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Sunroof Conversion Project: Installing an OEM sunroof into a non-sunroof Legacy wagon

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The sunroof retrofit project has begun. I'm installing an OEM sunroof into a Legacy wagon that did not come with one.

 

Project car: Emily. 92 Legacy L wagon, Ice Blue, AWD, 5MT, EJ22E 194K miles

 

Donor Car: 91 Legacy LS wagon, Dark Blue, AWD, 4EAT, EJ22E 150K miles

 

 

Ecpected issues: running the drain hoses, mounting of the sunroof tray assy, wiring, cutting/bending of the roof to fit the sunroof glass, clearance of the screws used to install roof rack (previous retrofit).

 

Stage 1 (removal of sunroof components from donor): This went well, as I expected it would. The headliner is attached a little differently than the non sunroof type, but it came out easily enough, and was not damaged in the process. The main difference in the attachment of the headliner is that it is attached to the sunroof tray by what I thought was simply trim. That past, I unhooked all the wiring (connector at front for sunroof control, and the dome light). Next I loostened the bolts holding the sunroof to the car, removing al but two of them. The last two, loose but still holding the unit in, I removed while holding the tray to the cieling to keep it from falling and breaking. Man is that thing heavy! As I was lowering it, I discovered a mistake I had made, in not removing the drain hoses (fairly substantial ones at that! about a half inch ID, I was expecting them to be a bit smaller than that)They ended unhooking themselves though as I wrestled with the sunroof tray. I also traced where they go, as I want to install them in similar placement as the OEM. The front ones go down the A pillar (between the door glass and the windscreen), down the frame, and come out the wheelwell wall (the plastic part that lines the inside of the wheel well). The rears go all the way back and down the sides of the tailgate opening, to a silly series of pipe bends that are stuck into each other. I will be rerouting this slightly, to stick out a bit from the underside of the rear bumper cover. The tray itself held some good news for me as it has a rubber seal around the top outside, that seals to the metal of the roof. This means that leakage from a less than perfect fit will go into the tray, and out the drain hoses (4 of them), making this a bit less critical than if it actually needed to seal to the glass. I gathered all the parts from the donor car (dome lights, maplight console, tailgate light, drain hoses, grab handles, headliner, as much trim as I think I can use, etc) along with all the hardware that was used to mount it.

 

Stage 2 (Demolition) : Now that I have the parts to install the sunroof, I need to take out the headliner from Emily. This goes easily, as I have done this before. Then I test-fit the sunroof tray to the roof. It is too heavy to manuver, so I remove the sunroof glass to lighten it up a bit. The motor is still heavy, but it is within what I can handle for a bit. OK, good news, some of the fittings are already in the car!! this means I can bolt at least two places into position while I get the rest installed. Looking at the fit, I need to remove the first three roof rails for this to go in. Hmmm, bad news: the rail that the back of the sunroof is bent down from the roof as the pegs that hold it in place were really tight when taking them out. I'm thinking that JB Weld will fix this. Where the donor car had studs to put the nuts on that hold the sunroof tray in place the project car has holes. I will probably be using bolts, and a bit of JB Weld to hold them in place. I will be taking annother look at the donor as I do not see a place to bolt up the front of the tray, which bothers me a bit. I'll also be looking at the possability of robbing the studs from the donor as well. Oh, and I will be looking to see if any of the roof ribs can be left in place with the instalation. But at least two of the roofrails have to come out.

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I've seen this same thing done before on a Lincoln some years back, and it may hold some value for you. The gentleman doing the install cut the entire roof section, including the interior bracing for the entire sunroof, from the donor car to ensure that the sunroof opening and its rolled sides were correctly shaped and aligned with the glass. No guesswork as to will it work and seal up properly after the install. Welding the old roof into the new car took some bodywork and paint for sure, ( this fellow had his own antique restoration shop and was a panel beater and lead man by trade) but the end result was just like from the factory. Good luck!

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OK, the demolition is going slowly. So far I have cut out 3/4 of the roof of the donor car to get the supports that come on a sunroof model car. When I got it home (carried inside the cargo area no less), I took a pic that may explain why Subarus are so heavy. Well, I took several. Unfortunately, the file size exceeds upload limits. email me and I'll share with you though.

 

So far, I have the skin on the donor roof, I have removed one rib, and cut two others free at one end (and am in the process of wiggling until metal fatigue breaks it off). The skin replaces the first three ribs, and there is a good sized 4th rib to replace the standard size one. This is out of 5 ribs. I'll be JB Weldinng the skin up (with the studs going through the existing holes for support), and doing the same with the 4th rib.

 

The updates will come faster as I get more done at a time. . .

 

Remaining Items of Concern: Wiring for the Sunroof power, removing the skin from the donor roof without damage.

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More progress: I have test fitted the sunroof tray, and in doing so, I discovered that the fourth roof fib needs to come out and be replaced. There is no place to bolt up the back end of the sunroof tray on the original rib. I fairly well expected this anyway, as the 4th rib in the donor car is much more substantial than the non-sunroof version. In all, it is a good trade in any case. In looking at the forward support skin, I have come to the conclusion that I'll need to cut down one side of the skin in order to be able to get it in the car. This does not present any major structural problems, however, as the mounting points are on the frame rail mostly. The exception to this is the two that are on the 4th rib, and the two that are forward of the opening on the front. The support skin will be bonded to the roof skin with JB Weld, so I do not expect any problems, particularly as it will be well supported on the sides. I still have concerns about the power supply to the motor, but that is the biggest problem I see remaining. As an emergency recourse, I can run a heavy guage wire to main power seperately.

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The sunroof is IN!!!! Just have to connect electrical power and do a bit of bodywork for finishing. works well on the crank, and I'm just lovin the sunshine. . .

 

Will post pics when time and connection permits.

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Dash wiring done. Good news, the plug for the non sunroof is the same as for the sunroof model. (on the non sunroof models, it just goes to the map light. You have to add the wires for the sunroof power, and visor mirror lights if you want those). All I did was add power for the sunroof and the switches work (relays trip near the motor, but no joy from the motor just yet. The headliner will have to be removed and I'll have to trace down the problem with the motor from the back of the sunroof tray. The wiring and the hole in the roof turned out to be the hardest parts of the whole project.

 

I am now at a point where I am no longer able to put used parts on the car for upgrade purposes. All upgrades have to be new from this point out. That will include AGX struts, and driving lights. then I clean up the old bushings a set at a time, and perhaps paint and tinting. Oh, I'm in the market for one "teardrop" style alloy wheel from an LS in decent shape for the spare.

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