Recovering Headliner: T-Top

If your car’s headliner has been hanging down, like mine, it’s time to replace it.

Total cost was $23 for the headliner at JoAnn’s Fabrics and $17 for an 18oz can of the adhesive. One can will do a hardtop car and a T-top car or 3 T-top cars.

What you’ll need:

  • Headliner Material (4.5ft)
  • Spray Adhesive (18oz)
  • Flat head Screwdriver
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Medium-bristled Scrub brush

Elapsed time ~ 3hrs.

This is what mine looked like forever:


So I decided to do something about it. I got myself to JoAnn’s fabric store and bought myself 4.5 feet of headliner material. I got black, cuz the grey they had was too light… so the first step is to remove almost all your interior trim…

Trunk Panels

Just lift the driver’s side one. The passenger side has the little screw things that you need to turn then pull. Be careful you don’t break the tabs up by the rear seatbelts.

Coat hooks/(Sail Panels)

The thing with these is that I couldn’t get the right angle to pull the retainer out, but when I levered it off the handle, it worked fine. you pull out that center piece and then the hook will come out with gentle pressure, but the center has to be out.

Kick panels (Remove bottom screw holding Sail Panels in)

Then that back trim panel. You need to rotate it forward over the latch pin for the back seat, then pull it out of the car.
Then the A-pillar cover and the B-pillar T-top cover if you have one.
Then the visors.

There’s a pushpin underneath the rear dome light that needs to be removed:

as well as one dead center on the ttop rail:

Now, you can take the whole headliner out. I found it easiest to back it out of the open hatch.

Here comes the fun part of stripping down the old liner. You pretty much just grab the cloth and pull while being careful not to rip up the fiberglass substrate with your fabric. Then you get to scrape/scrub the old foam off. I used a medium-bristled scrubbrush. (Too heavy damages, Too light gums up.)

You want it to be as clean as possible.

At this point you can start putting the fabric on.

I made the mistake of starting from one end and working to the other, but trust me, YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT. Start in the middle, and work your way out. This will ensure that you don’t run out of material in the corners…

I used spray adhesive for this… 3M “general trim adhesive” medium strength to be specific… you just smooth the cloth over the form. Be careful on the corners- you want to have plenty of extra fabric in the corners.

*note* I managed to accidentally get adhesive overspray on the good side of the cloth. If this happens, DO NOT attempt to wipe it off. The best way to deal with it is to let it harden, then shave it off with a safety razor. I tried a 1-blade and a 2-blade, but I got the best results with my Gillette Mach-3, so I would say anything with 3+ blades will do the trick.

When you have it looking like this:

It’s time to cut the scraps off, fold the edges over, glue them down and then slit the holes for the pins and screws, the seat belts and visors if you choose to reinstall them. For all the holes, I just flipped it over and slit them from the backside.

Finally, you’ve got yourself a nice new-looking headliner to put back into your ride:

Installation is reverse of removal.

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