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Discussion Starter #1
The worst part of my 68 Cougar, ever since I inherited it, has been the rust underneath the vinyl roof. I would often run my hand over the bumps and bubbles and hit the center of the roof with my palm and cringe as I heard it go "crunch crunch crunch." So finally, I'm doing something about it.

I've done an amateur restoration before, with my uncle, so I'm not a complete newbie to working on old cars. But I'm no expert either. I'm trying to find out if someone like me can actually pull this off. Granted, I have some good people around me to help out and give me advice, but I'm trying to do as much as it myself as possible.

While I'm doing this, I'm making a video to document the process. It may not turn out as well as some of our other ones, since I'm mostly just putting the camera on a tripod and filming myself, but hopefully it will be good encouragement for others with rusty roofs.

I got started last Wednesday by stripping out my interior (more of it than I needed to, but I wanted to see what my floors looked like) and in the following days I removed the trim pieces and front / rear glass. I actually was able to rip off the vinyl roof before taking the glass out, because the last time it got replaced, they apparently left the glass in and trimmed the vinyl around it. It was the same story with the headliner. Glass left in, trimmed to fit. The roof was covered in flaky bondo, a clear indication of how the previous "repair" was done. There were many pieces with stalagmites of bondo which had dripped into rust holes. Upon cleaning up most of the flakes of bondo and loose rust, I could get a better look at the rust. The roof is mostly in one piece, but there are holes everywhere. It's gotta go. The rear window channel is shot too, but that's another job.

The way I'm trying to do this, by the way, is just the outer sheet metal skin of the roof. I don't want to cut out the structure. The way this is done is to find and drill out all the spot welds all the way around. There is a lead seam on the C-pillars which needs to be melted off to reveal the spot welds. Anyways, enough said, here's some pics of the progress so far.

Here's a "before" shot... you can't really see the bubbling under the roof but there was plenty. The vinyl itself was pretty rough on top too.



Here's some shots just after I peeled off the vinyl. Notice the copious amounts of flaky bondo.









... And below are some shots of where I'm at right now. Flakes mostly cleaned up, glass removed, headliner removed, all trim removed, and locating the lead seam / spot welds with a wire wheel.











Stay tuned! More updates soon. I expect to get most of the work done within the next few days. I guess we'll find out!
 

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DUDE!!! You're an honorary ECI!!!
 

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Hole-y Carp! :eek2:
 

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:eek2: I thought mine was bad, but this is the nastiest thing I've seen in a long time. You really should warn people about viewing this thread.
 

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Wow that's bad, you got balls to tackle that job, here's to you and your project. I think a lot of people on here might feel or know your pain. Good Luck !!
 

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Holy sh!t.
Looks like if you hit a good bump the whole roof would fall in on you.
Good luck.
 

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WCCC-TV does its first Horror / Documentary film! I am proud of him... Way to jump in with both feet. I am thinking that if Andrew is successful he may motivate dozens of guys to try and save their car. If he fails he could be responsible for the demise of many cars. No pressure!

 

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WOW! Maybe someday but I wouldn't have even thought of tackling a job like that. Good Luck, will be anxious to see how you do.
 

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Looks more like a candidate for another CatVert! Probably the same amount of work involved!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone! In this pic you can see the spot welds along the front window ridge. There are a lot of them! It's gonna take forever to drill them all out. You can also see the front edge of the "skin" which confirms that it is, in fact, a separate piece of metal.

 

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Looks more like a candidate for another CatVert! Probably the same amount of work involved!
i think i agree with this statement!
 

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Surprised to see a SoCal car with rust like that!! Vinyl tops + trapped moisture = interesting repair project. I feel like a spectator at the US Open. He lines-up for the swing, it's 202 yrds. on a par 4....
 

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Andrew,

Do you think replacing the skin only is the way to go? Most people change the entire roof structure as a unit, cutting at the pillars and the sail panel joints.

Regards,

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Cutting the structure would probably be faster, but then you lose the structural integrity of the car. If I went that route, I'd have to weld in all kinds of cross bracing before doing anything. By doing the skin, I leave the structure intact. Also, you have a pretty good guarantee that your replacement panel will fit just right, because you aren't just eyeballing a cut, you are replacing a factory made piece with an identical piece. Also, when you cut the structure, I'm thinking you would need to do a lot of intricate welding, depending on where you cut. Yeah, it's a pain in the butt either way, but I think the skin is the right way to do it. That being said, I will need to address my rear window channel separately. Most likely will pay someone else to do that... I don't have welding skills.

Incidentally, I want to get your guys' opinion on something. I've heard of a type of body panel glue / cement by 3M that is supposed to be as strong as spot welding. One body guy I talked to recommended doing that along the drip rails instead of spot welding to attach the new roof because it's quicker and just as strong. Anyone heard of / used the stuff?
 

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Rusty roof? I think RUST roof is a better description. Rusty would imply that there is still steel left under the rust, not much sign of sheet metal there.

I am at a loss for word on this one. Good luck, should be a fun adventure.
 

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andy the sem body adheisve is awsome stuff and its actually stronger than welds! it is a good way to do such. beware the gun alone is 50ish bucks and each tube is 50ish .
 

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Incidentally, I want to get your guys' opinion on something. I've heard of a type of body panel glue / cement by 3M that is supposed to be as strong as spot welding. One body guy I talked to recommended doing that along the drip rails instead of spot welding to attach the new roof because it's quicker and just as strong. Anyone heard of / used the stuff?
The newer high end Mercedes that have aluminum unibodies are put together with something similar. They are also riveted together, but even after removing the rivets, it is a hell of a job to get a quarter off one. That is one job I wont soon try again. That being said, I would still trust welding much better, just because the roof is such a structural part of these cars. If it were a car with a full frame that had no structural load on the roof, it might be a different story. I know it is just the skin of the roof, but it still hold the structure straight. Similar to putting plywood sheathing on the 2x4 framing of a new house. The 2x4's are the support for the house, but the plywood ties all the 2x4's together and make the structure twice as strong or more.
 

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Spot/plug welding is a walk in the park, don't sweat it. Practice on some scrap,..MIG machines pretty much do the work for you. Get yourself half-a-dozen Vise Grip C-clamps and clamp them an inch or two on either side of your spot welds, to keep the flanges tight together and assist with alignment, .....rotate your welds approx. one foot apart, to prevent heat warpage,...Don't weld too much in one area, if you have a blow through,....go back to it once it cools. As you get the hang of it, that rear filler panel/window track will be a breeze. Oh yea, get a flat edged body hammer and a dollie,...to tighten/straighten the sheet metal seams while the metal is hot, as you weld,... weld hammer-dollie, weld hammer-dollie.......
 
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