I have shopped around some body shops in the area and found Elhot Metal Fab recommended by someone on a Porsche board (http://elhotmetalfab.com/). I decided to drop in one day, and instantly liked Elliot, the owner. He had a MGB, nice early 911, a Jag e-type on a rotisserie and a 356 convertible in his S. Lake Union shop, a one-man operation. He was amenable to taking my car on bit by bit, his hourly rate is very reasonable, and he had space in his schedule the following week. Best of all, he said I could do some disassembly in his shop. I took out the headliner, carpet, seats (except drivers), quarter windows at home. Discovered nice rust under the quarter window bases and inside the roof. In his shop, out came the windshield (a bit of rust under the seal), sunroof panel and guts, and the drip rail chrome (more rust).
I grew up in New Hampshire where cars rot from road salt from the bottom up. Here in the Northwest they rust (more slowly) top down from rain, and also from condensation inside the car. BMW put foam in the roof under the headliner which acted like a sponge to keep moisture against the inside of the roof panel, which had very little paint--bad combo. Leaky window gaskets let more moisture inside, and when it tries to escape, it gets stuck under the roof.
Elliot didn't like the look of the roof clip I had bought, which was only slightly less rusty then the one on my car, so he cut out rusty roof metal and quickly fabbed up new replacement steel. He POR15ed and epoxy primed the exposed roof frame. He had to get a subtle compound curve into the new steel, using cool old Boeing surplus metal bending machinery. Wish I had those welding skills.
After a gorgeous summer here in Seattle, we had an unusually rainy September, both outside AND inside my 1972 BMW 2002. Roof rust that I have ignored or tried to slow with ineffective brush-on paint had finally made a nice drain from the outside to the top of my head. I have done almost all of the mechanical things I can do to my 1972, but it seemed time had come to address the bodywork.
Other stuff cried out for attention: A crunched nose with some rust where the battery used to drip acid (now relocated to the trunk), rust peaking through the drip rails, front fenders, bottom of doors, windshield seal was leaking. It was repainted, badly, in some kind of metallic white (which I hate) over the original Riviera (my fave 2002 color).
I am cheap, and I don't mind a bit of rattiness, but I want to keep the car and it seemed a shame to let it decay any further. Plus, rain on my head was a problem. This blog is a record of my attempt to slow the tin worm and bring it up a notch or two in appearance, all without breaking my small bank account.
Here are a few before shots of the roof rust