Sam breaks down every piece of the sunroof in this 1967 VW Beetle and shows how to reassemble it.


JBugs Video Blog, VW Tech Tips

Watch as Sam reassembles the sunroof in our 1967 Beetle.

Sam pulls the Sunroof and all the parts out of our 1967 Sunroof Beetle and lays them all out, literally. Every screw, cable, cover, guide and piece needed for a VW Beetle sliding sunroof is laid out on a table and Sam goes over them all. If you've ever wondered what pieces or parts your VW Beetle Sunroof might be missing or how to assemble or repair your sunroof, this might be what you're looking for. Once all the pieces are covered and explained, Sam re-installs them back into the roof of our Beetle and walks you through how to set the gear assembly, cables, slides, sunroof height adjustment and more. We hope this video helps you figure out what parts or pieces might be missing or damaged on your VW sunroof. 

Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Sam with and as promised I'm going to go through what it takes to reassemble a sunroof on your Volkswagen Beetle. 

To begin with we're going to start by pulling out this from all the cables and everything else that we've already reinstalled. Now obviously when we picked this car up all we had was the sunroof itself sitting inside the metal housing and it was just sliding back and forth. 

Originally there would be a metal panel and a piece of headliner material covering this and what you would do, roll the sunroof or crank the sunroof back or slide it back if it wasn't working. Hopefully you can get enough movement with the cables and the crank even if they aren't working well to get the headliner pulled back to the point where you can pull this panel off. And then you can slide the panel out of the way, crank the sunroof back as much as needed and then we can access these two screws and these two screws here. 

And then these levers right here twist out. That's what holds the sunroof at the back. This clip over the top of these springs and actually there's a little groove or  a spot specifically for these tension springs to hold over the top of these. It's much easier to pull them off when these are down. And you'll note that as we go and open and close the sunroof, there's actually little ramps on the inside that these cables pull against that push the sunroof back up flat with the wheel and when we pull back they drop down. Now we’ll pull out those screws. 

Because the cables are still attached, obviously, our sunroof goes back and forth. These are just guide brackets so these actually come completely out. And then from here we can pull that out and pull that out. And now our sunroof is free. And we'll pull this entire assembly apart from the inside as much as possible. 

This mechanism right here, this can only turn so many turns one way forward and one way back. That gear assembly comes out just like that. This assembly will only go so far, so full close. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. So 11 and a half. That's all stopped by this assembly. So this we know is the full open position. We'll go back to the full close position. 

All right so this we know is our fully closed so when we put this back in we want all of our cables all the way forward. We want our sunroof basically all the way closed when we put this back in later. So fully clockwise to full stop or basically the 9:00 position. And then drop it back down to the 6:00 position and put it in place. So that way we know that our gear drive is properly set. 

Hopefully this is a good enough diagram to show you guys everything that's involved in your sunroof. I've got all the parts and pieces laid out. This is the earlier version of this. Volkswagen used this, I think, 64 through 66 maybe late 65 early 66. This and this do the same job in different ways. Whereas this one's much easier to adjust. I'll show you on the sunroof later. This one you actually have to unbolt this bracket from this, turn this to adjust the height, and then reattach the screws. Whereas this one all you have to do is loosen that screw, loosen that screw, adjust that screw, and then tighten that and that will actually raise or lower the front edge of the sunroof on the front mounts. But I'll show you that in a moment. I wanted to break down everything in the sunroof itself. I guess we'll start from the outside and kind of work our way in.

 We've got our left and right outer rails. These do have an alignment pin at the back of each edge which aligns to the back edge of the sunroof opening to hold them in place there. 

And then of course we've got four small screws along the sides at the sunroof opening. Both sides are the same just mirrored. Both sides have the alignment pins. Both sides held them with four screws. 

At the front corners, the sunroof covers and the front edges have little clips. The edges just screw and place flat, but these are very important because these actually slide into those little oval slots on the roof and then the screw pushes down and spreads them out to hold them securely. 

Now these guys actually cover over the top of these rails right here which are the sunroof cable guides to divert it from straight across the front and back into the rails. 

Over the top where these guys would actually sit in this guide right here and crisscross over each other, that holds that in place and then this sets over the top of all that and screws in place and holds these cables securely around our gear assembly. 

Now gear assembly, of course, comes through the bottom of the roof, sets in place there and then screws to that center guide with these two screws. 

And of course the handle is held in place to the gear assembly with a single screw. And inside the car there's a trim plate that's basically just a little finger cover plate that covers up the little divot in the headliner. 

The corner guides, or the corner covers, and the sides are held in place with four each, four, four, four, and four, these very small screws. Against my finger for reference. That's my pinky for reference. Maybe a 1/4 inch long, maybe number six sheet metal screw. And you can see it's got a counter sunk oval head. 

This top plate here, we've got two machine screws which hold it to there and that hole right there. We've also got those little oval clips like that, that, and that which go into those oval slots on the roof. Those screws push through that to spread those open. 

These metal guides right here, one cable slides into the top of this and goes into the top of this and then goes across the top and then under and into the bottom of this guide. And of course this cable goes into the top of this slot, top of this guide across the top here and under the bottom of this guide and then gets fed into the back of this. 

And both those cables will end up sliding. There's actually two channels. This is for the actual sunroof cable and the mechanism and the bottom hole is for the remnants or whatever is pushed away from the other cable. And it comes up underneath it. 

So making sure that all these guides and these channels and these tubes are all clear and clean of any debris and that they are lubed well. That will ensure that the cables can slide and operate freely as they go forward on these mechanisms here. 

Those cables need to be able to push through that, across this, through that, and then back into here. And that all has to operate smoothly so we're going to make certain that these are all clean and that they're all lubed. 

Lube is, you know, there's probably somebody out there that knows the exact proper type of lube to put on there, whether it be white lithium or dry lithium or silicone or just standard grease. There's probably a right way to do it and I'm sure I'll come back through the comments. When we actually go through and reassemble this car after paint and body and I'll clean and I'll redo it with that proper grease. Just to have something on these cables I'm just going to give them a light coat of some silicone spray. Just to make certain that everything can slide in there properly. 

So I mentioned the late model style of adjuster and the early model style of adjuster. Later sunroofs have this larger boss on the bottom side of the panel and a large hole. Now that takes this style screw, which I actually had to cut a slot in because the threads on the Phillip screw were destroyed. Now this would normally look like that. And for sake of this video, I'll flop those around to show you what it should be, not what it could be. 

So this guy threads in there, this is basically the last one of the last pieces you put in when you're installing the headliner, or installing the sunroof panel rather. This will install there. 

These guys can be installed and with this sunroof slide piece still in place we can actually adjust the height in relationship to the sunroof panel and the roof. This will actually raise and lower this front edge of the sunroof assembly, which is much easier to adjust because you can just loosen these guys and adjust this to raise that or lower it as needed. 

The earlier style use a slightly different slide and this large knot. So this actually threads into a smaller panel here with a smaller screw. Obviously this is a, like a 6x1.0 that's like a 10 or a 12x1.0 thread screw. And then this plate mounts over the top of that. Well you can't actually loosen this and adjust this. And you can only adjust it in 180° increments. So in roughly 66 Volkswagen swapped from this style adjuster and mount here to this style adjuster. But I did want to touch base on that briefly while I had all the pieces here and I could make a comparison showing you guys both of them. 

So late model style, slightly shorter slide one large screw in the center. Early adjuster, big mounting height adjustment guy. That also actually had this little plate in there to maybe hold tension on that. I don't know what Volkswagen was thinking with this. It worked, but this works better. 

So now that we've got all the pieces out and covered we're going to clean them all up, lightly lube them, and reassemble them and put them back in the car. 

One thing I forgot to mention, that this point actually adjusts the height of the back of the center. And by loosening and altogether removing this we can take a look at this little post here. And that it's actually held in place with this little screw. And so if we tighten that screw up, this pin will rise. And if we loosen that screw, it drops. And I'm going to actually just remove the whole darn thing. So this is adjustable right in there because this is an ovaled out slot. So that's how we adjust the back height. Of course that takes a little bit more involvement because you actually have to pull off the sunroof panel, two screws there, pull that off, pull this entire assembly out which this thing is probably frozen solid. Anyway, you get the idea. Pull that out, pop off the sunroof itself the the metal top and then you can actually go through and adjust the height on the back of your sunroof as needed, so that when it's closed it's flush with the roof and more importantly, so that when you're closing it it doesn't actually drag the back of the sunroof against the roof of the car. 

You see that occasionally on cars that were just back from paint and body. They go through and assemble everything. And that was out of adjustment and unfortunately that brand new paint on the sunroof gets scratched. That's how you adjust the height on the back of your sunroof. 

One of the most important parts, just making certain that these guides are well lubed. This groove is actually open on this side and open on this side so whether it be white lithium grease, silicone, or otherwise you want to make certain that your cables can slide in place. 

So this is the right side guide. This is the right side cable. And we know this is the right side because this flipper will flip up. If it was upside down it would flip down. And that pushes the sunroof down, we don't want to do that. So we know this is our right side cable and our right side guide. We're going to go into the top slot in our oval and that guide here will stay on the outside. And we will to make certain that this can slide smoothly, very little resistance in and out. So we'll also spray some silicone on there, on there, and again in there. And that slides really easily. We do the same thing over here. 

One more thing we're going to do is spray our cables. The next thing we're going to spray inside our corner guides. 

Now they already been greased and these are the original cables so there's some debris in there still. Again the top slot for any side, and actually is a left and right on these, you can see a slight bow on these guides. So there's a left side and a right side. Obviously the roof is bowed left to right so that inserts into that. And then we'll put our cable right at the back edge of that. That one's ready to go around once we get this guy done. 

And now we'll take both of our cables and we're going to feed this cable into that housing. And we'll feed this cable into this housing. And just like that our cables are pretty much ready to go into the car. 

Before we put anything in place we're going to put our center guide in. And that will sit like that and then our cables are going to come and sit around it and over it in place. 

I have got my hardware for the top side cable covers all up on top ready to go in. So now I can take my assembly slide it in place. And because those alignment dowels in the back it can only go one spot. 

We've got that there and we're going to have to adjust the length of our cables. So we'll push that guy in there. And actually that one goes that way the cable from the right goes around the back cable from the left goes across the front. And make sure everything's in place there, there, there, there. All right. 

Now try to get these guys back to a more usable place. Make certain that both our cables are in the same position the back edge, lined up with the back screw. 

So with that we'll put in our side covers. You have to lift up the assembly again it's  keyed in. And then these guys all these little plates here have to insert into those slots. Make certain that those are pressed together. There we go. 

I can put in all eight of those screws. Make certain push these guys down. Make sure that they're nice and snug. Make all the heads of your screws line up. Attension to detail. Do the same thing on the other side. 

Just like that. Now we can put on our top plate and our cover plate. Insert our screws there. 

Two machine screws. 

Now we can install our gear assembly in the bottom. We're just going to set this in place temporarily. And everything works as it should. Once we put the gear assembly in. Let's again make sure that it's fully closed on our gear assembly at the 9:00 position so when we put that back in we know it's at the closed position. Once we got our sunroof in and closed. Let me put our sunroof panel in and then I'll bring you guys around the inside. 

So while you guys are down below before I put the sunroof in I want to make certain that my cables are lined up. And probably the best place to line them up is right over the top of the ramp or right at the ramp. I'm figuring if I line them both up in line with the ramp on both sides you should be good to go. 

And of course all this is before the gear assembly is in place because once the gear assembly is in place you can't change the position of either cable. 

And nope I still have my foam seals in place there. If the car was painted I would have already glued in our felt seal here and our felt seal there. But we're not quite there yet. So we got a sunroof set in place we'll hop around the inside. And now inside we'll pull it up and put our pins in place. 

Ah come on now. We're in pin. We're in pin. And there we go. So that's good, that's good. 

We're in our fully closed position or close to it anyway. So now we can put our gear assembly in. And again, we know it's at that fully closed position more or less so if we were to crank it back it would come out. Of course we don't have our front slides in place so it's going to start dragging on stuff, but that seems to be a good spot to start at least. 

We'll get our threads started into our new guide plate for the first time which is going to be the most difficult time to thread them in because that plastic there's no threads cut in those. So you know what, I'm going to get my drill for those. Let's go back all the way closed. Hopefully without getting anything skipped. There we go. That should be our full closed, pretty darn close. 

Again, clockwise on our gear. Full stop, pull it out to about a 9:00 position and that is our starting position for now. 

So all right that's good. Although I know from experience that the fully open versus the fully closed position are off by about a half a turn, or a quarter turn roughly. But either way we're going to set it right about here so we can put our slides in here. 

That goes over that top rail into the top groove on both sides. And then we've got our screws. And that's our height adjustment there. In drops it, out raises it. We'll double check that once we get this side installed. 

All right for now, oh that's not fully closed. So guess what, I need to pull that assembly out and turn it back about, I'm going to go back about maybe half a turn. We can't really fully close this by hand. It's got to be cranked into place so that is our stop point. So I need to actually reset our stop point. Maybe about a half a turn. So let's try from as fully closed as we can get it by hand. We'll go back half a turn to the 3:00 position and see where that gets us. And we'll just throw one screw in. 

That actually seems pretty darn good over here. Maybe a little bit too high but not bad. Over here too high as well. And honestly we're probably shifted too far this way. I'd like to shift here. Sorry right here sitting a little bit too high. And honestly we've got a really tight gap through here. Over here, got a much larger gap. And it's actually not bad but once I bring the sunroof further this way it's probably going to come up so I'm going to drop this side and drop that side and try and reposition, recenter the sunroof in the opening. And then we'll tighten those screws down. 

All right so we know that installing our stop point at the 3:00 position or rather going to our stop position and then coming back one half turn from our hand close position will get us a fully cranked closed sunroof. So that's good. But now I'm going to loosen these guys, loosen these guys, try and shift the sunroof panel over that way just a touch. 

Oh you know what, I also don't have this guy in place. What the heck was I thinking. That might help a little bit too. 

Either way I'm going to drop these adjustment screws, try and slide the sunroof that way, tighten everything back down, and should be good to go. Although I need to put one more screw back in here. 

All right, that's good. I forgot it on both sides. All right so with that, hopefully, there we go. There we go. 

And like I said from that fully open position if you to go like that, I mean cool, but honestly it's like a half turn off. And I don't know if maybe that's because these cables are stretched because these are the original cables or what. But anyway that's the open position with that in place. But the most important part is the closed position, like so. 

Now let's get these guys adjusted and bring this down just a touch, over just a touch if I can. Same thing over here. Let me check my side to side fit up top real quick, pardon me. 

Now we've got nice even gaps on both sides and across the back and nice firm fit at the front. Now I'll go back and tighten those guys and those guys. Let me check the outside real quick. 

Not too shabby at all. This guy down and honestly this side feels a little bit high and that side feels a little bit low so I'm going go play with a little bit more. 

That side still seems a little bit high and honestly seems like it's a little bit pulled back too. All and all not bad. This cable might be one tooth off. And we're level there. 

Honestly I think I'm one, little bit off on this sunroof. I'm a little bit off of my cables. Pretty certain of it. So, pull out the gear assembly one more time and we'll straighten her up. 

That just shows you how crucial it is to make certain those cables are lined up here and here cause if they're a little bit shifted the sunroof tries to pull closed at an angle and it doesn't want to do that. Let's try that and see if that works more better. 

That's even across the back now and both our flippers are up full closed. Much better. 

That's better. That's that little difference between having those cables just slightly out of alignment. Aren't you glad I showed you how I messed up there. 

In our happy closed position and there we go.

Pardon the lack of continuity in clothing. I had to film well this closing the day after filming that work because my mic connection to my phone just went bye-bye. So I lost all the audio. 

Anyway we've got our sunroof working again. Because I already had it before we drove down to Florence for that show and back but. And this time I actually covered it in- depth. For you guys, for the people that actually enjoy this Vlog, this is probably a lot of information. But for the people that need to know how the sunroof works and how to get it all assembled, I'm hoping this is going to be a very helpful video for all of you out there trying to figure out how to get your sunroof working and working well. 

That being said, at this point the next thing we do with this car is going to be basically pull it all apart, drop the engine out again, pull out all the interior, strip down the doors, pull out the windows, pull off all the fender beading, the bumpers and it is just going to get completely disassembled basically back down to a shell. 

And we'll go through and do all the body work. I'll do some of the body work here. We've got this crinkled up fender. I'll show you how to, you know, take care of major stuff like that as best as I can. And then I'll send it up to my buddy that does professional paint and body work. 

I'm going to weld up that hole in the dash with a dash, a donor dash that we have here. There's a bolt that's broken in the hood hinge in this hood so I'll get that taken care of. We've got a couple fender nuts missing, a running board nut missing or basically stripped out. 

Anyway I'm going to go through and do some of the non-typical body work that most body work shops aren't going to go through and do for you guys. Some will, at least if they know Volkswagen, but some of those non-standard bodywork things. 

And then this is going to go up to buddy of mine up in Flagstaff that does professional body work. And we're asking him for a just a quick simple, decent paint job which is not normally what he does. I'm going to hope he's not going to go overboard. We're not trying to make this thing a show car. We're just trying to make this thing a nice decent weekend cruiser. Not a arrow straight, you know, see reflection in it. It's going to be a white paint job anyway, I think is what the owners decided. 

That being said, this video is dropping on Black Friday. Us, like most every other retailer out there, we're running one of our biggest sales of the year, if not the biggest sale of the year for us. So it's a great time to buy Volkswagen parts for your car or your restoration if you need. 

While we get into the holidays we're going to be kind of not doing as many videos weekly as we've been doing for the last well couple months as we've been working on this car hardcore. I will be working on getting that engine assembled and getting that engine run for the first time. I might do that in the Vlog. We do have our more in-depth floor pan video that I brought my cameraman along for so we'll probably have that video dropping. 

But during the holidays I spend less time back in the shop making videos and more time getting orders out, plain and simple. I am here and we're here as a business to get you products and sometimes videos. Obviously this time of year with the holiday rush, all hands on deck getting orders processed and shipped to you guys so you can get to work on your own projects. 

That being said, I hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and remember the world's full of good people. If you can't find one, be one. Later guys.

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