OT-cars Repairing headling

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/18/2016 10:17 PM, bob haller wrote:

Agreed. You would need to ensure the fabric has a good clean backing to adhere to. If not, it'll fail again very soon.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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 that.
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 19 Nov 2016 12:14:54 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It didn't end in the 70's. The car I ripped out the headliner was a mid 80's GM.
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 extremely flammable!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

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.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 19 Nov 2016 17:36:41 -0500, Barton Keyes

The heads didn't pull through the headliner? Or are they bigger than the smallest pin heads? Like those little spheres.

I didn't check directly but I think it's starting to obstruct his rear view mirror now.

The most common advice, to tear it down, doesn't require my help at all, so that's good.
I'm going to google for twist pins
(Amazon.com product link shortened)79599488&sr=8-2&keywords=twist+pins

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

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.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 1/8" cardboard.
Thicker than a cereal box and firmer than corrugated. But not so firm a pin won't go in it.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 20 Nov 2016 15:42:23 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

I'm just going with what Barton said, but I'll send my neighbor what you said too.
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 19 Nov 2016 17:36:41 -0500, Barton Keyes

Was it corrugated cardboard or the kind that a box of cereal is made of.
The first would be so much easier to use.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I'm not sure what you are referring to. The material that was under the headliner was a pressed foam. It took the pins wo any ado. The pins did not come on cardboard, they came in a plastic box.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 spray-adhesive.    
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 outside.
Using it inside a car scares me a lot and no respirator would make me comfortable.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 thick, right?
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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Look up the procedure on YouTube. It is not difficult to do it the proper way.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
alt.home.repair:

I don't know the answer, but I can tell you what WON'T fix it: spray-on adhesive.
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.