Headliner Print E-mail
Topics - Interior

Can or can you not install the headliner yourself, likely to be one of the most disputed topics. Obviously not an easy task, but if you take your time and keep a pair of stress balls close by, you have a good chance of succeeding in doing the job yourself.

I do suggest that you buy a prepared headliner, for instance at Paruzzi. It still does not guarantee easy fitting, but at least it will save you the hassle from making one from scratch. All split screen vans should have a framework, which is used to attach the headliner to. At the front you will find this frame above the visors and alongside the vent shaft. Deluxe and Samba models should also have the framework at the back of the van, going all the way around, just above the windows.

The headliner is attached to the frame by sliding the plastic strips that are stitched to the headliner, into the framework. In case you do not own a Deluxe or Samba, this works fine at the front, but there is no way you can fit the headliner this way at the back. There are two options to fit the headliner without the framework:

  1. Weld a framework in place before painting.
  2. Use contact adhesive to glue the headliner to the body.

In our case we chose to go with the second option, since our van just came back from the painter :-o An additional advantage we experienced from gluing the headliner is that you have much more control over the tensions in the headliner fabric, which allows you to get all the wrinkles out of the headliner.

When you decide to glue the headliner to the body, you will have to remove the plastic strip at the sides and the back of the headliner (leave the ones at the front!).  We will be sticking the fabric to the edge that separates the roof from the body. Before we can start to install the headliner, check that the bows are the right size and adjust accordingly. Mark the distances between the bows on the body; ensure that the left and right side are aligned. To prevent the bows from rattling, rubber caps have been fitted on both the ends of the bows.

Start with fitting the front of the headliner; slide the plastic strips into the framework on the vent shaft. Clamp the strip into the frame by taping the framework with a rubber hammer. As soon as you are satisfied with the fitting of the front, you can start positioning the bows and the back of the headliner. Use a small cup to carry the contact adhesive, apply the glue onto both the body and the inside of the headliner, using a small brush. DO NOT install the headliner yet, wait for approximately five minutes and reapply the adhesive on both surfaces.

Install the headliner, starting from sides at the vent shaft. Do not try to fit it all at once, but mount the headliner bit by bit. Keep watching the wrinkles in the fabric; stretch the sides of the headliner to see what happens with the wrinkles. You will soon notice that the headliner fabric is pretty flexible and can be stretched to the best fit. If you are not entirely happy with the parts you glued together; firmly hold the headliner between you thumb and index finger, just underneath the glued part. Now pull back powerful, in a rectangular angle from the surface. You might have to reapply the adhesive before you can refit the headliner.

Minor wrinkles in the headliner can be removed using a hair dryer. Carefully heat the fabric, which will cause the material to shrink. Watch that you do not burn the headliner!

As finishing touch we installed a chrome strip on the place we glued the headliner to the body, so you cannot see the mounting of the headliner. You may also decide to fold the fabric between the roof and the body. Remember: take your time to learn while you work.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 April 2012 )
 
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