Electric Sunroof Troubleshooting

When your sunroof stops or jams, or makes noises STOP! Do not open or close the roof. The most common cause of a sunroof jamming is maintenance, of lack there of. Usually the tracks are clogged with dirt or hardened axle grease (as was the case with my 1963). When this problem gets too bad and the sunroof is forced open or closed, the worse problem happens, cable breakage!
If the cables have not broken, there is an easy fix. First cover the interior with a drop cloth because working on the roof will get messy. Allow room to get inside under the opening of the sunroof. Without moving the roof, spray some Jet-Spray carburetor cleaner on, in, down, and under the track. Be careful not to get any on the paint. Also spray in the groove of the sunroof roof.

Next, take a Phillips screwdriver and remove the two screws that are at the front edge of the sliding headlining panel on the inside of the headlining. The headliner on the sliding roof is stretched around a frame that is held by the two screws. Grab the frame and gently pull forward ON THE FRAME AND HEADLINER ONLY! The sliding roof should remain still.

When it is loose, push the headliner to the back until you can see the underside of the sliding roof. Just under the sliding roof to the left and on the right you will be able to see the cable that pulls to sliding roof. Clean it with the spray, then lube it, preferable with a Teflon spray grease (like White Lithium Grease). It's messy but it works great! Lube the rest of the track, and try the switch again. If it doesn't work, clean it again. You may need to clean it over again after the sliding roof starts to move.

If you are unsure if the sunroof motor is functional, the easiest way to confirm that it works is to remove it from the car and test it on a battery. Unzip the headliner access, remove the three wires from the motor, remove the long cable joining the motor to the driver, and then remove the two 10mm nuts that hold the motor in place. Once removed bend-back the four tabs and remove the cover plate & gasket to expose the sunroof motor. Lubricate the parts and check to see that the motor turns. With sandpaper quickly freshen the central motor spindle to remove any rust & debris. The outside of the stamped cover plate will show if it's a 6V or 12V motor. There are three cables coming out of the motor: blue (ground), green (power open), & black (power close). Touch the blue wire to the - terminal of the battery and then touch either the green or black wire (but not both at the same time) to the + terminal. The motor should vibrate & whir into action, and if it does then it's A-OK. Pray that it works.

If you are unsure if your sunroof switch is functional, the best way is to check the wires leading to it. To do this you will need to crawl under the dash with a Phillips screwdriver & 10mm socket. The sunroof switch is located on a black support bar, so remove the 10mm nut at the back and the screw at the front going through the lower dash pad. On the underside of the switch there are three wires. The center one goes to the #8 fuse (from the left) and is a thick gauge red wire. The other two (red with black stripes & red) go back towards the roof and plug into the black & green wires of the sunroof motor. There is a dual-connector in the roof. Black to black. Once the wiring is correct, then you should remove the cable between the motor & the driver. Then hit the switch (full-time power without key ON) and see if the motor turns. If it does then your wiring & switch are OK.

The switch will sometimes stick in the open or closed position, so be careful to release it when it's done. Replacing the 10 gauge red power wires (from fuse box to switch) helps the performance. Adding an inline fuse also prevents problems. The ends of the wires connected to the switch leaves them exposed and easy to short.