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First generation, based on the Ford C1 global platform.

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Repair of sunroof so it will close/open

My sunroof is stuck in the 85% close position. Pushing either the open/close switch you just hear a 'rattat-tat' sound and the sunroof remains in the same position for most of the time. Some times it does move half an inch either way but that's all. I need to get under the headliner and be able to see if there are any small bolts loose/missing and what the track assembly looks like. Can you help and by chance also provide me with an excerpt from the factory service manual?


Sure. I thought I included it. It's a 2006 Mazda 3 and is a 4dr. Can you also find info for removing a portion of the overhead headliner in order to be able to work on the sunroof motor and track assembly?

Thank you.

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Could you tell us what year the car is, so someone might find the factory service manual?

If it's 2010, a searchable PDF of the the factory service manual can be found here.

ok-our problem is the 2004 Mazda 3's sunroof is stuck at tilt, and it make an awlful noise when trying to close it by pressing button. HELP!

Did anyone figure out how to fix a opem

sunroof that won’t close

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Possible fix!

Many Japanese cars' are designed similarly in that the fixes are the same. Check the owners manual for a method to "reprogram" the limit on the sunroof and/or windows.

I had half of the headliner removed before I looked in the book. Your window is confused and forgot where it is currently positioned! (Don't laugh most automotive accessories are controlled through the onboard computer and just like your laptop can drop a bit or two and lock up or crash, no pun intended.)

1. Disconnect the Negative battery terminal.

2. Wait a few minutes and reconnect the battery.

3. Operate the window by closing it fully and without releasing the button, hold the button for about ten seconds after it is fully closed.

4. Open the window fully and once again hold the for ten seconds after it is fully open.

This should reset the end limits for the window. Check the owners manual for specifics on the car. This procedure may also work for some "auto up/down" windows.

Finish the fix by reprogramming the radio presets, bluetooth, programmable seats, etc.

Forgot to add this in the original. The car I was working on was a 2004 Nissan Sentra. It also works on other Nissan models as late as 2009 model year.

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good answer.

+1 pretty slick :) good job

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Even though this is an old post it became my go to. Here’s my fix. I purchased a 2004 Mazda 3 Hatch a week ago and the Sunroof did’t work. It made the horrible clacking noise that many people complain about and the sunroof didn’t move much. Resetting the position of the roof did not work. I’ve read though that these cars sunroof motors are notorious for working themselves loose. That ended up being my problem but there’s more to it than just tightening the screws. I found it necessary to reposition the roof and the motor. To get to the motor I pulled the headliner down about half way to get access. I stopped at the B Pillar. It’s best to go all the way but call me lazy I got other $@$* to do. So any way once you get access remove the motor by the 3 Phillips screws as I said they should be loose. They like to fall and disappear in to some kind of %#*@ wormhole so be mindful of that. Oh and disconnect you battery completely before you do this. Those curtain airbags are there. Ok so I dropped the motor out and inspected the drive gear. It appeared to be fine. You’ll notice the drive system on the sunroof. It’s operated by a cable system and the roof motor engages the cable. At this point I moved the roof manually in to the closed position and pushed it up as far as it would go. You see the cable move as it does and eventually won’t move anymore. It did not move to the full upward tilt position just to closed. Now that the roof is closed I wanted to establish the position of the motor. I plugged it to the switch and reconnected the battery. When you press open the motor goes runs clockwise I believe automatically and stops. Close is manual and you have to hold the button down. I moved the motor to fully closed. I didn’t like the idea having the motor hit it’s mechanical stop and having the roof position be correct. Cables stretch after time after all and there should be some extra travel available to the system. So I used an Allen wrench and ‘clocked’ the motor a quarter turn forward. FYI I tried to find the official procedure for this but the web had nothing and I don’t have the service shop manual for the vehicle. If someone does have the manual please correct me. Anyway so with the roof sunroof closed manually and the motor ‘clocked’ I reinstalled it without loctite. I also tightened the surrounding bolts and nuts on the sunroof assembly. Nothing crazy just a solid snug. With the sunroof motor back in I reconnected the switch and boom! Like butta it works. Opened and closed perfectly. Tilt up and down too. I then removed each motor screw individually, put Blue Loctite then and tightened them up. Put everything back together and you’re good. Hope this helps y’all.

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Not sure if you saw the spring clip that provides tension to the two racks surrounding the pinion/gear, but that one was popping loose as soon as I'd press the button causing the ratatat sound. I had to bend the spring clip to provide more tension to keep the racks tight against the pinion and ensure the spring clip didn't pop-halfway out. After that, with the aligning of the buttons to the sunroof location, I re-installed everything and it worked fine.

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My 2006 madza had same sound ratta .i took a air hose and blewvout both tracks. Then pull on each corner or the glass starting on driver side then passenger. The glass moved about 1/4 inch I then got some on to operate the slider switch and with 2 people forcing the glass to close and the glass started to move about a 1 inch at a time and then still pulsing on the lass we were able to close it completely and it still made the ratta sound as we were closing .also had to push up on the glass and work the tilt to get proper seal. Never end tried to open it again .disconnected wire from the consul switch where the map lots are located.it had nothing to do with index wrong on the motor. Nobody could explain to me the ratting noise it was making.also disconnecting battery also did nothing. To me cleaning the track and forcing it to close because it was jammed in my opinion that why the motor was making that noise because ut could not grab the mechanical mechanism to close .lucky dont know why I didn't blow a fuse. Or damaged the teeth or sprocket

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The ratta-tat sound comes from the gear connection to two flexible "racks" like a rack and pinion setup. The design is terrible in that the racks slide along plastic guides and the only thing holding the pinion against the two racks is an apparently too flimsy spring clip. When I separated the motor/pinion from the racks and put it back together, I'd press the button and it would make the rattle sound. If I put the clip in, it'd try and move things, but quickly start rattling again. I noticed the spring clip was half undone. I bent the clip so that it would stay but better and hold the rack/pinion together better. Re-aligned the buttons to the correct rack setting and then screwed down the motor. Put all the headliner back where it came from and it works good as new.

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Dude.. (david)

I thought I was the only 2006 Mazda 3 with this problem :) Glad to hear I'm not alone.

I started a thread on this subject here:

Forum Link from sdhartney

I'm currently fixing this problem for the second time.. but I ran into a snag.. the motor got indexed wrong and now thinks the glass panel is "up" in the rear.. I have to try it in all positions until it re-indexes correctly.

So.. tell me.. do you have the sport tune suspension? and low profile tires? and drive lots of miles? and live in a dusty area?

All those apply to me, so I'm wondering if there any common conditions that cause the roof movement to stiffen up.


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My sunroof will open all the way but will not close when using the same button. I have to use to other switch that just raises the backside and even sometimes that hesitates to close down.

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how did you fix this? I have the same problem right now and it is stuck fully open

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Ratatat sound is caused by a pinion gear connected to two flexible racks. In my case, a spring clip had lost enough tension to stay in place.

First you have to get to the motor/pinion/rack. To do that, you have to pull down the headliner a bit. Remove the overhead light module by using a knife/fine screwdriver edge to pop off the plastic covers on the lights. Remove the plastic reflectors. Then you'll find part of a metal clip inside there that you need to pull on and then push through the hole so that the entire button/light assembly will pop out. Some youtube videos sort of give you some of the idea.

I removed the sun visors and sun visor holders. Very annoying to remove without special tools. This guy helped out there:
Screw drivers didn't really work for me. Instead, two paint can-openers have the right shape to apply a force on either side to unclip them.

I removed the headliner trim piece surrounding the sunroof hole. This covers a long piece of metal that has parts of it shaped as clips. Pull it away from the edge to let the headliner drop a bit.

With access from the overhead light assembly and access from the sunroof area, I was able to remove the 3 screws holding the motor assembly in place. The motor assembly has a pinion gear coming out of it. There's a flexible clip that provides tension two the two flexible "racks" that connect to the sunroof assembly. I noticed that the flexible clip would pop half-way out if I tried to put the motor/pinion in and press the button. With pliers I bent the clip to provide more tension to stay in place better. After I put it back and put the motor assembly back, it all started working. Note that you have to check where the buttons think the sunroof vs where it actually is so that you don't cause it more damage or confusion. The pinion gear pulls it closed and then stops, but if you press the tilt up button, it continues pulling in that same direction. This spot between starting the tilt and fully closed corresponds to the peak of the rails that you can see the sunroof itself riding on so I aligned each to that spot.

One other thing to note is that I did remove the 4 T25 screws that hold the sunroof in place in case the rails/motor would try and send the glass to a place that would damage it as well as to adjust the height/fit of the sunroof once I got it to the spot I wanted. It's very easy to access those 4 screws without touching anything else.

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