OT-cars Repairing headling
My neighbor wants help reattaching the headliner of his rather old
Toyota to the roof. It's the part in front of the rear windows. Quite a
bit, going forward 15" and sideways 2 feet.
The roof has a layer of foam rubber, I guess it is, on it, and the
headliner is cloth with what seems like a thin layer of the same foam
rubber, which probably stuck to the cloth when it fell down.
How would you fix it?
After I said "glue" and couldnt' decide what kind, he told me he would
reimburse me if I bought it. A little later he seemed to want me to
fix it and he'd pay me. I don't want to fix it, but I do want to give
him the best advice I can.
On Friday, November 18, 2016 at 10:09:05 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:
glue does not work because the foam base is falling apart. i have a 2000 voyager, the headliner failed and was falling down. after glue didnt last i pulled down all the headliner material/
it was a bit dusty for awhile. but its been like this for several years. a real quick fix, free too.
I went thru this hassle on an old Chevy. The headliner (not headling),
was falling and was flapping against the top of my head of I had the car
windows open. All that foam crap was falling and making a mess too.
I tried a stapler, apolstery tacks, that did not last long. I bought
some spray adhesive, cut slits in the fabric, sprayed this adhesive into
these slits, and pressed it tight. That made a mess, and it still was
soon falling again. Finally, I just ripped out the entire headliner,
(the cloth, the foam, and the cardboard under it), right to the bare
metal. Problem solved!
I considered gluing some farbic right to the metal, like felt, but I
never did, and the car went to the junk yard some years later, just like
One problem I encountered was the dome light wires were only held up by
the headliner. I found some self adhesive pads made to attach mirrors to
a wall. They worked well to adhere the wires to the metal ceiling.
Anyone who ever owned a 70s GM car knows about this and you are pretty
much screwed. As they say, nothing sticks to crumbling foam. Most of
the "fixes" involved pinning up the headliner with anything from thumb
tacks to dritz pins screwed into the cardboard backing. If you made a
neat pattern out of the pins it look almost like it was done on
purpose. The only real fix is to replace the headliner.
On Sat, 19 Nov 2016 12:14:54 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It didn't end in the 70's. The car I ripped out the headliner was a mid
Just tearing off JUST the cloth makes an even bigger mess. That foam
falls everywhere and it's real sticky. When I ripped down the whole
headliner, I put a blue tarp across the inside of the car to catch all
the crap that fell. That "cardboard" is not corrigated, it's a thick
(close to 1/8") solid material. That foam is adhered to it, and cant
easily be scraped off. (my ORIGINAL plan was to remove the cloth and
paint the cardboard). NO WAY!!!
After ripping it out, I tossed it in a pile and burned it. It's
I used "very" small pins, lots of them, spaced about an inch apart to
repair the headliner on a 2000 Lincoln that was making it hard to use
the rear view mirror. It's held up fine for a year or more now. The
low tech tech repairs are very satisfying 8-)
Good luck with it.
It was a delicate process. It's been awhile, as best I recall, the
pins were regulare straight pins, the kind purched for dress making,
only they were 1/2". Very small with flat heads. The pins did not pull
through. I created one slight tear by pulling on the fabric too much.
The sun had weakened the fabric, rather than stretch to get it to look
right, I used more pins. You can't tell anybody was there because of
the location of the repair. You can't the pins from outside and you
have to crane to see from the back seat.
I didn't use those. I used straight pins. Just use short straight pins
while at amazon. Or go local, a Joann's or a Walmart.
In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 19 Nov 2016 23:04:43 -0500, Barton Keyes
Yeah, I think the curly pins are a bad idea, because there is not enough
room to screw them in all the way
Thank you for both new answers. I'll send one to him. and I'm sorry the
other about cardboard was confusing. I meant what others have said is
cardboard behind the foam, but another answer already described it as
Thicker than a cereal box and firmer than corrugated. But not so firm a
pin won't go in it.
Exactly, I tried them, they did not screw in all the way on many parts
of the ceiling. They held better than regular thumb tacks or staples,
but they did and become loose over time, and fall out. It became a never
ending hassle to fix them or replace the ones that got bent.
Yep, thats about what it is. A solid cardboard close to 1/8" and while
it's similar to the cardboard used on a cereal box, it's denser. Yet far
from being something like masonite. I've never seen it used for anything
else, so it must be made just for the car ceilings.
Pins go in, but dont stay in real long. You got to realize that a car
bounces and rattles, and on top of that, when a window is open, the wind
is moving that fabric in ripples, all of that loosens pins, staples, and
whatever else is poked into that cardboard.
I fought with this for several years and tried all of the above, and
more.... I spent a lot of time redoing it over and over, and picking up
tacks that fell out and it was real frustrating. I finally had enough,
and just removed the entire ceiling material.
Some people said that a plain metal ceiling would be cold in winter. I
did notice some frost on it at times, but nothing that made life
miserable, or made the car feel colder than before. What was miserable
was fighting with that cloth which obstructed my rear view mirror, laid
on my head, and deposited that nasty sticky foam all over people and
objects in the car.
I do wonder if something like a textured paint would have sealed the
metal, but the car is long gone, so I dont have the problem anymore.
I have also seen some custom vans and campers that applied that thin
rubber backed indoor/outdoor carpetting to the celings. Not sure how
they glue it, but it was a thought at the time I removed the ceiling.
However, I found the bare metal was ok, and being an old car, I did not
want to spend money on it. I just drove it as is for about 3 more years,
until the car's frame was rusting and weak, and the mechanical parts
were beyond cost effective repairs.
In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 20 Nov 2016 15:42:23 -0600,
I'm just going with what Barton said, but I'll send my neighbor what you
I myself have never had this problem, The last two convertibles have
had something like headliner, but it's never falled down. They're not
glued in place; I don't know exactly how they're attached. I had the
'50 Olds until 1970 and its headliner was always fine.
On Friday, November 18, 2016 at 9:09:05 PM UTC-6, micky wrote:
After my Cadillac was broken into years ago and they attempted to
steal it they stole my radar detector. When they ripped it out it
caused the headliner to droop. The best advice I can give you to
pass along to your neighbor is take it and have it professionally
re-installed. They will do an excellent job and no one will ever
know it was beginning to droop and flap in the wind.
The reason I say this is they are professional installers and it
will look professional whereas you and your neighbor are not and
it will show it was a dyi project.
In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 19 Nov 2016 15:39:26 -0800 (PST),
I'll have you know 80% of my jobs look as good as a pro would do, but I
agree that this one woudln't. And it woudl take far longer than some
glue and stick would.
Thanks all. I'll send him all your suggestions except the
In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 19 Nov 2016 08:48:33 -0800, Oren
Thanks, but. Not much in this world scares me, but spray-on adhesive is
one that does. I don't want it gluing my lungs together. I did buy a
can once. I can't remember what I used it for, but I know I used it
Using it inside a car scares me a lot and no respirator would make me
In alt.home.repair, on Fri, 18 Nov 2016 22:08:58 -0500, micky
Do you think there is always cardboard?
I found the dritz pins that gfret referred to (You mean the ones with
sprial shafts, right?)
(Amazon.com product link shortened)79599488&sr=8-1&keywords=twist+pins
but even curled up, they're a lot longer than the cardboard and cloth is
So they'll stick out quite a bit, I guess.
Maybe just straight pins
These are not *very* small (an inch and a half) and maybe the heads are
too big, but the heads are pretty:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
These have smaller heads, I think, though it's hard to see, not likely
but maybe so small the cloth will let the whole pin pass through.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) (Amazon.com product link shortened)79600698&sr=1-6&keywords=straight+pins
I don't know the answer, but I can tell you what WON'T fix it: spray-on
I had a Plymouth/Mitsubishi Laser in the late '90s, and one time I had
to get the windshield replaced due to a pebble kicked up from the road
that cracked it. I had one of those services come and do it in the
parking lot while I was at work. It had been a very hot day, and when I
came out to the car later, I found that the glue they had used to
replace the windshield had softened and warped all the plastic trim
inside the car. A few weeks later, the fabric roof lining also started
detaching from the foam liner, until it was like a pillow sitting on my
head while I drove.
Eventually I tried removing the cloth completely and re-gluing it to
the foam with spray adhesive. It didn't last - within a week or two, it
was coming down again. I tried brushed contact cement, but it, too
failed. The foam wasn't crumbling, but neither would it stick
permanently to the cloth.
I drove the last few months of the car's life with just the foam, and
then bare metal. The car had multiple other problems and was finally
donated for the tax deduction.
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