Hard top restoration.

Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
162
overall my hard top is in good shape, but I fear that if I do not address a few things soon it will not be in great shape for too much longer.

I have some rust bubbling through on the rain gutter. Nothing inside, it’s all on the outer edge. The top was repainted and the paint did not adhere well, so it is chipping and cracking.

So my plan is to put a roll bar and the FST back on it and restore the roof.

I know there are 7,659 about this but I wanted to start my own restore thread here to ask questions and document the process.

My plan is to pull the roof, remove the weather stripping, wire wheel the gutter down the the metal, remove all rust, then POR15 it.

I have read that there are two options for the fiberglass. Either going with a west marine deck paint system, or taking it to a boat yard and having it gel coated. I live in SF so there are lots of boat yards around, and that seems like a really good option, but would love to hear opinions of each, or any other good solutions.

First big question - I have heard it is a nightmare to replace the rain gutter - I assume this come with the riveting and alignment with the fiber glass. So is it safe to remove the fiberglass and gutter as one piece from the side shroudes? Looking at it I feel like it should be easy enough to realign and re attach.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
162
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Here are some images of the truck and details of the most problematic areas of the roof.
 

ginmtb

'74 FJ40 - my first!
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That looks pretty good! Way better than mine did. You should be able to take the fiberglass and rain gutter off as one unit - just need to unbolt it. Lots of bolts and be prepared for some to shear.

I would do as you say and scrape out the sealant. Then clean up the rust and treat it. There probably will be some on the underside. You may find that you may not have to replace the gutter. If you don’t need to remove the gutter I wouldn’t. Put in new sealant and you should be fine. I have some that I never used if you’re interested - self leveling in a caulk tube. Designed for RV’s and something that I read worked well in this application. And I’m not far from you!

You may have seen my roof redo (search my build thread if not) - I sanded off all the old paint and then applied a series of West Marine products. Rolls on so it is easy to work with. Has some flexibility to help with cracking you may have in the gel coat. Then I painted it with epoxy biscuit appliance paint, like $4 a can at Lowe’s.
 

Martyt

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I am a huge fan of using a rust converter as a stop gap. I like Black Start a lot--not cheap but very good. In places I saw minor rust in my rig (mine is a CA rig so no worries in that department), it works great and turns the rust a blackish color (which I like). BTW, your top does not look bad at all in my view; not sure if you need to do a full blown resto on it.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
162
Sounds in line with my thinking. I want to deal with the rust before I have to replace the rain gutter. Or at least delay the replacement. Thanks for the advice.
 

Cruiser Corps

Toyota Land Cruiser Parts | Oklahoma City | USA
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Mar 17, 2010
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Oklahoma City, OK
I am of the belief that your rain gutter is salvageable at this point.

IMOP I would get a wire wheel and clean out not only the gutter area but also the metal itself to get down to fresh solid metal.

When you go to re do the gutter use a 3M self leveling seam sealer. On the metal use a metal etching primer on all bare surfaces.

The rust you are currently getting appears to be from water getting thru the cracks of the current seam sealer. The new flexible sealers on the market hold up much better than what Toyota put in originally.

I would be happy to shoot you some pics of a top we just finished for reference as well as talk by phone.

Take care
Mike
 

dad4x4

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Forsyth, GA
I would be happy to shoot you some pics of a top we just finished for reference as well as talk by phone.
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Mike, would be good if you could post those pics to this thread for all of us.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
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SC
My hardtop was in pretty rough shape. I wish I had a good before picture. It had a few holes in it lots of cracking, dry, and one section of the gutter was rusted. I completely took it apart. I had a metal shop recreate the rusted section of gutter. I had the body shop repair the fiberglass top, just like they would do a fiberglass car. All new gaskets, rivets (get a rivet tool), seam sealer, etc and mine ended up like this and still looks perfect after a few years:

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Daughter using Clecos to hold things together for riveting and test fitting. They are great little helpers.
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Splangy

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Skip the POR, etching primer, and gel coat and use an epoxy primer over everything. Also, nothing sticks to a smooth surface so make sure you roughen up anything before coating. And don’t forget to use a quality self-leveling seam sealer.
 
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bcsteel

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Whatever you do make sure you research your paint types and go with compatible top coat and primer.
 
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Took my top off a couple of years ago. I didn't separate rain gutter from fiber glass, was lucky to have minor rust and pitting on the rain gutter. I dug out all of the old caulking I could and wire wheeled the best I could. I filled the pitted areas with rubber roof caulk from the RV shop, bought a new gasket for where the top bolts to the sides, and used the same caulking to seal the gutter to the fiberglass. I know some people fill the whole rain gutter with sealer but I don't think it's necessary. I just ran a bead over where the gutter meets the top. I used the self leveling caulk that they use to seal up vents and fittings on RV's. I dries flexible and lasts for years.
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