Sunroof (38" x 22") installed in LJ hardtop (pics!) - Page 3 - JeepForum.com
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Go Back JeepForum.com > General Technical Discussions > Paint and Body > Sunroof (38" x 22") installed in LJ hardtop (pics!)

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Unread 08-02-2013, 12:47 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithert View Post
Yea, I ordered the same one you linked to on Amazon. You used Auto/marine sealant from K-mart? Is there a brand for that? I have room to work where the top is stored so I plan to put the template down and trace it with a sharpie. Then do the cuts using the saw and blade you suggested. Then I'll get the strap wrench and put its sections down. It looks like you put a layer of RTV under the wrench rubber? The nighttime temps will probably be in the 50's. Does RTV need higher temps to cure? I'm sure I'll have more questions as I progress.
I think I used it all but if I find it I'll let you know the brand. It was the only "auto-marine sealant" they carried though. Sounds like a plan. Not sure about cure temp of the RTV but it probably states it on the packaging. My guess is it will cure at 50* but just not as fast as it would at higher temps. When I did mine it was cooler than 50* outside but it was garaged part time at home ...in the pkng lot at work. Good luck ...and put that sucker as far forward as you can manage safely! Maybe you can better my install by a bit with that and some other things.

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Unread 09-13-2013, 09:32 AM   #32
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I have my sunroof and the time to install it is now. I ordered the jig saw today. I'm a little worried about the install process. I'll have to read and re-read the instructions. I'm not totally clear on where and how much sealer to use. A few questions if you don't mind?

You did the cutting from under the top so that the ridges didn't get in the way of the jig saw path?

How much pressure does the saw need to move forward?

Was the template paper the exact right size to cut? You mentioned that smaller is better.

Did you lay a bead of silicone around the entire front and sides of the the sunroof hole on the top? Is 1/4 inch about right for the bead or larger or smaller? If I get extra silicone that seeps out the edge of the top frame is it hard to clean it up?

Is the auto marine sealer the same as the black silicone or were there 2 products used?

My top is sitting on a concrete base so I will have just the depth of the top to work in. It will be a bit difficult to lay on my back and cut.

I'm planning to try to keep the extra cuts on the top plastic to a minimum so if things went terribly wrong I could JB weld the removed top piece back in. I realize this probably won't be necessary.
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Unread 09-13-2013, 01:24 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithert View Post
I have my sunroof and the time to install it is now. I ordered the jig saw today. I'm a little worried about the install process. I'll have to read and re-read the instructions. I'm not totally clear on where and how much sealer to use. A few questions if you don't mind?

You did the cutting from under the top so that the ridges didn't get in the way of the jig saw path?

How much pressure does the saw need to move forward?

Was the template paper the exact right size to cut? You mentioned that smaller is better.

Did you lay a bead of silicone around the entire front and sides of the the sunroof hole on the top? Is 1/4 inch about right for the bead or larger or smaller? If I get extra silicone that seeps out the edge of the top frame is it hard to clean it up?

Is the auto marine sealer the same as the black silicone or were there 2 products used?

My top is sitting on a concrete base so I will have just the depth of the top to work in. It will be a bit difficult to lay on my back and cut.

I'm planning to try to keep the extra cuts on the top plastic to a minimum so if things went terribly wrong I could JB weld the removed top piece back in. I realize this probably won't be necessary.
Glad you're getting around to this, soon you will be glad when your hard top is back on.

I did the cutting from the inside because my top was installed when I did it, and yes ...I think it's better with respect to the ridges, as they will interfere with cutting depth as the saw goes across if you do it from above. Most people seem to have done it from above, but I bet they had the recessed ridges (as seen from outside). I think with a steady hand it could be done reasonably well from above though, I just found that saw to be forgiving. Here's an idea, make a few practice cuts from above and below in the area that's going to be cut out anyway ...that way you can get a feel for whether you'd rather do it from above or below. Drill a pilot hole somewhere in the area to be cut out and insert your blade into it to start. Consider flipping your top over and supporting it thoroughly someway (maybe lay it on a heavy duty table on it's back and ratchet-tie it down, but leave the sunroof area hanging off the end for access and so your saw blade can go through).

With regard to pressure on the saw, consider practicing on something similar first (remember the area to be cut out anyway ...that's where I learned very quickly). I can't remember for sure, but it was a considerable amount of pressure but not ridiculous. IIRC I would do it a few inches at a time and give my arms a break ...I think I was pushing about 1/4 of my total strength and I can bench press about 250, lol some type of reference for you anyway.

The template paper was spot on for me ...just in general, I advise you to err on the inside slightly. You can always grind off a little if you didn't cut the hole big enough ....but if you cut it too big ...arghhh, that could be one major problem and an expensive fiberglass repair. Take your time with the saw ...even if you have it somewhat jagged from starting and stopping so many times ...again, that can be grinded smoother after you've cut the hole out. Cut too long and too carefree and you may go outside the line drawn by the template, take it slow and a few inches at a time ...make sure it's marked plainly and easy to see.

I'd say that's about right on the silicone (1/4")....but I really used it about anywhere and everywhere I thought there was a remote possibility of leakage. Look carefully as you do it and get creative when thinking about where water could travel. The marine sealant wasn't necessary IMO, I just happened to run across it at Kmart and thought it might be ideal. I used nothing but plain black RTV (NOT "Ultra" black ..it is gray) on my Z28's T-top conversion and have had no leaks in 2.5 years, so if you decided to just use it for everything that would probably be fine. I like the "tacky" seal that comes with the sunroof though, I believe I used it mostly in the back corners as it was easy to layer and use at progressively changing thickness.

LOL don't even think about JB Welding the hardtop back together ...that would be such a crapshoot and not reliable. Go slow and error to the inside, take your time, mock things up as you go (it's easy to mock up the frame and see how you're doing as you go along). You won't have a catastrophe to deal with if you err to the inside and take it a few inches at a time. Worst case...you cut it a little too small and somewhat jagged from all the times you started and stopped; so you use a grinder to smooth it out to the cut line that you marked ...no biggie. That's actually the best way to do it IMO ...get it just a hair too small to start with. I didn't ..even though I intended to. I cut mine slightly bigger than ideal but it still worked out for me and sealed up with no leaks (still to this day). There is a small margin for error with the frame, you'll see what I mean when you mock it up. Be sure to mock up the actual frame to the cut line you draw from the template before you ever make your first cut!

Take these precautions ...and you will be FINE. There won't be any of this giving up and having the hard top pieced back together with bondo or JB! Keep us posted and good luck!
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Unread 09-13-2013, 06:25 PM   #34
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Tonight I cut out the template and matched it up to the hardtop. The outer edge of the frame just fits with 2 mm to spare on either side.

The link to the blade no longer works. I see on the ACE site that they sell a medium and a coarse blade. I assume the medium is the one to use. Is that correct?

http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...LAID=109380624
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Unread 09-14-2013, 11:43 AM   #35
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Ace no longer carries the blades in stock. I ordered them through Sears. They will come next Wednesday. I'll get the top ready this weekend by putting masking tape on it and drawing the cut line. I got some cheap plastic cutting boards to use to practice cutting on before the top.
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Unread 09-16-2013, 07:24 AM   #36
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Sorry, just saw this. The blades should be in green/yellow packaging. I think I have a brand new one at home if you want me to confirm you got the same thing. Can't remember but I'm betting medium is correct. Sounds like yours is fitting about like mine did (the 2MM thing).
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Unread 09-16-2013, 07:31 AM   #37
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Please do confirm yours is a medium. I cut up the cutting boards using the blade that came with the saw and the cuts went pretty well. Then I noticed the blade was rated for wood. With a proper blade I'm sure it will go even better. That said I'm pretty nervous about doing this. But I'm looking forward to having a sunroof in my hardtop! Hopefully it will be done next weekend. I'm not in a huge hurry because we still have a few more weeks of softtop time in Chicago.
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Unread 09-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #38
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PN is GJ4BL; it also says 2-7/8", medium, tungsten carbide grit edge. Just below the scan code there is some other reference number, E2121467
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Unread 09-18-2013, 08:53 PM   #39
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The blade order from Sears is not coming until next Wednesday so I picked up a 3 pack of carbide tungsten grit blades at Harbor Freight. I used them on my plastic cutting boards and on a child's plastic toy. These blades seem to cut much more slowly than the blades for wood. The plastics I was cutting on would heat up and melt and then leave a rough melted edge on the cut. Did the hardtop do this?
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Unread 09-18-2013, 09:06 PM   #40
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Mine came with an aluminum trim ring in-between the inner and outer sunroof frames ....upon careful consideration and observation I realized it's purpose was nothing more than shipping protection, it looked like it should be part of the install, glad I didn't put it in there.
I just read this from another thread you posted in. Really, the C shaped aluminum piece is not needed? I was wondering how that would go in.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 07:24 AM   #41
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The blade order from Sears is not coming until next Wednesday so I picked up a 3 pack of carbide tungsten grit blades at Harbor Freight. I used them on my plastic cutting boards and on a child's plastic toy. These blades seem to cut much more slowly than the blades for wood. The plastics I was cutting on would heat up and melt and then leave a rough melted edge on the cut. Did the hardtop do this?
No. Even if it did, it would all be covered up by framing anyway.

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I just read this from another thread you posted in. Really, the C shaped aluminum piece is not needed? I was wondering how that would go in.
lol yeah that had me puzzled for a bit too. I believe it's for shipping protection so the parts won't bang into each other, it also shows you how the roof would be wedged between the inner and outer frames (as shipped mine did). Hang onto it, it may come in handy as "aluminum stock" for a future project.
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Unread 09-20-2013, 09:58 PM   #42
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The hole is cut! It is slightly larger than it really needs to be, but is not too large. When cutting the hole it went fast on the short left side and then went slowly across the front. I only had two blades so I wanted to get halfway on the first blade. It was cutting well but very slowly. When I got the front section done I changed blades and then the rear long cut with the ridges went very quickly. The first blade had it's grit worn down to the metal but still had side grit. The second blade still looks great after cutting a long and a short side.

Tomorrow or Sunday I will add the strap wrench rubber and then RTV the heck out of it and screw it all together.

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Unread 09-22-2013, 06:35 PM   #43
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It was a very messy project. The RTV get all over because I used quite a bit to build up the rear ridge area. The bulk of it cleaned up with about an hours labor. But I still have some on hardtop that I'll have to use an RTV remover chemical on. Now the outside looks ok but I'll keep working on it. From the inside it looks perfect. I still have to do a leak test but it seems like it will be watertight.

More pics:





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