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Old 10-29-2002, 03:05 PM
typo mna typo mna is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 241
Reattaching roof fabric in my car

All the fabric on the roof of my minivan is falling down, billowing around, brushing my head, and generally bothering me. How can I reattach it? I haven't poked around too much, but it appears that there's a roof panel that will come off (this is a 1989 Plymouth Voyager, if that helps), to which the fabric was attached. Assuming that's how it works, and I can remove that panel, can I simply glue it back on? If so, what glue is appropriate, and how can I ensure that the end result doesn't look too amateurish? Is there a roller or something I can use to keep the fabric smooth as I'm gluing it down? Should I stretch it while putting it on? Is it a lost cause?
Old 10-29-2002, 03:46 PM
scotth scotth is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,325
3m makes a product that is perfect for this use.

It is called something along the lines of "Automotive spray trim adhesive".

You should be able to find it at the local parts store. It is pretty much like spray rubber cement and works great.
Old 10-29-2002, 04:34 PM
handy handy is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Pacific Grove, Calif
Posts: 17,493
Yeah, don't spray your hair with it when doing that :-)

They make two sided carpet tpe, maybe that would be better?
Old 10-29-2002, 05:01 PM
Rocketeer Rocketeer is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 6,904
This happened in my Omni. I talked to an upholsterer I trust. He said that the headlining material is a foam-backed fabric, and that what was happening was that the foam was disintegrating; I could glue it back into place, but when the foam disintegrated a bit more, down it would come again. Based on a previous unsatisfactory experience gluing the headliner in my mother-in-law's Rabbit back up, I believed him.

What I finally did was pull the headliner shell out of the car. I took it in to the upholsterer, he glued new fabric to it, and I reinstalled it. Cost me about $90.
Old 10-29-2002, 05:07 PM
bdgr bdgr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 3,680
I used a staplegun on my mine one time. Not pretty, but it worked
Old 10-29-2002, 05:11 PM
scotth scotth is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,325
Rocketeer is right in the case where it is the headliner backing that is coming apart.

Often though, it is just the old adhesive failing, if that is the case, the 3m product will take care of ya.
Old 10-29-2002, 05:17 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 18,557
For my old omni I used thumb tacks - they were even color matched. For the next car thumb tacks wouldn't hold so I used a staple gun
Old 10-29-2002, 05:19 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,170
If the headliner attaches to a cardboard panel, a temporary help is to use twist pins to hold it up in key places. Twist pins are like sturdy straight pins bent into a spiral, with a plastic knob at the head. Fabric and notions stores carry them. You just screw them into the cardboard.

I did a headliner reglue once. It was a pain. The fabric stretched easily and it was hard to get it all lined up properly with its edges and openings.
Old 10-29-2002, 09:42 PM
pud_lumpkins pud_lumpkins is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: In HELL! bwahh!
Posts: 32
uhhhh, i dunno. our omni and buick did that. try and shrink the fabric. i bet that's the culprit. or maybe it's just the sides are falling out. you try and shove the more of the fabric back into the slots on the edges. I really don't know, since both of those cars broke down. they're in the pound, yo
Old 10-29-2002, 09:45 PM
pud_lumpkins pud_lumpkins is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: In HELL! bwahh!
Posts: 32
nailguns work too! you got one dangerous car when ya have a rollover
Old 10-29-2002, 10:55 PM
chique chique is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: East of Lake Wobegone
Posts: 4,514
A former cow-orker once spent an entire weekend making a pretty pattern on her roof with differently-colored, large-headed stickpins. Good thing it was a small car....
Old 10-29-2002, 11:33 PM
justwannano justwannano is offline
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: S.E.Iowa USA
Posts: 2,773
I've tried all kinds of adhesives and none have held up.
I used the upolstery twist pins Gary T suggested and they have worked the best. You can buy a new
headliner from JC Whitney . Looks like they start about 60 bucks. Or 20 bucks a yard.
Old 10-29-2002, 11:41 PM
Flashpaper Tiger Flashpaper Tiger is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: the navel of the universe
Posts: 53
The adhesive works for about a week. I used t-pins in my Corolla for this problem - didn't look too bad - I made a geometric pattern as I slid them in. Cheap too.
Old 10-30-2002, 07:04 AM
SC_Wolf SC_Wolf is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 867
Stickpins/thumbtacks have a good chance of falling out if your problem is foam disintegration. Oftentimes at the most inoportune moments.
Old 10-30-2002, 08:38 AM
micco micco is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,562
I tried a variety of adhesives on a headliner that came down in one of my old cars, but none worked well because of the foam Rocketeer mentioned. This headliner was fabric-foam-cardboard layers, so I took it out, turned it upside down, and reinstalled. The cardboard wasn't as attractive as the fabric had been, but it was smooth and clean and didn't fall or leak foam.
Old 10-30-2002, 05:11 PM
DaToad DaToad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: El valle del Sol
Posts: 911
I had this problem too. The best way to repair it is to remove the headliner from the car. Use rows of large upholstery buttons, covered in the same color cloth. Poke holes through the fiber and attach/tie-off on the other side. If you stretch the fabric as you go and make sure the buttons are in very securely, the headliner will be very tight and it will look like a factory install. Use chalk to mark straight lines and brush clean when finished. Good luck.


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