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Paint and Bodywork forum Around here sheetmetal is optional but if you are going to do it, do it right.

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  #1  
Old June 13th, 2017, 10:40
PhillyPhanInDC's Avatar
PhillyPhanInDC PhillyPhanInDC is offline
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Roof Repair?

So I flopped the XJ a couple of weekends back. It laid on the driver's side about as gently as it could have, but pinched the rain gutter and the roof down into the driver's door. Doesn't appear to have tweaked the pillars too badly, if at all. I've got a straight pair of doors and a fender, but wasn't sure how to proceed with the roof. Wanted to get some advice on repair options. Thoughts?






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  #2  
Old June 13th, 2017, 10:57
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Re: Roof Repair?

First get a portapower ram and some lumber. You can score what you need (4 ton)for $100 on sale at HarborFreight. Pull the front seat and lay some lumber in the floor to spread the force. Use about a foot long 2x4 for the top of the door jam and use the porta power to push the top of the jam back up. You will need to do this many times, moving the ram each time to get the frame back close.

Measure diagonally on the passengers side door to the top of where the windshield meets the A pillar. Now go over to the drivers door and verify the same distance. If it is not, use the portapower to gently move the A pillar to the right location. Once you have that done, you can start seeing how the replacement door fits and do the fine tuning from there.

The roof will need a ton of massaging to get anywhere close to original. The damage you have is significant. Getting it back to normal is not going to be easy even for a professional. In most shops, they would cut the roof off of a donor and transplant it.

I have done a ton of body work over the last 40+ years and I fixed mine after putting it on its lid by pushing it out. It worked for a couple of years, but there was always a wrinkle in the roof. Ultimately, the frame welds started to break loose and the vehicle taco'd.

My recommendation is to find a vehicle that has a trashed drivetrain/interior and buy the shell. Then swap everything over. That is what I ultimately ended up doing. It will actually be a lot easier. You already are going to be needing a couple of doors.
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Old June 13th, 2017, 14:39
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Re: Roof Repair?

Chop it and make it a buggy or find a donor to swap parts over. Trying to fix it will be a challenge and never be good as new.
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Old June 13th, 2017, 15:41
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Roof Repair?

Didn't think it was that serious. I'll post up some more pictures here in a bit and take some measurements. Would prefer to try and keep the Jeep since it just had the IRO subframe reinforcements put in. 😕


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Old June 13th, 2017, 16:17
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Re: Roof Repair?

Save yourself a ton of grief and move everything over to a new body. At that point you can slice and dice the old rig and retrieve the stiffeners.

No matter how much you want some things, they simply aren't in the cards.

If you just have to save the old rig, cut off the top and put a new one on from a donor. It isn't an easy job but it will be a lot better than trying to straighten yours out. Remember that all those complex folds and curves make up a structural member of the unibody frame. Even a small wrinkle in it reduces the strength significantly.

I'm not just talking out my ass. I am an engineer with over 40 years experience and have done more fabrication and body work than I care to remember.
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Old June 13th, 2017, 20:37
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Re: Roof Repair?

i've straightened out a roof MUCH worse than that fairly easily. It won't be back to new, but it will be totally usable. I used a jack and some lumber. it was good enough to get the doors to seal fairly well and to get a windshield in (full rollover, we had to highlift the roof just to sit in it).
I'd straighten it out as much as i could then cut out the bad section and weld in a new piece if it wasn't up to par.
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Old June 13th, 2017, 22:34
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Re: Roof Repair?

I'd try to straighten it out using Tom's (Old Man) porta power recommendation and go from there. I rolled my jeep pretty badly and ended up getting it back somewhat decent from 50'. I cut off behind the rear doors spent about an hour with a high lift and was happy. Definitely not suggesting you cut off the roof, but to give you some perspective:

Before:




After:

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Old June 14th, 2017, 09:44
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Re: Roof Repair?

I guess you guys don't know me. I am a pain in the ass perfectionist engineer. My rig is 32 years old and still looks like new. The loss in structural strength due to loosing the nice straight lines and having even small wrinkles is significant, hence the body not lasting that long after the "fix". You can really notice the added body flex when wheeling. I actually flexed enough to shatter the windshield.
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Old June 14th, 2017, 12:16
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Re: Roof Repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by old_man View Post
I guess you guys don't know me. I am a pain in the ass perfectionist engineer. My rig is 32 years old and still looks like new. The loss in structural strength due to loosing the nice straight lines and having even small wrinkles is significant, hence the body not lasting that long after the "fix". You can really notice the added body flex when wheeling. I actually flexed enough to shatter the windshield.
I know you Tom. You are a good guy with a nice rig. I've wheeled with you a few times. In Moab in 09 and at CO fest in 2010.

I was offering an interim solution. Best solution would be a body swap, but cherokees are getting harder to find, so I was trying to provide some first hand knowledge that he try and fix it and see what happens. Worse is he is back to body swapping it down the road.

As for my experience. Those pictures were from 2009. I put a cage in it after the roll and have been wheeling it trouble free since then.
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Old June 14th, 2017, 14:37
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Re: Roof Repair?

Might be a good time to tie those rockers into a cage and then the body won't need to be perfect to hold strength.
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Old June 14th, 2017, 15:11
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Re: Roof Repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyPhanInDC View Post
Didn't think it was that serious. I'll post up some more pictures here in a bit and take some measurements. Would prefer to try and keep the Jeep since it just had the IRO subframe reinforcements put in. 😕


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You can keep it, but it's going to need a make over. Trying to bring it back to good as new though would be a waste. Body work on unibodies is a PITA.

Something like this would be a better bet than trying to fix it
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Old June 15th, 2017, 14:20
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Re: Roof Repair?

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Thoughts?
You totaled your XJ.
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