Saturn Spot

Saturn Spot (
-   Saturn S-Series - Technical (
-   -   S-Series Moonroof Guide Rail Repair Tutorial. (

Satyllac 12-15-2006 08:53 AM

S-Series Moonroof Guide Rail Repair Tutorial.
A quick refresher...

Saturn S-Series moonroofs are notorious for failing. One of the more common failure points is the cable guide rail assembly. The push/pull cable is attached to a plastic guide rail, after awhile the force of pushing and pulling the sunroof back and forth takes its toll on the plastic. Subsequently, the clip that holds the cable snaps and leaves one side of the sunroof at a standstill, and thus, a non-functioning moonroof.

Now then, to determine whether or not the broken guide rail is your problem, just check the following.

1.) Does your sunroof motor still work? (Clicks repeatedly when you press the button, or glass appears to attempt to move when you push the open/close button.) If so, continue.

2.) To check whether or not the clips are broken, you'll need to check them. This isn't too hard.

2a.) Remove the T-25 Torx screws that hold in the sunroof glass (three per side). Push glass out and put it somewhere safe.

2b.) Remove the T-20 Torx screws that hold in the sunroof cable guide clamps (two per clamp, two clamps).

2c.) Look at where the cable connects to the guide rail. Odds are only one of the guide rails broke. If your two guide rails look different, odds are one is broken. It should be obvious which one is good and which is not. If you verified that your guide rails are the problem, you have several options.

1.) Take your car to the dealership and have them install a new moonroof unit for a crazy fee.

2.) Replace your entire moonroof unit, either from a junkyard (which will most likely still have the stock plastic guide rails that will eventually break), or from Sunroof Doctor for a fee of $325 with a $100 refundable core charge.

3.) Replace the guide rails with machined aluminum replacements from

Sunroof Doctor for a cost of $150 plus shipping.

I chose option number three, since it's the cheapest and I don't mind doing a little work. Keep in mind, this tutorial was done on a third-gen SC2, the three-door, your install may differ.

1.) Pull off parts that holds the headliner in place. This includes, the A-pillars, driver's side C-pillar and seatbelt trim (including clothes hangers), map light cluster, sun visors, third brake-light, and passenger's side grab handle.

2.) Pull down the headliner, it'll make noise since it's attached to the roof frame in some places with Velcro. It'll slip out from underneath the passenger's side B/C-pillar, so you don't have to remove the passenger's seatbelt. Carefully untape the third brake-light wire and put it aside. Be sure not to fold or crease it, or you'll have wrinkles in your headliner when you put it back in.

3.) Remove the moonroof glass. Three T-25 Torx screws on each side, they'll probably be somewhat tight.

4.) Pull out the moonroof shade visor. Four spring-loaded clips hold it in. Use your finger, thumb, or a tool to push in the clips and pull the visor out of the roof towards you.

5.) Remove the motor assembly. Two 8mm bolts if I remember correctly.

6.) Remove the moonroof assembly. Pull the drain hoses loose. Remove the eight 10mm nuts, two up front near the motor, two on the front corners, two midway, and two on the rear corners.

7.) Pull down the moonroof assembly. Bring it to your work area.

8.) Remove the two guide cable clamps. Two T-20 Torx screws on each clamp.

9.) Drill out necessary rivets. Two are 5/16", but I drilled all the rivets out with a 1/8" drill bit. Yeah, it overbored two of the holes, but I installed all 1/8" rivets and everything holds strong.

10.) After rivets are removed, take a knife and cut all the silicone away from the rear drain trough, cut all around it, under it, everywhere. All underneath the plastic trough is more silicone, so be sure to jam your knife underneath and slowly pry a bit. After awhile you'll be able to wiggle it around and pull it off. After you get it pulled off, scrape all the excess silicone away.

11.) Once you get that out of the way, you can slide the rail back. You'll have to get it out of the locked position (just move it around a bit and you'll figure it out) and simply pull the entire rail system straight back and out of the assembly.

12.) Now you have to push out the pin that holds the rail guide in place. Unfortunately I didn't know it was a one-way pin, and shoved it deeper than it had been, then gave up and broke the old guide loose. I recommend pushing in the direction of the arrows to avoid problems.

13.) Replace the old guide with your new Sunroof Doctor aluminum guide, re-use the old pin. I used a simple adjustable pliers on the wide setting to clamp it in place, but I highly recommend a clamp or vise.

14.) Clean up the moonroof assembly tracks as best as you can, do the same with the rail system. Brake parts cleaner supposedly works good. I just used paper towels.

15.) Put everything back together. You'll have to press the guide rail down with a screwdriver or knife or something in order to get it to slide forward into the tracks. Once you get that in, re-install your rear drain troughs, and don't forget to re-caulk them with the Sunroof-Doctor-provided silicone caulk. Pop in your rivets the same way they were from the factory. Lube helps out a lot, Sunroof Doctor kindly provides lithium grease with your repair kit. I opted to leave the lithium grease alone and instead hosed the tracks down with Tri-Flon Teflon-infused gun cleaner/lubricant since I had some handy.

16.) Put everything back together. However, before putting your map light back in, I recommend this small modification. There are two black caps that hold in the spring assembly for the map light buttons. The caps seem to pop off easily. The small pen-like springs and parts inside are a major PITA to find when the cap pops off in the dark. I fixed this by epoxy'ing the caps on.

Enjoy your now-working moonroof! I know I sure do.

PurdueGuy 12-15-2006 04:17 PM

Thanks! I don't need to fix my rails, but one of those rivets popped its head off, and now I have a rattle & leak. :( I'm going to have to do most of that, just to replace a busted rivet! :evil: Now if only I could get my project car drivable so I can get it out of the garage, so I can get my DD in the garage to fix the sunroof. :(

ramoyer1 12-15-2006 05:04 PM


Originally Posted by PurdueGuy
Thanks! I don't need to fix my rails, but one of those rivets popped its head off, and now I have a rattle & leak. :( I'm going to have to do most of that, just to replace a busted rivet! :evil: Now if only I could get my project car drivable so I can get it out of the garage, so I can get my DD in the garage to fix the sunroof. :(

:lol: sorry cany help it :lol:

PurdueGuy 12-15-2006 05:10 PM

well, right now I'm just waiting on my differential, then I can reassemble my tranny, put it in, and things *should* be happy.

$500SaturnSpecial 08-25-2010 07:07 AM

About how long should this project take?

Ssicarman 08-25-2010 11:36 PM


Originally Posted by $500SaturnSpecial (Post 303204)
About how long should this project take?

That would depend on your skill level and how much everything cooperates for you. If you have never done anything like this before set aside a day and be ready for longer.

$500SaturnSpecial 08-26-2010 12:40 AM

Well I started tinkering with things since I was about 9 or 10 and I am 32 now...I have been rippin into just about everything possible through a wide
spectrum of vehicles....pretty much everyone I know comes to me when stuff needs fixed, as much as it annoys me I guess I kinda like it other words in my own opinion I believe I have a wealth of knowledge and experience...and I figure things out rather quickly

Ace_Savant 11-17-2010 11:48 PM

Outstanding, thank you!
it was a heck of an ordeal, but with the help of this guide and the fairly vauge instructions provided by the sunroof doctor, I have successfully replaced the shattered guides in my sunroof track. Thank you for posting this very helpful guide.

Jokerrswylde 08-21-2011 06:42 PM

I have a 98 Saturn SC2 that when I took the moon roof off one trac is working and the other is not. Could one side of the trac not get power. I know where a 97 model is that I can get the roof. Before I get it is there anything I need to consider.

Ace_Savant 08-21-2011 08:27 PM

One motor only.
The sun roof tracks are both powered by the same motor. The motor turns a gear that is threaded to two cables that move in opposite directions. If only one side is moving, the cable or the motor teeth may be stripped. If this is not the case, the kit ships with a new housing for the motor and the cables to seat together and should function properly assuming you align the cables properly upon reinstallation.

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.