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Technical 53 Chevy Roof Question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by KCK71, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. KCK71
    Joined: Jul 1, 2021
    Posts: 25

    KCK71

    I've got a 53 Chevy hardtop that needs roof replacement. A lot of rust in both A-pillars, above the windshield and above the rear window. I'm looking for tips on the correct places to cut to remove the original roof and then be able to weld in the replacement with hope for some strength. Can it get separated at some factory joints for easy replacement?

    Not planning on chopping, but maybe folks who've chopped a 53-54 Chevy hardtop would have some thoughts.
     
  2. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 9,448

    Johnny Gee
    Member
    from Downey, Ca

    How are the a pillars at the cowl?
     
    Deuces likes this.
  3. KCK71
    Joined: Jul 1, 2021
    Posts: 25

    KCK71

    I'd have to take a close look, but they might be good where they attach at the cowl. Get pretty bad about half-way up.
     
  4. carpok
    Joined: Dec 29, 2009
    Posts: 489

    carpok
    Member
    from Indy

    Do you have the replacement roof yet?
    That should be your guide hopefully you can remove the replacement yourself. If so cut it where it is easy to weld in. If you follow factory replacement it could be a lot more work. I assume your replacement is used.
     

  5. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 9,448

    Johnny Gee
    Member
    from Downey, Ca

    That's pretty much your answer then. I'd try to keep graphs at a pillar and sail plane only. Cut donor car down deep and trim to your needs.
     
  6. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    evintho
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Could you replace/graft in donor A pillars then patch the rotted areas above the windshield and rear window? I patched the entire front of the roof and most of the sides along with forming a new drip rail on my ‘54 Ford. A little bit of work but not too bad.
     
  7. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,912

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Please post some pickqateaurs. Everything is easier if we know your true issues.
     
  8. KCK71
    Joined: Jul 1, 2021
    Posts: 25

    KCK71

    I'll try to get some photos. Have the roof and it's still on the donor vehicle so can cut as needed.
     
  9. KCK71
    Joined: Jul 1, 2021
    Posts: 25

    KCK71

    20211012_164218.jpg 20211012_164232.jpg 20211012_164313.jpg 20211012_164308.jpg
    Here are some photos of the A pillar and inner roof rust.
    20211012_164218.jpg 20211012_164232.jpg 20211012_164313.jpg 20211012_164308.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2021
  10. You can make square cuts and weld them right back, never have an issue if you can weld, or you can "step" the cuts, to give you more weld surface.
     
  11. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,884

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Damn... if the roof is that rusty, what is the rest of the car like?? some stuff just ain't worth savin....
     
  12. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,643

    anthony myrick
    Member

    I haven’t done one of those but I have done others.
    I try to find the factory seams and see if that can be separated.
    If I cut a post I will stagger or step the cut.
     
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  13. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 592

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    Interested how it got that way. Car body upside down or what?
     
    carpok likes this.
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    It's best to avoid factory seams because they are filled with lead making them hard to weld. Easier to cut in the middle of the post, or at any convenient point and weld them together.
     
  15. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,643

    anthony myrick
    Member

    In my experience. I’ve removed the lead and joined in factory seams when possible.
    Never had a welding issue.
    I’ve also eliminated lead joints in the process a time or two.
    The factory sloppy seams do make easy join locations.
    A lot of older factory repair procedures would put a splice short of a lead joint. For older cars I melt most if not all the lead out during repairs. Rust like to form there and I’ve found cracks due to poor factory welding. But it’s going to depend on how much post and sail panel you get with the roof section.
    Honestly, if you cut and weld it properly there are few wrong answers.
     
    COCONUTS likes this.
  16. KCK71
    Joined: Jul 1, 2021
    Posts: 25

    KCK71

    Thanks all for the comments. Someone asked how the roof could get that rusty...not sure, never seen one that bad. Rest of the body has issues but is repairable. Only thing I can think of is many generations of mice? The inner reinforcement across the front above the windshield forms more of a box on the 53-54 hardtop models when compared to a sedan, maybe that design just allows more moisture to stay in if it gets past the windshield gasket.
     
  17. COCONUTS
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 1,017

    COCONUTS

    Best bet would be to take the whole vehicle over to Anthony's house, drop it off in the driveway, real early in the morning, with a note reading that you will be back in two weeks. Really, find the factory joints remove the lead and drill out the spot welds and remove the whole roof. Find a donor, something that is close or not even in the ballpark, but not as rusty, and with a few hammers, a few saw cuts, a lot of welding you will end up with a custom.
     
    anthony myrick likes this.

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