1975 Imperial sunroof gear has stripped

1975.Imperial

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So on my journey to get my Imperial back to being a good road car I've decided that it's finally time to fix the leaks that are turning the floor plan into a pool. The main culprit are the windows and the sunroof, I'm thinking that the gears are stripped. I've been able to locate new gears for the window motors, courteously of RockAuto, but I haven't been able to find a source for the sunroof gear. Does anyone know of any places that sell them new or am I resorting to calling junkyards looking for used ones? The sunroof does open with some manual help, but it can't close it all the way even when I help it

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Pete Kaczmarski

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I don't have the problems you describe but can you manually close/open it with the manual crank used in the round access hole in front of the sunroof inside? If so you can then test to see if the drain lines are plugged.

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1975.Imperial

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I don't have the problems you describe but can you manually close/open it with the manual crank used in the round access hole in front of the sunroof inside? If so you can then test to see if the drain lines are plugged.
Thank you, I'll give that a try. Do you know if it uses the motor's gear or a different mechanism
 

Pete Kaczmarski

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I don't remember plus don't remember if covered in the factory service manual. With the roof open take a small amount of water while the car is on a level surface. See if the water pools on the front corners by the drain holes. If so take a small short piece of hose attached to an air compressor blow attachment. Shoot a moderate amount of air using the air nozzle and short hose pushed an inch or two into the drain hole. Watch for the water to drain under the car. Many times they plug up with dirt or even mold. I have several cars with sunroofs and periodically must do this. If mold is an issue put a small amount of Vinegar in the drain tubes to keep clean. This year my street was under full reconstruction and my '05 Park Avenue Ultra leaked water into the car when it rained so I cleaned the drain hole tubes out and all O.K.
 

CBODY67

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There usually is one drain hole for each corner of the sunroof "cassette". A drain tube for each A-pillar and one for each C-pillar drain tube in the rear.

When I bought my '05 LeSabre Limited about 4 years ago, I put in the building and let it be. Then, a month later, I pulled it out to see what I'd bought. Other than the 10 year old Michelins, I openned the trunk to find a very damp trunk mat. And a spare tire well that was 1/2 full of clear water. I could tell that somebody had been jacking with the sunroof glass as it was not completely as it came from the factory, as to being flush with the sheet metal.

So I pulled the trunk mat out to sun-dry, bailed-out the spare tire well, and dried everything off. With the trunk mat out, further investigation revealed that the lh rr drain tube had never been installed into the plastic end that went into the lh rr wheelwell. Obviously, prior owner(s) had souight to have the sunroof glass adjusted to fix that, but they never followed the tubes to see where they went.

Plugged the tube into the end-elbow and all has been dry ever since.

At the front of the headliner, in the center, there should be a round plastic plug which can be removed. That is where the sunroof handle is inserted to manually open or close the sunroof. The sunroof emergency handle looks similar to a manual window handle, as I recall. It might be that the shaft of the handle indexes with a common-type socket. Like an Allen wrench hex or Torx bit? If so, they you might match that and combine it with a ratchet and extension to replicate the OEM sunroof handle.

You might check the Chrysler MasterTech videos at www.mymopar.com for "sunroff service" videos. Probably from the 1975-'78 era?

As to "gears", I suspect the motor will turn two long/spiral "gears" on which the glass is attached to and moves when they turn. If they are "stripped", there should be some additional noises in the mechanism, I suspect. On the other hand, IF the motors have become weak and might need rebuilding, no additional noise.

Possibly American Sunroof (or what that company might have become in later years) might have some additional guidance as all that any OEM ever sold, outside of some gaskets and weatherstrips and glass units, was the entire mechanism. I highly suspect the headliner and all related trim will have to be removed in order to get to the cassette itself?

Hope this might help, in addition to Pete's comments above.

Just some thoughts and experiences,
CBODY67
 

Imperial Pete

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From your description is the below scenario what is happening?
When closing the sunroof does it close until the point where the rear of the lid won't lift up to close flush with the roof at the rear?
This is the most common issue. If this is the case its not the gear which is at fault it is the cables. They wear at the "Pressure Point" where the lid lifts. The gear can wear but not very common.
Availability of new cables: They used to be reproduced here in Australia, beautiful quality, in fact better than OEM but they are no longer being made.
If you find a source please let us know.

I have had 25 years of experience with these Golde sunroofs. If they are lubricated they are pretty much bullet proof. Unfortunately over the years neglect causes issues.
Above scenario or a broken cable end is the other common issue. Most times the left cable end will break off. The lid will close flush at the rear on the RH but have a gap on the LH side.
 

1975.Imperial

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From your description is the below scenario what is happening?
When closing the sunroof does it close until the point where the rear of the lid won't lift up to close flush with the roof at the rear?
This is the most common issue. If this is the case its not the gear which is at fault it is the cables. They wear at the "Pressure Point" where the lid lifts. The gear can wear but not very common.
Availability of new cables: They used to be reproduced here in Australia, beautiful quality, in fact better than OEM but they are no longer being made.
If you find a source please let us know.

I have had 25 years of experience with these Golde sunroofs. If they are lubricated they are pretty much bullet proof. Unfortunately over the years neglect causes issues.
Above scenario or a broken cable end is the other common issue. Most times the left cable end will break off. The lid will close flush at the rear on the RH but have a gap on the LH side.
That's pretty much exactly what happens, except it also struggles along the rest of it's track with a bunch of grinding noise. Unfortunate that it's likely the cables and not the gear, yet again the easy project turns into a whole ordeal
 

1975.Imperial

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There usually is one drain hole for each corner of the sunroof "cassette". A drain tube for each A-pillar and one for each C-pillar drain tube in the rear.

When I bought my '05 LeSabre Limited about 4 years ago, I put in the building and let it be. Then, a month later, I pulled it out to see what I'd bought. Other than the 10 year old Michelins, I openned the trunk to find a very damp trunk mat. And a spare tire well that was 1/2 full of clear water. I could tell that somebody had been jacking with the sunroof glass as it was not completely as it came from the factory, as to being flush with the sheet metal.

So I pulled the trunk mat out to sun-dry, bailed-out the spare tire well, and dried everything off. With the trunk mat out, further investigation revealed that the lh rr drain tube had never been installed into the plastic end that went into the lh rr wheelwell. Obviously, prior owner(s) had souight to have the sunroof glass adjusted to fix that, but they never followed the tubes to see where they went.

Plugged the tube into the end-elbow and all has been dry ever since.

At the front of the headliner, in the center, there should be a round plastic plug which can be removed. That is where the sunroof handle is inserted to manually open or close the sunroof. The sunroof emergency handle looks similar to a manual window handle, as I recall. It might be that the shaft of the handle indexes with a common-type socket. Like an Allen wrench hex or Torx bit? If so, they you might match that and combine it with a ratchet and extension to replicate the OEM sunroof handle.

You might check the Chrysler MasterTech videos at www.mymopar.com for "sunroff service" videos. Probably from the 1975-'78 era?

As to "gears", I suspect the motor will turn two long/spiral "gears" on which the glass is attached to and moves when they turn. If they are "stripped", there should be some additional noises in the mechanism, I suspect. On the other hand, IF the motors have become weak and might need rebuilding, no additional noise.

Possibly American Sunroof (or what that company might have become in later years) might have some additional guidance as all that any OEM ever sold, outside of some gaskets and weatherstrips and glass units, was the entire mechanism. I highly suspect the headliner and all related trim will have to be removed in order to get to the cassette itself?

Hope this might help, in addition to Pete's comments above.

Just some thoughts and experiences,
CBODY67
There's a bunch of additional noise going on through it's whole range of movement, it won't actually move unless I'm pushing with it, which lead me to think it was the gear on the motor being stripped, not the whole length of the spiral gear.
I've heard from another thread that American Sunroof Company is still in business but doesn't have any info on this sort of stuff anymore, I might still try to give them a shout. I'll take a look at those master tech videos, I didn't know those existed so they'll come in handy. The interior's pretty much stripped already to get rid of the mouse pee smell so access won't be a problem
 

Imperial Pete

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Yeah you will probably find one cable has slipped more than the other and now the lid is not parrallel and one cable is puling more than the other and the lid is slightly cocked to one side causing the slip the whole way. American Sunroof still exist but they dont have the parts for the old sunroofs.
 

3C's & a D?

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Do you know if it uses the motor's gear or a different mechanism
The manual crank actuates the same gear as the motor does. It's a single small gear that moves both cables. Check your tracks for any debris with a bamboo skewer. Opening up the channels where the cables run is a messy job.
 

sdweatherman

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What I have come across when chatting with 1973-1974 B-Body and A-Body sunroof guys, is the main problem resides with the guide block that the gear mounts in. Over time, the cables wear a slight groove in the guide block opposite of the gear. When the groove gets deep enough, the cables start to separate from the gear just enough to start slipping. When that happens, the sunroof lid gets out of whack and binds. I would recommend pulling it all apart and finding out what the real problem is before chasing down the wrong expensive part(s).
 

kmccabe56

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So on my journey to get my Imperial back to being a good road car I've decided that it's finally time to fix the leaks that are turning the floor plan into a pool. The main culprit are the windows and the sunroof, I'm thinking that the gears are stripped. I've been able to locate new gears for the window motors, courteously of RockAuto, but I haven't been able to find a source for the sunroof gear. Does anyone know of any places that sell them new or am I resorting to calling junkyards looking for used ones? The sunroof does open with some manual help, but it can't close it all the way even when I help it

View attachment 560242
First thing to try is removing the motor and gear assembly and opening it up. Chances are the grease in the gear case is more like cement than grease. Try cleaning everything out, packing it with new grease and reinstalling it. Same with the cables.
 
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