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Discussion Starter #1
My Sister-In-Law wants to buy my OEM CR-Z wheels and tires for her '07 Civic LX. I told her $500, which is a steal since the tires have about 200 miles on them.

I'm trying to decide what to spend this new-found loot on. Takeda Intake and Progress RSB? Amplifier and Sound Processor to complete my audio system? I keep coming back to the one MAJOR Mod I want REALLY BADLY... a SUNROOF to enjoy this beautiful Florida weather we have most of the year! :wub:



I love the way this looks, both inside and outside the car, open and closed!

I went to a local sunroof installer here in Pensacola, Florida that's been around for decades. He quoted me a "military price" of $860 installed--which is a good deal, IMO. I was curious as to how "entailed" the installation would be, so he e-mailed me the instructions directly from the distributor "The Sunroof Doctor".

I've been thinking about this for 6 months and curiosity got the best of me, so I did a Google search and found the distributor's website.

The Sunroof Doctor - Your source for replacement sunroof & t-top parts!

Apparently, one can purchase a Webasto sunroof directly for $409 !!!!! I am looking at the 321M (Medium) Model; which seems to be the 300 Medium "Series" that a few forum members have had installed in their CR-Zs. It auto-closes when you remove the key, has a rolling sunshade, tinted glass, programmable buttons, etc.

Hollandia 320 and 321 Controls Video - YouTube

I spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force in a career field known as Aircraft Structural Maintenance. I now teach Technical Training for this career field for the Air Force as a Civil Service Instructor (now that I'm retired). Basically, we do metal fabrication, riveting, battle damage repairs, carbon fiber / kevlar / boron composites and fiberglass repairs, metal-bonded honeycomb repairs, major aircraft structural mods, etc. In essence, I spent the last 20+ years cutting holes in $50 Million - $200 Million aircraft...so there's not much that scares me with regards to "cutting holes in expensive things".

For $860, I could have a Webasto Sunroof, Takeda Intake AND Progress rear sway bar! :thumbsup:

The sunroof kit comes with a template and detailed instructions on where and how to position the sunroof. What size fits, which glued-in OEM roof stiffener has to be removed, and exactly where to place the cutting template are all in the instructions.

Here's the Instructions:







I'm thinking:
- Connect the sunroof to a 12v electrical source and test-run it right out of the box
- Cover the roof panel in tape.
- Cover the bottom of my jig saw with tape.
- Install a 24-tooth metal cutting blade in the jig saw.
- Position the template on the roof. Measure and re-measure like 5 times and mark.
- Drill a "starter hole" in one corner and cut-out the opening with the jig saw.
- File, de-burr and sand the edges of the cutout smooth.
- Prime and paint the freshly cut edge.
- Install the sunroof and wire it up.
- Perform a test run (installed)
- Back car out of garage and leak-check sunroof with a garden hose
- Cut the hole in the headliner panel
- Dyna Mat the inside of the roof panel
- Re-install the headliner panel
- Install the trim bezel to complete the job

The only wiring that has to be done is running the wiring harness down the driver's side A-pillar and into the fuse box (plus installing a relay for the sunroof).

Call me crazy, but I really don't see this as any more entailed than most engine mods, etc. that experienced engine tuners perform. If you have the balls, experience and expertise, I say go for it and utilize your skills! I feel 100% confident that I can install this sunroof just as well or better than a local yocal redneck here, and right now I'm at about 99.9% certain I want to install it myself.

I'm slightly O.C.D. and pretty anal about my stuff. I don't like paying people to work on / modify my cars, motorcycles or houses - I like to do it myself. My son and I recently installed our own Tein springs on our cars in our garage; which is something I thought I'd never do. All we needed was hand tools and a Harbor Freight spring compressor.

I'm just wondering; HAS ANYONE ELSE EVER INSTALLED A SUNROOF THEMSELVES? If so, please advise me of any pitfalls I may be overlooking.
:police: And no, I don't need 20 people telling me my sunroof is going to leak. Have a little faith. You've seen my very best work over head in every U.S. War since 1989.:cool:

Of course, I would video / photo document this as a major DIY.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would imagine so, yes. With a Honda Factory sunroof, there are "channels and drainage tubes" that dissipate some run-off, but let's face it; if you leave it open and it rains, something's going to get wet.

You CAN hit a button to leave it open when the key is removed, but if there is a chance of rain I'm not going to do that...sunny days and clear nights will be the only days it gets "programmed / left open" when the car is parked. The key-out / auto-close feature is the most desireable, to me.

With this type of sunroof, one would need to drive for a few minutes before opening the roof if the car was wet, covered with dew, etc.

Other than that, from every other aftermarket installed sunroof I've read about on other forums, the "leaky / problematic sunroofs" are a thing of the past (if installed correctly.

I'll keep you guys posted. Hopefully, I'll have it installed no later than March.
 

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I have every faith in your abilty to do this. Like you said, other than application-specific experience (i.e. with sunroofs) , what's the local shop got that you don't. Well, insurance, i guess :) . But you've thought it out and researched it enough, and you have a clue about how to approach it, and what the pitfalls may be. I'd say you are better prepared than some professionals!

Good luck, and please do document the process (not that i'd have the balls to follow your lead on this one).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the vote of confidence!

The local shop doesn't even install it themselves. They call a guy in to do it for them (so that makes TWO middle men I'd be cutting out of the equation).

When I asked "Hey, you guys DO prime and paint that freshly-cut metal edge prior to installation, right?" the owner of the shop said "Well, I suppose we could get him to do that, but it might cost a few dollars more."

:ughgtfo:

No thanks. I'll do it myself. Sad that he is the only certified Webasto installer in a 200 mile radius. I'm too picky for a bunch of "what-if's".

Here's another website where a guy in the U.K. installed a manual Webasto in an older MG...IN HIS OWN GARAGE!

Glass Sunroof
 

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same here interested how it will turn out :beer:
 

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I'm an old aircraft mechanic and I'm wanting to install one myself. I installed several sunroofs back in the 70s. They were all manual and only one had an electrical hook up for a light. In those days you cut a hole, mount a ring around it and mount the sunroof onto that ring. It doesn't look terribly different today.

I think I might go with a manual sunroof, or at least not have the auto-close feature. Where I live, I would only need to close it from rain about 10 times a year.

One tip I have for you is that it makes a big ole mess on the interior if you don't think ahead. Plan on catching your shavings as you go rather than having to crawl all over them and grind them into the interior.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
good point Jay. I'm thinking of hanging an old bedsheet suspended under the headliner. That way I can gather it up and remove all the shavings at one time.

My sister in law is waiting on her tax return to buy my wheels/tires. I'm getting very anxious though... I'm hoping to have it in maybe as soon as February.

One more thing I found out; if I use a pneumatic "nibbler" there is almost NO dust and it produces a nearly burr-free edge. Harbor Freight sells them for about $25.00
 

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Good Luck. I try not to buy anything from Harbor Freight that has moving parts or sharp edges, especially if I plan to use it more than once or use it in a mission critical situation. I'd rather pay 3 times as much and get something I can depend on.
 

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I dunno, you guys have a ton of rain in Florida. During the design/engineering phase, an automaker tests its sunroofs/moonroofs/convertible tops very rigorously.

They will dump huge amounts of water on the car and also lower the air pressure inside the vehicle. The whole goal is to try desperately to draw water into the vehicle to see how to prevent leaks over the life of the car (after all they cannot simulate 8 year old rubber seals).

In the early stages of testing they put a guy in a poncho inside because he's going to get mega-soaked while they iron out the kinks. In essence, what you're trying to do is emulate what these engineers do - but you only get one shot at it to get it right without leaks. And one shot is never enough.

Bottom line, If you plan on having this car for 36 months or so, by all means put that sun roof in since it's likely you will have a great experience in the beginning. But over time you're very likely to have leaks.
 

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I think that is great advice for the average self installer. OTOH, I think the original poster may be an exception, because of his aviation structural maintenance background. In this field, we have a great understanding of sealants and how to prep the surface, the effects of compression during installation, corrosion control, various metal properties, and the flex and stress loads after installation. We are trained to think ahead and get it right the first time from selecting the right sealant for the job to insuring the work done lasts longer than the original parts.

I'm not saying that he or I or another aircraft structure mechanic would nail it every time. I think we might have more odds stacked in our favor than a weekend mechanic or even a professional sunroof installer.

Again, good advice holeydonut.
 

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Straight from a members mouth

He told me not worth it, you have to cut the support out of the roof so you loose structural integrity, you will hear the roof creak and twist, safety is out the window for the roof, and whistling at speeds. If none of that concerns you go for it. I wanted one badly till I was told this. I'd rather have the support inmy roof.
 

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Ridin' Nerdy
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If this comes out good... I am going to drive there to get the arm rest and the sunroof. I think I will just have you mod my car with future plans for now on. I am an AT(Aviation Electronic Technician) but I have no AM skills like you do... Hell, I don't even have electronically skills unless there is a PUB with a wire diagram attached. Also, I love how do an extensive write-up and thorough research when you plan things... TALK ABOUT AIRSPEED. I appreciate all that you do and the reviews you write up. I am glad we have people that take the time to think things through and then puts it out for all the rest to use. You sir are indeed a great contributor!
 

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I appreciate all that you do and the reviews you write up. I am glad we have people that take the time to think things through and then puts it out for all the rest to use. You sir are indeed a great contributor!
Absolutely - :hi5: :yeahthat:
 

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Straight from a members mouth

He told me not worth it, you have to cut the support out of the roof so you loose structural integrity, you will hear the roof creak and twist, safety is out the window for the roof, and whistling at speeds. If none of that concerns you go for it. I wanted one badly till I was told this. I'd rather have the support inmy roof.


Now there's a challenge for the structure mechanic! LOL

I just gently peeled out some some headliner out across the drivers door/window trim and took a peek at what's up there. I think that I would suggest SS2CRZ do the same. It might even be easier in the long run to go ahead and remove the headliner for initial evaluation, cuts, and structural repairs. And if the metal is cut with the headliner out, it would make cutting the headliner really easy and precise. There's about a 1 inch diameter wire bundle running fore/aft along that edge making it hard to see how the bow is connected to the edges.

Just thinking out loud for a moment....the CR-Z has bows that support the roof that run left/right. Instead of cutting one to make room for the roof, could you relocate it just aft of the sunroof or add a bow forward and one aft of the sunroof. Or if you cut it, could you connect the remaining parts to the bow forward and the bow aft for strength?
My guess is that the sunroof is plenty strong...too strong. The problem might be distributing the loads for body flex, vibration, and pressure from various sources that might put weight on top of the roof. not to mention the seals.
Since I live in an area with almost no rain, I have always wanted a manual pop up roof instead of electric sliding roof, and I think a manual roof would be much less intrusive.

Just remember next time you fly XYZ Airlines, your plane probably has several instances of damage that went through a structural member, and some structure mechanic repaired it. Now it gets pressure tested, leak tested, and proven 5-10 times a day, and this time you are in it.
 

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me first

If this comes out good... I am going to drive there to get the arm rest and the sunroof. I think I will just have you mod my car with future plans for now on. I am an AT(Aviation Electronic Technician) but I have no AM skills like you do... Hell, I don't even have electronically skills unless there is a PUB with a wire diagram attached. Also, I love how do an extensive write-up and thorough research when you plan things... TALK ABOUT AIRSPEED. I appreciate all that you do and the reviews you write up. I am glad we have people that take the time to think things through and then puts it out for all the rest to use. You sir are indeed a great contributor!
What a minute! Me first on this deal!:nervous:
 

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I am simultaneously enthused and horrified by this project. :)

I really hope it comes out well for you. Me - I'm waiting for Honda to release one in the states with a sunroof and when they do I will upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think that is great advice for the average self installer. OTOH, I think the original poster may be an exception, because of his aviation structural maintenance background. In this field, we have a great understanding of sealants and how to prep the surface, the effects of compression during installation, corrosion control, various metal properties, and the flex and stress loads after installation. We are trained to think ahead and get it right the first time from selecting the right sealant for the job to insuring the work done lasts longer than the original parts.

I'm not saying that he or I or another aircraft structure mechanic would nail it every time. I think we might have more odds stacked in our favor than a weekend mechanic or even a professional sunroof installer.

Again, good advice holeydonut.
Yeah Roger THAT! :grin:

Good advice from Holeydonut as well.

I guess when I look at things like this, I don't get terrified or even discouraged. I DO look at it as a challenge; and I HATE paying people to do things for me!

Now, I know when to say when...but I also know that I can use an engineer's template and cut on a line. When there's massive corrosion or battle damage on an aircraft, the T.O. (repair manual) gives you the skin thickness and MAX hole size you can cut-out to do a flush or non-flush repair. That's all "College Boy" (the Engineer) gives us!

We have to measure and mark-out our own cut lines, to include a radius in the corners (so no stress risers form during flight and create cracks later). We drill a large (starter) hole, insert the air saw blade, and start cutting! We also have to precisely lay-out 2-4 rows of rivet locations, and drill and countersink them all. And like Jayemtee said, we also have to treat the area for corrosion prevention, and mix / apply / cure 2-3 part aircraft structural adhesives / sealants to all of the repair parts (to include dipping the rivets to make sure even they are sealed tight too). If something started to "leak" the aircraft would lose cabin pressure and anywhere from 1-100 people could be killed--but no pressure or anything, right? :scared:

I teach Airframe Structural Repair (Aircraft Structural Maintenance, or "A.S.M.") for the United States Air Force at our Technical Training School here on N.A.S. Pensacola, Florida. I spent 20 years on active duty in this career field. I have no doubt that I can cut the hole and install the sunroof AS GOOD or BETTER than the local redneck at the do-it-all stereo, window visor, bed liner install "auto customization" shop. This project doesn't scare me at all! :grin:

As far as the roof bow goes, I don't think there's enough room to "relocate" it back farther, but that IS a good idea worth looking into. And the instructions call to remove it completely--it is simply glued-in.

As for the headliner: After you position the paper template, you drill holes (marked on the template) down THROUGH the headliner and install two long screws in those holes (to act as alignment pins). Then, from the inside, you attach a cardboard template (with 2 holes in it) to those two screws now sticking down through your headliner. This cardboard template is what you trace around with a sharpie to get your headliner cutting hole for later.

Remove the headliner, and cut / file / finish / paint the edges of the cut hole. The sunroof has neoprene seals, but the "Sunroof Doctor" said a lot of "old school" installers add a thin bead of silicone sealer to the flange as an added measure.

Keep in mind, guys...that there are 3-4 other forum members with this same sunroof installed for over a year now, that haven't reported any ill effects. They paid someone to install it for them, because they're not experienced with things like this.

If I have been trusted to cut holes in $25M-$200M aircraft, and have taught over 1,000 Airmen to do the same, I don't see any reason why I can't cut a hole in a $22K Honda CR-Z.

AND NOW, YOU GUYS ARE MAKING THIS SOUND LIKE A CHALLENGE OR A DARE! LOL ;)

--Rob
 
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