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Unread 10-27-2011, 09:02 AM   #1
keithert
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Hardtop roof ribs and sunroof

I'd like the put a sunroof in my LJ's hardtop. I know it's been done before but I am struggling with the roof ribs. They are raised up 1/8 inch above the top. I think most sunroof frames are an inverted L shape that goes into the hole in the top and then rests on the top. The problem with the top ribs is that if the sunroof frame sat on them water would have huge gaps to leak in. So the roof ridges would have to be cut back a inch to allow the sunroof frame to sit flat on the roof. The problem then is how to seal the edges of the ridges. The paper examples below show the ridge.



and then how the ridges would have to be cut futher back than the roof hole.



and then how there would be a gap with the sunroof frame in place.





This is how it actually looked on someone's install.



How could I seal up the open end of the ridges?

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Unread 10-27-2011, 10:23 AM   #2
222Doc
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I would fill it with Jb weld sand and refinish it. then put the frames in. You could also use a fiber glass filler. But that Jb weld with perhaps some Jb soaked glass to start? Just you get a good end pack so it has something to support the ends.
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Unread 10-27-2011, 11:05 AM   #3
Brainwashed2566
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Fiberglass.. sand and paint. or if you don't care for looks, functionality, or longevity: duct tape, great stuff foam, bondo (with out reinforcement), ect.
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Unread 10-31-2011, 11:47 AM   #4
jcgribks
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You could just put it on top of the ribs and use extra weatherstripping and sealant between the ribs. That's the way we used to install them back in the late 70's when I worked at Montgomery Wards Auto Center.
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Unread 12-21-2011, 12:21 PM   #5
05Unlimited
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I'm embarking on this with my LJ too, seems like you all are wanting to do it the hard way. My "plan" is to install the front end of the sunroof a few inches forward of the ridges where they terminate so I only have the problem on the back side (this way it's easier to look up at the sky too). I'm consdering carefully notching the sunroof so it can snap-fit on the ridges, then use plain black silicone (not "Ultra black RTV" ...it is GRAY, not black!) for sealing those areas. This way the integrity of the roof isn't compromised like it would be if you cut back into the ridges (the valley parts would lack support where your frame would lie). Problem with doing it jcgribks's way is you're unecessarily using tons of extra weatherstripping and sealant on the sides and front as well! Doing it my way you'll have a normal seal on the front and sides laying flush and the ridge-to-frame-notch interface areas that have been sealed with silicone or fiberglass that could potentially leak. I'd rather have those small areas that could potentially leak than large areas???? Seems logical to me but I can't view any pics right now, just picturing it in my head. I plan to go with the largest aftermarket sunroof I can use. If it works really well I may do a second one in the rear later on.
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Unread 12-21-2011, 01:11 PM   #6
keithert
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Keep us in the loop as you start your project. I decided not to do mine this winter but may for next winter.
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Unread 12-21-2011, 11:16 PM   #7
Anticanman
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I have nothing really to add to this threads productivity, just wanted to say that the dual sunroof looks awesome and I had a LJ and gave a hoot about my backseat passengers (if I ever reinstall my backseat) I would do the same and emulate that picture posted above.
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Unread 12-22-2011, 07:02 AM   #8
05Unlimited
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I looked at the rear of my LJ yesterday and realized a sunroof back there would be impractical and pretty useless. There's a big support beam running right across the middle of it, I wouldn't be comfortable cutting that ....to put a small sunroof on either side of it would be ridiculous. I hardly ever have rear passengers either. I'm thinking big, BIG sunroof up front. I may do it this winter and I may wait until soft top season so I can take my time, make mistakes, fix my mistakes, whatever. I priced a jigsaw at K-Mart at $20.00 yesterday at regular price. Bet I can get it for half that at Harbor Freight on sale in a week or two, then I'll have more $ left over to buy extra fiberglass blades. I'd say I'm definitely doing this but just not sure if it will be this winter or in soft top season when the hard top's off (wiser choice I am SURE).
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Unread 12-22-2011, 07:07 AM   #9
keithert
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05, describe further how you intend to the cut the sunroof frame to accommodate the roof ribs.
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Unread 12-22-2011, 07:45 PM   #10
jcgribks
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When I said to use little more sealant between the ribs, I was thinking about my 06 TJ top and my ribs are indented down and not up like in the pictures shown with the 2 sunroofs. The only extra sealant/weatherstrip that I would need would be to fill up the 1" wide ribs. The sunroof would sit flat across my top. As for inside the top between the ribs, I'm sealing the water out from the top outside, I could add some rubber 1" wide strips there as I'm not tring to create a waterproof seal on the inside just tring to make it level to tighten down on.

Are the ribs different on the LJ vs. the TJ?? Because like I said above, my ribs are down into the top and not sticking up like the pictures.
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Unread 12-22-2011, 08:17 PM   #11
rsandwick3
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could you forgo the perfect seal and just channel the water from the rails out elsewhere? i think mfr's (including jeep, as i found out when i had my patriot) have started doing this because otherwise the seals never last... haven't checked over the headliner on the zj yet, but might be something to consider

still have to clean up the edges somehow too, though, so i guess this might not be all that helpful a suggestion
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Unread 12-22-2011, 10:34 PM   #12
keithert
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The ribs on the LJ do go up from the roof. It would be a lot easier if they went down.
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Unread 12-24-2011, 12:54 PM   #13
05Unlimited
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithert View Post
05, describe further how you intend to the cut the sunroof frame to accommodate the roof ribs.
I'd say that's going to have to wait until I actually order a sunroof (depends on the frame). Lots of options though with cutters, dremel (various attachments), maybe just bending or hammering it into shape (heat gun assisted) ...there's a millions ways around it, I'll figure out one. Or worst case I'll cut back into them like you were thinking, that will probably work fine too if lots of care is taken ...I just think I prefer my idea but when I actually go to do it we'll see.
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Unread 12-27-2011, 04:37 PM   #14
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Seen thins and remembered seeing your thread. It would be pretty cool to do it.

http://miami.craigslist.org/brw/pts/2758100264.html
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Unread 12-27-2011, 08:34 PM   #15
keithert
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^^ The TJ ribs go down making the install much easier.
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