just about every single one of those brittle upper plastic trim pieces in my Gen1.  I was being super careful too and used all the plastic trim remover tools.

MrGalantguy

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This is a great write-up. Looks like I have a maintenance project this coming winter.
-1998 Montero (Winter package & Adjustable suspension)
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nnamssorxela

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I have the sunroof out and cleaned up ready for grease. I'm a little confused about cleaning the "gear cables" that you show in your images. Are those to be removed and cleaned, or is that image just for illustrative purposes?

Shovel

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Yeah pull them all the way out.  Once they are clean they are easy enough to push back through