I'm starting to think about how I will repair the rust damage on the roof of my cab. The center is rusted out where a dent allowed water to collect. There is also some rust in the drip rails. I have a cab with a good roof that I will use for a patch. One approach would be to cut the rust out of the roof and weld in the patch. Fairly straightforward. Would you fix spots in the drip rail by simply cutting out the rust and welding up the holes?
An alternative would be to take the entire roof off and weld the replacement in like they did at the factory. Only problem is, I can't figure out where some of the factory spot welds are. I can clearly see the welds that run above the windshield and back window but I can't tell how the roof is folded into the area above the doors. There are multiple layers of sheet metal that meet in the area. Anybody take a roof off in this manner? How did you do it?
Attempting to remove your roof at the factory spot welded areas will be difficult around the top windshield posts and door area. The back of the cab wouldn't be hard along the seam. If you can patch the dented/rusted area with a piece from the other roof that would be best. As for the drip rails, you could cut out a section of drip rail from your "spare" roof and patch it in. The other option would be to replace the roof entirely from the back seam section and at the front windshield posts. The posts would be easier at the front instead of the seam/lip area. You need to make sure you take careful measurements in this option as the fit of your windshield and doors will suffer/leak if not done right. I would try to take the least radical solution. ie. repair the damaged areas if possible and try not to remove the roof.
My cab was damaged in a roll over and we attemted to repair with another roof. Getting proper fit is critical. I ended up locating a replacement cab. Cost less than all estimates by any bodyshop.
I agree with Kecky. Swapping roofs vs. patching whatcha got is a HUGE pain in the sphinkter! I discussed this option with my body shop guy (at some point during the 6 months my truck was with him!). Anyway, patching, sanding, etc is MUCH easier and just as effective as a total replacement. Regarding the drip rails, spot welding and a whole lotta finess sanding is the key. If they're SO bad that it's debatable if they're worth salvaging (or replacing) or not, there's always the option of removing the drip rails, sanding the roof sides smooth and just putting on the window visors. Might give it that touch of difference to set yours apart from others (just an option; kick it around, let me know; call my people; have your people and my people do lunch!).
I would replace the whole roof it would make a better repair. I would think that if you cut rite below the seem (in the cab)on the doner roof you could find all the spot welds and remove them easely. Then cut the bad roof rite above the seem to find all the spot welds. Lightly sand blast were the two mate and paint it with some weld throu paint. Clamp and weld. But not sure about a 53 you may want to look at first before you cut.
Here is my two cents worth; if the roof and rain gutters are shot and you have a decent replacement from a parts truck I would go with replacing the entire roof down midway in the window post and along the body line in the rear of the cab. I speak from experience, I replaced the entire roof on my panel this way (check out my gallery or web site).
Before cutting the main truck and the donor I measured twice and then measure two more times. I might have been lucky but the roof went on the first time with very minor trimming. I think the welding in the window posts and along the back side would be a lot easier than all of the indivisual welding and filling if you tackled each problem spot separately. As I said, this is just my two cents worth.
If Kevin has your demonstrated ability, then I would agree with you provided his damage is severe enough. You have a demonstrated talent at this. Does Kevin? A roof replacement is not a very good project for a first time body man. Please take no offense Kevin, I have not a clue how experienced you are at bodywork. I know a roof replacement would be right on the edge of my capabilities. As I said before, it's a little hard to diagnose the patient without seeing a PIC.
Thanks for the replies. I'll clean the paint off some of the bad areas and get a few pictures. That'll give me a better idea of what we're dealing with. My dad is going to do the welding so I'll try to figure out what his comfort level is. He suggested chopping the roof much like Bob did. I thought he was nuts. Maybe Dad is smarter than me. Is that possible?
I found dad,who is 70 years old,a rust free 56 down here in SC.He trailers it back to WIS.,pulls everything apart,and says he doesn't like the looks of a couple of dents in the roof He finds a donor back in the woods about 100 miles south of him and trailers it home.Then he cut the posts and welded the donor roof onto his cab.Looks like new.
He did this all by himself.I think he's a glutton for punishment but,I guess it can be done.
Post pictures. Speaking as former bodyman, and not knowing your skill level or tools at hand, start out with the easier tasks. The rust-through in the middle of the roof would be a good starting point. You could MIG, braze, torch weld up the holes, but SEM makes a line of panel adhesives. This is the same way roof skins are attached to new cars. You could cut a patch and glue it in place. Don't laugh. It 's easy, no panel warping, minimal filler, and it works. Drip rails are a pain. I use a torch and metal filler rod because I'm not as precise with a MIG welder. To each his own. Cutting at pillars is the next easiest approach. Separating all the factory seams is much more work, and something I would study close first before attemping. Exploratory sacrificial hacking probably necessary to get to all the spot welds.
Took some pictures this weekend but haven't loaded them on my web site yet. The roof looks like someone used it for a trampoline so welding in a patch will be the least of my worries. I have narrowed things down to two options. One is to chop the roof at the posts and the other is to drill out the factory spot welds. Chopping will require a lot of precision but shouldn't be beyond our abilities. One problem I see with the spot weld option is gaining access to the welds above the rear window. It doesn't look like it will be possible to use a drill to get in there with a special spot weld removal bit. I suppose I could get in there with a low clearance tool like a 90 degree air tool. Another alternative would be to cut the bad roof above the welds as someone suggested. Then the drill would have a clear line of sight to the welds. Same goes for the donor cab. Cut above the lip by the window and it should be smooth sailing. My only concern with chopping is structural integrity but that's probably unfounded since the welds will be plenty strong.
I'll have to give this a lot of thought because once I decide on an approach, I'm going to be committed to it. I'll get the pictures up tonight.
Wow, this sounds like a scarey proposition to me. I know, from talking with people who have done it, that drip rails are the worst as they have tention on them. Is the damage so bad that you could not treat the area chemically to stop the rust then fill? It should be easy to hide this area behind the roof rails. The patch/weld on the rusted roof sounds fairly simple. Have you asked the opinions of the people in the body section of FTE? They were very haelpful with my questions. Good Luck, John
Here are a few pictures of the problem areas on my roof. I didn't get a chance to strip the paint. The first two pictures show the problems with the center of the roof. The next three pictures show the worst sections of the drip edge. I also included a scan from my parts manual showing how the roof is assembled. How difficult is it to remove spot welds? Is there also some kind of sealant that forms a bond? How hard is it to break? Based on these pictures is the current roof salvagable? Thanks!
Guess I can't edit my message after 60 minutes. I wanted to add that the second picture shows the roof from inside the cab. The three pictures below that show the rusted out spots along the drip edge.
I guess I'm a just a little naive when I think there would be less work involved in drilling the spot welds out and separating the seams. Most likely I have that viewpoint since I've never done it. How hard could it be, right? I suppose the roof isn't dented so bad that it couldn't be pounded out and filled. It just seems like a lot of effort when I have a perfectly good roof I can use if I can just figure out how to get it on the cab.