can I cut a giant hole in the roof of my truck ?
August 3, 2011 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I want to put a sunroof in my 88 Ford F150. Other than leaks , what are some things I need to consider before cutting a hole in my roof ?

The other day I was sitting in my old junker truck and thought to myself "this truck would be so much cooler (awesome factor not temperature) if it had a sunroof" since then I haven't been able to get that thought out of my head . now I'm trying to figure out how I should /if I should do it .

I am a DIY kinda guy so I am used to working on cars/appliances and building stuff for fun. (I am good with power tools and such ) so with that in mind I can go to junkyards/pick & pulls to get a used sunroof myself.

my main question is , would it cause my truck to be structurally unsound(er) ?

following that up , has anybody tried this before ? (googling came up with very little ) what do I need to watch out for when removing an old one ?
posted by 70klicks to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
following that up , has anybody tried this before ?

I wish I could give you more by way of substantial advice, but at the very least I can say that my dad successfully did this with our Buick Century back in the early 80's. My mom recounts being utterly horrified at the sight of him taking some manner of cutting tool to the roof of our then-brand-new car, but however he did it, it was a success. No leaks or anything - and as a kid I remember thinking the whole thing was pretty darned cool. Fwiw, my dad was mechanically inclined but didn't mod stuff by trade (actually he was a CPA), so if you feel reasonably sure of what you'll be doing, my vote would be to go for it!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:06 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are there any electrical wires running between the sheet metal of the roof and the internal cloth? In my 08 F150, there is a roof light. I also assume some of the wiring running back to the external brake light at the top of the cab must run through there.

Wish I had a sunroof on my truck. Thought about it on the previous Ranger I owned, but never did anything about it. Go for it! Post pix when finished.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:14 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

(just popped the cargo light off the back of the cab) all the wires run up the back driver's side pillar. so as far as I can tell it is clear . :]
posted by 70klicks at 8:37 PM on August 3, 2011

In answer to your main question, your truck is body on frame, and a sunroof wouldn't make it structurally unsound. You can either buy an aftermarket sunroof like this new, or find one at a pick & pull. About the trickiest part is working up the nerve to take a sawzall to the roof of your car. They're held in by a trim ring and a bunch of screws inside the car - undo the screws and you can lift the sunroof out from the top. If you're pulling one out of another car, bring a piece of cardboard or paper to trace the hole in the roof of the car you're pulling it from to use as a template when you cut a hole in your truck.
posted by zombiedance at 8:43 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

#1 fact to keep in mind: Don't make the hole bigger than the sunroof or you'll be driving a convertible.
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:13 PM on August 3, 2011

I've done this and it worked great. I installed a pop up sunroof salvaged from a junkyard. One thing you want to be careful of is make sure the glass doesn't have any scratches and it clamps down evenly. The glass is tempered, and mine shattered on me after a couple months. Not sure if it was defective from the start, or if I had a rock hit. Nothing worse than picking bits of glass out of your hair/clothes/car... Actually, having a big ol hole in the roof of your car is pretty bad as well (I found a replacement and it was fine for years).
posted by cosmac at 10:34 PM on August 3, 2011

I did this very thing on an old Toyota Hi-Lux truck I had eons ago, and used a sunroof I got out of a foreign car I found in a junkyard (I think it was a Saab). I actually cut the sheet metal around the sunroof out and welded it into the truck's roof; be careful if you do this to weld in small bursts and on opposite sides at a time so you don't get sheetmetal warpage, which is a pain in the as to deal with later. Anyway, it worked really well and I never experienced any leakage problems and it added a lot of enjoyment to driving my old truck.
posted by motown missile at 1:29 AM on August 4, 2011

I'd been thinking about something like this ragtop sunroof for my '83 Landcruiser. Don't know how a ragtop would look on a pickup.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:28 AM on August 4, 2011

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