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Potential Moonroof Clunking/Rattle Fix

 
Old 08-11-18, 12:52 PM
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supaman1o1
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Default Potential Moonroof Clunking/Rattle Fix

Hi Guys,

This is my first post, and I am hoping it will help some people out. I normally don't like posting on forums, but I figured this was worth the trouble since it is such a big problem for 2013 Lexus owners.

For the past few months, I have been doing a lot of research for my 2013 Lexus ES 350. It got to the point where I actually went to trade my car into the dealer because of the "clunking" sound that everyone with a 2013 ES 350 has been dealing with (for those out of warranty). While my car drove pretty well in most conditions, it became unbearable on certain bumpy roads.

After doing extensive research, I found out that the sound is caused due to the Moonroof Seal shrinking under certain conditions, which causes metal to metal contact between the Moonroof and the body of the car. I tested this theory by raising the Moonroof, which made the "clunking" go away completely.

After searching around different forums, I found out that the problem was present not only with the ES 350, but also the GS 350 and many Toyota vehicles. Since many Lexus and Toyota parts are shared, it makes sense. The solution to this problem that Toyota came up with, was to make a "better" version of the seal which is thicker and doesn't shrink as badly in colder weather. This new seal, actually has the same part number as the old one.

I was at the dealer, and talked to them about the problem. They told me that they have been replacing people's Moonroof as a "fix," and it could cost me thousands to do so. I guess this "fix" makes sense, as the replacement Moonroof had the replacement seal on it anyways. I asked them if they could replace my Moonroof seal, and I gave them the part number:

Lexus Part No.: 63251-30100

My service adviser kept on arguing with me that it would not fix the problem, but I told her I would still like to get it done. I gave them the part number and they had it in stock. I left my car overnight, and picked it up the next day to find it whisper quiet. The only "rattles" I ever get now are from things my wife leaves in my car occasionally. I haven't had any clunking since the seal replacement.

The total I paid was about $240. They charged me $150 for one hour of labor (the headliner did not have to be removed), and about $80 for the part. Now keep in mind, a lot of people have done this replacement themselves, and it took them about 30 minutes doing it as a DIY fix. I just did not feel comfortable doing it alone, just in case the Moonroof has to be re-seated to prevent leaks. You can buy the part online for about $40. But I figured that I'll just eat the $240 cost to permanently deal with the problem professionally.

Now please keep in mind, that this fix worked for me and many other car owners (do your research). Like with any fix, this may or not work for you. I am just posting this to give some insight of how the problem has been resolved in my situation.

I hope this helps, and feel free to ask away if you have any questions!
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Old 08-11-18, 01:13 PM
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Mike728
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I don't think it's a widespread issue, but thanks for the info and I'm glad you found a cheap solution to your problem.

Welcome to the forum! Stick around and enjoy your ES.
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Old 08-12-18, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by supaman1o1 View Post
I gave them the part number and they had it in stock. I left my car overnight, and picked it up the next day to find it whisper quiet. The only "rattles" I ever get now are from things my wife leaves in my car occasionally. I haven't had any clunking since the seal replacement.
Glad you got your issue fixed.. wish I had known about this a few years back.. I had a 2007 Avalon.. when ever it got cool outside, there was a rattle that I couldn't locate. It sounded like it was coming from the right front A Pillar.. but I did some research and found that a lot of people were saying it was coming from the moon roof itself. they said it had something to do with some metal in the moon roof fram contracting and expanding due to cool temps.. Next day it got cool I heard the rattle and I just reached up and pressed against the moonroof... rattle stopped.. Dealer wanted to outsource it to a trim shop to pull the headliner... I declined and for the next winter I just made sure I ran the heater enough to warm up the cabin, once the interior warmed up the rattle stopped... Traded it in the next year and bought my 2013 ES... Haven't heard that rattle on my ES thank goodness.

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Old 08-13-18, 07:22 PM
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That's great if you found a cheaper solution.

I know I would not have paid out of pocket for my repair, it was something like $3,000+. Fortunately covered under warranty. They also had to keep my car for several days.

I was honestly surprised it was the moon roof, to me it sounded like a suspension issue. It was just a faint clunking nouse when I went over speed bumps in the winter.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:25 AM
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Have this exact same issue on my '14 ES300h & I thought it was rear suspension related as well until recently when we isolated it to the moon roof. Tilted/open, no noise. Thanks for the heads up. I'll order a gasket & give it a shot!
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Old 09-25-18, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JWinTexas View Post
Have this exact same issue on my '14 ES300h & I thought it was rear suspension related as well until recently when we isolated it to the moon roof. Tilted/open, no noise. Thanks for the heads up. I'll order a gasket & give it a shot!

Please let us know if it resolves your issue..
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Old 09-25-18, 05:05 PM
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New seal is on the way. I cleaned the old one & lubed it up with some silicone spray. That has solved the issue for now, no noise. I'll report back once I install the new one but since this stop gap worked, I'm pretty sure that will fix it for good. I'll be interested to see how much quieter it is with the shade open once the new seal is on. Currently, the wind noise is considerably higher with it open.
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Old 09-26-18, 04:18 AM
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Let us know how difficult the task is? I never use the moonroof but with 90K miles it may become a problem later down the road.
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Old 09-26-18, 11:52 AM
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My '13 ES350 had that rattle since when I bought it in 2015. It took a while for me to notice it, but when I did I became obsessive about it.
It was only when a friend with an LS reported the problem to me (the location and sound he described was EXACTLY what I'd been hearing) that I finally had a clue. His was fixed under warranty so, because my car was still under warranty, I took it in. My dealer took it immediately and gave me a loaner.
They replaced the entire sunroof assembly, and due to lack of parts, it took them over 5 weeks. I had a nice new Lexus SUV for all that time.
It would have cost thousands of dollars if I paid for it. My warranty actually ran out while the car was in the shop. Glad I didn't wait too long...

Glad to hear that they seems to be a lower-cost repair.
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Old 12-24-18, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by pab12 View Post
My '13 ES350 had that rattle since when I bought it in 2015. It took a while for me to notice it, but when I did I became obsessive about it.
It was only when a friend with an LS reported the problem to me (the location and sound he described was EXACTLY what I'd been hearing) that I finally had a clue. His was fixed under warranty so, because my car was still under warranty, I took it in. My dealer took it immediately and gave me a loaner.
They replaced the entire sunroof assembly, and due to lack of parts, it took them over 5 weeks. I had a nice new Lexus SUV for all that time.
It would have cost thousands of dollars if I paid for it. My warranty actually ran out while the car was in the shop. Glad I didn't wait too long...

Glad to hear that they seems to be a lower-cost repair.
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Hi, I am a 2014 Lexus ES owner from Malaysia. The moon roof rattling is a common problem for Lexus & the dealer knows it!
Browsing through clublexus forum, it seems this problem affects all Lexus owners globally. Over this part of the world, our
Lexus was manufactured & imported from Japan & it sells at a very premium price (on-the-road price was abt MYR 270,000 which
approximately equals USD 65,000). Long story short, I have my moon roof rubber seal replaced (to a newer & thicker version)
at the dealer after a complaint of rattling noise in July 2018. Unfortunately, that only slightly reduces the rattling & the problem was
not completely solved. I have spoken to the dealer. They said if replacing the new seal does not cure, the next step would be
to remove the headliner, tighten the bolts, insulate some roof sub-assembly etc. According to them, the rattling noise was
normally caused by vibration at the roof sliding track when there is free play due to worn rubber seal & hence replacing the seal
would do the tricks. So, the moral of the story is, replacing the seal may or may not solve your problem. Fingers crossed.
A good read of this rattling problem can be found at:
https://www.clublexus.com/forums/gs-...s-the-fix.html

Hope this helps.

Note: However, I am not able to find any technical service bulletin (TSB) from google. If anyone gets a hold of the copy, would
appreciate if you can upload at this forum.
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Old 12-24-18, 02:24 PM
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Oh dear....Iíve had to take my 2017 ES 350 into the dealer three times now for strange rattles all sounding like they are coming from the dash over bumpy roads.

They have had it a total of 40+ days now.

Iíve owned it for 14 months since new and it has 30k miles now.

Guess what...itís back at the dealer again as of right now. Last time they replaced the entire sunroof tray and it lasted 500 miles of silence.

Im getting to the point where I may contact Lexus corporate for my options.

I am not loving my ES. AT. ALL.

(Iíve put 9k miles on their loaner RXís though)
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Old 12-25-18, 10:00 AM
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Hey guys,
Sorry for the late update to my above post. I did end up replacing the seal & it did solve the problem. I have a buddy who is a Lexus tech so we just pulled the glass & did it. 4 bolts as reported above & very easy to adjust when reinstalled. The cabin is MUCH quieter now. It is about as quiet now with the glass tilted up as it was with the glass closed & the cover open before, HUGE difference. The noise level with the cover open now is no greater then any of the regular side windows. Nice to be able to drive around with the cover open again. Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-25-18, 11:51 AM
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Odd, but my 2013 has started doing this of late. I get it when the cover is open, not when closed. Others are correct. it does sound like a muffled suspension issue.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:31 PM
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2014 es. Only 39,000 miles. Always garaged. Sunroof rattles when hitting bumps. Since the sunroof has probably only been open 6-8 times a year x 5 years. (40 times total). I'm hoping it's the seal also. Lexus still wants us to cough up 1200.00. To fix a problem they causes by using cheap seal. Really disappointed
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Old Yesterday, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by pblank1020 View Post
2014 es. Only 39,000 miles. Always garaged. Sunroof rattles when hitting bumps. Since the sunroof has probably only been open 6-8 times a year x 5 years. (40 times total). I'm hoping it's the seal also. Lexus still wants us to cough up 1200.00. To fix a problem they causes by using cheap seal. Really disappointed
...you may want to try getting the replacement seal to try if the rattle will disappear.
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