If you want the ultimate M3, you’ve got to have the M3 CSL’s carbon fiber roof for the most weight savings where it matters – up top. If your M3 has a sunroof you can either replace the entire roof with a carbon fiber skin like the CSL or replace the factory sunroof with a carbon fiber panel insert. The carbon fiber sunroof delete panels can be found for under $400 and can be installed in just a couple of hours with nothing more than your basic hand tools.
The most popular sunroof delete panels in the E46 community are those made by the late Chad Nelson (R.I.P.) and S2R Tuning. The panel I purchased was one of the last made by Chad Nelson before he passed away in a tragic helicopter crash in September 2013. Fitment was spot on and it came with mounting holes pre-drilled to make installation a breeze.
The first step is to remove the headliner. This is as simple as unscrewing the sun visors, roof handles and popping out the A, B and C pillar covers. Without ever doing this job before it took about 30 minutes to get the headliner out of the car. Removing the front seats was not necessary. Next, find a friend to sit in the car and hold the sunroof up while you remove the dozen or so screws that hold it in place. Then carefully navigate it out of the car. For good.
Next, grab the sunroof delete panel and slide it in place to ensure it fits well. Now decide how you’re going to prevent water from leaking in around the edges. You might run a thick bead of sealant around the corners.
Make sure the weather stripping tape doesn’t get snagged on the lip of the sunroof opening when lifting the panel through. It’s a good idea to have your friend hold the panel in place while bolting it up. Once in place, I then took a razor blade and trimmed away any protruding weather stripping tape. I trimmed enough away so that I can lay a bead of Permatex black sealant if needed.
If you see leaks, there are a few options. You might choose one or a combination.
- Run a bead of sealant around the entire edge on the top.
- Grab some weather safe tape and cover the edges
- Vinyl wrap the entire roof
Once you’ve confirmed there are no leaks and all looks good, re-install the headliner reverse of the removal and enjoy!
Be sure to check out my BMW M3 and all the modifications on WheelWell.com