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ccwade81

Had sunroof, now hole. Patch hole or replace roof?

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Hey Guys,

I'm getting ready to start working on my '73 240z. It has been sitting in my garage as a stripped shell for a couple of years. I am going to start on the body work first and would like some advice on what to do with the roof. It had an aftermarket sunroof and I would like to get back to the slick top but there is obviously a Very Big Hole! I do not have any experience welding sheet metal but I have heard that it can warp if you're not tactful. Should I patch the hole or get a donor roof chopped off of some other 240z?

Thanks,

ccwade81

 

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I wouldn't try and remove the skin off of another car and put it on your car. I'd chop through the pillars and weld it there. Lots of people do that when they do a cage anyway, so it's not unheard of, and it's a lot harder to warp the pillar than it is the skin...

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two pics of roof skin removed.... Do it the right way and cut out spot welds on both roofs. Take a torch and heat up the rear pillars and melt away the body lead that is in this area.  Eastwood sells a Body lead kit for the new seams once new skin is on.   Do it this way and you will be very happy with the out come.

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Yes, that's the right way to do it. I had the same problem, and solved it the WRONG way. DO NOT cut the A-pillars; in some states that isn't legal and in some others it automatically gets you a salvage title. I cut the roof along the rear of the hatch, about an inch up from the hatch opening and about an inch up from the sides, instead of cutting the spot welds...now I have a roof that is slightly lopsided.

 

Cut the factory spot welds free and carefully work the edges of the panel up from under the lead...that's how it was installed to start with and it's the best way to put it back on.

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I have to do the same thing, are there leaded seems on the a pilars as well? or does it require cutting?

The lead is over the seams which will need to be cut out near windshield and rear hatch, just heat with torch and lead will melt away.

On the spot welds, the  way I did it was to drill small pilot holes for the spot welds, them I removed the spotwelds from the top on my car. On the donor car, I had the junk yard cut the roof off the car a few inches past what I needed. On the donor roof I drilled the spot welds out from under the roof so the donor roof was complete with only small pilot holes and I used these to reweld roof on and used 3M seam sealer along the rails.

 

 

This is why you dont just cut roof off at pillars and weld on...multi layers. that would be 4 including roof..

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original roof spot welds cut out from top.

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lead can be seen in this pic.

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spot welds cut out from underside of donor roof, will have to trim some areas to get to backside of spot welds as shown here.

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End result of a correct roof replacement.

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Edited by nix240z

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I don't know what that picture is of, but I just cut a roof off and took it to a Z shop when it didn't sell because it was in such good condition that I couldn't let it go to scrap. If you cut say 4" down on the A pillar, there are no layers inside. I don't remember a lot of layering in the rear pillars either.  I cut them below the lead in the rear.

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When I bought the A-pillars for my Z from John at Betamotorsports, they have 4 layers inside them as well. I needed the outer layer just above the door opening, which I was able to laboriously remove after drilling out 22 spot welds...on my 1972 and on the 1975 donor A-pillar, the structure is square-ish with a triangulated brace going from the front of the windshield side to the back outer of the door side, sandwiched in as part of the rain gutter.

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Nix has the proper repair procedure.

The pillars are layered, and structural, unlike the roof.

 

To properly lay beads in the pillars, you need progressively larger sections to access the smaller cuts in further. For the efort, Nix's method isactually faster! i made that mistake ONCE and won't repeat it.

 

The reason people ageing a car cut the roof is the cage becomes the structure... Most builders actually just cut an access hole in the roof corners to complete the tubing for the cage close to the roof. Or they skin it like Nix documents.

 

It's not really that big a job to skin a roof or door compared to the A-Pillars. And the caveat on registration in some states is a valid point. There was legislation in response to hack shops that section a roof, weld it back on using only the outermost portions of the pillar, and have tragic results in an accident.

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Sooooo, use an Anglegrinder with a sandpaper or wire disk to find the actual leadfilled seem? Melt the lead away, drill the spotwelds, preferably with a spotweld drill bit, make sure to use a tapper to make guideholes. Then off she comes? Or, is the skin glued as well? Is there a trick to get it loose after the welds are gone?

 

I am thinking of gluing the roof back on using Tec 7, i have used Tec 7 with great sucsess on other cars, but i am slightly reluctant being creativ on the Zed :P Will there be drawbacks to my master plan? the reason i am thinking of this solution is that i am slightly reluctant to weld, i have little experience with thinsheet welding, and i dont have a spotwelder on hand. I do have a stick welder and MIG/MAG.

 

Then again... Holes from the spotwelds..

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The reason people ageing a car cut the roof is the cage becomes the structure... Most builders actually just cut an access hole in the roof corners to complete the tubing for the cage close to the roof. Or they skin it like Nix documents.

 

It's not really that big a job to skin a roof or door compared to the A-Pillars. And the caveat on registration in some states is a valid point. There was legislation in response to hack shops that section a roof, weld it back on using only the outermost portions of the pillar, and have tragic results in an accident.

You make a good point. The people I'd seen cut the pillars were putting in a cage, and that is what I would be doing if I had to put a roof on a car too.

 

You make a bad point. Well, not you, but legislators do, since we can buy convertibles and those are deemed safe to drive. Maybe there is legislation out there on that subject, but it's just as bad as the legislation that says that we need crumple zones and air bags, but it's totally fine to leave the car dealer and go next door and buy a motorcycle.

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You make a bad point. Well, not you, but legislators do, since we can buy convertibles and those are deemed safe to drive. Maybe there is legislation out there on that subject, but it's just as bad as the legislation that says that we need crumple zones and air bags, but it's totally fine to leave the car dealer and go next door and buy a motorcycle.

 

Convertibles typically have reinforced A-pillars and pop up or fixed roll hoops. This is getting off topic, but since you brought it up, I'm not sure what your point is? Are you saying we should have a single safety standard applied to all vehicles and consequently ban convertibles and motorcycles? Or abandon all legislation and let manufacturers build whatever they want regardless of how much of a death trap it may be? Seems pretty reasonable to me to apply different standards to different types of transportation.

 

Nigel

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You're right, I did go off topic there. I was apparently wrong about the pillars. To restate though, if it were it my car, it would get a cage and I'd cut the pillars.

 

The regulations thing is going to be politics and I shouldn't have brought it up.

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I have to ask, why is it an issue to just patch the hole left by the sunroof? Are you guys worried about not maintaining the arch of the roof or the possibility of 'oil canning' or is there a structural issue?

 I removed the old sunroof, complete with the alien sticker, cleaned up the hole itself and the surrounding metal and then traced a pattern on poster board. I then transferred the pattern to the doner roof in the same position and cut it with a little room to spare. I then carefully trimmed the patch to a consistant 1/32" gap and tacked the piece in. I completed the weld,just tacking and jumping from place to place to minimize heat build up. After completing the weld I sanded most of the weld reinforcement and did some initial hammer and dolly work. It still needs some additional sanding and hammer work but looks like after some minor filling and blocking it should come out fine. I am going with a matte or flat paint, by the way.

 

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