need help welding a new roof on a car

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  #1  
Old 04-02-04, 09:50 AM
needtodry
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need help welding a new roof on a car

i am not going to chop the top or anything like that what i want to do is cut off the old top and weld on a sunroof model roof on a notchback i have.. i have good welding skills just have never attempted anything this major on a car and being that this one is rare i dont want to ruin the car . does anyone have any advice on what would be the best way to make sure i cut the old roof off in the same manner that the one i want to weld on was cut so the doors close and everything looks like it use to when done .. the best thing i could come up with was making a template of the new roof and fitting it to the original roof and marking it that way but to me seems as though there would be alot of room for error here.. or am i just better off taking it to someone who knows and has done it already

thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 04-02-04, 06:21 PM
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The marking and welding would be the least of it.

If you want this project to come out decent you would not only need good welding skills but also bodywork experience to be able to weld light guage material without distorting and also the skill to properly finish the welds to be invisible.
You would also need to be able to properly finish the headliner where the cut is made.

This is not a totally impossible first project but the odds of failure are high.
What about an aftermarket sunroof. There are some pretty nice ones out there.

BTW, what kind of car is it?
 
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Old 04-02-04, 07:43 PM
W
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Your idea seems like a huge job with many things that can go bigtime wrong.

Why not just install a sunroof? I've seen places that will do it for a few hundred with a leak guarantee. Can't beat that
 
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Old 04-03-04, 12:25 AM
needtodry
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i want to install this roof due to the fact as i came off a parts car same year same type of car.. the welding skills im not worried about or the body work as i have done tons of sheet metal replacement on various old cars i just never have done a whole roof swap.. just was wanting ideas on the best way to mark it and cut it ... i have a NOS headliner already just wanting ideas on how to get the old one cut off correctly

and i dont want aftermarket anything cause of how rare the car is and how long it has taken me to find another car with a sunroof which was the only way they came other than hardtop that wasnt restored
 
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Old 04-03-04, 12:28 AM
needtodry
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oh i forgot to tell you what type of car it is ... its a 1964 type s VW notchback Austrailian issue right hand drive
 
  #6  
Old 04-03-04, 10:13 AM
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needtodry:

If you are going to just cut around the sunroof portion here is what I would do.
First decide how much you are going to cut the sunroof section and mark but don't cut it. Eight inches from the perimeter of the sunroof would probably do it.
Then mark the roof of the good vehicle so that the hole is a full one inch smaller than the sunroof piece.
Use a square to make sure it is not off kilter.
Now cut the hole in the good vehicle first.
You then will need an autobody tool called a panel crimper or flanger.

<img src="http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/41600-41699/41696-t.gif">
Image credit: harborfreight.com

This tool will make a depression around the opening for the sunroof piece to drop into which will require a minimum of fill to level.
Once you have crimped the good vehicle you can verify the size of the opening and then cut the sunroof out to match the opening.
Tack in place making sure you use short welds to minimize distortion.

If you have a donor vehicle you would do well to practice with the flanger so you will get the hang of it.

There is a hand flanger available for a very low price but I think you would have a hard time getting the flange even.

Here is a link for panel repair tips.
 
  #7  
Old 04-04-04, 07:53 PM
needtodry
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i actually have to put the whole roof from the sunroof model due to the fact that it retracts into the roof and the hardtop model doesnt have the pocket to accept the sunroof when it retarcts. so its a complete roof replacement that i have to do. so i am looking for advice or tips on how to mark the roof thats on there to be cut with as much post left as it would take for the new (sunroof model roof) needs so the roof sits at the correct height . hope this makes better sense
 
  #8  
Old 04-04-04, 08:34 PM
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Ah, I see.

Would be nice to see some pics.
Maybe you could find a vehicle like yours and provide a link to it.

Cutting and welding the pillars is a job that will take a great deal of skill.
The fit up and welds will have to be top notch as it will be difficult to hide any mis-alignment.

If you are cutting the pillars it might be good to cut them roughly in the middle to allow you to make adjustments if they don't line up.


As far as marking where to cut you would need to find common points on both vehicles from which to take measurements.
 
  #9  
Old 04-08-04, 01:28 PM
Billet 55
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Hi, new guy here.

I've done roof swaps, chopped tops, and most everything you can think of in body work. Trust me, you want NO part of it, it can be the worst nightmare that you've ever gotten into.

The only way you'll ever be happy with the job is if every measurement is exactly on the money and nothing warps. Even then, it will never be worth the work and expense.

Billet 55
 
  #10  
Old 04-09-04, 08:26 PM
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I haven't done any roof replacements in about 20 years, but I didn't think it was a big deal. I had a shop at my house and made extra money rebuilding wrecks. I wasn't doing it for a living, so it didn't matter how much time it took to get a good fit. I always cut the pillars about halfway up. Before I made the cut, I took good measurements on both roofs, and used a Sawzall to cut the new pillars so that they were about 1/2" longer than the ones I removed. I used the windshield and rear glass, as well as the door glass, as alignment guides. I would get someone to help hold the roof, and would trial fit it to the car. Then, I would measure, mark, and grind the pillars until I got a fairly good fit. When I got close, I would tack weld each pillar in place and do a trial fit with the windshield and rear glass. Sometimes I would have to break loose one corner and make a slight adjustment and reweld. I used brazing rods and a gas torch instead of a welder. TIG and MIG welders were not as common as they are today. When everything was right, I would braze the entire joint, grind, and use body filler as needed.

When I had two indentical wrecked cars, one hit in front and one in back,and wanted to put them together to make one good one. I made one cut at the front pillars and made the other cut across, under the middle of the front seat. That way the only places that show are the pillars and the rocker panels. The seat hides the rest. You would be suprised how many car on used lots have been done this way!
 
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