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Old 12-13-2016, 05:07 PM   #1
68blackbird
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Roof replacement?

I will be doing a roof skin replacement(1st time). I ordered a nice Blair spot weld bit kit for this. As I was looking at it yesterday, I had a thought, would it be possible,without doing any more damage, to use my plasma cutter to cut the skin off, say couple inches from welds, then use air chisel to get the rest off. Seems like it would be faster, that's a lot of spots to drill out, thoughts? Kel
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Old 12-13-2016, 05:26 PM   #2
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Re: Roof replacement?

I would use a cutoff disc on a grinder so you can control cut depth...my plasma has a habit of cutting things I don't want cut that are behind what I'm cutting..
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:04 PM   #3
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Re: Roof replacement?

of you have you air chisel out anyway, why not just use that with a sheet metal cutting tip to cut the bulk of the roof off, then go after the spot welds with a flat chisel and see how it works. go inline with the gutter if possible for less chance of distortion or a goof up that will bend the gutter rail. if too aggressive then use a grinder on the spots that don't wanna seperate. you can cut pretty close to the gutter with a sheet metal tip so it should be just a strip of metal stuck to the rest of the body at the drip rail.
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:09 PM   #4
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Originally Posted by dsraven View Post
of you have you air chisel out anyway, why not just use that with a sheet metal cutting tip to cut the bulk of the roof off, then go after the spot welds with a flat chisel and see how it works. go inline with the gutter if possible for less chance of distortion or a goof up that will bend the gutter rail. if too aggressive then use a grinder on the spots that don't wanna seperate. you can cut pretty close to the gutter with a sheet metal tip so it should be just a strip of metal stuck to the rest of the body at the drip rail.
Both good tips, excited to get home and start Did some reading, may be worth the cost to get the 3m panel bonding/gun. Will help seal and less warpage?......y'all are awesome, many thanks, Kel
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: Roof replacement?

I've done several of these.
Tip 1

don't use the Blair cutter on it. It will just chew up a nice cutter. get 4 or 5 harbor freight cutters. They last longer on rusted panel than Blair's do and cost a fraction of a blair. Blair works vey well on clean metal but not so good on rust

Tip 2
cut off as much of the roof as you can and as close to the drip edge as you can leaving the leaded portion at the A pillar intact, you can do this later.
you will have to cut above or below the lead joint, unless you chemically remove the lead. If you try to mig over it even after melting it out, it makes a mess.

These can be weld bonded back on. and spotted every 8 inches

https://www.hollisterroad.com/Weldbonding.php

I cut them with a plasma but its a 30 unit. you should be able to use an electric shear or air shear for the majority of it. stay away from air chisels they will damage more than the cut off. most everything at those spot is rusty or weak from age and a air chisel will deform most of the edges

Last edited by dwcsr; 12-13-2016 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re: Roof replacement?

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I've done several of these.
Tip 1

don't use the Blair cutter on it. It will just chew up a nice cutter. get 4 or 5 harbor freight cutters. They last longer on rusted panel than Blair's do and cost a fraction of a blair. Blair works vey well on clean metal but not so good on rust

Tip 2
cut off as much of the roof as you can and as close to the drip edge as you can leaving the leaded portion at the A pillar intact, you can do this later.
you will have to cut above or below the lead joint, unless you chemically remove the lead. If you try to mig over it even after melting it out, it makes a mess.

These can be weld bonded back on. and spotted every 8 inches

https://www.hollisterroad.com/Weldbonding.php

I cut them with a plasma but its a 30 unit. you should be able to use an electric shear or air shear for the majority of it. stay away from air chisels they will damage more than the cut off. most everything at those spot is rusty or weak from age and a air chisel will deform most of the edges
I'm on it. How close to leading edge of roof should I make initial cut? Thx, Kel
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:28 PM   #7
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Re: Roof replacement?

Ok, saw the pics in the link you sent, very good info!! Thx!!
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Old 12-13-2016, 09:05 PM   #8
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Ok, saw the pics in the link you sent, very good info!! Thx!!
Cut the bulk away to get at it from inside the cab. then trim it bac to where you can use a get the spot weld cutter at a 90 degree angle without interference. Take your time on the spot welds making sure you only cut through the top layer. patching hole in the lip is a big PIA.

A Steck seam buster tool is a big help on this job.. tool number 20015. you cut about 90 % of the way through and then use the tool to strip off the remaining metal

http://www.steckmfg.com/20015_SeamBuster.html
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:38 PM   #9
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Cut the bulk away to get at it from inside the cab. then trim it bac to where you can use a get the spot weld cutter at a 90 degree angle without interference. Take your time on the spot welds making sure you only cut through the top layer. patching hole in the lip is a big PIA.

A Steck seam buster tool is a big help on this job.. tool number 20015. you cut about 90 % of the way through and then use the tool to strip off the remaining metal

http://www.steckmfg.com/20015_SeamBuster.html
Don't know if I did it right or not, but it's off. Ended using both plasma & cutoff wheel. That Steck tool looks very helpful, especially on the front part of the truck. The reason I thought of the Blair kit was because the welds are so small and close together, the 3/8" HF bit seemed to big, where the Blair kit at least goes down to 5/16.....am I thinking too much?
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:03 AM   #10
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Re: Roof replacement?

You can use the Bliar but just know it may eat up the cutters fairly quick on the rust. try to trim back to the arrows and its much easier to remove the strip that's left. You can also use a small chisel to bust the seam after you do the welds. Just lay the plasma gun on the drip edge pointing toward the roof panel that's left and drag it around the top

fyi you should use some cutting oil on the Blair tool or the grease stick they have
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:22 AM   #11
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Re: Roof replacement?

Nice time to get rid of drip rails
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:59 AM   #12
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Nice time to get rid of drip rails
That has been discussed. I read some of the threads on this, not sure I'm ready for that skill level. Having to roll metal and do lead work(for the back part of the rail from what I read) seems a bit daunting....not saying no, yet.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:01 AM   #13
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Originally Posted by dwcsr View Post
You can use the Bliar but just know it may eat up the cutters fairly quick on the rust. try to trim back to the arrows and its much easier to remove the strip that's left. You can also use a small chisel to bust the seam after you do the welds. Just lay the plasma gun on the drip edge pointing toward the roof panel that's left and drag it around the top

fyi you should use some cutting oil on the Blair tool or the grease stick they have
Thank you so much for your helpful input. I may have to look you up next time we are in H-town. We are in Corpus, but have many friends in your neck of the woods, Kel
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:53 PM   #14
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Re: Roof replacement?

Make sure you keep removing material until you get to good metal, like it or not you will probably be doing work on the drip rails and maybe inner panel too. I would take the time to address the concealed side of the inner panel with a rust converter, any left will just continue to work away.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:48 PM   #15
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Make sure you keep removing material until you get to good metal, like it or not you will probably be doing work on the drip rails and maybe inner panel too. I would take the time to address the concealed side of the inner panel with a rust converter, any left will just continue to work away.
good point , I forgot we used a rust converter down the pillars and areas we couldn't blast or sand.. Ospho or Jasco from Lowes in a one gallon plastic sprayer with a 18' wand slides down those areas well.
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Old 12-15-2016, 11:50 PM   #16
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Make sure you keep removing material until you get to good metal, like it or not you will probably be doing work on the drip rails and maybe inner panel too. I would take the time to address the concealed side of the inner panel with a rust converter, any left will just continue to work away.
Roger that on addressing the inner rust areas, all in all that part does not look too bad. Here are pics with drip removed. The spot weld bit did great where I could see them. There were several areas where I used cut off wheel and very slowly removed metal. I'm hoping I did not fork up here...the area above the windshield, I know I committed one of the body work sins, do not remove anything until you have replacement piece in hand. I have not ordered the roof panel yet, did I cut too much away from the front and just create a bunch more work for myself...
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:46 AM   #17
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Roger that on addressing the inner rust areas, all in all that part does not look too bad. Here are pics with drip removed. The spot weld bit did great where I could see them. There were several areas where I used cut off wheel and very slowly removed metal. I'm hoping I did not fork up here...the area above the windshield, I know I committed one of the body work sins, do not remove anything until you have replacement piece in hand. I have not ordered the roof panel yet, did I cut too much away from the front and just create a bunch more work for myself...
That all looks good so far. just treat the rust with a converter and order the roof skin. The lip on the front will have to come off leaving just the inner panel lip. The Dynacorn panels we use a sell fit very well so I wouldn't worry about letting it sit till you get it.
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:26 PM   #18
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Re: Roof replacement?

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That all looks good so far. just treat the rust with a converter and order the roof skin. The lip on the front will have to come off leaving just the inner panel lip. The Dynacorn panels we use a sell fit very well so I wouldn't worry about letting it sit till you get it.
Cool...I was worried I cut too much off the front because of the pics I saw of the new panels. I'll be working on it tonight while listening to the football game. Our school, Callallen is playing at Jerry World for the 5A state championship. Again, many thanks to you guys for walking me thru this project....please don't go too far, I have a ways to go... Kel
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:32 PM   #19
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Re: Roof replacement?

Kel, just food for thought if you are going to keep your drip rails. From your picture it looks like you may have some rust issues with you drip rails as I did with my cab. If I am mistaken please disregard.

I went through this same process with my cab replacing the roof panel which I weld bonded and spot welded. However prior to installing the new roof panel I decided to save my drip rails which were not in good shape. Cab had been sandblasted prior to me purchasing it and it was a project that someone else had abandoned. The previous owner had trimmed the top of the drip rail down to try and even it out with the rusted out areas. It was not to my liking and would haunt me if I left them alone.

I saved my drip rails by using 22g sheet metal in 24 inch sections which I used a metal brake, bending the sections at a 1/4 inch. I then folded that 1/4 inch section over on itself, but I placed another piece of 22g in the fold so when it folded over and I pulled out the 22g section it left a press fit space with I could push down over the drip rail. Once the I had the 1/4 fold in the sheet I then used a metal cutting ban saw and cut the other side of the sheet cutting the long side of the fold making both sides of the fold 1/4 inch.

Working with 24 inch lengths made installing them on the cab easer to control. Space left in the fold made for a press fit over the approximate 18g original drip rail leaving a 1/16 inch of the original drip rail exposed. I replaced the entire drip rail using this process bending the sections at the rear corners by hand and the bends at the front of the cab that end at the A pillar, I used a torch and heated the fold to stretch the metal at the top edge of the fold. Once I had all the sections in place and level, I mig welded the outside edge of the sections to the lower part of the drip rail. Once that was all complete I fitted the new roof panel and cleaned all the areas to be weld bonded to bare metal. I bonded the roof in place and then spot welded it every 8 inches or so. Once the spot welds were ground smooth in the drip rail, I used the weld bond to lay in the drip rail as a seam sealer and to bond the inner section of the drip rail that I installed.

I was pleased with result however if you looking for the factory stock look which is an approximately 18g metal drip rail it not going to look the same. Finished looks very similar to that of the drip rails on a 55-57 chevy car. The bonus is no sharp edge on the drip rail when you waxing or wiping down your truck. Hope the way I described this makes some sense and is some use to you if you decided to keep your drip rails. Cheers Bob

I will try to find some pictures
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:44 PM   #20
68blackbird
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Kel, just food for thought if you are going to keep your drip rails. From your picture it looks like you may have some rust issues with you drip rails as I did with my cab. If I am mistaken please disregard.

I went through this same process with my cab replacing the roof panel which I weld bonded and spot welded. However prior to installing the new roof panel I decided to save my drip rails which were not in good shape. Cab had been sandblasted prior to me purchasing it and it was a project that someone else had abandoned. The previous owner had trimmed the top of the drip rail down to try and even it out with the rusted out areas. It was not to my liking and would haunt me if I left them alone.

I saved my drip rails by using 22g sheet metal in 24 inch sections which I used a metal brake, bending the sections at a 1/4 inch. I then folded that 1/4 inch section over on itself, but I placed another piece of 22g in the fold so when it folded over and I pulled out the 22g section it left a press fit space with I could push down over the drip rail. Once the I had the 1/4 fold in the sheet I then used a metal cutting ban saw and cut the other side of the sheet cutting the long side of the fold making both sides of the fold 1/4 inch.

Working with 24 inch lengths made installing them on the cab easer to control. Space left in the fold made for a press fit over the approximate 18g original drip rail leaving a 1/16 inch of the original drip rail exposed. I replaced the entire drip rail using this process bending the sections at the rear corners by hand and the bends at the front of the cab that end at the A pillar, I used a torch and heated the fold to stretch the metal at the top edge of the fold. Once I had all the sections in place and level, I mig welded the outside edge of the sections to the lower part of the drip rail. Once that was all complete I fitted the new roof panel and cleaned all the areas to be weld bonded to bare metal. I bonded the roof in place and then spot welded it every 8 inches or so. Once the spot welds were ground smooth in the drip rail, I used the weld bond to lay in the drip rail as a seam sealer and to bond the inner section of the drip rail that I installed.

I was pleased with result however if you looking for the factory stock look which is an approximately 18g metal drip rail it not going to look the same. Finished looks very similar to that of the drip rails on a 55-57 chevy car. The bonus is no sharp edge on the drip rail when you waxing or wiping down your truck. Hope the way I described this makes some sense and is some use to you if you decided to keep your drip rails. Cheers Bob

I will try to find some pictures
Yes, have some issues with the rail, but nothing that freaked me out, but I haven't really looked that close at that part, any pic would be appreciated, Kel...BTW, while I'm here, I cleared out the cab inside, can y'all ID this part for me?
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:10 PM   #21
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Re: Roof replacement?

Drip rail pictures.

Oh by the way Kel if you are planning on installing shoulder seat belts. With the roof off its is a perfect time to install inner metal supports for you seat belt mounts on the inner cab panel for the shoulder on both sides.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:15 PM   #22
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Re: Roof replacement?

looks like a jack holder
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:16 PM   #23
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Re: Roof replacement?

I believe its the jack mount that you are showing. My cab did not have one
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:54 PM   #24
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Re: Roof replacement?

Just in case your interested I used the seat belt mounts I removed from the Chevy Astro van I got the second row seat from for my build. Where the seat belt retractor mounts on the passenger side for the third row seat I removed the anchor mounts from two different vans at the salvage yard. I used those mounts for inside the inner cab wall. Which I welded at the top to the inner roof panel and spot welded from the inside to the inner roof panel. Here are the pictures prior to welding. Sorry pictures on my I phone show up a 90 degrees for some reason Cheers Bob
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:08 AM   #25
68blackbird
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Re: Roof replacement?

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Just in case your interested I used the seat belt mounts I removed from the Chevy Astro van I got the second row seat from for my build. Where the seat belt retractor mounts on the passenger side for the third row seat I removed the anchor mounts from two different vans at the salvage yard. I used those mounts for inside the inner cab wall. Which I welded at the top to the inner roof panel and spot welded from the inside to the inner roof panel. Here are the pictures prior to welding. Sorry pictures on my I phone show up a 90 degrees for some reason Cheers Bob
Hadn't thought of this, definitely a nice upgrade, I'm sure the boss would like this. If you have step by step pics including finished ones would be most useful..thx! Kel
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