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James T

Newbie now owner, question on sunroof leaks

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Well, the '77 Avanti II I asked about in an earlier post now sits in my garage. It is everything the owner claimed and a wonderful piece of rolling sculpture. However, it has a leaking ASC sunroof (metal panel) and the previous owner never opened it because it is misadjusted and might scratch the (admittedly perfect paint). I suspect the drain system is clogged or has some problem. To open it, I will try using the manual method and go slowly. My question is this - has anyone ever dealt with this problem, and would you have any helpful hints? Thanks in advance for anything useful.

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Congratulations on your purchase and welcome to the fraternity of the most wonderful, misunderstood automobile that gets no respect. If you're like many of us, it will be a love/hate relationship you'll have with the car.

Someone other other than I will have to help you with the sunroof leak. I have intentionally avoided owning an Avanti with a sunroof precisely for that reason. I've read where the problem has been due to seals needing replacing as well as the channels and drains being clogged and needing cleaning.

Again, congratulations on your car and hope you thoroughly enjoy it.

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James. Welcome aboard the journey. My 78 Avantii II also has that sunroof. My leak stems from going thru a car wash and the water came thru the tops of the side windows from the high pressure of the spray. The sunroof was not the cause. Therefore, always hand wash and and keep the hose spray away from the side windows as best as possible. I never use the sunroof.

Jerry - RQB-2772

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Well, the '77 Avanti II I asked about in an earlier post now sits in my garage. It is everything the owner claimed and a wonderful piece of rolling sculpture. However, it has a leaking ASC sunroof (metal panel) and the previous owner never opened it because it is misadjusted and might scratch the (admittedly perfect paint). I suspect the drain system is clogged or has some problem. To open it, I will try using the manual method and go slowly. My question is this - has anyone ever dealt with this problem, and would you have any helpful hints? Thanks in advance for anything useful.

James:

Bob Johnstone has a tremendous Avanti page with exploded diagrams of the sunroof and some repair information. Bob Johntone's Avanti Page

Dan Booth at Nostalgic Motors has sunroof replacement seal kits. Dan will also walk you through the installation if you need assistance. I did, as the rear seal needs to be cut to fit around the rear hinge.

Nostalgic Motorcars

I found that the drive shaft from an old speedometer cable (Avanti of course) worked excellent for clearing the sunroof drains. ;)

Best of luck with your new ride. Hope to see it sometime in person. It looked very nice in the ad.

Joe M in WV

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Thanks for the welcome and the tips. I had reviewed Bob's info and learned a lot before I bought the Avanti. But, before it was mine, I was merely interested, now I'm committed to fixing it. This is my plan, anyone with any better ideas, please chime in:

Park the car on a slope first uphill and then down. Pour a small amount of water around the sunroof and try to see if the leaks are from the front drains or the rear.

Then park on the slope with left side up and see if it's left front or rear. Reverse and repeat for the right side.

Once I see where the leak is, crank open the sunroof manually and investigate. I presume the metal panel is at risk of not going low enough and scrapes on the roof, so will have to carefully watch that and then figure out what can be adjusted to fix it. Anybody ever adjust their ASC sunroof before?

I read the rear drains empty into the rear quarter panels, and presume the drain hoses are visible from below. Is that correct? I also read that the fronts drain into the hog troughs and are NOT accessible from below. If so, I'll try to clear the rears from below and the fronts from above, the later I also read is risky and can create more problems.

Oh well, it isn't like I'm not familiar with old toy car world. I've self-restored a '65 TR4a, '73 Mustang convertible, and '76 Porsche 911S, and learned that fixing these type of problems usually comes down to 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

I'll post my results once completed.

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You're right about the 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. So many problems with cars are generally a simple or straightforward fix...it's the time and effort diagnosing the source of the problem before the fix can be done that gets so frustrating.

Just follow basic techniques of diagnosis from the easist to the more involved maybe the problem won't be too tough to repair. More than once I've followed the adage "if it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is!"

Best of luck!

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As promised, here is some info on the results of my ASC sunroof diagnosis.

The ASC sunroof can be opened manually by using a 'tool' supplied with the Avanti owner documentation. Mine was in the original yellow paper envelope and had never even been opened! You remove a plug in the motor housing, then a tension screw, and the tool fits in a slot. The previous owner told me that he had not opened it in several years due to it scratching the paint when he did. As a result, the old grease had the consistency of tar and it was very hard to open. My assistant manually pulled the sunroof back while I cranked the tool back and forth and it finally opened. This sunroof is very well engineered, given the fact that it's 30 years old. The motor turns against two cables, one of which is fixed and provides 'traction' depending on whether you are opening or closing. The cables are routed through stainless steel housings, which I have found to be an indication of the overall quality of manufacture of the Avanti. Removing the covers of the cables, I used PB Blaster to remove the old grease. I removed the motor from the housing and disassembled it. The resistance of the sunroof had caused a gear to slip on it's shaft where it should have been tight. I cleaned all the old grease out (an amazing amount was packed in there) and disassembled the motor. The gear is held on in a two-plane friction arrangement between two washers that compress on it. Kind of hard to explain, but the cure was to simply tighten down on the screw and the gear 'locked' in place. I used spray white lithium grease on the cables, and dilectric grease in the motor. Remounted the motor and the cable covers, and the sunroof now opens and closes properly. I found the reason for the scratching to be a buildup of fiberglass resin in two corners of the roof opening right where the sunroof disappears into it. I first tried to adjust the height of the sunroof. It slides on two guide rails along the top edge of the cable covers, and those rails are mounted to what appears to be an adjustment wheel inside the sunroof plastic cover. I could see them, but I was unable to get them to move. They may be locked in place somehow, but I decided not to mess with them and instead I filed down the two small ridges of fiberglass and the problem is resolved.

As for the leak, I found that grass trimmer line was an excellent tool for cleaning the drains. It's stiff enough to remove debris but very flexible and smooth. I could only access the ones in the front with the trimmer line, so I ran the line down both several times until no resistance could be felt and the length of line was long enough to satisfy me that was going all the way through. I poured water around the roof opening and it drained out through the hog troughs as designed (bad idea) and not inside the car, but the drain holes seem small and poorly placed such that a high volume of water from a car wash or a thunderstorm could easily overwhelm them.

Well, overall the operation was a success and the patient lives. It was 73 degrees here in Richmond on Saturday and it was gratifying to press a button and see the sun appear.

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Newbie now owner, question on sunroof leaks.  Me too!  I will need to fix my sunroof as well, leaks pretty bad.  The last owner gave me a box of parts and some include cables and gears for the sunroof. I will keep this in my archive for future reference.

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On 12/20/2006 at 11:40 AM, James T said:

Well, the '77 Avanti II I asked about in an earlier post now sits in my garage. It is everything the owner claimed and a wonderful piece of rolling sculpture. However, it has a leaking ASC sunroof (metal panel) and the previous owner never opened it because it is misadjusted and might scratch the (admittedly perfect paint). 

FWIW, ASC also offered their sunroof with glass panels during the Altman years. My '76 RQ-B 2431 had an ASC  sunroof / moonroof with a very large glass panel. I had the same emergency hex key in the tan ASC envelope.  I never cross-referenced the panel part number but the glass had a FoMoCo script etching.  I would bet the same panel was used on 70s Lincoln Town Cars and other full-size Ford vehicles.    

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