Sunroofs on some Acura RDXs were popping back open after being closed, and Honda engineers were stumped for months, said Bloomington Acura GM Mark Rosenthal. Then along came technician Marlowe Peterson.
The technical help line advised Peterson to order new brackets to try, and none of the six fixed the problem, so engineers were considering a redesign, Peterson said. After pulling the sunroof apart piece by piece and more than 30 hours of experimentation and repair attempts, he found a solution. Assistant Service Manager John Reinan captured it on video and sent it to Acura.
“You had the entire engineering department whipped up into a meringue,” said a techline rep to Peterson. The slide bracket openings were too small, but some careful work with a file and grease solved the problem. The video is now used across the country. “It’s literally gone viral, not on YouTube, though,” Peterson said. Rosenthal said the fix could save the manufacturer hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Peterson said this is the third time in his extensive career that he’s received this type of recognition. The first involved a technical service bulletin for the 1986 Honda Accord LXi. He solved a fuel pressure regulator problem that had stumped another store, and almost prompted a vehicle “buy back.”
The second was in 1988, when a seat belt retracting issue led to a “ridiculous” number of belt replacements on year-old cars. Saving Honda thousands, Peterson discovered the belts were gathering debris from clothing due to normal static, causing a restriction in the upper loop.