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    Thread: headliner removal, repair and recovering writeup

    1. 06-04-2004 04:07 PM #1
      Writeup - headliner removal, repair, recovering and refitting on a 2dr mk2 Golf (no sunroof). I’d normally be posting this on the 8v site but its down at the moment until I find a new host.

      Apologies in advance for poor grammar, spelling etc, typed it all in a bit of a rush. Hope it is helpful.

      The removal

      A lot easier if you have someone to help you, especially when it comes to taking it out in one piece without snapping it. Take out all grabhandles, sunvisors and plastic clips and rearview mirror. I couldn’t figure out how the rearview was held in at first but (contrary to advice i heard from others) i twisted/rotated mine 90s and it popped out. no screws or anything like that. Then take out the strip that runs along at the top of the hatch/boot. pull the dome light out (it unclips) and let it hang down. Remove c-pillars - 2 screws and 2 bolts. Remove from rubber trim aorund windows, working slowly from one end with a finger. Remove the 3 clips holding it to the ceiling (they don't come out easily, get replacements for 50p/50c from the dealership) and it is then held up only by its own rigidity and the two B pillars. little tricky but you can bend the headliner slightly and pop it out one side, then pull it back to that side and pop it out the other side. take it out of the hatch, careful the wind doesnt catch it, its like trying to use a giant wafer as a sail - it'll just snap.

      The repair

      Remove the dome light bracket by unbending the integral clips. If you do this carefully you can refit it like factory when you go to refit the headliner. My headliner was the one-piece board type (a kind of thin, easily snapped fiberglass). It was covered from the factory in a kind of soft vinyl, not fabric. I did not attempt to remove this since it was bonded far too well to the fibre/foam behind it. There were a couple of areas where I think moisture had got to it and it had “bubbled” up a bit. I cut out the bubbles with a razor back until the edges were flush and not raised. I filled in these holes – warning, unorthodox methodology coming up – using pieces of cardboard I cut to size. I resined them completely first to seal them from moisture, then glued them in using more resin adhesive. It gave a perfectly flush finish. My headliner didnt look in that good condition already and I'm pretty sure I hurt it a bit taking it out of the car. The two main problems with it were:
      - seperation of the materials around the edges, unbonding from one another
      - small cracks right through the headliner, most running from the edges inwards
      I used staples (just your average staples) in a few places around the edges to hold the edges that were starting to seperarte. And then I repaired the minor cracks. To repair the cracks I first stapled across them a couple of times – mainly to hold them in place for the main repair – and then repaired them using fiberglass. I went down the auto repair shop and bought myself some fibreglass sheeting, Tetrosyl polyester "professional use only" resin and hardener (about $30, and I didn't use half of it). I also got a bunch of technical advice on performing this work as an amateur, which I tried to pass on in this writeup. DO THIS OUTSIDE AND WITH A MASK/RESPIRATOR. I patched it on the back to leave the surface smooth. cut fiberglass sheeting to shape and paste over with mix of resin and hardener – only mix the hardener to about 1 in 100 concentration, the resin is like jelly out of the tub and dries to a kind of slightly tacky rubber almost immediately, certainly within a few minutes. When it gets like this – the “snot” or “booger” stage, it then obviously becomes very difficult to spread. You need to to mix up small amounts and hence do small areas at a time. Anything more ambitious and your adhesive will be half set before you get it on, and won’t smoothe nicely over your fiberglass sheeting. I found it is fully dry within about an hour. I then sanded it smooth. You don't want to use duct tape to fix cracks (or adhesive spray to stick fabric on) because the key element is *heat resistance* - most glues will unbond slightly in heat, and you don't want this or you will be back to a sagging headliner in a year or two. You want to do this one time and have it last. You want to cut the sheeting so that it is way bigger than the crack it is covering, at least an inch wider in all directions. You also want to lay the resin down in the same way - ie not just over the fibreglass patch, but a further inch in all directions. This will aid in stiffening the board in the crucial areas where it is prone to cracking.

      The recovering

      Unlike the spray adhesives generally advocated on this forum I was provided with a "professional use only" can of Dunlop toluene-based liquid adhesive. Again, like the resin adhesive used in the fibreglassing this stuff is jelly-like and “boogers” fast, so work quickly on one small area at a time. This stuff is NASTY. You want to do this outside, with a respirator and, hell, probably in a full hazard suit. you don't want to go breathing this stuff in or getting it on you. You lightly cover both the fabric and headliner in it using a spreader, leave for a minute or so, and then press together. I managed to cover the entire headliner using a single length of fabric – it is remarkably stretchy. The material is difficult to shift when its in place so try and get it right first time – go for the “troughs” or “valleys” in the headliner first, work the fabric into these areas first and the raised stuff pretty much falls into place.

      I took no pictures as I was going along but I will have pictures of the finished product when I install it tomorrow (getting late here now and I need to pick the roof clips up from the dealership tomorrow). I will if of course answer any questions anyone may have.

      Dan


    2. Member Deutschbag's Avatar
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      06-04-2004 04:35 PM #2
      Very nice, where'd you get the industrial strength materials, like the adhesive and fiberglass resin etc? And is there a name for the material you used to re-cover it, or did you simply re-use your old ****?

    3. 06-04-2004 05:11 PM #3
      Quote, originally posted by WickedMystic »
      Very nice, where'd you get the industrial strength materials, like the adhesive and fiberglass resin etc? And is there a name for the material you used to re-cover it, or did you simply re-use your old ****?

      The fibreglass resin is different from the stuff you get normally, I picked it up from my local indepedent body repair shop I use. Its the stuff they use themselves and had some spare they sold to me at cost. I use the place regularly and the guy knows me well.

      The adhesive stuff I picked from a local independent auto upholsterer. Its the same stuff they use themselves for all their work. They had an old Lotus in for a full interior rework and the quality of their work was topnotch. I was tempted to just get them to do it but thought since I had access to all the right materials I'd try and save some money and do it myself.

      The fabric was also bought from the auto upholsterer. It is very thin and with a foam backing, I believe its fairly standrad throughout the industry. He did offer me a few grades/thicknesses of materials but I went with the very thinnest, figureing it'd be lighter (and hence less likely to sag/peel off) cheaper (always a bonus) and more flexible (and hence easier to stretch and fit to all the contours).

      All in all, I really enjoyed doing the work. It took me a fair old while but I had the TV to keep me company

      One more thing, I tucked the fabric round the edges and glued it to the back - no idea if this is usual or if people normally trim it round the edges but my thinking was that it'd be less likely to seperate from the backing this way. For the backing I cut the entire excess material into a series of maybe 100 "flaps", to ensure I could glue it back to the contours with it pulling straight into the edge and didnt leave any ripples, folds or stress in the material on the visible side.

      Dan


    4. 09-08-2004 11:31 PM #4

    5. Banned SoCal_GLI's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 04:44 PM #5
      where dem pics?

      so your average joe shouldn't be able to get the adhesives you used? what do you recommend?


    6. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 05:20 PM #6
      Dude you really gotta pay attention to the date

      There is an excellent DIY with still working pics Right Here Stolen from Holistah's great DIY thread

      A few tips from my experience doing mine:

      1) 3M 90 is the strongest adhesive you can buy and so far it's held up great
      2) Stretchy fabrics are MUCH easier to work with
      3) FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAN. I used a rather thin stretchy fabric and there is no bleed through the fabric as long as you let it set up beforesmoothing it down.
      4) Leave extra material at the sunroof to wrap around to the back of the headliner when putting it back in. You'll understand why when you do it.
      5) ignore all that crap about using fibreglass to repair breaks/cracks. Tin tape is less messy, faster to use and works great. Just use it on the non-visable side of the headliner so you don't leave lines. Between it and the fabric on the other side your headliner will be good as new


      Modified by LewsCabbyTherin at 1:23 PM 12-12-2006


    7. Banned SoCal_GLI's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 05:29 PM #7
      obviously you haven't looked at the DIY in hollistahs list....if you had you woulda seen alot of the details and pics were deleted

      and dont you think i know the date on it? after i all had to get it from the archives


    8. 12-12-2006 05:49 PM #8
      golf with no sunroof instructions are well and good, but how about Jetta with sunroof? Seems impossible.

    9. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 07:00 PM #9
      The link I'm giving you has pics. There was a couple DIY's in the list.

    10. Banned SoCal_GLI's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 07:25 PM #10
      Quote, originally posted by LewsCabbyTherin »
      The link I'm giving you has pics. There was a couple DIY's in the list.

      dude, that is the same thread im talking about....all the detailed repair pics were deleted....do you see any repair pics in there? i sure dont.


    11. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 07:32 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by Tarmac »
      golf with no sunroof instructions are well and good, but how about Jetta with sunroof? Seems impossible.

      its the same thing, using less fabric.

      get the headliner out by taking out one of the front seats.

      ive always used ductape to repair broken peices of the backing board...put it on the top side of the headliner, and then recover the bottom, and itll never come apart


    12. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 07:40 PM #12
      Quote, originally posted by SoCal_GLI »
      dude, that is the same thread im talking about....all the detailed repair pics were deleted....do you see any repair pics in there? i sure dont.

      LOL! You mean there were better pics in there? When I did mine I looked at the pics at the beginning of that thread and read a few write ups. Pics go AWOL on the DIY's around here so often I take what I can get


    13. 12-12-2006 08:18 PM #13
      nice write up

      in this DIY, the car it's going in has a sunroof, but they don't cover how they recovered the sunroof. is this part hard or something?

      Quote, originally posted by LewsCabbyTherin »

      There is an excellent DIY with still working pics Right Here Stolen from Holistah's great DIY thread


    14. Banned SoCal_GLI's Avatar
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      12-12-2006 10:44 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by Canadian_dubber_4_life »
      nice write up

      in this DIY, the car it's going in has a sunroof, but they don't cover how they recovered the sunroof. is this part hard or something?

      originally they did cover it they also went into detail on how they repaired the cracks, which aren't there now


    15. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      12-13-2006 12:11 PM #15
      Recovering the sunroof panel was super easy since it's a piece of metal.

      Tin tape on the back repairs breaks. You can then use anything that sets hard to fill in any large cracks but small ones (like the ones where the breaks are) you won' notice when it's done.

      Seriously - this isn't rocket science. I improvised as I went and my headliner looks great!

      Oh yea - and if you look at the pics that are sill there you will see they are using a copper brillo to clean the foam off. Rubbing it off with you hands works much better. Just take a paper towel and windex to it when you are done.


    16. 12-13-2006 03:09 PM #16
      i didn't click the links in this thread but i am almost certain that i read in another post, you could use duct tape to fix any cracks or gouges (sp). is this true?

    17. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      12-13-2006 03:44 PM #17
      You can use duct tape but the adhesive gets soft when it's warm. I like Tin tape ( the REAL stuff for duct work) because it's engineered to take the heat.

    18. Banned SoCal_GLI's Avatar
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      12-13-2006 03:47 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by LewsCabbyTherin »
      Recovering the sunroof panel was super easy since it's a piece of metal.

      Tin tape on the back repairs breaks. You can then use anything that sets hard to fill in any large cracks but small ones (like the ones where the breaks are) you won' notice when it's done.

      Seriously - this isn't rocket science. I improvised as I went and my headliner looks great!

      Oh yea - and if you look at the pics that are sill there you will see they are using a copper brillo to clean the foam off. Rubbing it off with you hands works much better. Just take a paper towel and windex to it when you are done.

      yeah i just want to get all my ducks in a row before i start the repairs


    19. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      12-13-2006 03:57 PM #19
      No worries - I understand completely. I read like 7 of these headliner DIY threads before I started mine.

      Just be patient and if at all possible get a chick to help you. Why? Because every women I've ever met loves interior decorating


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