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 Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                     Version 5.0
Sunroof Motor/Crank Preventive Maintenance

Sunroof Won't Retract Properly

960 Sunroof Adjustment

Sunroof Wind Flap

Manual Sunroof Repair

Sunroof Overhaul

Electric Sunroof Motor Overhaul

Sunroof Won't Stop at Close: Motor Defective

Sunroof: Replace Motor with Crank

Sunroof Leaks

Sunroof Motor/Crank Preventive Maintenance.  [Query:]  My sunroof motor has failed.  Can I buy a rebuild?  [Response: Bruce]  Look into converting it to the manual crank system. The manual gear, crank and cover are cheaper than the electric motor unit .  How many on this board have had trouble with your sunroof motor sticking in the open position? They never seem to stick closed, only open. How many have had the replacement motor fail to operate within 6 to 18 months? For everyone with a sunroof in a 200, 700 and 900:  Remove the crank handle and tighten the gear assembly screws. For electric sunroofs remove the cover and tighten the motor mounting screws. They all work loose over time and will cause the drive teeth and/or the drive cables to bind, wear out or get the lid out of time and the roof will not close.  This little procedure will save you $100's of dollars.

Sunroof Won't Retract Properly.
Sunroof Stuck Open: Check Electricals.  [Query] The moonroof on my 95' 940 opened tonight and immediately stuck in the ventilation position. The switch makes a clicking sound but the sunroof does not move. The fuse looked fine but I changed it anyway. Any suggestions?  [Response: Rob Bareiss]  You wouldn't be the first person to have a bad sunroof switch in a 740/940 with a power sunroof. It's likely to be the switch-  replacement is pretty straightforward. Get a new one from Volvo, and it comes with a short piece of cable and the connector. How do you tell if it's a common failure item?  It'll be IN STOCK at your local dealer (unless they just sold the last one...)

Sunroof Sticks When Closing.  [Symptom: I have a 90 740 GLE and noticed that the sunroof is getting stuck when trying to close. I took out the motor, lubed everything and the motor appears to work fine. Also when the sunroof is closed if you look on the outside it doesn't appear to be sitting flush like it should.] [Diagnosis:] If your guides are not broken then you may just be out of adjustment. Adjustment is accomplished by loosening a number of screws, moving the roof and re-tightening. A Haynes or Bentley manual will help you through. If you do need to remove the sunroof there is an easy method. Open the roof to the vent position. Use a screw driver or needle nose pliers to release the springs that hold the sunroof liner to the roof. Push the liner back into the space where the roof would normally retract. This will expose all parts, and adjustment screws. [Response: Rob Abel]  Our sunroof in our '93 940 acts goofy at times. Clicks and doesn't move - gets stuck - usually open - have had to close it manually by taking off cover and using screwdriver. On ours it's the switch. I take it out about once every two months, take it apart, clean up the contacts, and it works fine for the next two months.  The only manual that will adequately address this is the Volvo factory body manual (Body Fittings: Exterior/ TP 8202201). None of the others do.

Electric Sunroof Stuck Open: Alignment.  [Query] The power sunroof on my '91 940T has stopped functioning, and is stuck all the way "open" (tilted up, rather) and won't go back down. This follows a few weeks of CLICCLICKLCLIK when opened/closed, and some erratic operation. [Response: Kerry] (Applies to 1986 765) With your sunroof in the vent position you can remove the sunroof liner and check all the bolts on the mechanism and rail. To remove the liner:

  1. Get a coat hanger and cut out the straight part. Bend the end to form a small hook
  2. Pull the edge of the sunroof liner down at the end sticking up (remember your sunroof should be in the vent position)
  3. You will see two spring loaded hooks which are attached to the sunroof liner and hooked to the sunroof. These hold the liner in place. They are at the back of the sunroof, one left and one on right.
  4. You can unhook them with your coat hanger wire.
  5. The sunroof liner can then be slid back out of the way (don't push it to far back)under the roof and above the headliner.
With the liner out of the way you can check all the bolts and screws and stuff. When I checked mine, I found two screws VERY loose and one about to fall out. Use some locktite blue on any you have to tighten up.
The other thing is to remove the cover from the sunroof motor. There is a large screw with a button in the middle on the motor assembly. Turning the screw with a screwdriver will depress the button and allow you to move the sunroof BUT, it also adjusts the stop location for open and closed.

Sunroof Won't Open to Vent Position. [Tips from Ken Dibnah] If you have a 740 with an electric sunroof, when the roof is in the fully closed position you should be able to push the closed switch again and have the rear of the roof pop up to the 'vent' position. If you have a manual roof, after it reaches the closed position you feel a bit of resistance; you then continue moving the crank in the closed direction and the rear of the roof should pop up to the 'vent' position.

If your roof does not move at all, you must NOT pry up the rear edge manually as there are cast tracks at the rear of the panel that hold it in place and you will break, bend, or damage the tracks, roof or the panel.

Most likely it is out of alignment and too tight for the minimal leverage applied by the motor to move it, as well as being thoroughly gunked up. The secret to lack of motion is most likely binding in the up and down motion of the panel. If manual, try moving the crank back and forth, bearing in mind that the first motion the roof makes is that up and down motion at the rear of the panel.  If there is resistance to the crank motion immediately, there is 'likely' to not be any damage in the screw mechanism, just binding of the panel in the roof.

If nothing moves as you move the crank towards 'vent', push up gently through that small rectangular opening inside the headliner on the rear of the panel to help it along, by just pushing it free of the roof. The tracks at the rear of the panel move the panel up and down, either to pull it down before retracting or to pop the rear of the panel up for the 'vent' position, and if they are damaged or too gunked up, they will resist opening.  The device that is connected to the motor/crank via screw cables slides back and forth in these tracks, raising and lowering the panel, which will not be possible unless you can move the crank/motor. Try to get it high enough to be able to peer inside the roof from the outside to unhook the headliner clips - once you get those, all is revealed and you will be able to see why your roof is not functioning properly.

960 Sunroof Adjustment.  [Tip from Tom Irwin]  Most of the posts I've seen here describe access as through the rear with the roof up in tilt/vent position.  Something about unhooking some springs or clips to remove the "push back guard(?)" then push back the headliner panel into the roof....then something about some chingas with a torx screw.

WRONG! Not on this run of 960's anyway.   It took me a while to figure this out, so I hope someone will benefit.   Basically the rear of the roof , when parked, was always about 5mm's below the roof line, while the leading edge was flush.  I can hear this at highway Speeds.

Don't do anything to the "push back guard", (not necessary) or look for springs or clips, (there aren't any.)  Just leave the roof in parked position.  Push back the panel was far as it will go without undoing anything.  Up on both side of the roof, parallel to the tracks, you will find one per side of black/grey injection molded, plastic strips. Lift the lower edges and they snap right out.

Now there are 4 bolts with an 8mm head. one each at the front and rear of each track, left and right.  Loosen each of these 1/2 of a turn.  Push up one corner at a time, til it's flush with the roof line, then cinch the corresponding bolt tight.  Snap the strips back in place and you are done.

Sunroof Wind Flap.  [Query:] The wind flap (I assume that's what it is) that pulls down just as the lid docks doesn't pull down far enough and the lid jams into it preventing complete closure.  [Response: Dennis Jeong ]  Tilt the roof up and pull both of the cover flap spring rod loose (it pulls toward the rear of the car). There is one towards each upper corner of the cloth cover . Close the roof and pull the inner cover towards the rear of the car. Check the top of the roof, if it's flush then look at the adjustable catch on the front edge of the roof panel. It should not tightly hold down, there should be a little play.  There are four copper colored screw, two per side side. These determine the overall height of the panel and it's fit.  Loosen the front catches then adjust the copper screws. Play around with it, you'll figure out how it works.  DO NOT FORCE ANYTHING. If you break anything, you'll need to get a used part.  The sunroof mechanicals are sold as a unit only. Very expensive.

Manual Sunroof Repair.  [Tip from Warren Bain.  See also Ken Didnah's sunroof overhaul tips below.] These are the procedures I used to fix my sunroof. Mine would not flip up in the back, in fact one side would not flip up, the other would. The sunroof would retract but would not close without my help. I determined one control mechanism was broken so I bought both, since one was bad, the other might not be far behind, and I didn't want to do this repair twice.
The first and most important step is to determine the extent of your sunroof problem. Will it move at all, will it retract ok and not close, will it flip up in the back? I will not discuss the more involved procedures, cable replacement, sealing strip replacement, cable sleeve replacement or complete removal of the frame. I will also not discuss 140's and 240's since I have only experience with 700's. Some 900's have a moonroof, a glass panel instead of stamped steel, like my 965, and I will not address them. I will discuss adjustment and control mechanism replacement.
When you have determined the extent of the problem and want to continue, open the sunroof to the ventilation position.  From the outside, release the spring clips from the sunroof lining, a pair of needle nose pliers works for this. See it wasn't that bad! Take your time, have a friend assist, maybe even videotape the entire procedure, just in case.

Sunroof Overhaul.  [Tips from Ken Dibnah on stuck sunroofs]  Is the roof manual or electric? If it is electric, there may be electrical problems with switches, wires and fuses, which I will not deal with. Will it open? My experience with them is the 'tracks' at the rear of the roof that raise and lower the panel, pot metal I think, break and jam everything up. Also the roof is rarely cleaned or lubricated: if this is done carefully, the only thing to do is to replace worn/broken bits and then adjust the 4 adjusting screws, one at each corner.
    You may also have to replace the sealer that lives around the perimeter of the sliding panel, as it may not provide the exact clearance required to allow movement yet still seal.
    I will assume it is electric and the motor works (that may need an overhaul - usual motor clean-up with commutator-cleaning and possibly lubrication, although it may have sealed bearings (most likely)). If it
does not work, remove the panel that covers it and use the tool that is supplied in the tool kit, inserted in the shaft, to manually move it. Also, when you look at the motor, there is a guarded-by-paint screw that I
believe is used to adjust the microswitches, but I have not observed any change when I fiddled with my own. There may be an issue with these switches as to positioning when the motor stops, but bear in mind it is possible to toss the motor and use a crank/manual version from another model.
    Do you know how to get at the roof? Open up the rear roof part in the vent position and peer inside. There are 2 clips that are best removed/gripped with needle-nose pliers, unclip them and these will release the head-liner cover from the moving panel. Go back inside the car and push the headliner back in its slot, but not too far in lest it get jammed, as it likes to do; everything is now revealed.
    The panel just sits on the tracks in the front, and is actually a loose fit. Most likely you will see that the screw/worm that drives the roof back on either side will be gummed up with old grease/lube, in typical Volvo fashion; I found that liberal doses of WD40 loosened the goo so it was possible to remove a lot of it. Re-lube was done with spray lithium grease, but beware the close proximity to headliner et al, the grease fairly flies about and careful masking is required.
    If you need to remove the roof, close it as far as required to reach the rear screws; the screws at each corner remove easily and the panel then lifts out (I have contemplated putting in a glass roof like a
780....hmmmm). Put a blanket on the roof so you have somewhere to set the panel. Taking it off may not be necessary, but it would make it easier to clean all the tracks. I used a dry stick lube on the tracks,
but I think something less viscous might help the operation (perhaps the aforementioned lithium grease?), but I would worry about getting it on clothing etc. I have a vague memory of some cables and small springs? I do not have them on my roof, but maybe on an older one? Other car I worked on was a crank-driven roof on an 85 740 GLE, but I think there was no involvement with these cables, except to unclip 'em when the panel came out? If yours doesn't have 'em, forgive my 'old' moment.
    If you replace broken tracks/racks, I would replace them in pairs, as whatever shock that has caused the roof to fail may have affected both sides. As I recall, they are involved with split-rings, diabolically
small and determined to shoot far under your workbench.
    The front of the roof pops up into position only by riding up on the collapsed wind deflector. There are (2?) rubber snubbers that sit under the deflector, only glued in, and frequently these have vanished,
therefore not encouraging the roof to finish in the flush position.  The rear pops into place by the action of the racks, those that are most likely damaged, and its position is adjusted by the screws that you
remove to take off the panel, as well as by the position of the worms when the motor shuts off - you can observe this as the worm should sit in the bottom of the rack, holding it flush, when the motor
stops turning.
    You can remove all the tracking/guides/bearing surfaces from the car, just by undoing everything and replacing it in order, but why would you want to? If a worm has broken, perhaps, but cleaning in situ should suffice.
    With the roof out, your experience should allow you to fix whatever I have neglected to mention. Look for warping, physical damage etc.

Electric Sunroof Motor Overhaul.
[Tips on Motor and Cam Follower Overhaul]  There have been some comments recently about 740 electric sunroof problems. My experience with my '90 740 GLE follows. Perhaps it may be of use to others.
Problem: occasionally, if the sunroof were opened to either the full back or full tilt position, it would not be possible to move it out of these positions. When pushing the switch, the click if the motor solenoid could be heard, but the motor did not operate. Sometimes, persistence paid off and the roof would close after a few tries, but on other occasions, the only way to get it to close was to remove the plastic panel covering the motor and with a large common screwdriver turn the drive shaft 1/4 turn in the closed direction (as evidenced by movement of the roof) after which the motor would respond to the switch input.
Diagnosis: I concluded there was a problem in the switch(es) internal to the motor unit.
Corrective action:

Remove the motor as follows:

With the motor out of the car, remove the white plastic cover over the switch cam (I'm making up names as I go here). It is held in place by three snap clips and is easy to remove. This will reveal a large (2+ in dia) white plastic cam disk that is driven by the motor/gearbox output gear. On this disk are three cams. There are black plastic cam followers that activate one microswitch each on the top and bottom cams. On the middle of the three cams there is a white plastic follower that moves a plastic leaf that in turn activates both microswitches. The black cam followers had fairly sharp points that rested on the surface of the cam, while the white one had a rather blunt point. My conclusion was that the white one had worn to the point that it no longer activated the microswitches reliably. To overcome this I glued a piece of cardboard (as in cereal box, although others may come up with a preferred method) to the ivory coloured plastic leaf the follower contacts. The cardboard was positioned so that the follower would contact it, thus compensating for the presumed wear to the tip of the follower. I then applied some grease to the surface of the cam with the hope of minimizing further wear and put everything back together.

Result: So far the sunroof has operated 100% reliably. I hope my conclusion about wear to the
cam follower was correct and that the roof will continue to work properly.

[Tips on Motor Electrical Overhaul from Pete Gotseff]

1) If your motor "clicks" but doesn't move, remove motor cover (2 phillips) and get access to the motor connector (comes in from left side).  The blue and red wires at the two prong connector should be +12V or –12V depending on sunroof momentary switch position. If you’re getting proper voltage to the motor verify brown ground wire is well grounded (very important!).  If I recall correctly an improperly grounded motor will “click” but not move.
2) You will be removing the motor so it would be best to put sunroof in vent or closed position with a screwdriver on the manual override.   Either of these two positions will allow the motor and sunroof to be timed correctly when reinstalling the motor.
3) If voltage and ground check out – reconnect connector and unscrew (2 phillips) and unbolt nut (10mm) and let motor hang (not a good idea but what the heck).  Now test the motor while electrically connected including the ground.  Again, make sure the ground is well grounded.  BTW, if the motor moves you will have to retime the motor :-) more on this later. If the motor works normally it is likely your sunroof is binding and you should drop the headliner and dive headfirst into that problem.
4) If motor still just clicks test the motor itself by putting 12V across the actual motor terminals (not the connector) and see if the motor runs smoothly.  Reverse polarity to verify both directions.

 A properly working motor will rotate (as seen from the bottom and in vent position) CCW about 1 turn to closed, pause, push SR button again and CCW about 8 turns to full open. Not exactly sure about # of turns.

If the motor still just clicks then it will likely one of the two microswitches located in the timing gear cover.

1) Pop off the three tabs and carefully rotate the white nylon cover out of the metal motor case leaving the motor wiring connected.  This plastic cover contains two microswitches, a selenoid (remember "click") and three small pointed plungers.  FYI: These plungers are actuated by the sunroof motor driven timing gear which remains in the case. The timing gear has three alignment points on three levels which correspond to vent, closed and full open.  The center point on the middle level is "closed."  This will help when you retime the motor.

2) Remove the micoswitch holder pin at the corner (some have a slot to adjust switch position and small retainer clip) and remove the microswitches as a pair (they are soldered together).  They can be removed without removing anything else by using a small jewelers screwdriver to move the microswitch plungers out of the way of the selenoid actuator.  Now, use photographic memory or paper to record colors of wires on each switch (you'll be sorry if you don't). Unsolder just one side of the common copper ribbon holding the microswitches together (just one side is good, leave the other side attached to the other switch). Then unsolder the remaining wiring (two black leads) which hold the switches to the selenoid.

3) With switches free test each one for high resistance through the normally closed circuit – the front (blue or red) connections to side terminals. My switch had 63 Ohms across these terminals when they should've been around 1-2 Ohms.

At this point you should find a bad microswitch.  You can repair (as below) or replace from a good electronics store (i.e. not Radio Shack)  be sure to get a switch with lug terminals not spade type.  Spade type will not fit when placing switches back into the cover.

4) Now open switch case by carefully drilling out one side of two small metal retaining rivets.  Punch rivets through with small screwdriver.  Open case carefully to avoid spring, switch assembly from flying behind/over/under workbench.  Sand contacts lightly with sandpaper. Reassemble case and epoxy switch case cover (you'll never do this again). Resolder switches and reassemble them into the cover.

5) Turn the motor manually with a screwdriver to ensure the three level plunger in the cover will fall somewhere between the three timing points on the timing gear.  But don’t align the gear points directly with the three level plunger – they will interfere when putting the cover back on. Replace the cover which contains the microswitches and selenoid onto the motor case.

6) I suppose now would be a good time to bench test the motor.  If no 12V supply is available (I use an old Sun computer power supply) test in the car (see below).

Retiming motor (electrically installed in car):
1) Make sure motor is electrically connected to sunroof connector and ground.  Now, run motor CW (as seen from below) until it stops, push on momentary switch again.  If no movement then motor is in vent position.
2) If sunroof is in vent position motor can be reinstalled.  If sunroof is in closed position push sunroof button to rotate the motor CCW to the closed position. Now the motor can be reinstalled.  This may take some trial and error but if the motor is working correctly you’ll figure it out eventually – HeHe.

Sunroof Won't Stop at Close: Motor Defective.  [Query:]  My sunroof will not stop in the closed position and therfore the user must get out and look at the roof to make sure it is closed properly. The local dealer says the "stop" mechanism in the motor has failed and the only solution is to replace the motor or live with the nuisance.  [Response: Rob Bareiss]  Replace the motor or live with it. You might get lucky and find a good one in a junkyard.  If that fails locally, try calling the used parts suppliers who advertise at the Brickboard. They have more nationwide connections. I will bet that they won't guarantee one of those motors once it's out of their sight. Alternately you can bite the bullet and buy the $300 motor new from your friendly local dealer. Seems to be happening to a lot of '88's lately. Can't guess why except they're about the right age to fail, and they're among the earliest cars to have this unit.

Sunroof: Replace Motor with Crank.  [Query:] My sunroof motor has died and I do not want to spend $400-500 to replace with a new Volvo motor.   Can a manual sunroof crank device replace an existing sunroof motor? How extensive is it to perform, or is it a square peg into a round hole...  Do you know of a good aftermarket manual crank or motor unit available?  [Response:  W. Bain] I have a manual crank in my '86 744Ti and it is blissful. My 965 has an electric motor. Go to the junkyard and find one with a manual crank, remove the handle, the plastic trim section where your motor would be, the crank fits in there, the gear mechanism and keep ALL screws. Make sure the sunroof control mechanisms are good and the sunroof itself sits in the roof properly, i.e. flat and level. The crank mechanism needs to be centered properly otherwise i will need to be re-centered. Screw the crank mechanism into the frame, add the plastic cover and then the crank itself.

Sunroof Leaks.  [Query:] We just got an 89 740GL, the owner said that the sunroof only leaked when washed with a high pressure spray.  This is not the case, it just rained and the headliner is wet.  I looked at the seal? if that's the black strip that goes around the whole sunroof, it seemed ok.  I'd imagine that the water goes past that seal and into that black gutter type thing on the aft side and drains overboard.  I don't have a manual yet so I'm not sure how this is supposed to work.  [Response:  Tony Stanley] If its a factory fitted sunroof the 'seal' is not to meant to be a perfect seal and the gutter should carry away the water.  The chances are the drain is blocked, or the hose is kinked.  They drain to the front and rear.  The front goes down the A pillars flowing out behind the front wheel, the rear goes out the C pillars and down the rear quarter panel, flowing out behind the wheel.  [Response: Dick]  Front drain holes are in the front corners---a little compressed air will help to clear them. The rear drain holes are not easily gotten to from the sunroof as they go down way in the back corners. Best suggestion is to get at drain pipes in the trunk. Can use a shop vac to suck the hoses clear---those comming from the top, and blast those going down. You will have to separate the hoses in the trunk.

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