Time and money seem to always be the deciding factor in how long a project takes to complete. After preparing Pile House for a chop my time ran thin and it took longer for me to get to cutting the roof than I’d like; but I’m sure everyone can relate when life gets in the way of a project!
For removing the roof I used a reciprocating saw and an Angle Grinder with a cutting wheel, but there are a number of different tools you could use. It all really depends on the vehicle you’re chopping. I’ve seen others use a Body Saw, Electric or Pneumatic Metal Shears, portable bandsaws, hacksaws, Plasma Cutters, and even an oxy-acytelene torch! No matter what your method, you need to make sure you make controlled, precise cuts. I use the reciprocating saw to cut areas like the tops of the doors, the A-pillars, and the door jams where the metal is boxed. The long cuts through the sheet metal were done with the angle grinder.
With the roof cut off, we set it on the ground and cut 3″ out of the rear of the cab and enough out of the front pillars to get the roof sitting at an angle I liked. From there I began slowly welding the back of the roof on. The backside needs to stay in the same position as stock (unlike a car where most of the modifications occur towards the back of the roof). I’m choosing to use the Eastwood TIG 200 on low amperage to make the welds. When the welder settings are dialed in correctly and using small .030 filler wire, I can keep the heat-effected zone low, and hammer the welds flat with the Hammer and Dolly Set. In some places there will be no grinding (nearly impossible with a MIG!) necessary. This project requires me to be crawling around the bed and cab making short stitch welds on the roof. There isn’t a good spot to position the TIG 200 foot pedal during this process, so I switched the controls to the finger switch on the torch. This makes out-of-position welding much easier. The more comfortable you are when welding, the better your welds will be.
Now with the roof back in place, it’s pretty obvious that I’ll need to split the roof in half to move the front portion to match the A-pillars and add a filler panel to the gap. On classic trucks I like the factory rake of the pillars, where-as on coupes and sedans of the same era angled pillars can really help make the car look like it’s going fast when sitting still. Once I get more spare time and an extra set of hands, I’ll start cutting the roof again and get everything sitting where I want it to, then more welding and hammering can occur. Stay tuned, I’m just getting started!