Well, I've written about my aftermarket sunroof problems here before and gotten good advice - as well as have conducted a couple searches on the topic.
My newest issue is I've gotten another Fiero with another aftermarket sunroof. No, I wasn't in the market for this car, it just found it's way to me. LOL
This one is an 84, and has a much, much smaller sunroof than stock. It's quite a bit smaller than the Cars & Concepts branded one in my 87.
I have seen many people mention about just getting a new roof panel to go either way - either to add a sunroof, or to go back to a hard top. Frankly, I'd rather not do that. The rest of this 84 is in pretty good shape and I don't want to deal with tearing the roof off.
It occurred to me that it may not be as difficult to cut the existing hole bigger to accommodate a factory sunroof. I am going to look at an scrapped out Fiero for parts this weekend, and was told it had a good factory sunroof. I know the steel structure is ready to accept the new glass, but what reinforcements did the factory roof plastic have in a sunroof model vs non-sunroof? I seem to recall reading here that there was a difference in plastic as well which makes swapping panels a very good idea. Is it possible to remove the entire sunroof assembly (track molding and all) from one car and install in another, or does the entire roof panel have to be replaced?
The small sunroof and headliner is in much better shape than my 87, so unless I can swap factory with OEM without panel replacement, I'll likely leave it alone until it's necessary. (And then decide if I want to keep a sunroof or not at that point.) I won't have the time to pull the entire roof off the donor car before it's sold for scrap. I do dread sunroofs now LOL and wish this 84 didn't have an aftermarket one - even tho it's not giving me problems.....
Yes, the factory sunroof have a flange molded into it around the glass for the weatherstrip to set into. You could modify your roof panel to work, but it would probably easier to swap the roof panel in the end. Modifying your roof placement also would be critical for the factory latching mech to be in the right spot.
It's not worth it to re invent the wheel, get the oem roof skin, it's not rocket science, but you will probably end up breaking the a pillars if your not careful. You have to cut the glue under it very slow and careful. Worst case you have some extra a pillar body work. Still easier than fiberglassing a window return.
Good advice all - thanks for the input. As I've never seen a factory sunroof out up close, I didn't know how it was constructed. Now I have a better idea. (Assumed they may be like aftermarket ones with the frame bolting in.)
Car I looked at the other day wasn't a good candidate, however, I'll keep my eye open and read up on roof removal. I'd like to get one and have it for the eventual day I either get my car repainted, or the installed sunroof leaks. Then I'll do the swap. As the weather is improving, it'll be easier for me to pull the roof off when the adhesive is warm from what I was reading. Guess it's a good time to get the parts when not actually needing it and in a rush.
I just had this done on my car- OEM solid roof with that crappy, tiny dealer-installed sunroof. It had been caulked shut for years.
Finding a factory sunroof roof with intact A pillars AND limited other damage (blistering, etc.) was not trivial. In the end I really just got lucky: A guy in our club who'd been buying/selling/trading parts and cars for years got out of the parts biz and sold me a panel he'd been hoarding that was in pretty good shape, along with all the hardware.
I had the swap done during a panel-off repaint. The body shop did the swap, but I ended up doing a good bit of fine-tuning afterward. Other advice:
- Order as much new hardware as you can from TFS or elsewhere. In my experience, new stuff leaks less. - Read up on the issues specific to OEM Fiero sunroofs: The additional weep holes, latch adjustments, how to put the glass panel in to minimize leaks. - Start hunting for parts that aren't available as new: Latch mechanisms (many seem to be bent), the pivot points in the roof, and (if you want them) the under-hood storage mounts for the glass. - Be extra careful removing your drip rails: They break/bend easily and are hard to find in good shape. A putty knife at the spots where the 'teeth' are helps. Before reinstalling you'll need to 'recondition' the teeth so they grip/stay on.
Worse case, cut the roof off the donor and save that. You can patch on the A pilars, if necessary.
If I had to purposely cut the windshield surround (A pillars?) how hard a fix by a body shop? When the panel is replaced, is it glued all the way down the sides as well as the top? I was thinking it may be "easier" to patch it at the thinnest part? I may not be able to transport a panel home intact and may have to purposely cut one.... not ideal I know, but is it unreasonable as well?
What brand is the sunroof you are replacing? I need hinge hardware for mine.
The 87 had a Cars & Concepts sunroof. Not a bad size, larger than many but not as big as factory. That roof suffers from a bad installation job. (I have a post somewhere about the leaks it had...) trashed the headliner and on removal I found they nibbled away some of the steel which shouldn't have been done.
The 84 has a much smaller sunroof, and really I haven't looked at it close enough to know what brand it is. As it's not currently leaking, but the car in general is in much better shape, that's the one I am thinking of swapping back to OEM. However, it's likely one of those "someday" projects and won't happen until I do everything else to the car that I want to, and then finally get it painted. I will let you know the brand once I find out, and if and when I pull it, if you still have a need, I'll certainly help ya out. No idea as far as timing tho LOL sorry.