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AJ Hartman Carbon Fiber Sunroof Delete Panel for BMW E46

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  • AJ Hartman Carbon Fiber Sunroof Delete Panel for BMW E46

    This entry shows the installation tips and tricks for the carbon fiber AJ Hartman sunroof delete panel that we sell for the BMW E46 Coupe and Sedan chassis.

    We have removed the sunroofs on a number of E46 cars and installed these AJ Hartman delete panels. We hope we can show you the short cuts to install this panel cleanly and make it water tight. Losing a lot of weight up high in the chassis is always a good thing, and gaining inches of headroom is a plus!

    Left: A-pillar interior panel on E46. Right: B-pillar interior panel on E46

    The first step is to remove the A-, B-, and C-pillar interior coverings, if you still have those installed. There are good videos online showing how to do this.

    Then pop the sunroof switch panel and unbolt the sun visors. Now you are ready to remove the factory headliner.

    Once the headliner is out of the way you can unbolt the factory "sunroof cassette" from the roof panel. This thing is 72 pounds so it might be wise to have a friend hold it up in place while you unbolt the perimeter bolts!

    Put it on a scale - it's heavy! Look at that monstrosity of complicated German Engineering. Now throw that in the trash - because nobody wants it.

    There will be a lot of wires and curtain airbags hanging in your way. Secure the wiring for the sunroof under where the headliner will go and tuck the rest out of your way for now.

    The AJ Hartman dry carbon E46 sunroof delete panel weighs in at 1.4 pounds, all in. This carbon fiber panel needs to be painted, wrapped, or clear coated before it sees sun or ran. If not it WILL get water spots that are nearly impossible to remove. Even if you wax the panel this can happen in a matter of hours. This is common with Motorsports grade dry carbon parts. The glossy faux carbon crap you see on eBay has a heavy clear coat on top, but even that stuff spots and eventually flakes off over time.

    Test fit the carbon panel and check for things like the mounting hole alignment. Look at the rear holes drilled into the panel and you will note that there are not any holes in the body for these - but there is a metal flange there. Two very short (and I mean SHORT!) self-tapping screws are all that's needed back there. You can pre-install all of the sunroof cassette mounting bolts into the side and front edges to bolt the carbon panel to the roof. Fits great? Now remove all of that.

    After you have the carbon panel wrapped/painted (or you decide to do it later) we recommend adding a layer of painters tape carefully around the sunroof opening on the steel roof panel. This will give you a good tape line to have the black RTV sealant go to.

    Its time to add some sealant between the steel roof panel and the carbon delete panel as it is being installed. A thin layer of black RTV went on the perimeter of the panel to seal it to the roof and there were bolt holes to attach it to the factory sunroof mounting holes as well. Bolt the panel in place...

    Now with the panel installed you will notice a small channel on the top side where the formed panel meets the stamped steel roof hole. You need to fill this channel with more black RTV. Then smooth it off against the tape. Let it sit for a few minutes then peel the tape off before the RTV sets up, which should give you a clean line. Once the RTV is dry you should be waterproof. Test for leaks by spraying water on the top side of the panel/roof.

    If you want to reinstall your old sunroof headliner here you can. The A/B/C pillars then go back in place and lastly the old sunroof switch panel and sun visors. It looks fine with the carbon fiber showing through, no worries!

    There is a non-sunroof headliner shown above that you can buy from BMW and install. This has about 2" more headroom than the sunroof style headliner, but its nearly $1000 and it usually has to ship from Germany.

    Or for a dedicated car, leave the headliner out gaining maximum headroom. That's what we did on our 2001 BMW 330Ci shown above. #BecauseRacecar Remember - removing this sunroof cassette and adding this carbon delete panel drops 70 pounds and adds 3-4" of additional headroom.
    Last edited by modernbeat; 06-07-2017, 04:43 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev