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Roger, BMW Master Tech
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 5895
Experience:  10 yrs. experience as BMW Master Technician, shop foreman and dealer.
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The sunroof of my 2004 BMW x3 is stuck open in vent position

Resolved Question:

The sunroof of my 2004 BMW x3 is stuck open in "vent" position on the driver side. Just a slight crack on the front roof and 3/4 raised on the driver rear side. Trying to reset by holding down the vent button doesn't result in a complete cycle. Any suggestions? I just went back to school and $$$ are tight.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: BMW
Expert:  Roger replied 8 years ago.



I just want to make sure I have the right sunroof cassette. Am I correct that this is the panoramic roof...two glass panels?


Thank you.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
That's correct. The two glass panals. The right front passenger side "accordian rubber piece" looks like it had shifted off the bottom section. I've shifted it back into the groove. No visible loose pieces on the tracks.
Expert:  Roger replied 8 years ago.

The panoramic roofs are great to look through but can be very bad when they fail. What you have described is starting to be very common. The only fix for this type of failure is a complete rebuild of the components of the sunroof cassette or a full replacement. I have actually rebuilt about 10 of these for this problem at my dealership. About 5 of them still needed to be replaced as a unit due to track wear. The good thing for those customers was that the vehicle was still under warrenty.


Options that you have if you want to keep the cost to a minimum would be to go to the dealer. Have them remove the front motor so the tracks are free to move. The glass panels might have to be removed as well to slide the mechanism to the correct place. Then install the glass and motor and do not use the sunroof at all until you can have it replaced or repaired. This would most likely cost 2-3 hours of time but with no parts involved.


If it is to be repaired each repair kit costs around 180 dollars. There is a kit for the front and for the back. And even another kit for the sunshade that most of the time is not needed. The entire cassette has to be removed and all the new components installed with a good cleaning to remove any plastic or debris that might have led to the main failure. The system uses a lot off small plastic nubs that are supposed to lock and unlock at certain locations. When the platic nub fails on the cable the sunroof no longer will be in sync and you end up with the problem you have now. The labor involved is aprox 8-10 hours to remove and rebuild. It would cost less in labor to replace the entire cassette but more in parts for a full replacement.


We can now order just the frame which comes with all of the track mechanisms that drive the glass installed and most of the sunshade components installed. That is the best repair that I have seen so far, so the tracks and main frame is new and the glass panels are reused to save money. The sunshaded needs to be swapped over to the new frame in this instance. This would be the best repair but would still cost a bit of money.


So the cheapest repair is just a bandaid by moving the mechanism to the correct postion and then installing the glass panels.


I wish there was an easy fix for this but unfortunately this sunroof is a very complex mechanism. Please let me know if I can clarify anything for you. Hopefully some of these options will be usefull to you.

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