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Any tips before I install a headliner?
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-05-30 10:35 PM (#564280)
Subject: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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Posts: 38
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So I'm trying to get my '56 prettied up a little before Carlisle. There's a lot planned for it down the road, but for now I'm trying to toss on some bigger wheels, and put in a headliner. When I bought the car, it had some crudely, duct-taped insulation in place, but no headliner. I wasn't going to worry about it for a while, but I can get the material for a few hundred bucks, and I figured it'd be a good learning experience.

What I don't know is if anything else is missing that's going to thwart my effort. I took some photos tonight - it looks like I need to remove all the window trims. The original fabric still seems to be in place around most of the windows, so I'm hoping that any clips that are behind those trims are still in place. I've been watching a few videos about marking the bows so I keep them in the right order - I'll be sure to do that. Also I appear to have some rust scale above the sun visors, so I'm going to try to at least clean that up a little and maybe hit it with some rust converter for now. It'll get tackled in a few years when I tear the thing apart completely.

Anyways - here's the pics. If anyone knows of any specific '55/'56 headliner videos or how-to's out there, please feel free to point me in their direction. Any other suggestions or tips to watch out for would be much appreciated!

Thanks.





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56D500boy
Posted 2018-05-30 11:00 PM (#564281 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?



Expert

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Location: Lower Mainland BC
Thanks for posting those photos. I've opted to try to avoid the headliner replacement for now - mostly because the factory procedure calls for removal of the rear window (and gasket). I would imagine that that would result in tears (mine). So I've chalk painted mine:

http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=66657&...

Here are some videos that might help you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1j8QbkHLZc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJU6m1ZkwQg

Mine:





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ViperMan
Posted 2018-05-31 9:07 AM (#564301 - in reply to #564281)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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Posts: 38
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Man - that looks really nice. Unfortunately I have no head liner in place at all. I have some (I’m assuming original) padding/insulation up there, behind the exposed metal bows that run across the car. Other than that there’s duct tape and a little rust.

Removing the window is a definite no-go for now. I wonder though if I can “fake it” with a little adhesive in there or something. Where there’s a will, right?!

Edited by ViperMan 2018-05-31 9:08 AM
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-05-31 9:09 AM (#564302 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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Posts: 38
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Do you per chance have a copy/scan of the factory procedure for replacing the headliner? Might at least give me a good starting point.
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-05-31 9:48 AM (#564305 - in reply to #564302)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



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Location: Lower Mainland BC
ViperMan - 2018-05-31 9:09 AM

Do you per chance have a copy/scan of the factory procedure for replacing the headliner? Might at least give me a good starting point.


Go here:

http://www.mymopar.com/index.php?pid=109

Download the 55-56 Plymouth Service Manual.

Open the pdf.

Go to page 375 Section 12 Headlining. The words and photos are the same as in my 56 Dodge Service Manual.

Good luck.

I successfully (in my opinion) replaced my windlace without removing the headlining so, yes, "If there is a will, there is a way"



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-05-31 10:55 AM
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ttotired
Posted 2018-05-31 5:32 PM (#564330 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



Expert 5K+

Posts: 8263
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Location: Perth Australia
Best advice, do it properly as per the book

Make sure you don't mix up the bows, they are sometimes colour coded, if not, paint one end of each one
a different colour, that way, you know which end and what bow went where

Cut the holes for whatever comes through the lining last

DO remove the back window to get the lining glued on properly, I believe "just tucking it under the rubber" it will eventually come out as the liner shrinks

Big one, make sure everything is surgically clean, getting marks off isn't fun

If your windlace is bad, now is the time to change it

On my 60, I was rebuilding it at the time, so I had both windscreens out at the start, I put the rear one back in after the glue had hardened

The few wrinkles disappeared after a little time in the sun





(roof lining 002s.JPG)



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Viper Guy
Posted 2018-06-02 9:38 PM (#564434 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



Expert

Posts: 1255
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Location: Branson, MO
The best advice - let the upholstery shop do it. It ain't worth the fight trying to do it yourself if you don't have the experience.
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-07 11:58 AM (#564722 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?


Member

Posts: 38
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Quick Q - any idea what my original headliner color is? I realize it's kinduva moot point as I'm sure my seats and such have faded/discolored over the years, but I'm more curious than anything else.

I'm probably just going to order off-white, but on a whim, here's my cowl plate info:





(Cowl.jpg)



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56D500boy
Posted 2018-06-07 2:34 PM (#564736 - in reply to #564722)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?



Expert

Posts: 3718
20001000500100100
Location: Lower Mainland BC
ViperMan - 2018-06-07 11:58 AM
Quick Q - any idea what my original headliner color is? I realize it's kinduva moot point as I'm sure my seats and such have faded/discolored over the years, but I'm more curious than anything else.
I'm probably just going to order off-white, but on a whim, here's my cowl plate info:


It would help to have a photo of your interior. If the rear package tray still has its factory covering, that would have been the same as the headliner.

I can't see from the photo of your car (keep scrolling - more below):



"169" Paint code would be a two tone with Garnet roof and upper with Chinese Rose lower.

REFERENCE: http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=63553&...



As a Coronet with a 531 Trim code, the interior would be like this one, so yes, off white (or grey?) for the headliner is a good guess:

REFERENCE: http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=65230&...







Edited by 56D500boy 2018-06-07 2:35 PM
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-07 3:00 PM (#564739 - in reply to #564736)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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Posts: 38
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Man you're the best.

I was out looking at the car today and I think I'm going to go the conservative route and get a black headliner. The white is sooooooooooo yellowed and dirty that anything I get isn't going to look right. Black will just sorta disappear from attention and that way if it has some wrinkles in it (I'm not taking out the back window for this effort and am going to do it myself just so that it looks less terrible than it already is) the black will hide it.

One other question - is there padding above the headliner bows, beneath the steel? Mine has something there - you can see it in my photos here - but I can't find anything on the two websites that sell custom-cut fabric for these cars ("newstalgia" or "WLS Headliners") Do I just buy plain ol' auto padding and trim it to fit? Or is there not supposed to be something up there?
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-06-07 5:10 PM (#564744 - in reply to #564739)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



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Location: Lower Mainland BC
ViperMan - 2018-06-07 3:00 PM I'm not taking out the back window for this effort and am going to do it myself just so that it looks less terrible than it already is. The black will hide it.

One other question - is there padding above the headliner bows, beneath the steel? Mine has something there - you can see it in my photos here - but I can't find anything on the two websites that sell custom-cut fabric for these cars ("newstalgia" or "WLS Headliners") Do I just buy plain ol' auto padding and trim it to fit? Or is there not supposed to be something up there?


I think what you see is what it left the factory with, i.e. some kind of impregnated cardboard/fiber cr*p. If you remove it, to replace it with something more modern, be aware that what you will likely find is a bunch of surface rust. If that was me, I would decide how much time to spend on removing most of the rust, e.g. 1 or 2 hours, and then suit up and get at it. Wire brushes, etc. Vacuum running, etc. Then I would clean up and brush paint it with a Rust Paint, e.g. TremClad up here = Rustoleum in the US. After letting it dry, and cure (say a day or two), I would apply either the silver foil bubble insulation or a good Dynamat substitute, maybe X-Mat from Eastwood. Then I would do the headliner.

I found a photo of that white and yellow 531 interior 2dr Coronet. The headliner was off-white. See below:





Edited by 56D500boy 2018-06-07 5:12 PM




(56Coronet2drLancer531CodeInteriorShowingHeadliner.jpg)



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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-07 5:30 PM (#564748 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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Hehe - this time, you described exactly what I was planning on doing.

I'm going to tear that out, get the bows out, get all the trim pieces (carefully) out, I already know I have surface rust above the sun visors, so I'm going to get some sand-paper, maybe even a harbor freight orbital sander to help speed the process, dust mask(s), vacuum, and some surface rust sealant that I used on a swimming pool to excellent results. Now, I don't REALLY want to use an adhesive insulation because this is all getting ripped out in 2-3 years for the almighty roof chop... (Yeah sorry - I still think that's happening) But I will look for something that maybe I can just lightly "spot-glue" that'll still come off easily later on.

I just gotta figure out how to get the headliner started down by the window considering that I'm not taking out the rear window (this time - I'll do that in 4 years after the chop is finished and it's going back together for the last time.) I'm thinking I might loosely install one bow just to keep the fabric out of my way, get the liner glued in as best I can, then finish the install and trim the edge against the window. I dunno. Again, I really don't care if it's perfect - I could just spray paint the ceiling and it'll look better than it does now...

Thanks again - you've been an incredible source of info since I joined this site a few months ago.
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Justinsane
Posted 2018-06-07 5:53 PM (#564752 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



2525
Location: Binghamton NY
I just finished my headliner last week. I know exactly what you are going through. I've never installed a headliner before, and after countless hours of research i still couldn't find anything online that was the same as my car. I saw some disgraceful installs people posted, i'd be embarrassed to put online. You got to take your time, and plan out each step. You shouldn't have any wrinkles when you are done and all the garnish moldings are back on. I've got a 1956 Plymouth belvedere two door sedan. I chose the off white color fabric headliner. It wasn't a bad job at all, and quite easy. I insulated the roof better than original with insulation/sound deadener. It's a bit expensive, but i want it to be silent in the car when i'm driving. I had to remove the headliner retainers above the doors because the windlace was gone. You might be able to pull out the remnants of the old liner and not have to remove them. Depends on if you are changing your windlace though. The clips that hold the retainer on are expensive and are difficult to reuse. You might be able to turn them with pliers and get them out of the slots, but it'll be difficult to hang on to the end, push and turn when reinstalling them. They are crimp type fasteners that expand on the inside when they are pinched from the outside end. You could drill and pop rivit the retainers back on, just line them up the same. Remove all remnants of the old headliner, the pieces tucked into your back window, the ones tucked in the window channels, the pieces up under the retainer, get all of it and keep everything clean. Clean your bows and take one clip off of a side to slide them in easier. Start at the back, hang the bow and center the liner onto it, then push it onto the bracket you should have on the roof in the center. Then just work forward pulling it slightly as you go, keeping them evenly spaced. Once it's hung, pull them all evenly to the sides stretching it a bit and tightening it. Go to the back bow again and tuck it into the window trim with a tucking tool or blunt rounded butter knife. Tuck it in around the back side window channel so it makes a crease in the liner. Pull it back out and spray the crease lightly with a reputable fabric glue. I used 3m. Let it sit for a minute and get tacky, then tuck it back into the window channel. Cut and glue a backer panel out of poster board or something to cover the huge holes between your back side windows and rear window. Tuck the liner into the back window rubber the same way. Make sure its tight, start in the center of the window. Youll get the feel for it. Then when the back is done tuck it up under the retainers, above the doors. Then spray the front above the window in the nook the tack strip nubs are in. Pull and press the liner onto the nubs to secure it. Then go around and trim the access liner down to 1/4"-1/2" and tuck it in. Feel where your dome light is and cut a small slice to see up there, then when your comfortable, cut out what you need to, in order to rewire and put the light back up in there. Then go around putting the garnish moldings back on. Use a sharp straight poker to poke through the liner to find the holes when putting the moldings back on. Then find the holes for the mirror and sun visor. you'll have to cut a little out for the visor spring to go up in. You'll get it, just take your time and keep it clean in there so you're comfortable. You should probably remove your seats to do it. Get ahold of me if you need any advise. I know exactly what you are about to do. Good luck. Post some pics when it's done..
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-06-07 8:02 PM (#564761 - in reply to #564748)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



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ViperMan - 2018-06-07 5:30 PM. I dunno. Again, I really don't care if it's perfect - I could just spray paint the ceiling and it'll look better than it does now...

Thanks again - you've been an incredible source of info since I joined this site a few months ago. :)


Always willing to *try* to help a "fellow" (male or female) 55/56 Plymouth/Dodge owner.

Now don't let me convince you on this *BUT* if you want to temporarily avoid the whole thing like I have done (because I didn't want to take the rear window out to replace the headliner), you *COULD* use Chalk Paint like I have done.

I am not recommending this because it is a HACK but it is an alternative.

REFERENCE: http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=66657&...

Before:



After:



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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-07 8:29 PM (#564763 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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I'd love to 56D500boy, but my headliner is GONE - it was cut out of the car. As my pics show above, that's how it was when I bought it. I have no idea why someone did that, seeing as the rest of the car (with the exception of the primer coat) is original.

Justinsane THANK YOU for explaining that process!! Do you mind if I PM you with any questions? That was awesome.

Thanks guys.
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Justinsane
Posted 2018-06-07 9:52 PM (#564768 - in reply to #564763)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



2525
Location: Binghamton NY
Absolutely, message me if you run into troubles or are uncertain about something. I forgot to mention. Make sure you clean the rear window rubber really good and tape it with painters tape so you don't get glue on it from the liner. Also, leave a little extra between the back side windows and the front door, that's a tricky area because your headliner retainer has a curve in it to try to direct it to the window channel, but if it's pulled too tight, or if it's too loose you'll get a fold from the bow that is right there. You'll have to find that happy medium. Good luck man, Remember to take your time, and to plan out each step.
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-16 9:35 PM (#565229 - in reply to #564768)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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Justinsane - 2018-06-07 9:52 PM

Absolutely, message me if you run into troubles or are uncertain about something. I forgot to mention. Make sure you clean the rear window rubber really good and tape it with painters tape so you don't get glue on it from the liner. Also, leave a little extra between the back side windows and the front door, that's a tricky area because your headliner retainer has a curve in it to try to direct it to the window channel, but if it's pulled too tight, or if it's too loose you'll get a fold from the bow that is right there. You'll have to find that happy medium. Good luck man, Remember to take your time, and to plan out each step.


Hey Justinsane I've been trying to PM you but I don't think my messages are going through...

What tool did you use to push the fabric into the groove around the rear window, and what glue did you use around the back window? Was yours one of those cars where you're supposed to remove the glass as well? I've got all my parts and materials and plan on starting next week. I'm pretty nervous about it...
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-24 8:12 PM (#565546 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner? (Project has begun!)


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Progress has begun!

I got the seats out, and after some hefty vacuuming, started removing the moldings and windlace. I then got to removing the few remaining scraps of the original headliner, the most time-consuming part being cleaning out the thin wisp that was left across the top of the rear window. I did get it all out though, and then finally got to removing the boughs (after marking them in order) and the original "sound pad" (which was geeee-rooooosss!!) I actually found very little surface rust - just a little behind the driver's side sun visor, and a light spot above the passenger door. I also took out the frame that holds the dome light, re-wired the dome-light, and after sanding down the rust, coating it with a rust converter and then a thick coat of rust defender, I'm going to let it dry for several days while I'm in Canada on a business trip.

I have my rubber cement, a fresh sheet of a simple headliner foam padding (non-adhesive - not ready to go gluing stuff to the roof yet), spray adhesive, new windlace and of course, new headliner all ready to go upon my return.

I think I've devised a solution to the issue of not removing the rear glass (sorry - just not doing it 2 weeks before Carlisle!!) I see where, behind the rubber gasket around the window, are the jagged "teeth" that hold the headliner. The teeth point towards the rear of the car (obviously,) and are angled slightly upwards. My plan is to take a very cheap putty-scraper that I bought from Wal-Mart (I thought having a disposable tool would be handy in case the task got too hairy for my Cornwell set) and bend it 90-degrees, about 1/4" from the tip. This would act like a miniature, hand-held "hoe" that I could use to push the new material into the gasket, and then guide it up and pull it back down over the teeth. I could conceivably repeat this a few times, and potentially "ratchet" the fabric into the gap behind the gasket. Obviously I can't stuff too much back there, but I'm sure there's room for at least an inch or so of excess fabric.

I'll fashion the tool when I return and report back on how it works.

For now, enjoy some progress pictures!




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Justinsane
Posted 2018-06-24 11:53 PM (#565560 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



2525
Location: Binghamton NY
It's looking good Man! I'll be at Carlisle so i'll keep an eye out for your car. I won't have my Plymouth there because there's no way i'll get the seats done in time. Maybe next year.
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-06-25 9:55 AM (#565584 - in reply to #565560)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


Member

Posts: 38
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Justin we gotta meet up while we're there!!! I usually hang out at the e-bodies.org tent - it's always located in the e-bodies section (makes sense, right?) which is always 5 rows behind the stage that faces the grandstands. I don't know where they're going to put my car (I'm guessing on the west end of the fairgrounds, just up from the swap area,) but the e-bodies are kinda in the middle.

Either stop by (we have signs on the tent) and ask for Viperman, or we can exchange numbers over private message! On Saturday we make lunch for everyone at 12:30'ish, and I will have a corny-keg of homebrew - feel free to stop by!
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ViperMan
Posted 2018-07-04 8:32 PM (#566039 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?


Member

Posts: 38
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HEADLINER IS FINISHED!!!!

A huge thanks to 56D500Boy & especially to Justinsane for their resources and first-hand experience both on and off the forums. I couldn't have done it without them.

The rear glass was a total piece-of-cake compared to several other headaches - mainly the crazy customization required of the windlace (HUGE thanks to Justinsane for his experience there...) Also, the WLS Headliner was a miserable fit and I fully intend to tell them. The panels between the first three boughs (front to rear) was way too long - my front-most bough is almost laying down because the panels are too long. So there was a ton of extra fabric in the front that bunched up at the A-pillar. My wife helped me and got pretty creative with some hand-sewing to tighten up the fabric. Meanwhile, the headliner wasn't wide enough at the C-pillar and we had to use some excess fabric (which thank GOODNESS I thought to order) to extend it down enough to tuck behind the panels along the back seat. I'm extremely disappointed in their product.

But I think we made lemonade out of lemons and with the exception of a little sagging towards the front (kinda hoping some direct sunlight at Carlisle will tighten that up) it looks fantastic. Also the black hides it all very well, and honestly I love the look.

Stay tuned for the new wheels - there's a little teaser pic below!!




(IMG_1575.jpg)



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(IMG_1605.jpg)



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ViperMan
Posted 2018-07-06 9:45 PM (#566177 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?


Member

Posts: 38
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Man - most threads don't get a second look around here, do they... :-)
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Justinsane
Posted 2018-07-07 10:15 PM (#566241 - in reply to #564280)
Subject: Re: Any tips before I install a headliner?



2525
Location: Binghamton NY
You're welcome buddy! It looks good! I knew you could do it!
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-07-20 8:44 PM (#566906 - in reply to #566039)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?



Expert

Posts: 3718
20001000500100100
Location: Lower Mainland BC
ViperMan - 2018-07-04 8:32 PM
HEADLINER IS FINISHED!!!!
A huge thanks to 56D500Boy & especially to Justinsane for their resources and first-hand experience both on and off the forums. I couldn't have done it without them.


Happy to help, even if it wasn't very much. Hopefully that link to the Plymouth manual and the headliner section helped.

Now that you have done your's I might consider doing mine for real and abandon the painted version. My issue was the rear window and you seem to have successfully navigated around that one. Congrats.

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ViperMan
Posted 2018-08-02 12:29 PM (#567635 - in reply to #566906)
Subject: RE: Any tips before I install a headliner?


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56D500boy - 2018-07-20 8:44 PM

ViperMan - 2018-07-04 8:32 PM
HEADLINER IS FINISHED!!!!
A huge thanks to 56D500Boy & especially to Justinsane for their resources and first-hand experience both on and off the forums. I couldn't have done it without them.


Happy to help, even if it wasn't very much. Hopefully that link to the Plymouth manual and the headliner section helped.

Now that you have done your's I might consider doing mine for real and abandon the painted version. My issue was the rear window and you seem to have successfully navigated around that one. Congrats.

:)


It hurts your fingers - that's about it. There's actually a decent-sized cavity behind the rubber gasket - plenty of room to work around up in there. When removing the fabric (and mind you my original headliner had been torn out, right along the edge of the gasket) I used one hand to hold the rubber down, and the other to gently push inward on the fabric to loosen it from the "teeth", and then pull it down off of those teeth. It was like flossing, in that it was annoying, time consuming, a little painful, and no one would want to do it, no matter how clean it makes things look...

As far as re-installing, I followed Justinsane's advice, and put painters tape UNDER the gasket (this was a pain in the arse,) and then folded it down over the gasket. With my headliner installed and ready to tuck in along the window, I would spray glue only along 4 inches or so of roof, along the gasket, starting in the middle of the roof, going 4'ish inches from one side to the other, working out from the middle. I wouldn't wait for the glue to set (I used 3M 90 glue, which set VERY quickly) - I would stretch the fabric towards the window, push my dull spackling tool into the fabric, find the edge of the gasket through the fabric, then just push in and away, letting the tool push the fabric under the gasket and up into that cavity. I'd then flick my wrist away to push the fabric up against the teeth, then pull my whole hand towards me to get those teeth to bite into the fabric. Once that was done all the way across, I very - VERY - carefully came in with scissors and trimmed the excess fabric right along the edge of the gasket, then used the same tool to just push the excess in under the gasket.

My fingers and arms were sore afterwards, but the results speak for themselves.

Thanks!!
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