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Well it is in!!! More to follow. But it looks just like factory. The guy helping me was great! He did all the spot welds and even bent the metal around the edges just like factory. It is very sturdy.

All I can say is that you'd better keep an umbrella handy in the car, because this red neck engineering job you want to do will leak like s**t.

What is the real difference between his job, and an aftermarket unit other than he is doing the cutting? if he is great with the cutting torch it will turn out decently, if not, he better have a plan

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Yes, That is exactly what I want my car to look like when I am finished cutting. I may as well just bring it to a demolition site and have a building collapse onto it. I appreciate your extremely uplifting and encouraging comments. It isn't your car, and if you don't have constructive comments or suggestions other than don't do it, then don't bother commenting on the thread. If you have read any of my beginning posts, Shadowfax, you would realize a number of things. Refer to post #1. For starters, you would know that I am not rushing this project at all. I would not classify it as redneck. Careful planning will be put into play. Next, I am not doing the cutting alone. I am going to have someone who possesses skill and experience helping with the hole, along with the correct tools. A fine toothed jig saw or an air nibbler will more than likely be the tool of choice. Additionally, you would know that I have plans for the leaks. I expect it to leak. All factory units do, but they have drainage tubes which I intend to run.. and not into the cabin.. but rather to the vents where they are supposed to. And since when does my age have anything to do with how well I can do something? We all learn by doing. I have added a number of different things and do quite a bit with my car.. all by myself because I took the time to plan and then carefully executed. I enjoy learning how to do things, and have become quite handy with many things. I take pride in my work. Yes, the cutting is the hard part... but with a little assistance, measuring, and cutting smaller to begin with until I get the perfect fit, what is the issue?

So back to what I was saying.. that type of trim may work. I am going to look into a number of things. I have to have several options. I can picture this in my mind, and am pretty good with execution once all the plans come out. Anything else I may be overlooking?

Edited by TaurusDailyDriver
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I am enjoying following the conversations on this thread, honestly I am.

I was just out in our garage taking a look at my son's latest project. He is converting a Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 into a pickup. The irony is he has removed the sunroof and plans on filling in the roof with sheet metal. I hassle him as much as I hassle others in this forum (one of the prerogatives of old age.) He uses an air powered nibbler to cut sheet metal to fit and a MIG/TIG welder to weld the pieces into place. Foregoing any further sarcasm, my advice is to get yourself some good quality tools and go for it. My son explained that electrical tools heat up under heavy use and either burn out at the most inopportune times or stall out. He is really sold on air tools.

Just a thought (afterthought actually). Have you considered installing the sunroof in a different location from stock, say over the back seat where it would serve some beneficial (ahem) purpose? Plus a non stock location would make your project stand out. (And this is actually a serious suggestion, not a joke or poke fun at you.)

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Yes an Air Nibbler would be ideal. Wish you were local haha!! Now I have a plan B if I mess up my cut too badly.. I can come to your son for sheet metal to fix it!! Ha and No I definitely plan to keep it in the stock position. It isn't really for show.. just for my enjoyment! That is where it will fit the best.. especially because of the curve of the glass and roof, and then the wiring in the headliner. That, and I really don't want to take any chances. Interesting idea though. If you could.. ask your son if I am overlooking anything in my project plans

Edited by TaurusDailyDriver
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The only advice he offered was to weld rather than glue. But then again, he is not a trained body man. He enjoys using the welder. And yeah, he knows how good he has it (guess who paid for the air tools, etc.) On the other hand, he did "build" my SVT-WGN so I guess we are even.

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Well I thought I'd have to weld it.. but it is just adhesive holding it in when it comes from the factory.. Man I wish I had access to an air nibbler.

Ha we will see! Thinking I have someone who may be willing to help me with the cut but all he has is a sawzall. Not sure how that would work. Don't really want to take a chance.

Edited by TaurusDailyDriver
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don't get any sealer or anything of the sort in any area where you might be welding two pieces toghether otherwise the welds could be brittle.

I know we have a person who went to school to make a living welding on here so perhaps he will see this and give some pointers.

Pretty sure that's me. Making a living welding in the sawmills and currently studying for my pressure ticket on pipe.

If you get sealer in where your weld is, you're going to get porosity (think swiss cheese and you aren't far off) which not only makes it brittle but completely unsound for any sort of strength. But that's not your biggest issue. It's one thing to structurally weld two pieces of metal together... it's another to seal weld something (as in, to make it water-tight.)

And on 20 gauge sheet metal like you're about to work on, you physically can't put enough heat into the panel without blowing holes in it. (Ask Shady, hes the autobody guy, I'm sure he's heard experienced it before.)

And then, if you do somehow get it to hold water after welding... Your roof is going to look like the goddamned Pacific Ocean with all the waves and ripples in it. Metal distorts. It's a fact of life. But it's going to look like s**t on the roof of your car. Hell, if you get enough distortion into your car, your doors might not even close anymore. Plus, if your insurance company ever found out you modified the roof (which is, by the way, a major structural component in your car) they will probably deny your claim.

If you mechanically adhere it (That is, with an adhesive/glue) good luck getting it to be 100% water-proof without using a 5-gallon pail's worth of silicone. And don't forget, after you cut the roof, the paint is probably going to chip and flake and look like total garbage. But that's probably okay because at that point you'll just go down to Autozone and pick up a can of color match, right?

A respected friend of mine is in the auto collision trade and he says "Ask any good auto bodyman and he'll tell you the one job he'll never put his name on - and that's swapping a roof on a car." Even if you properly remove it at the spot welds in the pillars and replace it with a new panel, you'll have so much labor into the car it exceeds the value of the vehicle.

In short... Leave sunroofs to the pro's. This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Sorry to ruin your dreams. -_-

Ian

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Ha well I appreciate your insight. I have a professional who is looking into this project with me. We will both decide if it is too much of a risk. I do not intend to weld.. but to use industrial adhesive. This will hold it well into place while the two support fins as well as the support beam holds it up and helps keep the integrity of the roof. This would prevent it from rippling the roof or causing it to sag. Again, I know it is not going to be water tight. That's what the drainage system takes care of. Although I will make it seal to the best of my ability on top of that. I don't think it could ever distort to the point of causing my doors to not close. I have the frame.. which will not be distorting due to a sunroof. The support beams will be holding it up so I don't see how terrible distortion could possibly take place.

The adhesive is not for the glass. The adhesive holds the tray up in the roof so this would have nothing to really do with waterproofing it. I do work at Advance Auto so if I need paint and other supplies, I have those available. But the trick is to tape around where you'll be doing the cutting to prevent paint damage.

It still looks feasible. So far, any concerns of people have been addressed. Again, I cannot say it enough.. .If the professional is going to help me and do a great job, then why the hell not do it? It'll be cut correctly, supported, and it is a cool addition. But if it ends up being too risky, then I won't want to take the chance.

Edited by TaurusDailyDriver
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DO NOT use a jigsaw on your roof unless you test it at the junkyard first. (on the roof you pulled the sunroof out of.

This way you will see how much a jigsaw will probably mangle the metal. - Your goal is clean cuts if you don't want leaks and for that I'd say use a dremel tool with a heavy duty cutting wheel and do not overheat the metal (otherwise paint will fleck).

Dremel tool with heavy duty cutoff wheel working slowly and having an assistant spray cooling water on the area being cut and cutoff wheel.

I would probably also use a micrometer and go back over with a precision tape measure to measure the absolute edge distances of the sunroof hole on the front and left / right sides and then use the tape measure only on the back side.

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and for sealant along the edge of the cut hole and frame of the sunroof assembly I'd likely use black urethane windshield adhesive. - Holds lots of PSI once cured and you can squirt nice big beads of it up there on both the inside and outside of the roof. latex gloves and an electric caulk gun and some sort of interior protection (don't want to rub any of that thick s**t on the seats) are required if you go this route.

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Yes Yes :-) you would be the usual suspect, My man!

Pretty sure that's me. Making a living welding in the sawmills and currently studying for my pressure ticket on pipe.

If you get sealer in where your weld is, you're going to get porosity (think swiss cheese and you aren't far off) which not only makes it brittle but completely unsound for any sort of strength. But that's not your biggest issue. It's one thing to structurally weld two pieces of metal together... it's another to seal weld something (as in, to make it water-tight.)

And on 20 gauge sheet metal like you're about to work on, you physically can't put enough heat into the panel without blowing holes in it. (Ask Shady, hes the autobody guy, I'm sure he's heard experienced it before.)

And then, if you do somehow get it to hold water after welding... Your roof is going to look like the goddamned Pacific Ocean with all the waves and ripples in it. Metal distorts. It's a fact of life. But it's going to look like s**t on the roof of your car. Hell, if you get enough distortion into your car, your doors might not even close anymore. Plus, if your insurance company ever found out you modified the roof (which is, by the way, a major structural component in your car) they will probably deny your claim.

If you mechanically adhere it (That is, with an adhesive/glue) good luck getting it to be 100% water-proof without using a 5-gallon pail's worth of silicone. And don't forget, after you cut the roof, the paint is probably going to chip and flake and look like total garbage. But that's probably okay because at that point you'll just go down to Autozone and pick up a can of color match, right?

A respected friend of mine is in the auto collision trade and he says "Ask any good auto bodyman and he'll tell you the one job he'll never put his name on - and that's swapping a roof on a car." Even if you properly remove it at the spot welds in the pillars and replace it with a new panel, you'll have so much labor into the car it exceeds the value of the vehicle.

In short... Leave sunroofs to the pro's. This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Sorry to ruin your dreams. -_-

Ian

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The only way a jigsaw could possibly work is if it is fine toothed. But I want to avoid using that and avoid using a sawzall. I want to use either an air nibbler or as you said, a dremel tool. That'd be ideal. Yes, much measuring will be taking place! :P The area to be cut will be taped.. such as the one in this video. It helps keep paint protected. What I am talking about is at the 1 minute mark. I have watched so many of these videos!!!

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The guys in the other auto body class are doing exactly what you plan. They had a crashed nitro with a sunroof and got the part to fix it without a sunroof. now they are adding the sunroof.

post-20-0-84913200-1332374123_thumb.jpg

post-20-0-94585300-1332374167_thumb.jpg

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So they are cutting and installing a sunroof into a roof that does not have one? Hmm..sounds familiar.. and let me know about that!! I am curious as to how they do it.Wonder if it is exactly my idea!

Any suggestions based on what they are doing there?

Edited by TaurusDailyDriver
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Just an update on progress. I have a gentleman who is going to be helping me with the project!! He is now retired, after 30 years working for a company where he specialized in metal work and welding. He now makes makes a bit of money making custom frames, parts, etc out of metal on the side and has done projects on several hot rods and classic cars, and has even done automotive roof work. Tools of choice.. a pneumatic cutoff tool and electric angle grinder with a cut off wheel. He will be taking a look at the car soon. Glad to have a professional cutting the hole here, as many people had some doubts. Yes, I see why. Ha but this is awesome. I was with the lady today in her Cavalier LS Sport with a moonroof.. then when I got back to the bull.. I was just thinking how nice it'd be! Ahh I WANT!!! Now it is looking even more like I will get! ^_^ Woo! And he will cut it and I will install the rest. 3M adhesive it is.

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I work at Advance Auto too.. and yes I am getting something just like that!!!! I am so thrilled. He has a buddy who lives far away, but does sunroof installations only for a living so he is talking to him as well about pointers, tips, what to watch out for, etc. Call me crazy... but I am going to have a hole cut in my baby's roof!!! :ph34r: I'll document this with photos. Either it will be how to install a factory sunroof, or how to fix your roof if you cut a hole in it.

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I was unable to open the first link, but don't use seam sealer as an adhesive. I'm guessing the link i could not open was the adhesive.
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I work at Advance Auto too.. and yes I am getting something just like that!!!! I am so thrilled. He has a buddy who lives far away, but does sunroof installations only for a living so he is talking to him as well about pointers, tips, what to watch out for, etc. Call me crazy... but I am going to have a hole cut in my baby's roof!!! :ph34r: I'll document this with photos. Either it will be how to install a factory sunroof, or how to fix your roof if you cut a hole in it.

Glad you are getting some expert help. I've done just enough sheet metal work to know how difficult this is.
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Glad you are getting some expert help. I've done just enough sheet metal work to know how difficult this is.

Yes, it isn't that exactly. It is a mulitpurpose adhesive made of strong urethane. And yes, I was weary of doing it alone. Hoping this will go smoothly!!! Hopefully it will be in in about 2 weeks.

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Why is your car on a tow truck?

That's how he drives it around. Trying to keep the miles low :lol:

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