W210 Sunroof woes and how to cure them

brandwooddixon

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I have a 1998 E430 fitted with an electric tilt and slide sunroof. One day whilst trying to slide the sunroof back it became stuck after moving about 4 inches or so and procedded to make an horrific clacking and thunping noise! I managed to close it again and as my car had automatic climate control fitted anyway I decided to leave it until the next service.

Boy was I in for a shock. MB quoted me £3500 to fit an entirely new sunroof "cassette" and as the cause was down to the flexidrives used to power the sunroof, which MB erfer to as cables (even though they push as well as pull) it wouldn't be covered by the warrenty. So I decided to leave it.

I have since learned that this is a common problem with the W210. Through lack of use the tracks become gummed up, the roof sticks at some point and the drive "cables" buckle, popping out beneath a small plastic cover.

This cover is fixed in place by a self tapping screw at one end. A simple fix is to place another self tapper at the other end. I tried this, but in my case the runners were too gummed and the cable too buckled for it to work.

So I left it.

Until yesterday.

I decided to replace the cables and get my sunroof working. MB dealers wont do this anymore as the work is then under 12 month warrenty and lack of use will have owners returning before the warrenty expires for the work to be performed for free.

All told it took me about 4 hours, but that included taking pictures with my new camera and visiting the local motorfactors for some unexpected bolts - more of that later. I reckon that it should take about 2.5 to 3 hours to do normally.

Here's what you'll need:

New cables : MA210 780 01 89 and MA210 780 00 89 £22.70 each (cables are handed).

Possibly 2xM4 bolts about 8mm long.
T25 Torx screwdriver
10mm socket.
Small phillips screwdriver.
Flat bladed screwdriver or other implement for prising things apart.

Lubricant to regrease the tracks - MB recommend Klueber Polylub GLY801 but only comes in big tins from the dealer. I used some dry setting, teflon bicycle chain, spray lubricant instead. Ultimately it'll attract less dust and dirt.
 
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brandwooddixon

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Step 1: Remove the glass sunroof panel.

Slide the sunroof open a few inches. Mine would still do this electrically.
Remove the plastic trim along the front edge, by levering it away from the end and pulling it down. Be careful not to break the clips. Try not to rotate it too much.

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Next we need to slide the sunroof closed and tilt it open in order to remove the side belows, one on each side. These simply clip on.

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Behind these belows we can see the retaining screws for the glass panel. You'll need a T25 Torx bit and there are 3 on each side.

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Once removed you should now be able to remove the glass panel.
 
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brandwooddixon

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Step 2: Disconnecting the Sunroof motor

On the W210 the sunroof motor is hidden behind the light fitting just in front of the rear view mirror. So we must remove that before we can disconnect the motor.

Gently prise off the two large, light lenses on either side of the fitting. You'll then see that the main fitting simply clips into the headlining. Using a thin bladed screwdriver will allow you to easily release the clips.

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You'll now have exposed the drive motor. Remove the two Torx retaining bolts.

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And loosen the 10mm nut hiding at the back enough to allow you to gently pull the drive motor down.

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Just leave the motor hanging on the nut. You should just be able to see the drive cables through a small apeture in the roof.
 
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brandwooddixon

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Step 3: Removal of the drive cables

If you attempt to move the sunroof back here's typically what you get, as the cables protrude from beneath their covers.

1392435834_27910972cf.jpg


Remove the rear water drain. It clips into the sunroof mechanism on each side.

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Simply unclip and remove.

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Unscrew the drive cables from the mechanism using a small phillips screwdriver as shown.

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You can now remove the mechanism from the rails, if you wish, which will give you easier access to the removable cable cover - shown here behind the mechanism.

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Push the mechanism to the rear in order to disengage a side pin from a channel which forces the roof up as it moves forwards. With gentle pressure towrds the opening the front part can be disengaged. Pull the mechanism forwards. It hinges in the middle. Once the front two nylon runners are free you should be able to rotate the others from the aluminium channel by rotating it towards the sunroof opening.

Remove the self tapping screw from the cable cover (positioned towards the rear of the car). And by lifting it and pulling the top towards you (or rather the sunroof apeature) you'll be able to remove it. Incidentally, if there's a second self tapper towards the front of the car then it's bee "fixed" before.

Push the disconnect cable towards the front of the car and pull it out through the gap where the cover was.
 
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brandwooddixon

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Step 4: General mainenance

With the tilting mechanism remove clean up the nylon bushes.

Clean and relubricate the aluminium channel. I simply reinstalled the mechanism with a J cloth wrapped around a couple of the white nylon guides and worked the mechanism back and forth in it's channel as far as I could make it go, removing the dirt.

I then used the same method, but without the J-cloth to lubricate the channel - squirting the cycle chain lubricant into it in several places first. Double check to make sure that the nylon guides come out clean.
 
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brandwooddixon

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Step 5: Install new cables and replace the sunroof.

Alright, reinstallation is basically a reversal of all points so far, but here's a few pointers.

1. Be careful when threading the new cables back in not to buckle them. Personally I didn't lubricate them as the old ones didn't appear to be they were just dirty.

2. If there isn't one there already, place a second self tapping screw into the other end of the drive, channel cover. Be careful to use one which is the same length as that already used otherwise it will foul against the roof metalwork and crack what you're fixing the cover to.

3. A thin piece of wood or rubber can be wedged between the top of the cover and the roof if you wish. This will prevent the cover from tilting and allowing the possibility of the cable from the protruding from underneath.

4. MB changed the drive cables at some point and now thay are fixed to the mechanism using M4 screws. Mine were originally fitted with self tappers and so I had to buy some M4 screws and cut them down to length. Use several nuts to protect the threads when cutting and file the end flat when done.

5. Before fitting the motor, pull/push the mechanism into the fully tilted position (on both sides). This is because the flat position is not the sunroof closed position. Push the roof switch as if you were tilting the roof to its fullest extent and wait for the motor to stop. This ensures that the cables and motor are synchronised to the same position.

6. When fitting the glass tighten the Torx scews finger tight to start with. This will allow you to close the roof and then adjust the glass so that the front edge is about 1mm lower than the car roof and the back edge about 1mm higher. Once done tighten them fully.
 
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brandwooddixon

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There I hope that this is useful to everyone.
In the meantime remember to use all those electrical windows fully at least once a month in order to keep the going.
 

michellecraig

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i have a c180 and my paneramic roof only opens half way do you think i might have the same problem as you had .
 

television

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These thing usually fail because the tracks are to dry. the roof and window motors have a built in 20 second thermal cutout.

To normalize with the key turned to 2 close it and hold the switch in the closed mode for 10 seconds,,if it fails to open all the way and the tracks are good,,then it may need to be normalized on STAR
 

MBGraham

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Used this write-up today on my '98 E320 and it was a GREAT help. Only discrepancy I found, was that I didn't appear to have those rear drains that were to be removed.

A couple of other observations:
- Took a pic of connections and removed motor entirely.
- Getting mechanism out of track is easy enough but I didn't fully uinderstand this procedure - It is hard to describe. But once that pin is lined up with slot, you can tilt the mechanism and the sliders will come out of the slot.
- Releasing the roof top pod was difficult - I had to push a small screw driver quite far up and hard in order to get the clips to release. Probably never been out before!
- I made a 1/4" thick x 3/4" wide wedge out of some hard plastic and it helped in releasing the plastic molding on the front of the glass. Again, it took some force to get the connectors to pop loose.

But overall not bad. I would never have got it done without Brandwooddixon's write up!
 

tbone006

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WOW ... you are a Brave Soldier my man!!

There I hope that this is useful to everyone.
In the meantime remember to use all those electrical windows fully at least once a month in order to keep the going.

I printed this all out , and i am building up the "Courage" to get started..haha. Ya .. i tried to "start" about 4 times so far....my balls are still shrunken up and afraid, once i get started there is no turning back! Will let you know how it goes for me...

THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us!!
~t-bone~
 
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television

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I printed this all out , and i am building up the "Courage" to get started..haha. Ya .. i tried to "start" about 4 times so far....my balls are still shrunken up and afraid, once i get started there is no turning back! Will let you know how it goes for me...

THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us!!
~t-bone~

That is a really good DIY
 


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