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R34 GTT Sunroof Motor Repair/Replacement


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Hi all,

I've recently been suffering from a buggered sunroof motor; it works a bit, then not, then will stay half open until I hex key it back into place. I pulled the sunroof motor from its mount and tried running it with the interior buttons and it acts the same.

Now, I've been having a nightmare trying to find a replacement, it's the same unit in the S15, Z10 (cube) and R34 - Nissan discontinued it in 2013. I've searched breaker's yards in the UK, Japan, Aus and Canada to no avail. I don't want to leave it as a dud. 

Is it possible to have something like this repaired by an electric motor wizard of some sort? Who would you go to for something like this?

Any suggestions on how to fix it would be great. I'll consider getting a plexiglass window fixed in there if I fail entirely with this.

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Given that the motor will be dismantleable, why not take it apart and have a look at what might be wrong inside it? Could be a lack of lube on the pinion, could be a lump of crap running around and getting jammed in the teeth. Could be the motor's brushes that need a touch up (in which case, yes, an electrical guy could look to fix it for you.

There's a whole roof on ebay at the moment for $850.

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On 10/3/2021 at 10:51 AM, GTSBoy said:

Given that the motor will be dismantleable, why not take it apart and have a look at what might be wrong inside it? Could be a lack of lube on the pinion, could be a lump of crap running around and getting jammed in the teeth. Could be the motor's brushes that need a touch up (in which case, yes, an electrical guy could look to fix it for you.

There's a whole roof on ebay at the moment for $850.

It's been a while GTSBoy, but I did heed your response. Today I found the time to pull apart the motor, after printing a bracket which holds the sunroof shut.

It was fairly simple to dismantle, I took some pictures so I could remember the positioning of the gears/switches. 

From what I can tell, the gearing seems intact, spinning the commutator turns the gears with no resistance. 

The brushes, well, they're definitely there. They've worn at an angle - see pics - although, as an engineer only by degree, which was a while ago now, I don't have the XP to know how badly worn brushes need to be to cause intermittent running problems. From what I know, it's usually the brushes or switches that die. Does the wear on the brushes here say anything to you? 

On 11/13/2021 at 6:12 AM, Millerman said:

Amayama may have a listing for the motor seperately?

Nope, out of stock - Nissan discontinued it around 10 years ago.

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On 11/24/2021 at 6:28 PM, Millerman said:

Have you tried powering it off the car? 

Hahaha, yeah I pulled it from the rack and tried operating it. It works very very intermittently, like will spin a half revolution then stop then may move again if I relentlessly press the buttons. Could be a switch that’s busted but works the same whether I’m using the tilt function or slide.

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Had this happen to me on various electric motors over the years

I've have success with putting the armature into an electric drill and polishing it with 1200 grade sandpaper.

This will take the build up of carbon and dirt built up over the years on the copper.

Reassemble then see how it goes.

If this fails then you will have to look at the brushes as they can, as well, build up gunk and oxidize and fail to take the current to the armature.

If its the brushes then all I did was go to and electrical repair shop, for power tools, with a set of vernier calipers and went through brushes until I found the right size and soldered them into place.

If this fails then you've got to look at the armature or the winding itself and an electrical repair shop is going to have a poke and a prod at it.

My money says its the brushes

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On 24/11/2021 at 11:57 PM, GoHashiriya said:

Hahaha, yeah I pulled it from the rack and tried operating it. It works very very intermittently, like will spin a half revolution then stop then may move again if I relentlessly press the buttons. Could be a switch that’s busted but works the same whether I’m using the tilt function or slide.

Ok i was meaning completely off the car and running it with just a battery to see if it operates differently. Looking at your photos it looks like everything is in good nic. Unless there is a small wire fracture perhaps inside the motor id be guessing its the switch has dirty contacts or something along that line. If you power it up direct from a battery then you can prove if its the car or motor thats causing the fault.

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That commutator does need to be cleaned. It is very glazed. You need to make sure that there are no bridges of conductive material between the commutator's pads also, especially if you machine/shrop the comm.

Those brushes appear to be ~50% worn, or more. They might not have enough tension to make reliable contact with the commutator, and the fact that they are so short and are sticking out of their recess so far is probably the reason why they are worn on an angle. I'd suggest it needs new brushes.

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On 11/25/2021 at 8:15 AM, GTSBoy said:

That commutator does need to be cleaned. It is very glazed...

 

On 11/25/2021 at 5:03 AM, PLYNX said:

Had this happen to me on various electric motors over the years...

Ahh, thanks both for this info. I will be paying some attention to the commutator and brushes in the coming days. I managed to order some brushes off amazon after measuring with a vernier. They might be a touch on the long side (14mm vs the 9mm OEM) but we'll see - appparently brushes can be sanded down. 

PLYNX, thanks for mentioning how you polished up the commutator. Fortunately I do have a drill lying around, along with a dremel that may prove handy for polishing. I'll see what's more suitable, of course I don't want to be using something too aggressive.

Cheers GTSBOY, what I couldn't make out is that half of the face which contacts the commutator matches the surface curvature of the commutator, yet the other half has been worn away at an angle. See pic below.

It seems that most of what is mentioned here is something I'm able to do, so I'll proceed with this for now. Looking at the windings in more detail will require a professional. 

On 11/25/2021 at 6:04 AM, Millerman said:

Ok i was meaning completely off the car and running it with just a battery...

Ahh, yes I see. And that's a great point. I haven't done this as the motor having two input plugs just seemed a bit daunting. - one goes to the harness and one goes to the interior switches. Perhaps it's still possible to drive the motor using an external power source and using the interior switches.

For sure a switch repair is beyond me so that will require getting my head back in the old Neehongo textbook and figuring out how to converse with the electronic stall people at the market.

Thanks for the responses! I'll update with how I get on with the commutator/brushes/power supply. 

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On 11/25/2021 at 3:35 PM, GoHashiriya said:

of course I don't want to be using something too aggressive.

You don't even need a drill. Just cut a strip of sand paper (or even better, stropping tape) wrap around one side of the commutator so that you're holding both ends of it towards you and just do the old back and forth on both ends. Wiggle them up and down so you strop more than just the far side. Then rotate the armature (your assistant, or the vice, however it is being held) a bit and keep going until you have done an even treatment all the way around. Don't try to deglaze each spot all at once. Better to treat it like doing light coats of paint and go around and around a few times.

If you use a hand drill to spin the armature, be very bloody careful. One slip and you can make a mess of yourself. If you use a drill press it will be easier and safer, but still a little prone to risk. A lathe is one step better again (and how proper reconditioners would do it).

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On 11/25/2021 at 2:15 PM, GTSBoy said:

You don't even need a drill. Just cut a strip of sand paper (or even better, stropping tape) wrap around one side of the commutator...

Hahaha yeah, may end up launching the thing through the paper-thin walls of my dumb Japanese house. Will go at it by hand via the aforementioned method first.

Brushes will arrive this weekend - hopefully they fit, as the connector comes from the rear on the new ones, as opposed to the side. From my judgement it shoudn't interfere with the spring. 

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So just to update: I changed the brushes over and polished the commutator using a 1500 grit sanding sponge; it was super easy to polish being copper. A power tool wasn't necessary, although could have made it easier if you have the finesse to use it well.    

Yet this was to no avail, the motor worked as it did before, stop, start, stop start, etc. Today I went to my mechanic's shop to do a few things. I showed him the motor and asked in broken Japanese "who can fix this?", he took it from me and had a crack, was able to fix it-ish. From what I could understand (which is very little), the problem with the motor was with the clutch disc located amongst the gears, I saw it whilst he was working but couldn't identify any issues.

I say he fixed it-ish, because now the motor will run continuously when free from the rack, which is great. But once I had reinstalled it, the tilt function would work but the sliding function sounded off, like the motor was under more load than before and the motor was struggling. We're going to pull apart the rack in the new year and see what we can find. 

Hopefully this is of some help to others that get sunroof motor issues with their R34, S15 Silvia, or highly unlikely the Z10 cube. I will update this when more progress is made.

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