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Thread: Some direction on roof repairs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Some direction on roof repairs

    I have a pair of Dodge crewcabs i'm working on,a 78 and 84.Both need repairs to the roof, some large oil can dents,patching holes from a lightbars and antennae mounts and on 84 some rust through of the forward area above the windshield and possibly the gutter.I'm trying to find the best way to do this.The roof is double walled,the inside panel is made up of 3 separate panels that are crimped and spot welded together so that the spotwelds are not accesible to remove them piecemeal.They are also spotwelded around their periphery and slip behind the door pillar inner panel so that it seems that I would have to remove all inner panels to access the outer panel from the inside.
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  2. #2
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    Jul 2010
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    To remove the outside roof panel looks like pretty straightforward spotweld drilling till I get to the rear of the cab and the folded seam attaching the roof panel to the rear cab panel.The rearmost interior roof panel comes down and encompasses the rear window so again no access to those spotwelds without removing all inner panels.I had thought of cutting through this folded seam to remove the outer panel then rewelding it completely.At this point I think it would be easiest but i defer to you all.Removing the outer panel would ,I believe give me best access for repairs,rustproofing and adding supports to the infamous "popping roof syndrome" these monsters are famous for.
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  3. #3
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    Pics of my girls
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  4. #4
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    It's always a question of repair or replace depending on the parts and labor required to either. If a good used roof can be found it may be easier to cut it at the posts, sleeve the posts so that you have a strong joint and weld the used roof in place.



  5. #5

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    Can't you just pull the dents out from the outside? I mean, carefully pull up on the dents and then tap inwards on the sides (of the cab) to create enough pressure at the center area to hold the roof up? What I've done on things like this is you've got to go a little outside the box, get some thick wire (or use long nails, bend into a "U" shape. put upside down on the roof in the appropriate spots on the dents and lightly tack them to the roof with the welder. Try not to build up much heat. Then lift up with whatever apparatus you have at your disposal. Put several in place if you need to and rotate between them: lifting here, moving to the next one, tapping here and there, then move to the next one, back to the first, hammer here and there again, etc while working the dents out. If you need to, you can drill a small hole from the inside of the cab and poke up a small depression from the inside, then weld that hole shut. When you're done cut the welds off with your cut-off tool. I like to weld on a stud rather than use a stud gun because the stud gun you have to 'push' it onto the panel and that creates a depression, whereas welding the head of a nail doesn't. There's a time and a place for each technique.

    You could also take a couple lengths of sheet metal, cut them into 1" wide strips and tack them to your roof. A wider strip will avoid dimpling upwards and save you work in the end. Drill a hole at the back side of the plate so you can put a slide hammer or a block and tackle (hanging from your shops roof). All kinds of ways to pull out the dents. Then, do your bodywork. The key to prevent oil caning will be to push the sides in enough to hold up the center portion. You can also expand some areas where you need to get pressure by heating up key areas and letting them cool slowly. In some areas you could apply constant upward pressure on a depressed area and heat little spots around where you are pulling up. This could be a small area, or as big as a foot in diameter. If you go too much, heat is up and quench with a wet rag to shrink back down. This is great practice for learning some new metalworking skills.

    Well, Good luck,

    Mark G

  6. #6
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    Jul 2010
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    Wow,loads of new ideas to mull over.Thank you guys for taking the time to respond.Replacing the entire roof is impractical unfortunately.Crewcabs are somewhat rare,combined with the fact that the rust on the forward roof is a common issue with these Dodge's and the chance of my finding a donor are slim to none.I'll be tackling this over my annual 2 week factory shutdown at the end of July.I'll keep you guys posted.The 84 with the roof rust is a frame up build.I'm going to remove the doors before lifting the body off the frame but wanted to do the roof repairs first.Should I leave the doors on to keep alittle structure while I do the roof or would tacking in some supports work better?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    26,260

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madbodhi View Post
    Wow,loads of new ideas to mull over.Thank you guys for taking the time to respond.Replacing the entire roof is impractical unfortunately.Crewcabs are somewhat rare,combined with the fact that the rust on the forward roof is a common issue with these Dodge's and the chance of my finding a donor are slim to none.I'll be tackling this over my annual 2 week factory shutdown at the end of July.I'll keep you guys posted.The 84 with the roof rust is a frame up build.I'm going to remove the doors before lifting the body off the frame but wanted to do the roof repairs first.Should I leave the doors on to keep alittle structure while I do the roof or would tacking in some supports work better?
    The doors won't keep the body accurately in line because you have some play at the striker. It's usually best to build some type of brace the will go from the hinges to the posts, across the passenger compartment from hinge to hinge and in an X pattern across the compartment.... [X]

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