With the headliner in, the next step down the side is the roof rail. This is pretty straight forward, but it has one catch. the stainless steel rail isn’t reproduced. Not a big deal since it’s more functional than visible, but I spent a bunch of time trying to clean mine up to reuse anyhow.
They key parts here are the stainless rail itself, the weatherstrip replacement, and the windlacing along the edge of the headliner. I went ahead and ordered 20 feet of windlace even though I read that its a bit excessive. At a dollar a foot, I would rather waste $5 in spare parts than a week and $10 in shipping.
Looking at my original pictures for reference, I noticed a previous repair job makes the driver side a bad reference. I won’t be putting it back together like that.
I opted to maybe put a few inches extra in and trim it when I get to the kick plates, after the carpet.
Like other parts of the dash, I ended up with a darker blue than original. Might as well stick with the theme here. At least it’s all matching blue where it’s dark. To install, I just set it in place and took a heavier hammer and tapped it in. I would imagine a good rubber mallet would be ideal. I had a small sledge with some weight behind it that worked fine. When the sound turns into a deep thud like you’re hammering on the frame, its set. The windlace has plenty of flexibility to absorb the tapping. It’s not a hammering.
I just followed it up and over to call it done. It’s pretty clear where to stop in the back, unlike the front. Next, I had to clean up my old stainless. I used some adhesive remover for the foam tape leftovers on the top. It should be fine even without getting it sparkling, but that’s just me. I can’t get all the dents and scratches out, but what I can do is remove adhesive and 50 years of gunk. Oh, plus a previous paint over spray as it was clearly not removed for a previous paint job. A little 0000 steel wool and some elbow grease polished it up nice. I also used a small tack hammer to flatten out some of the screw holes which were getting counter sunk. At least I can start them out right.
Originally, there is a 7/8″ strip of thin foam tape between the top of the rail and the car body. I saw CJ had some, but I didnt want to wait for a week just for that, so I hit the google and found a recomendation for some 3M tape at Walmart. I found it local and continued along. It is 1″, but its still narrower than the rail and doesn’t show once assembled.
The rails went in pretty easy. They have a little tension on them but there are a surprising number of screws holding them in place. You can see here I have more than a few dings and bends. I did my best to clean it up. The real damage doesn’t show once the weather strip is in place. These have clearly been removed before as there is a lot of interesting marks and extra screw holes.
The weatherstrip went in real easy. Since I didn’t have to clean off any weatherstrip adhesive from the channel, I didn’t put any back in. Time will tell how wise of a decision that is. The weatherstrip has a lip on the inside and outside edges. I put the outside edge in first, then ran a flat tip screwdriver along the inside edge to seat it.
When I got to the front end of the rail, I thought the weatherstrip was too short since it fit in the cutout real well, but was an inch or so from the previous screw hole. I did some asking around and found pictures of how it should be. I just had to stretch it out and make it work. I had a spare rail screw from each side and just used those. Not sure if the weatherstrip came with a pair of screws or not, but I couldn’t find any when it came time to install. Flat top worked perfect anyhow.
My hopes to be able to have the weatherstripping not require adhesive were squashed. I came out to the garage a few days after installation and found the weatherstripping had pulled away in the corner.
So, I pulled it out again and used the weatherstrip from the trunk and doors to put a thin bead in the channel on the roof. I was able to easily put the weatherstrip back in, this time for good.