: Headliner woes (different from the others)

09-13-07, 09:44 PM
I've been working on the 81 CDV I just purchased. The mice made a disaster of this car over the last several years while the car sat in a barn. Having torn the entire interior apart, and cleaned everything, and reassembled it, I decided to yank the headliner out and get that ready to be recovered


The rodents destroyed that too. I'm not just talking about the fabric. The headliner was sagging so bad, because there was almost nothing to fasten it to. The white foam part was chewed all up and just about disintegrated when I tried to remove it. There is NO salvaging it.

So I guess the big question is, Will the headliner from a sedan fit in a coupe? There are NO coupe devilles in any junkyards around here.

How hard would it be to fabricate one?

Has anyone dealt with this problem? It's kind of a bummer. I cant even figure out how the mice got up there, but they did.

This was the straw that broke the camels back today. I got a call from the dealer that my 98 SLS does in fact need new head gaskets. What a day!


09-14-07, 10:09 AM
Sorry to make it worse, but I don't believe a sedan headliner will do. Because if the posts being in different places, the shell is a different shape. I'd just keep checking eBay and other places for people that are parting out old Coupes, and ask them for the headliner. Most people don't just list them automatically. Although, I think one from a Fleetwood Brougham Coupe would also fit. Anything from 1980-1984.

01-24-08, 04:57 PM
It would probably be best to find one in a junkyard somewhere - if you can - or you could get some good contact adhesive and glue some 1/8 or 1/4 inch slats on the back side of the headliner board to give it it's spine back - we've done that before in our shop.

01-24-08, 05:36 PM
I know that problem. When I took my headliner out of my b-body wagon, the board just disintegrated. And those are quite a rare find in the junkyard, so I still have bare metal.. lol

Now I'm not entirely sure but I *think* the headliner from an Olds 98 coupe or a Buick Electra coupe *might* work, if the yard has any of those. The dome light assembly would have to be filled in, and a hole cut for the maplight assembly, but that wouldn't be all that difficult.

However the board from a Lesabre coupe or a Delta 88 coupe will not work since they are b-bodies coupes with shorter rooflines.

Good luck! :thumbsup:


01-24-08, 10:21 PM
Huh, I have not been on here in ages, and I didnt realize that this post I started came back.

So here is the update.

A headliner from a 98 coupe will not work. I own a 98 coupe, and they are different. On the caddy, the shoulder portion of the seat belt comes out of the ceiling. With the olds, it comes out of the B pillar and goes up over a guide like it does on the sedans. If I'm not mistaking, on the buick the seatbelt does come out of the ceiling like it does in the Caddy. Good luck finding one. They're all brittle, and they're fairly rare. I thought I could get one from an olds and cut it to fit, however, the original is molded around the seatbelt mechanism, so it doesnt work that way.

I actually decided to build my own. And it was a major pain in the you know what. As boxy as these cars are, there isnt anything that's square. The front and rear edges are round, so you have to account for that radius.

My headliner was SO shot, that I couldnt even use it for a pattern. The edges became mouse food, and there was nothing to trace.

I went to Lowes and bought TWO sheets of 1/8" thick masonite or lewon (sp). I don't remember what they called it. This stuff is heavy. It would have been really nice to use one sheet.

I measured the car from side to side. The headliner is 49 inches wide, and you can buy it in 4x8' sheets, so you get all pissed off because it's an inch short. So I cut it the other way and overlapped and glued them. I used a strong wood glue, and let it sit out in the sun for hours.

Then I measured like crazy, and just got it to fit up there. This stuff is heavy. The problem was this. You have to have it sort of "bow" up to make the right shape. It's by no means perfect, but it looks good. You cant get those sharp-ish bends near the edges, so the headroom is slightly reduced around the edges. But to give you an idea, a sunroof equipped model has a lower headroom, so it's not awful.

So the last time i "test fitted it" I got it stuck up in the roof and could not get it out without goofing it up, so I had to glue the fabric up with the board in the car. This is a bad idea for a million reasons. The first of which is the fumes. I had the seats and most of the interior out. I covered the dash and it still got glue on it, but it does clean out with the right chemicals and doesnt damage things.

I put the fabric in there, sprayed it, sprayed the ceiling, and waited a little bit, then I installed it. It's sagging again, and I have not driven it, it's just sat in the garage.

The headliner sagged in the olds too, I didnt want to remove the backing board and did the same thing in there. The backing board in the olds (275,000 miles) is pretty beat up just from age and heat. I glued up some cheap vinyl and that held perfectly, and I drive it every day.

So the glue doesnt seem to like that masonite stuff. I'm wondering if it was somewhat dusty. I'll deal with it when the weather gets nice again and I get ready to drive it for the summer. I probably should have cleaned it better or something. But when it did stick, it looked excellent.


01-24-08, 11:19 PM
What I did for my wagon is I got some of that wood panelling (like the 60's stuff) for house walls and just stuck it in the ceiling. It's like masonite, so it bows, but I did lose some head room. However the wood on the ceiling is really cool. So it's a mod basically, not close to original, but still neat and effective.

But.... it was so heavy that it fell out and I haven't been able to get it to stay in (I haven't done any fastening with clips, etc yet), so I'm back to bare metal.... and a lot of head room.. lol

01-25-08, 01:35 AM
Fiberboard like the old stores used to hang their products on? Full of holes with hooks in it. Should bend and cut easily. You could shape it and then glue your favorite material to it?? I can picture it, but I am not the person to do such detailed work.

Or buy some of the new corrugated plastic board that people use for garage sales. Some local vendor will carry large sheets of it. Or you glue several sheets together, using heavy mil clear plastic on the back (top) of it. Then fit your favorite material to it and glue it.

Think creatively. The corrugated plastic sheets weigh a lot less than the fiberboard.

You could also buy the plastic foam boards that kids use in school for posters. Glue them together as above.

Send $$ to me in a plain brown bag.