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Removal of sunroof on FC

Old 04-22-07, 11:47 PM
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Removal of sunroof on FC

I'd really like to get rid of the aftermarket glass sunroof on my '89 GTUs.
Anyone know of good methods to do this that aren't too expensive and look OK?

I've heard one guy rivit a piece of aluminum over the hole, and another mentioning a donor roof. Any other ideas?
The best would be a recommendation of a shop that does such things!

I'm posting this here, since it's the racers that should have the most experience with it.

Thanks,
Jim

Last edited by 897na; 04-23-07 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 04-23-07, 12:31 AM
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Find a 89 GTUs with a metal sunroof if it is the same size, and possibly have a body shop weld it in place/paint over it?

I dont know anywhere specifically that would do this work, but any custom/rod shop should know of someone, if you asked them.
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Old 04-23-07, 12:41 AM
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Well, I'm pretty sure the hole that was cut for this sunroof is larger than that of the stock sunroof. I was thinking of going to a place that installs these, and get the piece that they cut out of another car.

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 04-23-07, 12:50 AM
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Its easiest to work near the edges of the roof when welding a new piece in. Get a whole roof panel out of any FC, cut it about an inch from each edge. Any good shop can weld it on for you they will know the metal is going to grow as its welded and can control it. A littel filler work and sanding and its done.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:01 AM
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If you get the Whole sunroof assembly,It would benefit you(in a Way)..the Assembly Bolts to the roof and Also it acts as a Brace/support/reinforcement..So the Roof is Less prone to Flex.The Skeleton itself with the Motor weighs about 35 pounds..it's a real SNOT to get it up and in With One person,but can be done..anyhow,hope the tip is something you Can Mull over in your Search for info...
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Old 05-10-07, 04:11 PM
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Weld in a new roof. There's no sunroof that replaces the aftermarket glass roof, except another aftermarket glass roof. The top of the roof is a major flex point. I was wondering the same thing and talked to my mechanic about it, and that's what he suggested. FYI, A new roof is about 600 bucks.
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Old 05-11-07, 04:17 PM
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or 50 bucks, 2 friends, and a sawzall at your local Picknpull..

Of course the price for it to be welded to your car... well that could be a lot higher.

If it's a street car, well I'd leave it alone. We're talking about a lot of work. Buying a donor car, swapping all your go fast goodies over, and getting that car setup would be cheaper than the new roof, cutting, welding and painting.

If it's a race car, grab a sheet of aluminum, some pop rivets, and some sealant, and go to town.

PaulC
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Old 05-23-07, 07:22 PM
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You can't get the non sunroof roof panels anymore new

I back ordered one from Mazdacomp only to be told it is no longer available- BTW they shipped my door out from Japan, so it is not like they just didn't know where to find one.
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Old 05-23-07, 07:49 PM
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I just did this for a fellow forum member. Here is a few shots. I was joking with him about the roof looking like a golf ball before I even started. Your looking at about 6 hours work from cutting the donor roof to the final frontal picture. Basically spot welded on until I could do about 1/2 inch long welds to keep things from warping. Also had a wet towel to cool things off between welds. Started at the corners then moved to the middle of each side, then kept spotting the middle of every gap created.
Attached Thumbnails Removal of sunroof on FC-roof1.jpg   Removal of sunroof on FC-roof2.jpg   Removal of sunroof on FC-roof3.jpg   Removal of sunroof on FC-roof4.jpg  
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Old 05-24-07, 02:39 PM
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You can still get the non sunroof roof center support bar new that ties the front and rear bulkheads together along with the roof.

Though it is pretty flimsy, so I don't know how much it will do.
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Old 05-24-07, 03:29 PM
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The cheapest/easiest way would be to rivet a sheet of aluminum (for l33t weight reduction) onto the hole... don't forget to use sealant (RTV, etc) to keep the rain out. Make sure to paint this metal first, so you can avoid needing to mask up the car to paint it after you install it (just use a small brush to paint the rivets or any scratches afterwards). Unless you don't care about the color...

The BEST way would be to simply weld some steel (aluminum would be nice but it take an expert to weld it), grind it smooth, bondo, sand, prime, paint, etc... and don't forget some sort of structural support across it as well (I don't see why it would need to be the same as the OEM supports... just a couple flat pieces of steel or something, welded in a cross pattern or something). And then replace the ceiling trim with that from a non-sunroof car.

I really don't see any reason why you'd need to hack the roof off another RX-7 when you just need someone to weld in some sheet metal of the proper thickness, and a few supports.
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Old 05-24-07, 03:55 PM
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No need to weld it. Get a flanger, and put a 1/2 inch flange all the way around the opening. Cut the new roof to lay into the flange. There are some incredible panel adhesives out there that will bond the panel to the roof. Check with your local bodyshop supply house.

No heat, no distortion, no burnt paint, minimal grinding, etc.
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Old 05-24-07, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Valkyrie View Post

I really don't see any reason why you'd need to hack the roof off another RX-7 when you just need someone to weld in some sheet metal of the proper thickness, and a few supports.
If you want it to look good at all a stock roof added on is the way to go. You're dealing with compound curves on the roof. its66 has a very good way with some of the new adhesives out there. Heck, the Lotus Elise chassis is 'glued' together. That would be a real easy way for a race car.
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Old 05-24-07, 06:34 PM
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Oh yeah, I forgot about those chassis glues...

If this was the same size and location as the OEM sunroof, I don't see why you couldn't simply weld a piece in and make it look like it was never there (WITH the proper body work).

You could make up for any convexity of the roof with the supports, though...
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Old 05-25-07, 03:13 PM
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If this was the same size and location as the OEM sunroof, I don't see why you couldn't simply weld a piece in and make it look like it was never there (WITH the proper body work).
Proper body work being the key...

The body shop I went to just welded in a new stock sunroof panel with all the supports intact even after I told them the right way to do it (they hate that don't they).

The problems-

If you leave (or create too rigid) flanging around the sunroof hole the metal will expand and contract differently and show the outline of the sunroof if the paint is very shiny.

The stock sunroof panel does not have the correct contour for the roof around it.

The non sunroof roof liner fits very close to the roof and there must be nothing hanging down where it wouldn't on a stock non sunroof car.

It is a large smooth expanse of metal- any flaws will show; of course, who cares if this is really just a race car
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Old 05-25-07, 03:20 PM
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The closer to the edge of the roof the flange is for the patch panel the better as the rigidity that the flange adds will not affect the expansion and contraction much at all as it is close to the rigid "corner" of the roof.

That is why a whole donor roof would be preffered.

If it must be a small patch panel- it is probably best not to flange at all, but place the formed patch panel under a clean cut edge of the roof and use adhesive or spot weld on a smallish overlap- use a premium filler to make up the thickness of the roof sheetmetal (not much needed). Use stock center reinforcement so roof liner fits.
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Old 06-13-07, 06:06 PM
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you could always take all the sun roof stuff out motor, skeleton, etc. and fiberglass the top back on it, that should work right?
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Old 06-14-07, 12:22 AM
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blue tii: I can see your filler to make up the thickness as possibly flaking reaaaaaaaaaally bad.

I'm sure if a good bodyshop did it, they could make it work, but I just think of a bad bondo job, and very large thin section as being very flakey
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Old 06-14-07, 02:03 AM
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I am no body man, but from what I know you want the filler as thin as possible.

Even Bondo (which I wouldn't call a premium filler :P ) is ONLY to be applied in very thin areas to blend, it is any thick patch that cracks.

Whether it flakes is a function of its flexibility (which is based on how thin it is), adhesion and how much it contracts as it cures (which is based on how thick it is).

Like any other solid I can think of the thinner body filler is the more flexible it is and the less likely to crack when put through a range of motion.
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Old 06-14-07, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 897na View Post
I'd really like to get rid of the aftermarket glass sunroof on my '89 GTUs.
Anyone know of good methods to do this that aren't too expensive and look OK?

I've heard one guy rivit a piece of aluminum over the hole, and another mentioning a donor roof. Any other ideas?
The best would be a recommendation of a shop that does such things!

I'm posting this here, since it's the racers that should have the most experience with it.

Thanks,
Jim
Find a shop with an English wheel, pay them $100 for a piece of AK steel, 18 gauge with a little curve to fit the top and rivet or weld it in. If you use a flat piece of of Aluminum, it will look like you use a flat piece riveted to the top of your car. It will look a whole lot better with a crown. Find a restoration shop. There is about a conjillion in your area.
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Old 07-29-07, 09:33 PM
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I've just had an epiphany...

rather than using sheet metal, one could just take the stock sunroof, cut off any peices that aren't flat, and then use bits of thick metal under the sunroof to weld it in place, and if nessicary, weld in the stock roof support (not sure if it even matters, since the roof WITH the sunroof is only as "stiff" as the sunroof is anywa y... unless taking out the sunroof guts makes the roof weak). After that, bondo, sand and paint... then replace the roof trim.



Also, does anyone know if the mouse seatbelt track makes the pillar thicker than the non-mouse belt? It would be nice to gain a bit more head movement (so I don't hit myself on it). Unless you can't remove the track and replace the trim...

I wonder if they even made blue non-mouse trim for the B pillar...
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Old 07-29-07, 10:27 PM
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Canadian and overseas S5's didn't get the stupid automatic seatbelts. You could use that trim, or probably the trim from an S4.
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Old 07-29-07, 10:58 PM
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You can match the color with plastic paint on your trim.

As for the roof, welding or adhesive is the way to go with a donor roof panel.
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Old 08-15-07, 12:36 PM
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You can actually buy the roof panel and support new from MMS...

Assuming they're actually still available...
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Old 08-15-07, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Valkyrie View Post
You can actually buy the roof panel and support new from MMS...

Assuming they're actually still available...
long dead...
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