Sep 19, 2014

Project 180SX: Roof Repair and Glass Install 56k NOOOOOO


Project 180SX:

Roof Repair and Glass Install

by Dustin Mankin

In the past couple of articles, I've been talking about how I need to change my windshield for Shaken, or Government Car inspection. I'm finally getting around to it. The sad thing is, that the glass itself was only $150. It isn't OEM, but on the drift car, who cares. Especially when I had to pay around $400 for the weather molding surrounding the glass.Everyone who says that they want to come to Japan because the parts are so cheap... think again. Yes, used aftermarket parts are cheaper in Japan, but a lot of stuff you either A) can't get here, or B) It's expensive as hell. I think I looked on Courtesy Parts and the same set was like $250 dollars, give or take.

Anyway, here she is with the glass out. To get the glass out, you need to remove the  rearview mirror, map light, sun visors, interior weather stripping....all that crap. Then pull the roof panel down, gently, and use some cardboard wedged in there to keep it down. You don't wanna mess it up or get it dirty.

After that, you can use a few things to cut the sealer loose. They make an electric hot wire maching, but that's expensive. Then on the opposite end, if you are dirt poor, or not a professional windshield installer, you can use a piano or thin metal wire. Or if you are smack dab in the middle, like our shop, they make a manual powered tool that cuts it out. It looks like a sex toy that I saw at your mom's once, but that's another story, for another website.

However you go about it. It's a pain in the ass. It'll take a while, just keep at it. Now you can see all the stuff you wanted to ignore... namely rust. Look in that bottom passenger side corner...

This passenger side corner. When I saw that, I about threw up my lunch. I was really hoping it didn't go all the way through. But, it looked like it did. Damn this car is rusty as hell. It's a 1996 model, and it's worse than my damn 1989 model back in Kentucky.

And here is my old windshield laying on some tires. RIP.

But sitting there scared doesn't get you anywhere, so I just dug in. A lot of it was spot rust.

And getting into the corners was the worst part. Not difficult, just tedious. Sometimes shit like that makes me bored, so I have to just tell myself, if you quit it will take even longer to finish.

I just kept going. You can see that corner wasn't as bad as I thought, which is a really awesome thing.

Really I got lucky, because only one area had rust so bad that it ate through. And it was not a big area, so it will be easy to fix. You can see the other picture above to get an idea of the scale. It was probably about an inch of metal.

And with night fall, the end of my work came. I'll pick back up the next day where I left off.

I started taping the car off to put on some rust changer, which also is an epoxy at the same time. It does a double job of changing rust into an inert material, and the epoxy gives you a smooth surface to sand and paint on. It can be sprayed if you have a thick enough tip on your gun, but this time, we just thought it would be easier to brush since these areas won't be seen so much.

I'm going to primer later, but this greenish brown stuff you see is the factory e-coat. I really wish there was a way to get this stuff.... I mean almost NOTHING rusts where this stuff is applied, and it's hard as hell to remove.

In the above pictures, you can see some of the Rust Changer in action, set up as an epoxy. Some of the brush bristles even got stuck into it. I'll also tell you that when we reinstalled bolts, we had to use a thread tap to clean the holes out first to easier install the bolts. That's how hard this stuff gets. I really like this stuff, actually. It is a little difficult to sand though, and it takes about 3-6 hours to get to a hardness that is sandable, althought I would say 24 hours is preferred.

After the rust sealer cured, we pushed her into the garage to tack some metal into the little area on the cowl where the rust ate through.

I can't weld, so I let Taira-san handle that. I don't have any pics inbetween this and priming, but we did go to the welds with a 60 grit belt sander after this to clean them up.

The car was then taped and primed and this is the result. You can see some rough areas under the body, where we didn't sand the epoxy so smooth, but this will never be seen so no need to waste time making it look like it's perfect.

After that, I sanded down the metal roof trim. This is going to be the same color as the roof, which I believe is KH3 Black, just the standard one stage Nissan black. It will match everything, so if I ever want to change color, I only have to do the body, which will save me time and money... providing I always want a two-tone car.

And the B-Pillar I slaved away on in the first part of this project? Stripped and ready to be resprayed. I didn't like that color on the B-Pillar. I mean I like the color... enough that I'm considering spraying the car with it, but it just didn't blend well as a B-Pillar. This part will also be KH3 Black.

At this point, I had to come back home to get ready for work in the evening, so I planned to paint it the next day. When I showed up ready to work, the roof was painted and the glass was set. And for all of that they only charged me $80. No shop in the world would do all of that for that cheap. I haven't had enough practice painting, so I likely would have wasted more money in paint. And I can always practice later on scrap parts.

Here you can see how far we went with the black paint. I'm really happy with the outcome of this up to this stage.

And here is the little multi-color wonder sitting in my driveway the next day.... sadly it was raining. But it did wash a lot of the dust off of the car. I took it out the next day for a good wash.... still looked like primered shit, lol.

Well... this was a long one, guys.... how about a little comment love?


  1. Love what you are doing with this, makes me want another 180.

  2. Good job man. I need to do same love to the old Ky car

  3. Keep it up man. Looking good so far. I have a feeling.... I will be working on my old S13 soon... Drew is picking out which route he wants to go with it (High HP with a top mount turbo or an S15 turbo and attack the twisties) When we start on it I will get you some pics of the project.

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