The roof, the roof, the roof is all munted

Another instalment in the recently begun saga that is Swade’s 99 Turbo restoration.

The wheels will be heading off to the beadblaster shortly, so I decided today would be a good day to get busy on the roof lining in my 99 Turbo.  I checked out Doug’s job on his EMS and it all looked simple enough.

Little did I know…

Geoffrey (my young apprentice) and I started in the back, on the rear
‘sails’.  After a little bit of umming and arring they came out easily
enough.  They were looking a little worse for wear and I was sure that
I’d be the first to have ever removed them, though I’d find out

The lining itself was quite worn and discoloured and some of the ‘sandwich foam’ had begun to leak out.  We got the staples out and the fabric off and all together, the pieces didn’t look in too bad a condition, except it was quite evident that someone had been in here and fiddling about at some earlier stage – either that or Saab were stapling up some broken pieces to install them into cars!!

A few sheets of 120 grit and about an hour later and we had them looking all spiffed up and ready to rock and roll.  It’s a shame that it’s a Sunday here and all your specialty types shops where you can get all the right glues and fabrics are closed (hey, it’s a small city!!).

We were quite pleased with the end result as a far as the sails were concerned (see left).  They ended up looking fantastic, which got me all enthused about going the next step and getting the roof lining out.  I got myself all organised with sticky-tape to keep the right screws with the fight fixtures and even had my camera there (obviously) to record the wiring for the light (nice tip, Doug!!).

I should have stayed satisfied with the sails.  We got the roof lining off with no hassles, but it did unmask a house of horrors that’s going to lead to a fair bit of think-time and some repair work that I hadn’t factored in to the job.

First up, there’s the busted roof lining itself.  The main cause of this and all my subsequent woes is the leaking sunroof.  The water that’s got in there has weakened the actual liner-shell to the point where it’s broken between the sunroof and the driver’s side door.  The whole shell was very brittle and when we were taking the fabric off, you couldn’t help but peel off some chunks of it.  2 of the corners are pretty well stuffed.

My question therefore:  Can these things be repaired??  Can I take it to a fibreglass specialist or something to get some bits welded up and filled in?  I can always look around for a 3-door 99 being wrecked and check out if the liner is OK, but I’d rather go with what I’ve got where I can.

The other water related problem: the water has been getting in through a screw-hole that fixes the sunroof to the body.  When I got the liner out of the car I had a look up there and sure enough, rusty cancer appearing, circular and about an inch in diameter.  So it looks like I’m going to have to get the thing to a body shop to get the cancer removed both underside and topside.  I’m fearing big problems here as they may need to remove the sunroof in order to fix this up.  Grrrrrrrr.

On the bright side – I did get to figure out that my sunroof has a little pneumatic hose going to the seal.  Your’e supposed to hit a "Sportsroof Release" button prior to opening it and I could never figure out why.  Now that I’ve discovered the airhose behind the roof lining I understand.  When the car’s running there’s air pressure in the seal that keeps everything sealed up tight.  The button releases it prior to opening.  Ingenious!!

This is has been quite a demoralising outcome, but then again i’m sure it’ll just be the first of many along this journey.  Any tips on what to do with this, particularly the ability or otherwise to repair the lining shell would be warmly welcomed.

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1 Comment

  1. Those roofs were (I think) Webasto and the way they worked was that when you hit the button, the engine vacuum collpased the tube, allowing you to slide the roof . They were commonly seen on things like Triumpoh 2500s.

    Repairing the headlining is probably not worth it. Compressed fibreglass will not be rebonded v easily.

    I don’t think it’s water- it should affect the fibreglass, instead I reckon it was probably done when the sunroof went in. As you know, to remove it properly is a PITA so most shops would not have removed the seats, pillars etc. etc, and tried to lever the bits in, with the headlining in situ.

    A 900 one should fit your 5 door (Check with Saabwreck)


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