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BMW E36 Compact ti Canvas Sunroof Motor repair
BMW E36 Compact ti Canvas Sunroof Motor repair
BillW in St Louis
Published by BillW
Default BMW E36 Compact ti Canvas Sunroof Motor repair

If your sunroof does not work, but you can hear the motor turning, it is likely that plastic gear(s) are
stripped. Follow these instructions to open your motor and inspect/replace/adjust the gears. Find them ion eBay.

1. Using a T20 Torx bit, remove the 4 screws on the gear-side cover plate. (Fig 1)
2. Carefully wiggle the plate and pull it over the gear. Do not lose any small pieces that come loose.
3. Pry the tan plastic gear out and examine it.
4. Do the same with the one under it.
5. Using automotive lubricating grease, thoroughly grease the teeth of the gears.
6. Install the gears carefully. This is as tricky as getting them out
7. Bench test the motor, being careful to not lose any pieces.
8. If necessary, adjust the Allen socket on the end of the motor for best operation. (Fig 2)
9. Ensure that everything looks and sounds okay and reinstall the cover.
10. Once again test the motor. It will likely not run now.
11. Slightly loosen the Torx screws until it seems to work well. Their tightness is a trade-off.
Once you are happy with the operation of the motor, research the inspection and lubrication of
your top. It is likely that it is not moving easily, thus the damage to the gear(s).
Good Luck, that is about all I know!
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By FunElan on 02-25-2021, 10:14 PM

Nice writeup. I'm attaching a few photos for anyone who sees this in the future. There are brass gears available on ebay (linked somewhere on here). I've also found listings for replacement plastic gears. Once, I shimmed the gear up with a thin washer, so a different part of the gear teeth were grabbing. That's worked for 6 years or so.

Another common fail point which is not mentioned often is this metal bar that breaks...it's driving the black gear. We made a new one from a washer (lots of trial and error)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_6819.jpg (92.4 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_6820.jpg (85.3 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_6823.jpg (97.5 KB, 6 views)
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