11 December 2015

Refinishing the headliner (Part 1)

The headliner in the car was sagging when I bought it.  Removal and refinishing takes a lot of labor but the cost of the materials is low.  This means it's easy to add value to the car.  To remove the headliner, BMW says you have to remove the windshield and take it out the front of the car.  That may be true but there was no way I was going to do that unless I needed new glass.  I removed mine by unfastening the headliner completely, with all pieces, lights, and trim removed, then by removing both seats.  The headliner can shimmy its way out of the car via the passenger side door opening.  It doesn't work perfectly and you need 4 hands to move it out, but it does work.  You have to compress the corners a little bit but the headliner will pop back into form okay.  The windshield way would be the best way, for sure.  So, if you are getting a new windshield, consider doing these 2 jobs together.

I elected to recover my headliner with black Ultra Suede.  Ultra Suede is made by a company that makes synthetic suede like the famous Alcantara, but for less cost.  And, they have a jet black color that is a true black, unlike Alcantara which is at most very dark gray.  This material has a thin foam backing on it.  I sourced it from Graham Fabrics.  I used DAP Weldwood HHR for adhesive.  Really nice stuff, but I could only get it in a gallon container (e.g.: that is a lot of glue).  I love the strength of 3M Super 90, but the overspray is a pain and I think this is actually stronger.  Remember if the seats are disconnected, do not start they car or even turn it to the on position, you will trigger an airbag warning light.

When I pulled the rear speaker grills to remove the headliner, I noticed the foam surrounds had turned to dust.  They were just gone.  I planned on upgrading audio in this car later, but I might as well replace the rear speakers now.  I went with Alpine units with small cross overs that easily fit into the headliner recesses.

While the headliner was out, I also ran power and ground to the later S52 autodimming rear view mirror and A-pillar gauges, which will be coming later.

DO MAKE SURE you read this additional post with tips on how to remove the headliner.

Headliner material, Onyx Black, 4 running yards, $14.95r each
Headliner glue, DAP Weldwood HHR (High Heat Resistance), $29.95r
Headliner fasteners, 51111944537, one-use-only, $0.31r each, need 2
Alpine SPR-50C component speakers, $299.99r

Total cost of this mod = $390.36
Total investment in vehicle to date = $6317.06


Seats removed helps some, headliner will go out passenger door opening.

Headliner rounding the corner.

The foam surrounds on the rear speakers were gone.  Turned to dust!  Will be replacing them with aftermarket units.

What is under the headliner

1 comment:

  1. There is no jute insulation in there. I removed mine and replaced with dynamat foam. What did you use?