Replacing damaged sunroof cable tube.

1979-1991 280SE, 300SE, 300SEL, 380SE, 380SEL, 380SEC, 420SE, 420SEL, 420SEC, 500SE, 500SEL, 500SEC, 560SEL, 560SEC
Post Reply
Posts: 5519
Joined: Thu 23 Jun, 2005 1:18 pm
Model you own: I own multiple different models
Location: Hawthorndene (Adelaide)

Replacing damaged sunroof cable tube.

Post by CraigB » Sat 09 Mar, 2019 3:50 pm

I searched across the 'net and couldn't find much info on this (but plenty on other sunroof stuff), so maybe someone with the same problem will find this. The Factory manual is not totally clear but does cover the tasks, beware not to do the first thing you read because later has the slide/lift instructions and they are different. I noticed there are links on benzworld for most of the manual pages you need too.

Depends on what you want to do - eg. if just replacing a motor etc. - but unless you just did so, lubrication is really important and the best way to do that is to just remove the sunroof panel and lining to get in there. Once you've done that easy enough to just slide the whole cable out - undo the two bolts at the end of the cable and if motor working, push to close roof on gen 1 or push up to lift roof on gen 2 and the cable will just slide itself out of the gears on the motor and pull it rest of way.

And to get that panel off - open sunroof, unclip row of plastic clips along front and then just slide it forward and up out of the hole.
Then undo the 5 screws on each side holding down the track and lift the top bit off. Then close the sunroof again, undo the 4 nuts to the lid and lift it straight out.

That's the easy stuff! I had to get this tube. For Gen 1 in the manual it says to remove the rear window but doesn't in Gen 2. I don't think it is necessary because I can't see how you can move it back that far without bending its curve because part of it is tucked in the boot and similarly you can't bring that bit forward out of the boot without bending either. I even removed the sunroof drain tube to allow more room but still can't see how you can do it that way. Maybe you can bend it without crimping it but I wasn't taking any chances. So I unbolted the cassette and moved it forward, combined with pulling the tube back once it was sitting down lower and allowing space to the lower part of the rear window, hope that makes sense.

So with cable out as described, i unclipped the tube from motor by pushing it towards the outer of the car. Rear back rest and get to C pillar trims, screw at base and then pull forward. Rear interior light pulls out and a screw and then the panel across the top slides forward. Front needs sunvisors, mirror, interior light etc. and a line of screws inside the sunroof opening - then that slides back.

At sides, grab rails - I use a small screw driver to poke inside the trim and push up, then you can pull it down a bit and then pull out the way to get to the 8mm head screws. There are various black plug fasteners that are easy to see and remove. Have to remove the scuff plates, just pull up carefully on the outer edge and then be gentle pulling up to get the clips off the 'pinch weld' seam - the plastic can crack. Inner trim on door opening then just pulls straight outwards. The headlining at the door openings now exposed has a nice little plastic clip - just pull/stretch the headlining towards you and pull down.

There is a little plastic 'strut' between the door frame and the sunroof opening - I just pulled down on it a bit and then moved it sideways to release - it bent a tab on the sunroof frame that can be bent back when putting it back.

Getting ahead of myself - screws on trim at bottom of b pillar and then pull down on the trim panel and it releases, At the top more plugs.

To release from the side of the sunroof opening, just keep gently peeling away, mine seems to have some sort of glue in there, and them there is a plastic strip that you can just push towards the centre of the car and it releases. Then it is a series of wires held by metal tabs - straight forward.

Then I pulled the drain hoses off front and rear and undid the two bolts holding the tube into back of cassette. Then there are a series of bolts holding cassette to the roof - I loosened and left the rear most ones and two outer front ones in place. Then with my long suffering wife on the other side and with a cover over front head rests we lowered and moved it forward to sit on dash.

Then finally could move and bend enough to get it out of cassette first and then out of the boot area.

......... now just to do it all again on the other car and put it back together!

If anyone has extra comments from experience please let me know. I know there are no photos and I can take some if not clear, but where does it end uploading it all etc. But i can add in specific ones if not clear. And like i said, refer to the factory manual and the diagrams in there - these are freely available on Benzworld.
Craig Baulderstone
280SL Ruby
300TE Otto
350SL Gloria
350SLC Lurch
450SEL Boris
500SEC's...including Syd
560SEL's Foufou and Zac

300 SLR
Posts: 1688
Joined: Thu 20 Dec, 2007 5:57 pm
Model you own: w126
Location: Sydney

Re: Replacing damaged sunroof cable tube.

Post by KimB » Sun 10 Mar, 2019 11:11 am

Thanks Craig. That's good info! :notworthy:
W126 86 300SE Champagne
W126 84 380SEC Signal Red

Post Reply

Return to “W126”