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Thread: Roof Box: How extensive of a repair- or replacement- is needed?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Location:  Lexington, KY

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    Roof Box: How extensive of a repair- or replacement- is needed?

    So I'm finally getting into things with the laundry list of things 16655 needs done (which will include pulling the body off to do some long-overdue frame rust repairs). One of the first things I'm getting access to and looking at a plan to deal with is the roof box.

    Pretty much the entire time I've had the car, it has always had issues with water getting into the cabin in heavy rains- it would somehow get in and soak the headliner and drip down and accumulate in the cover for the map light. I initially thought that the headliners getting soaked was because I hadn't trimmed the new headliner fabric I'd installed when I restored the car initially back enough and it was soaking up water from the roof, but the problem persisted even after trimming it back, meaning the water was getting in someplace else. Since I'm planning on pulling as much out/off of the body (doors included) to make it easier to pull off of the frame and move, I figured that I should obviously be looking at and figuring out how to resolve this.

    First off, removed the T-panel. It came off extremely easily- once the screws were removed and the weatherstripping holding it to the body removed/cut, it lifted off without any resistance at all.
    IMG_0716.jpg
    Obviously the area under the T-panel doesn't look the best- there's clearly moisture on the top of the center section of the roof box, and I don't imagine that the center section is supposed to be bowed up like that where it meets the back section of the box.

    Slightly lower shot of the back of the roof box:
    IMG_0717.jpg
    Am I correct in thinking that it looks like the center of the rear roof box has pulled up from the body? Per my understanding, this is what 'repair kits' for the roof box (like this one) are intended to correct, right?

    Looking at the sides (sorry the pics aren't the best), it looks like there isn't that much rust on the outside of the center section- though the hinges are a bit crusty (will likely clean them up and possibly powder coat when I have the doors off):
    IMG_0731.jpgIMG_0733.jpg

    So, ultimately what I need to figure out is: Do I just need to get the repair kit and bolt the back down securely and pull off and clean up the center section (and figure out where the water is getting through), or am I likely looking at needing to go all-in and replace the whole roof box (likely with a stainless one, given they're about the same price as a powder-coated mild steel one from DMCH)? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member 81dmc's Avatar
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    I would just leave it alone. Maybe bolt the rear down for piece of mind. And itís normal for the center section to bow up like that. It should just be sealed with thick rtv. The center is not bonded to the fiberglass.


    You really donít want to mess with the roof unless itís compromised (rusted) or the front/rear section separated.
    Last edited by 81dmc; 03-18-2021 at 03:38 PM.
    VIN 831- Delorean.eu Roof Box, Double Din, Custom Instrument Cluster, QA1 Suspension.
    Other Classic: 1982 Mercedes 300SD TurboDiesel

  3. #3
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    Unfortunately I'm going to have to do at least some work with the center box since the screws that held the 'harness clamps' in place were seized solid and I had to grind the heads off of them (and cut one of the brackets apart because it was less likely to damage something than trying to grind the heads off the side screws on one side). Hoping that I don't have to do anything (besides perhaps install the 'repair' kit that bolts the back of the box down more solidly to the front or rear sections, but as I understand it the center section is only really held in by the roof hinge screws (which have to come out since I need to clean up and paint/coat the hinges), several rivets (easily drilled out and replaced), some screws through the roof from the inside, and some sealant, right? So it sounds like removing just it to clean it up shouldn't be too difficult. Sadly it looks like nobody sells just the center roof section, only the whole shebang...

  4. #4
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashyukun View Post
    Sadly it looks like nobody sells just the center roof section, only the whole shebang...
    Start calling some of the vendors, you'd be surprised what they have laying around. I've also seen roof sections on eBay, been a while but they're around.
    -----Dan B.

  5. #5
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    My VIN:    04194: 5-Speed, Black Int, 79 Peugeot 604 Manifold, 05052: 5-Speed, Gray Int, 78 Peugeot 604 manifol

    From a rust standpoint, that's one of the better roof boxes I've seen! I wouldn't recommend messing with the cost and LABOR replacing the roof box over a couple of harness clips / clamps that are completely unseen when everything is put back together. A couple zip ties should be sufficient...if you want to get fancy, go with high-temp zip ties. :-) From what I've heard, the door removal, reinstall and alignment is a nightmare. Don't take my word for it, ask any vendor how many hours of labor that they charge for a roof box. There are never a shortage of things to do on these cars, why undertake a miserable project when it is unnecessary?

    The front section of the roof box it held to the underbody via the front hinge bolts; thus, it is pretty secure. Either way, absent large scale structural rust (like a large rust hole), I wouldn't recommend taking on a roof box replacement, partial or otherwise.

    I would recommend bolting down the back of the roof box with the kit that the vendors sell. While you're in there and have the t-panel off and the headliner out, I would recommend taking the opportunity to complete the circuit on the yellow wires from the roof harness connection to the relay compartment. That way you can utilize the yellow wires in the doors at a later date for an upgrade such as heated mirrors or door launchers. There is good documentation online regarding the completion of this circuit.

    I had a similar water leak issue on 5052. The leak was the result of missing / rusted screws under the upper windshield trim. I removed the trim and used a liberal amount of black urethane sealer on all of the screws / holes. The car has been water-tight ever since. The windshield trim water leak issue is not uncommon, and the repair procedure has been pretty well documented.

    Andrew,
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    Andrew
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    From a rust standpoint, that's one of the better roof boxes I've seen! I wouldn't recommend messing with the cost and LABOR replacing the roof box over a couple of harness clips / clamps that are completely unseen when everything is put back together. A couple zip ties should be sufficient...if you want to get fancy, go with high-temp zip ties. :-) From what I've heard, the door removal, reinstall and alignment is a nightmare. Don't take my word for it, ask any vendor how many hours of labor that they charge for a roof box. There are never a shortage of things to do on these cars, why undertake a miserable project when it is unnecessary?

    The front section of the roof box it held to the underbody via the front hinge bolts; thus, it is pretty secure. Either way, absent large scale structural rust (like a large rust hole), I wouldn't recommend taking on a roof box replacement, partial or otherwise.

    I would recommend bolting down the back of the roof box with the kit that the vendors sell. While you're in there and have the t-panel off and the headliner out, I would recommend taking the opportunity to complete the circuit on the yellow wires from the roof harness connection to the relay compartment. That way you can utilize the yellow wires in the doors at a later date for an upgrade such as heated mirrors or door launchers. There is good documentation online regarding the completion of this circuit.

    I had a similar water leak issue on 5052. The leak was the result of missing / rusted screws under the upper windshield trim. I removed the trim and used a liberal amount of black urethane sealer on all of the screws / holes. The car has been water-tight ever since. The windshield trim water leak issue is not uncommon, and the repair procedure has been pretty well documented.

    Andrew,
    4194
    5052
    Thanks for the info on the leak- I was figuring that I would be going over everything with at least a layer of FlexSeal or something heftier (I have most of a tube of POR-15 Seal left over from replacing parts of the fenders on my old QX4).

    The doors are already pulled off, and given how crusty the front hinges are I'm pretty inclined to pull all of the hinges off to clean them up and have them coated or paint them:
    IMG_0757-1.jpgIMG_0755-1.jpgIMG_0754-1.jpg

    Since I'm going to be doing a massive amount on the car already (have some major frame rust issues to resolve, so am pulling the body, stripping everything off the frame, fixing it, and either re-coating or having otherwise rust-'proofed' again- and since I'm doing so much already am going to put in a different engine, and possibly completely rewire the whole car) I'm not too daunted if I need to do the roof box- I'm more inclined to do more than necessary so I don't have to worry about it again for another few decades.

  7. #7
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    Your roofbox is in good shape. Spray the inside with KBS or Fluid Film and call it done.

    I recently did a stainless roofbox on 10365. With panels off, it took nearly 10 hours to make sure it was done right. This doesn't include door adjustment time.

    If you don't want to revisit repairs use good materials made for the task at hand, not Flex Seal.

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