You were spot on! Your post from 2008 helped me tonight, Monday, August 12, 2013.
I have a 1994 4Runner SR5 V6, 148,000 miles. I opened the moonroof and couldn't get it to close. The motor would spin in the open position but the motor wouldn't turn on to close it. I pried the cover off, with a lot of effort. The left side came off easier than the right. I kept at it until it came off. The rest was exactly as you described. I did take pictures but there are not ready for posting.
First take the cover off.
Put a screw driver under the plate right under the word open and pull down.
This tab clips straight in and out?
There is another tab on the close side. This one you need to push the plastic with a flat screwdriver towards the back of the car just a couple of millimeters and then pull down.
Don't worry about the tab on the far left it is metal and you can yank hard once you get the ones near the open and close ones free.
Once the plate is off ignore the 3 small screws for now and look for the 2 bigger screws that hold the whole switch assembly to the roof.
Take out these 2 bigger screws and the entire switch dangles from the roof by the wire.
Then take out the 3 small screws to get into the switch.
Once the switch is open and you play with it you will see the problem is a small square made out of plastic with a spring attached. The small square is shaped like a window frame. One side of the window frame was cracked and wouldn't push clear of the "CLOSE" switch. My square was broken in 2 places.
I removed the square and the spring and put everything back together. It now looks exactly like it did before.
The button is still there but no mechanism inside.
The switch now works without having to push the safety button!
?I have effectively created the sun roof of death and will have to require any future owners of my car to sign a waiver that they will not stick their head out in a drunk stupor and slide the roof shut.?
I hope that helps. These comments by "slimtimbodin" saved me a trip to the dealer and probably $500. I doubt the Toyota dealer would have simply removed the "USELESS, ANNOYING" safety? Switch.
Monday, August 12th, 2013 AT 6:45 PM