[DML] Headliner replacement
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[DML] Headliner replacement

My headliner has been sagging for a while now so I looked at the cost of new replacements and about choked.  
Let me preface this with the caviat that I am a tinkerer.  If I 'tink' I can get something done myself, I'll give it a go.  More than once, it's wound up costing me more than if I had had it towed to a garage and fixed by a high-priced mechanic.  I'm not cheap, but I like to try and save a few bucks here and there when I can, so I'll tinker at most any project on my "D" unless it's just beyond my tools' capacities (i.e. vacuuming and recharging an AC system or adjusting the torsion bars).
So, when I found the headliner material in light grey at a local fabric shop, I decided to see if I could pull out the forms, strip and clean them and recover the headliner, myself.  I was concerned about breaking something that I would have to replace or repair, but overall, it didn't look like too bad a job.  You know what?  It isn't.  Pulling the old fir trees out of their holes is probably the scariest part of it because you don't want to damage the forms that fit the door-roofs.  I don't know if there are any of these available, anymore and I didn't want to have to find out.  But with a couple of long screwdrivers, a small ball-joint-seperator-fork and great care, I was able to pull most of the fir-tree plugs out and just slip the form off the rest, pulling them out afterwards.  Cleaning the forms was easy enough with a couple of brushes and elbow grease to remove the old foam backing that still adhered.  I laid out the old fabric on the new and cut (leaving plenty of overcut for trimming later) and used an industrial spray-on adhesive that I also bought at the fabric store.  Working the new foam-backed fabric up into the dome was a little tricky, making sure not to crease or fold it anywhere while the glue stuck to it.  I ordered a bunch of new fir-trees from Hervey and went to recovering.  The back form had long sagged on both sides, producing upside-down eyebrows at the rear windscreen area but I flattened it, stretched a little fibreglass over it and epoxy-ed it so that it retains it's old flater form much more closely now.  Not perfect, I admit, but not bad.  Reinstallation went pretty easily and damn!! it looks good!!  (surprise) Entire cost: ~$85 and a few hours of sweat.
I write about this to encourage others who may have thought about tackling this job to give it a go.  Being careful in removal and with the use of the glue (it can get EVERYWHERE) is important, but it's a rewarding project and might save you a bunch of money.  No disrespect to any of the vendors and I certainly don't choose to see them lose any sales, but in these economic times, saving a buck is a good thing for anyone.

Craig Werner
07181 - 5-spd - grey int - '81 build -----"Little Johnny"
The reason


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