This evening I decided I’d motor home with the moonroof open in the Saturn, and flipped the switch between the two visors. The glass lifted obligingly and then froze about 1″ away from the front edge of the opening, dead in its tracks. No sound from the motor, no grinding in the tracks. This has happened before, a number of years ago when Saturn was still in business and the car was under warranty, and they replaced the broken part free of charge. Now we’re on our own.
A search online revealed a detailed explanation of how to disassemble the roof of the car to get at the relevant parts (and take the entire moonroof assembly out), and another post contained the key bit of information I was looking for. GM, in its infinite wisdom, used a drive motor with a built-in manual gear to help wind the glass closed in the event of just such an emergency. In their customary stupidity, they hid access to this manual gear by covering it up completely, so in order to get a screwdriver on it, one has to remove the entire headliner. (Contrast this with our Honda, where there’s an unobtrusive plastic cap over the manual wind mechanism in the middle rear of the roof. Pop it off, and you’re in business).
So, tomorrow morning I’m going to head to Crazy Ray’s to see if they’ve still got one of the three SC-1’s from a month ago, and pull the switch to see if that’s the problem. If it still won’t close, I’m going to pull the headliner down over the weekend, crank the window closed manually, and just enjoy the breeze from the side windows instead.