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Sunroof Seal Repair

MVS Volvo Forums user N_D shows us how he fixed his leaking sunroof with this sunroof seal repair:

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After peeling off the gasket I discovered that the metal sunroof frame was severely rusted and had begun to separate from the glass. The glass is bonded to the frame with a very hard rubber like sealant, water seeps under the sunroof gasket and sits in the depressed area of the frame causing it to rust.

To repair this I first scraped/filed off as much loose rust as I could and pried the frame as far away from the glass as I could without breaking anything using wooden wedges and continued to clean as much rust out as possible. I then applied a rust converter to the remaining material.

Sunroof Seal Repair

N_D wrote: wanted to share my experience attempting to repair my leaking sunroof.
*I do not claim that this is the proper way to do this*

Since I purchased the car a year ago the sunroof had been leaking progressively worse until last month when the headliner began getting wet after rain.

Sunroof Seal Repair DIY Procedure

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^A cross section of the sunroof gasket.^

After peeling off the gasket I discovered that the metal sunroof frame was severely rusted and had begun to separate from the glass. The glass is bonded to the frame with a very hard rubber like sealant, water seeps under the sunroof gasket and sits in the depressed area of the frame causing it to rust.

To repair this I first scraped/filed off as much loose rust as I could and pried the frame as far away from the glass as I could without breaking anything using wooden wedges and continued to clean as much rust out as possible. I then applied a rust converter to the remaining material.

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Once the rust converter had dried I cleaned off and roughed up the old sealant on the glass with a file to promote adhesion. I then applied a VERY heavy bead of silicone to the frame and clamped the frame and glass together for 24 hours.

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After allowing the silicone to cure fully I trimmed the excess off with a razor blade. I then cleaned any chunks of rust and dirt out of the groove in the gasket itself. When re-installing the gasket I started with one end of the gasket its original position at the back centre of the sunroof and squeezed silicone into the gasket as I pressed it on to the metal frame. When I reached the two plastic shims in the front corners I first squeezed silicone into the gasket, then pressed the shim in, then layered some silicone on top of that before pressing the gasket onto the frame. This was a two person job for me, one holding the gasket while the other applied silicone. I used a rubber mallet to make sure the gasket seated all the way on to the frame.

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Once the gasket was fully installed I lightly clamped down the two ends of the gasket. I used the flange on the metal frame as the other contact point for my clamp so as not to crush the front section of the gasket.

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After letting the silicone cure 24 hours again I trimmed the excess that squeezed out. I did not apply a heavy enough bead in some areas and the silicone did not squeeze all the way through to the top of the sunroof so I filled those areas in afterwards. I believe this is the most important step in resealing as any gap between the top of the gasket and the glass will allow water to seep in and cause the same problems again. Having a completely watertight seal between the gasket, frame, and glass are critical in forcing water around the outside of the gasket into the sunroof drains, rather than into the frame and onto the occupants heads.

Due to the excess amount of space being taken up by all the extra silicone behind the gasket there ended up being a small gap between the two ends. This could probably just be filled in with silicone if some time was taken to mold it properly but I instead went to a wrecking yard and got a short section of gasket and cut the proper thickness to fit the gap with a band saw.

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Once all was said and done there was a considerable mess left on the glass by silicone smears. These are a pain to remove but can be helped by using a silicone removing gel and gently scraping with a razor and rubbing with a paper towel.

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Sunroof is now reinstalled pending some adjustment and cleaning but has weathered its first rainstorm successfully.

Sunroof Seal Repair

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