How to: Fix sunroof seal


Original poster
Dec 4, 2011
Ottawa, ON
I had a stubborn sunroof leak. Did the silicone fix in the troughs, still getting rained on through the headliner and water in my overhead console. Finally was able to look and water was just pouring through the rear of the glass past the seal. Where it was dripping there is no trough or channel for the water to go to the drain tubes. So obviously, the seal is bad but I'm cheap and the seal looked OK with no rips or visible wear. It probably just lost some elasticity or got compressed.

So, I just need to spread the seal out more to make better contact with the roof. Came up with this... just push thin wire between the seal and the glass to push the seal out just a bit all around. Basically, I just removed the sunroof glass by unscrewing the four screws and laid it upside down (inside of glass facing up. Took some thin solid copper wire (I believe 18ga, same wire used for doorbells and possibly phone lines), stripped it and inserted it between the seal and the metal frame for the glass all around. Re-installed the glass and adjusted properly (level with the roof). To help it slide in and out when being opened, lubed the seal with a smear of silicone grease.

Now no leaks at all. When I tilt open the back of the sunroof, I can hear a "thwomp" indicating that the seal is actually sealing and making good contact.

Update 1: On a couple of occasions, one end of the wire popped out. I just pushed it back in with a screwdriver. A good idea would be to add small dabs of black silicone to help hold the wire in place all around the seal. This way, it won't so much a PITA to remove if the seal needs to be replaced in the future.
Update 2: About two months after this fix was done in September 2011, a small leak re-appeared after very heavy downpours. I think that the seal just needs to be spread just a little further out by using the next gauge wire size or may it be related to the previous issue. It's getting to winter now and rain isn't as bad. Come next spring I'll revisit this and update.

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