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Discussion Starter #1
Saw a local ad about a person parting out a vinyl-delete Fleetwood. I thought I could contact him and see if I could buy the back glass (backlite) and anything else that I may need. However, my car has a sunroof and it appears that poses another challenge. At the moment the sunroof sits flushed with the vinyl top/shell.:confused: Is it best I just have the top recovered by a local business?

Next question: due to having a sunroof my headliner is obviously different.
I am trying to determine why do I continue to have a leak even though I re-routed the front drain lines. I can see rain running down the lines fine but still get a few drops coming from elsewhere. As a result, I wanted to remove the headliner to better assess the situation. It is sagging in one corner already so it does need repair regardless. I am just afraid to remove the fabric from the trim surrounding sunroof; I think I would have to use a razor and cut it off carefully.
If I can find the source of the leak I can then move on to recovering the vinyl top.

Let me know what you guys think - I welcome suggestions, your .02 cents, etc. :D
 

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Looked like you're the first with a sunroof to contemplate going vinyl-delete. Interested in what you found around the sunroof. Cause of leak? Transition detail between vinyl and sunroof?
 

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The guys at the local Cadillac told me years ago that the sunroof cars have a pripority pad under the vinyl roof to account for the thickness of the sunroof trim trim since it is not flush with the metal like it would be on a steel top. Same issue with the headliner being special as well.

If you decide to remove the vinyl top, please take lots of photos of what you find and post where we can look at the result of taking the top off. I cannot recall, right at this writing, if it's the Fleetwood SS or "FTS" (Fleetwood Touring Sedan) modded Fleetwoods, but there are many photos of modifying a vinyl top to a steel top. Not one with a sunroof however...

You will need that rear window and all its trim, especially the bottom piece. Forget the fillers as they disintegrate but if you get them removed intact from the donor call then fine, you scored. They have nuts on posts through the top you reach from inside.

Removing the rear window can be done with a Bosch battery powered Multitool and the broad scraper blade. Do your research on this tool and the scraper blade. When we did some interior house renovating I needed a portable multi-tool as the corded Fein was a bit heavy duty. The Bosch does the trick and is great for car stuff too. There are other cordless brands cheaper if you want a disposable unit and there's always eBay.

Or you can pay an auto glass guy to remove it. Watch the heated window connector does not get damaged.

As with all our car adventures, good luck.

Richard Snipes
4501 Safari in Jax, FL
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Fears came true

This afternoon I decided to start tearing apart that old, crusty, dried out vinyl. A heat gun wouldn't have helped as that backing is baked on top. I just pulled smaller pieces at a time and exposed the edges of the sunroof.
From what I can see, the rubber surrounding the glass has shrunk in size and now after removing the vinyl there appears to be a bigger gap between the sunroof and roof panel.
As I may have mentioned before, my biggest fear has always been finding RUST under there. Well, today I found it :frown2:
I knew it but couldn't help feel disappointed...this sucks. Some of the rust you see is from the sunroof assembly I think. There are some edges that are nice and clean which leads me to think it's not the car itself.
To really assess how bad it is I'd like to remove that foam backing.
What did you guys used? When I saw the pictures SStealth posted I saw one that showed half of the vinyl top removed while the other was still covered. Looked like a very clean removal. This won't be at all.











 

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The guys at the local Cadillac told me years ago that the sunroof cars have a pripority pad under the vinyl roof to account for the thickness of the sunroof trim trim since it is not flush with the metal like it would be on a steel top.
Yah, the top vinyl skin comes off easy from that thin rubber pad in big strips. It's that pripority propytatory propiary - fk it, special pad that's a bear to lift off the steel skin. lol Make sure it's a hot day and a slow steady tug gets it off.
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I cannot recall, right at this writing, if it's the Fleetwood SS or "FTS" (Fleetwood Touring Sedan) modded Fleetwoods, but there are many photos of modifying a vinyl top to a steel top. Not one with a sunroof however...
Close. The FTSS (used to be mine) was (MAYBE) the 1st one at least on this forum, and SStealthSS did it twice, one time called FTS. And correct, none with sunroof. I think Fleetwood SS (and TooManyToys) just had a bad habit of lots-o-mods and slapping 6 speeds in their Fleetwoods.

You will need that rear window and all its trim, especially the bottom piece. Forget the fillers as they disintegrate but if you get them removed intact from the donor call then fine, you scored. They have nuts on posts through the top you reach from inside.
Correctumundo. Vinyl-delete backglass has molding permanently pre-fixed all 4 sides. Finding the little roof ditch filler rods is a cheaper solution, but the slicker finish is tacking and glassing in smooth sheet metal fillets.

Removing the rear window can be done with a Bosch battery powered Multitool and the broad scraper blade. Do your research on this tool and the scraper blade. When we did some interior house renovating I needed a portable multi-tool as the corded Fein was a bit heavy duty. The Bosch does the trick and is great for car stuff too. There are other cordless brands cheaper if you want a disposable unit and there's always eBay.
Dam fine intel there.

Or you can pay an auto glass guy to remove it. Watch the heated window connector does not get damaged.

As with all our car adventures, good luck.

Richard Snipes
4501 Safari in Jax, FL
Of course, in this instance almost none of this applies anymore - per below.
 

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This afternoon I decided to start tearing apart that old, crusty, dried out vinyl.
Oh my. I seriously recommend you replace that entire roof panel. Way way easier than trying to salvage that mess. There's a guy (Kent) parting out a vinyl delete FW right now. And you lose the ignernt sunroof you don't want anyway. Win win. I have dibs on the back glass just for a spare, but I'll give it up to ya, - maybe expensive frt. but perhaps he can ship it still installed? Worth a shot eh.
 

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Absolutely...

I have a '64 Pontiac Catalina wagon I will give to anyone who will come and get it (and pay for the never installed resto-mod bucket seat interior) because of the same issue you have discovered...RUST. In the wagon's case you just need a donor Catalina four door sedan for cut & weld.

Same thing here with the Fleetwood's sunroof. When I saw the steel top car offered for parts, well it sure was tempting. Hook up the trailer and get the whole thing or cut the top off all the way. It's worth the trip.

Damn good reason to buy a plasma cutter. Wish I'd had one when I was 45. it's surgical precision.

Keep us posted, but I second the topectomy. Sure it's money & time but what you have now has killed the car.

Richard Snipes
4501 Safari in Jax, FL
 

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Fleetwood Parts

Hey, This is (Kent) the guy with the 96 Fleetwood car for parts. The "slick top" on my is perfect, no rust, no dents/dings, nice back window.
Im heading to Sarasota, Florida in mid October to pick up a large item, and could probably bring the roof down or possible the entire car on my car trailer.
Just a thought if that would help. Its going to be a two day trip.

Just call or text me 314-681-6918 if interested before next week.
I have this car listed on Clist in St Louis and getting lots of call for parts. Will start dismantling it when kids go back to school Aug 16th.
I just retired and will have lots of time on my hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Parts

Thank you all for your feedback.

I wonder if I should get just a portion of roof panel (to cover hole from sunroof) from donor car or the entire panel. I'd need a "new" headliner for sure as mine wouldn't work anymore. Also, I have the provisions for the vanity mirrors; always had them even with sunroof. Headliners from hardtop Fleetwoods are different than Broughams so that's another decision I must think about :confused: get rid of the vanity mirrors or keep them.

I don't have the garage space to work on this car nor the experience to tackle a job like this. Might be simple to some but not for me. Finding a good shop to do it right will take some time. :frown2:

Kent, I will send you a text shortly.
 

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An intelligent reply and plan will only come after you get the entire pad off to see whether that impressive rot and rust is contained to only the area of the apparent chronic water leaking.

If you still have the finish paint and clearcoat at every other part of the roof, you MAY consider splicing in a patch after removing that sunroof. I would only use the most experienced and trusted shop to assure an invisible patch. Then you only have to attend the other parts of going vinyl-delete = backglass, path 20 holes and resmooth the sail panel ditches. And a new headliner.
 

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I wonder if I should get just a portion of roof panel (to cover hole from sunroof) from donor car or the entire panel.
Get the entire panel. Cut it off from the donor car through the pillars with a sawzall, and then separate the skin at the seam where it's spot-welded to the substructure once you get it back home.
 
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