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98 Land Cruiser has jammed moonroof cable preventing me from…

Customer Question
98 Land Cruiser has...

98 Land Cruiser has jammed moonroof cable preventing me from opening the moonroof

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Land Cruiser yourself? What have you tried so far?

I've dropped the front portion of the headliner, removed moonroof motor (functions), cleaned motor drive gear.

Mechanic's Assistant: How many miles are on the car? Have you noticed any fluid leaks lately?

280k, yes leaking water that soaks carpets in heavy rain

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

Does 98 landcruiser have metal spiral moonroof drive cables or plastic? they appear to be metal

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Toyota
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I've checked that the front drain tubes which were not blocked, so I'm concerned about the rear drain tubes as a cause of the leak. I can't remove the rear portion of the headliner with out removing the rear pillar trim and oh shit handles over the rear doors. The screws holding these handles appear different than the front ones and are very difficult to remove. Is there a special tool required for the screws holding the rear handles in place?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If the jammed cable is metal, it appears that the only way to pull it from the housing would be to drop the entire moonroof into the vehicle. Is this correct? If it is plastic, I suppose I could just cut it to free the sliding mechanism, then replace the cable. Any other ideas on how to unjam the cable and open the moonroof so I have access to the rear drain tubes?
Answered in 1 hour by:
11/28/2017
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 4 months ago
Toyota Service
Toyota Service, Toyota Expert
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 5,184
Experience: 30+ Yrs of auto experience, Award Winning Svc. Manager; Just Answer Customer's Choice Award Winner
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Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. The drive cables run in the metal tubes. The sunroof drive motor moved the cables. As the motor spins, the roof is either retracted or extended. More often than not, there is corrosion inside the metal tubes which either has caused the drive cable to snap, or, it is bound up can cannot move inside the tube. To get to the tubes you need to drop the headliner and then drop the sunroof assembly from the inner roof panel. It is highly recommended that you have at least 2 people to drop the headliner and 3 people to drop the sunroof assembly. You need to exercise care to not crease the headliner when removing it. The best way to do this is to remove the front seats and the back seats. If you try to drop the headline out with the seats in position you can and will damage the headliner. The fit is very tight going out and going back in. Regarding the handle screws, I do not remember them being unique. Perhaps someone has changed them if you are not the original owner. I would not cut the tubes; if you have the roof out remove the drive cable tubes from the assembly. This will allow the sunroof panel to move freely. If you cut the cables the cut may be in the wrong place and the bound section will still prevent the roof from moving. Note that a sunroof drive cable assembly replacement is one of the most difficult jobs possible. If you have any questions, please reply; please do take a moment to confirm you have received my input. Thanks!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks for your response. That all makes sense. One of the metal cables seems to be jammed up by some white plastic substance at the drive gear and inside the metal tube. Not sure where the plastic substance came from. Perhaps it lined the metal tubing to reduce friction and just broke down over time?? There is also a decent amount of grime and grease in both tubes. I found that as I removed bits of plastic and grime the cable started moving the sunroof very slowly after I reattached the motor. Not sure I'll be able to clean it sufficiently though to get it working properly. Do you know where the white plastic substance might come from and is it best to simply replace the cables/tubes at this point? Can you recommend a good manual to guide me for this job?One final question regarding the handle that needs to be removed to get the headliner out - do you have a recommendation for a tool or technique for removing a difficult screw that is stripping out, short of drilling it out? I've already sprayed it with penetrant without success.After all this, I still need to find and repair the leak!Thanks!
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 4 months ago

Sorry for the delay, was called away on business and had no internet. Regarding the handle, I do not recall special fasteners. If you are not the original owner, perhaps someone changed the bolts. The white substance is lithium grease. This is found in all sunroof drive tubes. However, if the tube/cable rusts, it will seize. This causes the window to not move.

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