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Old 02-05-2020, 04:41 PM   #1
Had a few Tri 5's
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Default Tips on a headliner install

Anyone putting in a 4 door wagon headliner have any literature or experience to share on getting a headliner successfully installed in a 4 door wagon? I put them in a 2 door hardtop, 65 Mustang, 70 Superbee and an old El Camino. For the life of me, I can't get this thing to lay in right in the rounded corners and trying to get it started up under the saw tooth plates.....

I am thinking of bending the plates slightly to get a little room. Maybe the newer windlace is thicker than original?

I have tried heating the inside of the car to 90, using a steamer. I have stapled, unstapled and stapled again. I started at the back over the liftgate, then pulled forward over the windshield, tried to get the sides pulled. Lose patience and come back the next day. Every time I get one area looking fair, the next thing I touch makes it all bad again.

All the videos show cars. That Ciadella video has some good info, but kinds glosses over corner trimming and those shark tooth things.

I found the 1 paragraph instructions in the trim install book. Tack here, tack there, stretch to remove fullness and done. Yeah right.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:26 PM   #2
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Default Wagon Headliner Install

I havenít started yet, but Iíll be watching this thread to see if youíre able to figure it out. Iím getting close to installing mine and truth be told, Iím terrified...

Best of luck,
John
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:05 AM   #3
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Need one put in old NelleyBelle.
Been putting it off , looks like a daunting task.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:33 AM   #4
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Here's my tip: hire someone for the install. Seriously though, I tried installing a headliner in my '56 gasser wagon. After several attempts and 6 hrs. invested, I was no further ahead. I had a trim shop make a house call. Two hours later and $300.00, they were done and it looked beautiful. Best money I ever spent. I am very envious of those that can install headliners and seat covers. I'm just not that talented, Carmine.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:30 AM   #5
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$300 , how many moons ago was that ?
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:31 PM   #6
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$300 , how many moons ago was that ?
If the old headliner is removed, all the old staples picked out, and the bows numbered and cleaned up, which most of us are more than capable of, that's about right for a house call. That's assuming you have air in your shop, adequate lighting and work space, and you don't live more than a few miles from the trim shop. You also need to have a decent local trimmer with a reasonable labor rate who's willing to make that house call. Quite often you'll find an upholsterer who'll be happy to do the installation after hours or on the weekend for cash. Headliner installation may look scary to the layman, but it's an easy job for a pro. So long as it's been sewn correctly, a wagon headliner should only take about 4 - 5 hours.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:38 PM   #7
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Finding someone anymore is perhaps harder than trying to figure this out. It seems to be a lost art. Most shops deal with one piece glue on and done stuff now. I found a guy who gave me some tips, but said hell no to installing. He can't crawl around inside with his bad knees.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:51 PM   #8
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Finding someone anymore is perhaps harder than trying to figure this out. It seems to be a lost art. Most shops deal with one piece glue on and done stuff now. I found a guy who gave me some tips, but said hell no to installing. He can't crawl around inside with his bad knees.
Kids today! I'm one month shy of my 66th B-day, and although my knees are trouble I still manage to cope with headliners. It will be a sad day indeed when nobody has any interest in learning the "old ways". Headliners aren't rocket science.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:59 PM   #9
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I know it Davlin. I have always tried to do things myself. I have a whole shop full of tools used once or twice I got so I could do things myself. Things don't always come out 100%, but I try again, learning a little each time. Many times you hire a "professional" only to find they knew less about the subject than you did. Getting ridiculous. This is why I am trying this myself, trying to learn more. I have nothing but time. Even if I find someone, I am going to watch and learn.

About the guy I got the tips from.....he is 72, so I suppose his knees are getting a little tired.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:11 PM   #10
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If you're wanting to go it on your own, here's the best advice I can give you. If the liner is still on the bench, mark a center point on each seam and at the front and rear edges. Use a pencil or chalk, never a felt marker or ink. Start with the bow that hangs on the teeth. Center the liner on the inside two teeth, then stretch the liner side to side as tight as you can as you hang it over the remaining teeth. Install the remainder of the bows one by one with the center mark eyeballed at center of the car. You can work center to front or center to rear in either order. As you install each bow, choose the hole that places the bow closest to the roof, but not so high that the bow binds or drops in the center. Before moving on to the next, carefully slit the listing where it bunches up on each side. Don't overdo it! When all the bows are clipped in stretch the headliner tight towards the front and anchor it at center. Then go to the back and do the same. These attachment points may be temporary. At the 1st bow that was hung, stretch it as tight as you can and anchor each side so that the seam runs parallel to the bow. The headliner will now be perfectly centered and under tension. From this point you can work the rest of the liner. I usually start at the back corners and even the seam out as I go along, sighting down the seam to get it as straight as possible. Then I'll go to the front and do the same. You should now be able to easily see where the sides need to be pulled and in which direction. If there's a lot of extra material it sometimes helps to trim it back a little, but don't cut it too short. Try to balance the amount of stretch on each side. If you go too far on one side, it can make it difficult to get the opposite side nice and smooth. A heat gun (vinyl only) or steam (vinly or fabric) will always help, but I try and get it as flat as possible first, and only heat the problem areas. Stubborn wrinkles down the sides usually indicate the headliner needs to be stretched tighter front to rear. This is where experience comes into play, so take your time. When you tuck in the areas where the saw tooth retainers are, trimming back the fabric so there's just enough to catch the teeth will make it easier, but again, don't cut it too short!
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