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1990 Es 250 Sunroof


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I was opening the sunroof on my es 250 when something snapped and it ceased to slide open or closed although the motor works fine. I can manually make it slide but I need to try and get it locked in the closed position to make it water tight until I can get it in to the dealership. Does anyone have any ideas about this?

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Somewhere in your headliner there is a plug or in the front map light area will be a knockout. Pull the plug or the knockout and there is an opening where you can insert the emergency sunroof crank to manually close the sunroof. You should have a tool in the car, or if you check your owner's manual, it will show you what instrument to use and where.

Since you say that you heard a snap and the motor still runs, I suspect the manual closing procedure won't produce any results, mainly because the emergency tool inserts right into the gearbox of the motor, since most sunroof failures are electrical. Your problem isn't electrical.

There are 2 nylon cables running down both sides of the sunroof towards the rear of the car. The cables have gear teeth down their whole length, and these are what mesh with the gear box in the motor. The sides of the sunroof itself have plastic sections that attach to these geared cables, and as the motor pulls these cables, that is what moves the sunroof. It sounds as if your mounting clips to the cables are stripped, or the gearbox has stripped a gear, or the cables have stripped a section.

With the age of your car, parts will be very expensive, if even available. As well is the shop time to remove the headliner from the car just to get to the sunroof to see what needs fixing. Originally the headliner was put in through the front or rear windshield before the glass went in. To get it out now will require bending and creasing the headliner, which will show up after everything is fixed. Most sunroof fixes will require the entire mechanism to be taken out of the car for repair.

If it sounds like I'm building a case here to tell you that it will cost you a lot of dollars, your are right, unless you are doing the job yourself. Your best bet may be to just have the sunroof put into its parked position permanently, and forget it. The next best bet is to find a complete assembly from a wreck and install it into your car yourself. Its not rocket science, it can be done by someone who knows his way around somewhat. The key is to reinstall the repaired assembly back into the car in its closed position. Final adjustments to the sunroof to get it to match the roof opening's profile, are usually done with four small screws or bolts from inside the car before the headliner goes back in.

I've done three of these in the last few years in different makes of cars, and they are all pretty similar. One hint, keep your hands clean when working with the headliner removal and install. Its difficult to clean, and most cleaned areas show up dramatically. Good Luck!

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