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Motorsports & Track Forum
From Auto-X to Trackday to Racing and Professional Motorsports – this is the place to discuss making BMWs fast

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Old 11-03-2009, 01:00 PM   #1
norwegianm3
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Sunroof insert kit

Thinking about creating a tool for a metal sunroof insert for E46 coupes and selling kits to easily fill the hole as an alternative to buying a whole new metal roof.

During the process of caging my car I had to grapple with the idea of putting a whole new steel roof on, in place of the current sunroof top. This would require a part that is $758 from the dealer, removing the current roof and re-welding the new roof in place. Estimates were between $1,500 and $1,800 painted.

I opted for a custom fabricated metal insert that minicks the slope of the current roof and is a dead fit. Before I invest in a tool that allows us to "mass produce" these I wanted to guage interest first. The final product would be an exact fit and match the slope of the sunroof glass while having flanged edges making positioning and welding much easier. Final cost would be around $349 + shipping.

Let me know what you think.

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Old 11-03-2009, 04:29 PM   #2
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I was at the track last month and a driver had shown up with an e36 M3 club racer. I had BMW CCA stickers showing that the car had been entered in the 2008 club race season. The car had been completed gutted and fully caged for the track. The sunroof had been removed and where the glass goes a metal plate had been cut to slightly overlap the sunroof hole and riveted in place. I couldn't tell if it also had been spot welded, but the roof had been repainted along with the rest of the car.

Is that what you are proposing?
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:42 AM   #3
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I was at the track last month and a driver had shown up with an e36 M3 club racer. I had BMW CCA stickers showing that the car had been entered in the 2008 club race season. The car had been completed gutted and fully caged for the track. The sunroof had been removed and where the glass goes a metal plate had been cut to slightly overlap the sunroof hole and riveted in place. I couldn't tell if it also had been spot welded, but the roof had been repainted along with the rest of the car.

Is that what you are proposing?
Similar concept, but what made it easy for the E36 is that they had a metal insert where the sunroof went (ours is glass) so all they had to do was remove it from the sunroof cassette and brace/weld it into place from inside. I believe the original seals were still in place so they didn't even need to weld the seams.

This option will, depending on how clean you want it to look, appear as though you never had the sunroof. If you want to keep the headliner, which I don't you'll have to figure out how to keep the slider intact.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:07 PM   #4
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That would be a great product to have available if you get enough interest.

We replaced the whole roof when our car was built.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:41 PM   #5
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i think they'd definitely be a great idea. As more and more people going from daily driving their cars to tracking them because they are getting cheaper. i'm sure if you invest in it. it'll pay off in the coming years.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:07 PM   #6
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Did anything come of this project.
It seems like the E46 is now old enough and inexpensive enough that we will see a lot of interest in this type of modification.
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:12 AM   #7
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Sounds good as a cost-effective alternative
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:58 AM   #8
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Installed a carbon fiber insert this past summer. Had it sprayed AW, I <3 it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:14 PM   #9
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Installed a carbon fiber insert this past summer. Had it sprayed AW, I <3 it.
Where did it come from? Are they still available? How was the install? How is the fit? Are you happy with it? Did you replace your headliner? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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Where did it come from? Are they still available? How was the install? How is the fit? Are you happy with it? Did you replace your headliner? Inquiring minds want to know.
I'm pretty sure I got it from diffsonline. Call and see if they can still get them. Install was easy, reused sunroof bolts. Sealed it with this permanent marine use black boat glue stuff (lol I forgot exactly). I installed a black sunroofless headliner from tischer that went in flawlessly. I am really happy with it. I hated the sunroof and now I have more headroom (I'm 6'5") for me and my helmet. Nobody notices it unless I point it out. I'll post a pic tomorrow when it's bright out.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:57 AM   #11
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Semi-interested. I need some more headroom when I have my helmet on. Just need some money!
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:02 PM   #12
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youre goin gto have a hard time at that price considering you can buy a CF insert for under $300 shipped:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carbon-fiber...#ht_500wt_1031
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:16 AM   #13
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youre goin gto have a hard time at that price considering you can buy a CF insert for under $300 shipped:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carbon-fiber...#ht_500wt_1031
+1. Got my insert from this guy. good product.
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:27 PM   #14
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It's not perfect but it's pretty close
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:07 PM   #15
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So could this be welded in and painted to appear as if the sunroof never existed? For example, in the picture above, it looks great, but also looks like an E36 sunroof. I'd like my car to appear a slick top. Also, on normal E46s, do you need to weld in a cross brace? I know on the M3s there is a brace people have welded onto the roof when they do the sunroof delete.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:52 PM   #16
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I guess you could put some kind of body filler and spray the whole thing but it's not perfect so it prolly would turn out shitty.
It isn't possible to weld carbon fiber to metal.

I like how e36 it looks, my parents had one with sunroof back in the day and I loved it

As far as the cross brace I've read that it isn't necessary but there are opposing views. There's some m3's that track regularly without problem and I track it without any problems as well.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:22 PM   #17
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I guess you could put some kind of body filler and spray the whole thing but it's not perfect so it prolly would turn out shitty.
It isn't possible to weld carbon fiber to metal.

I like how e36 it looks, my parents had one with sunroof back in the day and I loved it

As far as the cross brace I've read that it isn't necessary but there are opposing views. There's some m3's that track regularly without problem and I track it without any problems as well.
I meant welding the metal piece that the OP was talking about. Also, I'm wondering about the cross brace in terms of rigidity and structural integrity in a rollover.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:48 PM   #18
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E46 sunroof delete

Has anyone investigated if a steel E36 roof insert can be made to fit into E46 sunroof hole? I'd like to save a few bucks over replacing the entire roof. I was thinking too of simply cutting a steel roof, a little work with an english bag and welding a blank in place. If a prefabricated roof is available it'd be a lot easier.
Thx
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:16 PM   #19
scottn2retro
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Has anyone investigated if a steel E36 roof insert can be made to fit into E46 sunroof hole? I'd like to save a few bucks over replacing the entire roof. I was thinking too of simply cutting a steel roof, a little work with an english bag and welding a blank in place. If a prefabricated roof is available it'd be a lot easier.
Thx
I looked at it, and it wasn't just 'plug 'n' play' (dimensions didn't match up). It was almost as much work or more as fabbing one from a clean sheet of metal. Unless, because of the rules of a race organization requiring a steel filler for the hole, it would be pretty hard to beat a CF mass produced piece that already exist out there. So for our race cars, we skin with a new hardtop (although mod class cars could do the CF fill or entire CF roof).

On the subject of the roof bow, we have always used them. They attach to the chassis on the sides of the roof hole and then when you glue in the new top (we just glue in the whole top, not weld it in), you just glue the top to the roof bow with some foam to fill any air gap. That is to keep the roof from buffeting at high speed.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:18 PM   #20
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What exactly is the problem with fiberglass inserts? S2r tuning sells them for e46s for $240
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