19 August 2016

Refinishing the headliner (Part 2)

I finally finished the headliner project.  In a previous post, I removed the headliner and sourced the materials to refinish it myself.  Since I have built 2500+ LeatherZ armrests by hand and done tons of other custom leather projects, I thought I was pretty good at stretching materials and working with upholstery contact adhesive.  No so, porkchop.  I even bought an air-powered spray gun to get an even coat of adhesive.  Still no dice.  I was unable to get the new Ultrasuede material installed without wrinkles.  I gave up and went to a pro. 

With the headliner already out of the car, it wasn’t expensive.  I used Pop’s Top Shop in Summerville, SC.  Jesse Rivera is the owner.  Jesse charged me $135 and did a great job.  He used the Ultrasuede I provided and he used the same adhesive I had bought (Weldwood HHR High Heat Resistance).  According to him, some tricks: use an air-powered rotary sander to prep the headliner surface and remove all the old glue babies and traces of previous material.  I didn’t do that.  I picked each glue baby off by hand (see pics) and used latex gloves, brushes, etc.  Use 3 guys (read: 6 hands) to install the new material.  You need to keep the material away from the headliner until you are absolutely sure you want it to go down.  You only get one shot with headliner fabric, you cannot apply it then pull it back up and re-position it… the foam back will come off.  I did do the A- and C-pillars myself in the same material.  I also replaced the factory jute insulation with Dynamat Dynaliner.

Installation was reverse of removal.  Does help to remove both seats and then carefully wiggle it in from the passenger side door opening.  You will have to bend one corner a little but it will not damage or deform the headliner permanently.  

 I wasn’t totally thrilled with the Ultrasuede at first.  Too boy racer looking.  Like Alcantara, it shows a “nap” like real suede.  This makes the headliner look non-uniform.  But, Ultrasuede is dead-nuts, jet black, unlike the factory anthracite headliner and unlike Alcantara headliners.  That part is nice, for sure.  Anyway, once installed in the car, it looks fantastic.  I am really pleased with the transformation.  This car is one of (if not THE) most mundane color combination, so it’s nice to add a little flair to the car.

One of the 2 bulbs in the rear dome light was burned out, so I replaced both with new Sylvania units.  The correct bulb type is 6411 LLBP 10 watt.  You need 2.

The "done" pictures at the end of this post were taken in the garage with the camera flash on.  This isn't really fair to the material as it highlights the nap.  Once I get the car back together, I will take pictures with natural sunlight and update this post.

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

Headliner labor, Pop’s Top Shop, $135.00
Dynamat Dynaliner ½” thickness, $49.99r
6411 bulbs, need 2, $5.99r/pair

Total cost of this mod = $190.98 (plus materials accounted for in Part 1)
Total investment in vehicle to date = $12893.82r

You need to bend the tabs on these to unhook them from the headliner.
Most of the fabric will pull right off.  The hard work is getting the "glue baby" balls of adhesive off.
Glue Babies.
Getting close to clean, but it's a nasty job to remove them all and the whole thing is pretty sticky.
A-pillar stripped.
C-pillars stripped.

New fabric
Ready for adhesive and new material
In process shot.  Turned out to be a huge failure but my material choices were right.  Good learning experience.
I did add some sheet metal plates on either side of the sunroof switch.  The sunroof switch always fits a little loose on these cars, because it mates to the headliner core. The metal plates give the switch the proper Bavarian feel once installed.
Dynaliner instead of the factory jute.
Installed, but picture taken with a flash exaggerates the nap look of the liner.
Installed, but picture taken with a flash exaggerates the nap look of the liner.
Installed, but picture taken with a flash exaggerates the nap look of the liner.

1 comment:

  1. I have found a good way to remove the glue balls is to take sand and spread it across the headliner in a thin layer. Then take the palm of your hand and start working the sand around. It will cling to the glue and form larger balls that gradually become less sticky and can be vacuumed up or simply dumped into the trash.