Roof lights vs sun roof

Techdad

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Our latest Jeep is an 06 Liberty Renegade I purchased as a fixer upper. Low miles, low price, neglected, but not abused. Long list of minor issues I have been knocking out a little at a time. It has the factory roof lights and sunroof and this combination is becoming a pain to live with. The problem is, with the sloping foward roof, the plastic housing for the factory lights acts like a dam for anything that lands on the roof. Tree leaves, twigs, small seeds, Etc. And on the highway, it blocks the wind from blowing the stuff off the roof. I have to brush the area clear if I plan on opening the sunroof today.
The lights do have a unique look and I like the functionality. But having the plastic cover inches from a slopped area with a non sealed sunroof is like...
I want to smack the marketing dude that told the engineer to do this. Even when I keep it closed, tiny stuff can get past the gasket and crud up the drain pan. Even parking it facing up hill it still has plenty of front slope to the dam. If the roof lights were not sitting ON the roof, stuff would slide right off like my daughters Limited.
My daughter wished her Limited had a sun roof. But I'm considering putting these lights on hers and getting myself some after market LED lighting that sits above the roof. A friend that works at a sign shop offered to make a magnetic cover to keep the sun roof protected. But I would still have to sweep away the crud. I thought about putting spacers under the plastic housing to lift it off the roof (haven't taken it apart yet to see if this is practical). How is the unit mounted? Is this possible? Might look hokey though.
A side effect I am wondering about is...
At highway speed, with the sun roof closed but the inside cover open, there is much wind noise. The cover practically eliminates the noise. But I'm wondering if the turbulence from the roof lights is part of the cause. Will a smooth flow over the sunroof eliminate this? Or would it be worse. I believe the roof lights are causing a low pressure above the sunroof and the noise is air getting past the gasket. So if I install aftermarket roof lights that don't block the air flow, will I make this problem better or worse. I don't want to spend money to fix one issue and cause a new one.
Need advice from anyone that has factory roof lights and a sunroof. Also anyone with just the sunroof, how noisy is it with the cover open? I can learn from your experience or be the guinea pig.
 

JRB

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My sunroof does have some wind noise as well with the interior cover open, can't hear the noise with the cover closed, no roof lights on mine.
 

tommudd

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I have just the sunroof on one of mine, not really noisy but you can tell when its open, I would never ordered one with a sunroof
Now the Renegade lights are held on with rev nuts that of course are attached to the roof, plus a big hole where wiring goes through . Would be a LOT of patch work if you removed it for sure
 

Techdad

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Yesterday while on a highway, I put my hand through the sunroof and felt the airflow between the bulbs. I think another thread said the light rack is like a parachute. Yep sure is. There is definitely low pressure at the sunroof area. Also, with my finger on the roof, at the base of the plastic, I can feel the vibration of the assembly.
There is only 1/2" from the light rack to the sunroof so I don't think the magnetic sign would stay on while driving. It needs enough steel around the glass to hold onto. And it cannot be much wider than the glass because of the curve of the roof. But I think I will give that a try. I agree with Tommudd, I would never have ordered one if I purchased this new. I guess I am stuck with it now. Keeping the drain pan clean will now be part of regular maintenance.
By the way Deb'nKJ... crud can still get in and stop up the drain tubes even if you never open it. Unless it is in an area where nothing but water gets on the roof. Open the cover and stick your finger in the pan and you will be surprised what is in there. Maybe a bead of clear window and door silicone to seal it to the roof.
Thanks all. I will let you know if the magnet cover works. Autumn is coming and the trees are full.
 

Deb'nKJ

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"crud can still get in and stop up the drain tubes even if you never open it" It's a point, & not one I'd thought of but it doesn't open I'm in no hurry to fix it, with little intention of using it: I've had a haunted sunroof (believe me, one is enough) & I'm not prepared to take that risk again.
 

JRB

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@Deb'nKJ Techdad was just pointing out that even if it does not open, and you never plan to, crud can get past the seal then block the drain holes. From there when future water sneaks past, it will eventually overflow the drain channel, into the interior of the car.

I know of this as when I got mine and did some heavy roof iron decon, when I looked inside after I had water all in my headliner and a pool on my shifter boot. Not related to the sunroof I also had water under my drivers floor carpet, which was from some bad factory seam sealer.

*Edit, I stand corrected as water on the drivers floor water can be sunroof drain related, see below of techdad's post 3 down.
 
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CTJEEP

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Not a big fan of sun roofs ..... have sealed them shut with Lexol clear sealant....

If mine was steel, I would glue it solid with epoxy or SEM Structual adhesives & grind it smooth....plastic edges & paint the whole roof...never to see it again.
 

Deb'nKJ

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@Deb'nKJ Techdad was just pointing out that even if it does not open, and you never plan to, crud can get past the seal then block the drain holes. From there when future water sneaks past, it will eventually overflow the drain channel, into the interior of the car.

I know of this as when I got mine and did some heavy roof iron decon, when I looked inside after I had water all in my headliner and a pool on my shifter boot. Not related to the sunroof I also had water under my drivers floor carpet, which was from some bad factory seam sealer.
I've got the point, but weighing up the time/effort/cost of getting the sunroof to work against what might happen eventually, I'm prepared to take my chances, certainly while still undecided as to whether I keep it.
 

Techdad

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Hey Deb,
When I suggested opening the "cover" I mean sliding back the "inside" cover on your headliner. That part is not powered by the sunroof motor. There is an "always active" water drain pan sitting on top of the headliner. The rubber gasket on the glass does not seal the glass to the roof. It is just there to look pretty. The drain pan is a square thing under the glass. You cannot see it but if you stick your hand above the headliner, you can feel it.
The reason is... the Liberty sunroof can DROP DOWN and slide back. It can also pop UP as a vent. Thus, it cannot seal tight against the roof. There is a small gap all the way around it between the rubber and the metal. "Every time" it rains or snow melts or you wash your baby, the water on the roof goes into the drain pan. From there, it has 4 tubes to empty the pan. The front 2 run down your pillars next to the windshield and dripping at the wheels. The rear 2 run down "behind" each rear door opening pillar to the rear wheel wells.
I really hate to tell you this but you need to know... If the front left tube gets stopped up, the pan will overflow and water will run down the windshield pillar onto the fuse box area by your left knee. Behind that fuse box is your BCM... Body Control Module. The computer that runs everything not related to engine and transmission. I don't know if it controls ABS or not.
The gap at the sunroof is enough for a leaf to slip in, dry up in the drain pan and stop up a tube. They are only the size of a pencil Also, under the driver's carpet is a bunch of wireing that goes to a lot if stuff in the rear (tail lights, rear swing gate, pop up glass, rear wiper, etc).
If the pan over flows you will have standing water at the floor pan at the drivers feet and soaked wire harness under wet carpet. I guess you wonder how I know...
If you are never going to fix the sunroof or use it, the drain pan is still protecting you from a flood. You can seal the sunroof from the top so the pan will never overflow because you forgot to clean it.
 
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JRB

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If the pan over flows you will have standing water at the floor pan at the drivers feet and soaked wire harness under wet carpet. I guess you wonder how I know...
If you are never going to fix the sunroof or use it, the drain pan is still protecting you from a flood. You can seal the sunroof from the top so the pan will never overflow because you forgot to clean it.

Good to know about the water on the drivers floor is/can also be sunroof related. In case that comes back on mine, I'll check the sunroof drains again. I never got around to cleaning the back two drains, I had quite a bit of unexpected repairs when I first got my kj, I should clean those out soon.

I knew my water in the headliner, and what dripped down on my shifter was sunroof related, but figured my floor water was from some bad seam sealer under my wiper cowl on the firewall. Thanks for the information!
 

Techdad

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"crud can still get in and stop up the drain tubes even if you never open it" It's a point, & not one I'd thought of but it doesn't open I'm in no hurry to fix it, with little intention of using it: I've had a haunted sunroof (believe me, one is enough) & I'm not prepared to take that risk again.
I may not have replied in the right way so Deb'nKJ would receive notification. Important info, in case you didn't look at the thread again. Thanks
 

Deb'nKJ

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Right now there are more important issues, like will it ever drive again?. Maybe I'll think about it in the Spring, & if it fills up with water this Winter, it'll just get weighed in for scrap that much sooner.
I do appreciate the heads up but can't believe the KJ is worse than Cadillac Seville STS's which were infamous for the self same thing yet I never had a problem & mine were older & in poorer condition than my KJ.
 

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