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Discussion Starter #1
Well, nobody really seems to be interested in my build thread so I thought I would post this thread on how to replace a 5th gen roof skin. My roof had a hack job sunroof put in before I bought it and leaked like crazy. Plus I'm not a fan of sunroofs. They do not make new roof skins for 5th gens so I found someone who parted out el caminos and they cut the roof off where I wanted it. This is not as hard as everyone told me it would be, just very time consuming. Also a lot of people doubted I could do it and said it would be easier to just replace the sunroof. So I set out to prove them wrong. I'm not done with it yet but this is what I have so far.

The culprit


So here is the donor roof. Pics are of after I already started working on it.



You want to start off by melting all the lead out of the seams where the roof skin meets the top of the quarters and the A-pillars. Take care to not over heat and warp the skin. To make it easier your can remove all the paint with a DA sander and easily see where the seams are. Wear proper eye protection, respirator and old clothes you can throw away. Lead is pretty nasty stuff.

Location of lead seems




After all the lead is out by the tops of the quarters, you have about 3-4 spot welds that need to be cut out and about 3 short bead welds that need to be ground down. As for the A-pillars it is just a weld bead.

After all that is separated, you want to cutout all the spot welds that hold the skin on in the front and rear window channels. Be careful not to damage the skin. Also there are some weld beads that go from the tops of the quarter/roof seam onto the backside of the C-pillars and connect to the rear window channel. Carefully grind those down to separate the skin.

Once all that is complete, you need to separate the skin from the drip rails. This is very time consuming as there are a lot of spot welds and very hard to use a spot weld cutter. For the donor roof I ground down the spot welds on the bottom side of the drip rails till I was able to separate the skin. Be very careful not to damage the roof skin flange that is welded to the drip rail. Then after that, the skin should just slide right off:nanawrench:


Now for the removal of the one on the car. Your going to want to remove all the glass, seals, weatherstripping and trim. Also it would be a good idea to remove all of the interior.


Basically the procedure is the same thing but it doesn't really matter if you damage the skin at all. Instead of cutting all the spot welds I used a cutoff wheel and ground them all down which was way faster. Just be careful not to damage any of the roof frame or other metal areas under the skin. The only thing I did differently than when I cut the donor skin off is where the skin attaches to the drip rail. I didn't want to damage my drip rails, so I very carefully ground down the roof skin with a cut off wheel on the top side in the drip rail channel till it all separated.

Then your left with and El Convertible! lol





That's where I'm at now. I still need to clean everything up, paint it, and replace some rotted spots. Will probably update this next week.
 

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ZERO MPG
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Looks good keep posting pictures I'm always interested in what people are doing. That's the only way I can learn.:poke:
Thank's
Robert
 

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The easier faster way is to cut the posts below the leaded factory seams and MIG weld them back together. Just need to test fit the glass first before welding. Much easier, faster and better, with less areas for future rust. At least use weld thru primer on both sides of the skin and any other areas. Also be careful with distortion. Weld different areas and then come back to previously welded areas and do your adjacent welds. If you keep going in a straight line across the drip or windshirld area it could get ugly quick.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This way seems easier to me. I thought about doing it the other way but didn't want to chance the body possibly twisting or flexing with the inner supports cut out. Also I didn't want to deal with possibly screwing up the structural integrity of the car. I felt this was the safer route. I am fully aware of the possibility of rust areas and warping due to welding. I didn't spend all that money on auto body school for nothing! :nanawrench:
 

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A unibody might twist or flex but a full chassis probably not. Been doing this professionally since '78. But to each his own.
 

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When I purchased my '68, it had one of those boat window sun roofs that were popular in the 70's. It's the reason the PO parked it in a barn for 15+ years. Leaked even with the awful amounts of silicone sealant smeared all over the place.

I really didn't want to have to repaint so soon so I ended up buying a larger sunroof, cutting out the crap left behind from the other one, and leaving it at that. One day, when I'm ready to tackle the roof replacement, this thread will come in handy!

Thanks for the info! :nanawrench:
 
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