Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
Car: 2012 Outback LTD
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I agree with your assessment to glue the seal back into place. Don't use windshield adhesive, as it is a one time instant grab and doesn't allow for working with the seal if it requires some movement to seat properly. The stuff is very expensive and VERY messy and almost impossible to get off your hands, the paint, and anything else you might get it on.
There is a black weatherstripping adhesive that would be a better choice. Its fairly inexpensive to buy and comes in a tube better suited to the size of the job you're tackling.
The key is to follow the tube's instructions to the letter. Make sure that both the seal and the surface you are attaching it to are cleaned well with alcohol to get a good bond.
You might try attaching your original seal if it hasn't been stretched out of shape and will fit properly if glued. If its mishapened/ripped/stretched in any way, you would be better off ordering a new seal. Compare the diagrams carefully and be sure to order the correct one.
As bodyshops are better equipped to handle a job like this (they are attaching weatherstripping all of the time, and have the glues and experience needed), it might be a better option.
I've had the sunroof assembly out of my 2004 OBW LTD to repair the lift mechanism of the front tilt sunroof years ago. It will be very similar to your 98, but I can't say for certain. The 97 I had ... well its too many years ago to recall if it was set up exactly the same.
Getting the front sunroof out is a piece of cake. Basically you disconnect the back of the sunroof from its lift mechanism (two or four nuts under a couple of plastic caps), then lift the sunroof up high enough to unbolt the front two hinges (again under some plastic caps that hide the nuts.). Remember where all of the shims go and how many are used in each location, as they need to go back in the same location. Then just lift the glass out of the roof opening. This whole job shouldn't take more than 10 -15 minutes.
After the seal fix, reinstall the glass and then road test at highway speeds to detect wind noise. (Ask me how I know) You may have to loosen the various bolts and slightly slide the glass to one side or the other to get it right.
This is a DIYer job if you have some tooling experience, otherwise let some body shop do the job. It shouldn't cost a lot to get fixed. Good Luck!