How to Install a Manual Sunroof!

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by Falcone, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Falcone

    Falcone Rockstar 100 Posts

    Well I figured I'd make a write up while I installed a sunroof in my first gen 1992 GMC Sonoma, here it goes. I used a sunroof I took out of a truck same as mine from the scrap yard so I knew it would fit the contour of the roof make sure yours does as well.

    Tools needed:
    -Air Nibbler or possibly small cut off wheel. Air nibler preffered.
    -Sharp knife
    -Urethane Windshield Adhesive
    -Cardboard or other template making material
    -Painters tape
    -Small tarp is nice to have less mess.
    -double sided tape, I used extorior trim tape
    -Earth magnet (makes things easier)

    I'll do my best to explain the steps I did hopfully this turns out well. There isn't pictures for the steps I though were self explainitory. First off drape the tarp over your interior to try and minimize the metal shavings which will fall into your seats and feel amazing when you sit down.

    1. Clean all old gasket/sealent off of the sunroof

    2.Remove headliner from truck

    3. Place earth magnet infront of the doubled up "roll bar" on the roof. This is to makesure you don't cut into this and to get your layout point started.

    4. After masking off the roof with the painters tape use a drillbit or another magnet to find the one on the inside and make a mark.

    5. Make a baseline to measure off of to makesure your sunroof will be square. I pressed a 2 foot level (or something straight and rigid) against my back window and measured off of it to get my line. Then make a center mark on the baseline.

    6. Make a template of the sunroofs required opening size out of carboard or something you can cut easily. I used rigid insulation. Make a center mark on it as well. You can see my template in the tools picture I'll see if I can just get one of it later.

    7. Now place your template on the roof and center it and make sure square and where it needs to be and trace it out.

    8. Double check everything and make any minor adjustments you need to to your cut lines. Makesure to mark the lines you wish to follow as there's no metal strechers.

    9. Make sure once again that your lines are correct and your not going to cut a hole thats too big. IMPORTANT!

    10. Now for the fun part, time to make a hole in your roof. Take the drill with a good sharp bit which is large enough to slip your airnibblers head through and drill a hole about 3" away from your cut line (I went to the middle because I've never used a nibbler before and wanted to test it before I got to the endge.

    11. Now get your air nibbler out and start cutting, makesure you stay to the INSIDE of your marks as you can always take a little more away alot easier then you can add back to it. Wear safety glasses or cantacts! (haha)

    12.Use some blocks or tools or a buddy if you can to hold up the sheetmetal as your cutting so it doesn't droop and bend the rest of your roof.

    Shazam You now have a sunroof your all done.
    Moving along..

    13.Once you've cut the hole now try and test fit the sunroof bracket to see if it fits, and slowly take away the spots which are not letting it slip in.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
    ChevyFan likes this.
  2. Falcone

    Falcone Rockstar 100 Posts


    14. Once you've worked out all the little spots and the bracket fits nicely. Put your headline back in your truck and mark out the cutout from above.

    15. Remove the headliner again and cut out the marked hole. Sharp knife is key here to not rip or fray the headliner.

    16. Put the headliner back in and reattach your visors and everything else holding it in.

    17. Remove all masking tape from the roof clean ( i used normal soap) all around the opening, and the under side of the roof and top of the headliner as well. Wipe clean with wet rag.

    18.Now take your gasket/ spacer material and put double sided tape on one side of it and stick it to your headliner just inside the opening.

    19. Take your Urethane adhesive and slap it on nice and thick all on the inside of the gasket/spacer and on the cut edge of the hole, and also along the lip of the sunroof. This is whats going to make a proper seal and keep that pesky H2o out.

    20. Now simply lower the sunroof bracket into the hole and pressdown all around the edges. Now go inside the truck and screw the interior retaining trim piece onto the sunroof which will squish down all the Urethane and seat the sunroof properly. Install the screw cover strip and viola!
    Sorry no pictures of that, easy enough to figure out.

    I still need to clean up the excess urethane that squished out, but I'd rather do that then get wet everytime it rains.

    Here's the finished product.
    thegawd and ChevyFan like this.
  3. 5speedsilverado

    5speedsilverado Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    nice how to, i have never seen a single cab truck with a sunroof, kinda makes me want to do it, and kinda doesn't cause of the cutting. great job though, im impressed
    ChevyFan likes this.
  4. Falcone

    Falcone Rockstar 100 Posts

    I need to have a nice sunny day and get pics of it with the glass out, its a much bigger hole then it looks with the glass in.
    ChevyFan likes this.
  5. DIGS16

    DIGS16 Rockstar 100 Posts

    nice how to write up
  6. ahm1127

    ahm1127 Rockstar 100 Posts

    That was great, thanks.
  7. canislupis69

    canislupis69 Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Nice write up!
  8. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    This is awesome, how did I miss this A+++++ post? Nice work @Falcone
  9. summitwhite11

    summitwhite11 Active Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    That is awesome, gotta love a good how to class, thanks.
  10. good pics and write up. Very impressed.

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