Sunroof rust repair

Accord 2009 onwards

  1. Nighthawk
    Difficulty Level:
    So my 8th Generation came with the sunroof rust issue for which Honda acknowledged there was an issue and replaced loads. I actually didnt notice mine until after I bought her and by then, Honda did everything to wipe their hands clean of any responsibility so I figured, well, you can't buy the replacement rubber and its deemed that you must buy the entire unit, but it was put together at some point, which means it can be taken apart as well. The pictures in this guide were not taken with a guide in mind, so they won't be the best, but should give an idea.

    After doing this - I can see why its not meant to be taken apart. What an absolute pain in the neck. This is not difficult in principle to do, but it is just incredibly frustratingly fiddly and awkward, you will be taking regular breaks to avoid throwing something at it, or just buying a replacement.

    This is a shot from the dealer which shows the damage and how its lifted up the seal.


    And a few of my own -

    20170528_192340. 20170528_192347. 20170528_192440. 20170528_192513.

    - A titanic and collossal amount of self control and patience (seriously - this is more frustrating than trying to explain something to your wife :Laughing:)
    - Red rubber grease (red grease will not damage rubber, lubricates it and just without it, getting it back into place would be impossible, and it offers the paint protection from further rust)
    - Rust convertor
    - Dremel with fine grinder attachments
    - Heatgun
    - Primer
    - Paint

    9+ hours unless you get the knack of how the heck that seal goes back in easily.

    Step 1:
    Go inside the car, and slide back the partition display of the sunroof. The sunroof itself is only held in place at four places, 2 torx screws on either side. Bear in mind, make a note of where they are are these align the sunroof. There is a plastic trim that you need to remove first.


    Step 2:
    With all four screws removed, the sunroof will just lift out. I did this inside the garage for obvious reasons with the British weather being what it is. Once the sunroof is out, inspect the drain channels within the sunroof opening for blockages, as well as the mechanism to ensure that enough white grease is still present and there is no damage. Mine was fine in all of this.

    Step 3:
    Grab your heatgun, you now want to heat the rubber up just enough for it to be mallable as you need the flexibility, but not enough where it stretches too much and risks breaking or ripping within the channels. It is held into place by three seperate channels, at the same time. Start at a corner, and with the outside section of the sunroof facing upwards, pull the rubber seal gently upwards. This is where you will have to establish the correct level of heat - you will feel when its just enough to give you a helping hand, and when its too much and the rubber is moving too easily and is likely to break. Once the edge is peeled up, the tension is released and the rest of the trim comes out quite easily, without the need for heat, especially as the rust comes with some of it.

    Step 4:
    With the seal now removed, clean the inside of the seal thoroughly, you need to ensure there is no rust traces left back in there. Now inspect your sunroof frame. I spent many years working on cars, repairing crash damage, body work etc, and rust is like a cancer, once it starts, its incredibly difficult to stop it. Mine looked like this:


    You can see the three different channels on these pictures but I will get to that in a moment. Your concern here is the extent of that rust. It looks worse that it was, but get your dremel, and start grinding away. You HAVE to get to bare metal, so you have to keep cutting until you hit it. If the rest has eaten through all the way, then throw it away, but at least you have tried. The fact that mine wasnt leaking, I knew it was still intact and through experience, I knew it wasnt bad. So keep grinding, all the way to shiny bright metal but slowly - as the expensive piece of glass is literally millimetres away from a high speed spinning grinding wheel.

    Step 5:
    I didnt take any pictures of this next bit however once you have ground back to bare metal, you need to treat the metal. If you have any holes, you will need to fill those first, but I didnt, all the channels were intact and there were no weakened areas so make sure you look for that when you inspect it. After the bare metal has been treated, paint it. I actually used some hammerite no rust paint so it can be fairly thick.

    Step 6:
    Now the fun part. Now you need to put the seal back into the channels again, so I will try to explain this the best I can. There are three channels, and within each of these channels are their own little lips. As a result of this, you have to engage all three channels at the same time, whilst getting the seal underneath these channels into the lips to keep it in place.

    These were the best pictures I could find but even then, the lips arent too clear. (as I said - pics were never taken with the thought of making a guide)


    Step 7
    The trick here is that you want to get lip 2 in first, then lip 3, then lip 1. Sounds easy, but its ok getting lip 2 in, however due to the very tight tolerances, any further movements from there result in lip 2 popping out quite happily. You cannot just force it in there, even with lubricant, as the way its been designed means you have to dip the seal in, then upwards, for each lip, whilst preventing it from popping back out again. I used some red grease - for a few reasons. Firstly, for lubricant. Secondly because red grease won't damage rubber like other greases will and actually moisterises it, and thirdly, the metal had been rust treated, painted with rust inhibiting paint, and now the grease would prevent moisture from even contacting the metal so adding, hopefully, a third level of rust prevention. Once you have figured out how to get the seal in along the straight section, you now reach a corner. If you have got this far, well done, you have just done the easy part. Now the difficult side.

    Step 8:
    At the corner, you do have an element of flexibility. Until you reach the last corner, you have plenty of flex, but the rubber have built in slit marks which obviously allow for that movement.

    The number 2 is the best shot I could find of the second lip. Looks small, but trust me, when combined with the others its not. So the challenge here is the same as the straight but the rubber now wants to push outwards naturally as it wants to straighten, so not only are you fighting the same on the straights, but you have to contend with this as well. I used the heat gun, to heat the underside of the rubber as getting 2 in was ok, it was the rest. When you get to the final corner, the tension is on the rubber seal, you need to leave it till the edges because you need the flexibility those slits give you. So, on the last corner, pull the rubber towards you, and apply heat to the top of the rubber and slowly heat the entire corner. Again, you need to play this by ear, slowly and with common sense to prevent damage. As the top becomes pliable, engage the same three channels - by this stage, lips 1 and 2 could be applied by pushing pressure along the top starting from rubber already inserted and this would pop into place. Lip 3 is just a nightmare. Good luck.

    Here you can see that the rubber is in place on the right hand side, but not on the left - thats only lip 2 in place and the extra space now created at the corner.

    Step 9:
    If you have reached this step - well done. Took me about 9 hours to get to this stage. 8 hours of that was just trying to put the seal back in place. Your hands will be killing you by now, your thumbs probably numb like mine were and your fingertips aching (and possibly a bit burnt). With the seal now in place, and it is obvious when it is seated - its absolutely solid, and flat, reinstall. Mine now looks like this - two years later, still looks identical. Well done, good job, now go chill for a while. Total time was about 10 hours when you take into account realignment.

    deeno1975, accord1108 and DrSam like this.

Recent Reviews

  1. RogerH69
    Smashed it. Well done
  2. Bounder
    I like a sunroof, but I was prepared to forego having one on my Type-S because of this issue.
  3. SpeedyGee
    A patience of a saint! Well done on the job and even bigger well done for a well written guide despite not having enough pics to chose from.
  4. DrSam
    I don't have a 8th Generation Accord or a sunroof on any of my cars but this guide is top notch!
    Nice one!