One lovely afternoon after partaking of lunch with the GMC superheros, Ditchfinder and Titanium Hitch, one of them mentioned that my headliner looked poorly. Ditchfinder has the most meticulessly maintained vehicles, his vehicles are almost always detailed and it troubles him to see a unkempt vehicle. What he noticed was some coke or other soda splashed on it by the previous owners children and there was also the odd hand print. Just one week later, the headliner on the driver-side rear was sagging. I won't drive with a sagging liner so I determined to correct the problem.
This is my story.
Phase One. The cleaning. My wife had recently purchased some "Oxy Clean". I have seen this stuff really go to work on other items so I decided to try it. I mixed the solution as directed and began with a clean and dry cloth to remove the stains. The stuff worked great. Spray a little on, pause, pat with the clean cloth and presto clean headliner. I had just begun to clean the rear half when I was called away by a crisis inside the house (lunch for the children if I remember correctly).
Once the crisis was averted I returned to find the sun had traversed the sky enough to cast it's rays on the bottle of my cleaner. The new heated condition of the fluid caused it to expand out of the bottle and cause a major wetness on my headliner. And as can be expected the wet liner was now very clean and the surrounding liner was not.
I had half expected the cleaner not to work and was resolved to replace the liner from the get-go so pulling the liner off the form was no big deal. What to do next. My friend had replaced the headliner in one of his Jaguars about three years ago so I called him up for his advice. He said, "Pull the liner off and use a wire brush to remove the old dead foam and glue from the form." So I did. This old foam is relatively easy to remove and hard to clean up. I removed all of the old foam from the form and was careful to "get it all". For when you spray your new glue back on you want a good clean surface.
A few days later I took my old liner in to Gipson's Trim Supply Company 1515 W. Main in OKC (blantant plug). We measured it and determined it was 58ish inches wide. With that determined, we needed the 60 inch wide headliner material. I tried to match it as close to the color as I could. The color of the old liner is closer to tan than it was to gray and the fabric I chose was more gray than I wanted but it was the closest match. I bought the liner material, 2 cans of headliner adhesive (aerosol) with tax $54.00(US). They were very friendly and helpful. Although the guy at the counter recommended 2 cans of adhesive I would have gotten 3 now knowing what I know after the fact.
Phase Two - The installation. I waited until evening had set and temperature in the garage had dipped to 80 degrees. The humidity was still 120% but I figured if the glue doesn't work I'll wait until after midnight on Friday. I brushed some minor garage debris (leaves and grass) from the form and began to lay out the fabric. I checked my length and width and all seemed well. I read the side of the adhesive and it said it came out like a spiderweb. I tested it briefly and saw what they meant. It indeed looks like something Spiderman would spray out of his wrist.
Humming the Spiderman cartoon theme music, I resolved to start at the back so that if I made a mistake it would be in the back and who would see it. Yes, wise beyond my years, I thought as I began spraying the adhesive on the form. The adhesive is the same color as the form. This is bad. Without proper lighting you may miss a spot or over cover a spot. After a few seconds of spraying I figured out how it went on and developed a technique. I sprayed about one quarter of the form and then proceeded to lay on my fabric. Here it should be noted to lay it on straight as the further up you go the farther off you become.
I began to pat the fabric to the form, careful to get the fabric into each bend. Pleating was inevitable and as you will see in the pictures unfortunate. I managed the best I could and then realized that the front of the form will be a real bear to get correct. I continued with the spray on a foot or so of glue and then press and form a few feet of fabric. I continued until I got to "The Ridge".
Halfway up the form the glue clogged the spray nozzle. So I continued with the second can. Not too long later again another clogged can. I gambled that paint thinner would free the glue and allow me to continue without buying more adhesive. Presto, the paint thinner worked great on the glue and freed the nozzle nicely.
The Ridge. I practiced forming the fabric over the ridge and into the valley. This was going to be difficult. I covered the ridge and valley with spray adhesive and realized I would be very close to running out of glue. I formed the fabric and underestimated the stickyness of the glue and this caused my worst fault on the headliner. A lovely pleat right where it can be seen by all passengers. Together with the pleat on the back I figured, not too bad for a first timer.
I completed the ridge and valley and in fact did run out of adhesive. I had to use adhesive that is not recommended for this type of project to finish up. I hope it doesn't fail me.
The Cutting. I cut away the excess fabric and cut out the holes for the lights, speakers and handles. It is not necessary to cut very acurately for the holes. Remember the dome lights and combo sunroof switch/dome light will fit over the fabric. So leave a little to bend over the form. Also have more than one razor available. When my razor quit being "light saber" sharp I got a fresh one. Cutting with a dull razor is a hassle. Becareful not to cut where you don't need to. I put cuts on the driver's side for a handle that does not exist. Once all your cuts are done use some masking tape to hold the fabric over the form. Reorienting the liner is a good way to get to all the edges with out too much stooping and bending.
Putting it back in. The only secret to putting the liner back in is to remove all the stuff from the back. I removed the spare and all stuff from the back and laid the rear seats down. This made it easier to put the form back in. A view from the rear. A view from the side.
If you made a small slit in the top through the holes you shouldn't have too much trouble putting the handles and the front visor and speakers back in. The greatest difficulty was lining up the screws for the visor retainer in the center front of the headliner. I used a small punch for this.
Summary. I figure I saved myself 50 dollars doing it my self. Not counting the labor of installation if I had a shop install it. I believe I saw somewhere that a headliner would cost about 100 dollars. It was also fun and informative. I now know there are 4 drains for my sunroof. There are some screws that I read on another board that holds the roof down. I would have thought it was welded. Those screws were what the large screw driver was for. On the Difficulty Scale I would give this job a 2 of 5. And only due to the difficulty of working with the glue and fabric. I did not remove the sunroof cover to match that fabric. This looked more difficult and would have made the job, in my opinion, much harder.
Thanks for reading and happy Rovering.