76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ? - Chevelle Tech
Interiors Upholstery and soft trim

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 1st, 05, 2:57 AM Thread Starter
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76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

I have a 76 Chevrolet Nova 4 door. The interior is almost mint condition. This was grandmas car until a few years ago. Has 110K now.
Anyway, I had the windows tinted and in the process of removing the outer perameter trim pieces, the headliner started to fall off the board it is supposed to be attached to. It's a 1 piece board that has material glued onto it.
I did some research about fixing this and came up with using 3M's Super adhesive. $15 for the can. Well, as it turned out, the can was just barely enough to get the material glued back onto the board. The old headliner material seemed to lay down and stick pretty good, but I decided that it was probably wise to let the glue cure for 24 hours before attempting to install the headliner. The next day I checked it and it was lifting pretty badly on one corner. I had cleaned the board very well and I also got all of the old thin layer of foam padding off the original headliner. I had applied glue to both surfaces and waited about 10 minutes before bonding them together. It said to wait 5 minutes to an hour. I don't know what this board is made from, so I just call it a board. The surface is like the backside of peg board. Pretty rough.

So, now I don't want to put the headliner back in the car as it looks like it is going to sag. That's the same problem it had before. I guess it was holding on by the outer trim pieces. When I unscrewed them, it started falling off.

Does anybody know the best way to get these headliners to stay put ?
I'm not opposed to replacing the material, but 3M's glue just ain't gonna do it. I'd like to reuse the original headliner material as it is in perfect condition. (other than it's now missing the thin foam layer. but I don't care about that too much). And the board is also in great condition.

I have heard that somebody makes a 1 piece plastic headliner for this era of GM cars ??? Like a molded fiberglass or plastic thing ???

Here's what I am thinking. Maybe if I paint the board's surface with some kind of paint, then the glue would stick ??? Seems most of the glue is being absorbed into the board, and along with the rough texture, there's no chance of sticking.
Has anyone ever tried to paint the board ?

Any other ideas ?

I really want to get this interior back together and done.

Any ideas or help with this is greatly appreciated.

I know these headliners are pretty much standard issue for GM cars from the 70s thru the 80's. There must be a good fix for this problem, I just don't know what that is.
I'm a little reluctant to just start painting the board as it would probably be pretty hard to find another good one.

sorry this is so long.

Nate
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 05, 4:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

nobody ?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 05, 7:52 AM
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

i think you need new headliner material i beleive its the foam thats you spray the glue on and that sticks to the board. the old headliner you took off the foam just dry rotted off so all the glue you spray wont hold it up plus it will soak in the material and if it does hold you will see a clump of dry glue in the material once you install it most likely. headliner material is pretty cheap so save yourself a headache and buy a new peice. i think they sell it in joanns fabric shop nowadays.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 05, 6:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

Storm,
I think you are right.
I'll look into getting the new headliner material.

But I'm still wondering how well it will stick as the board is so rough.

Nate
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 05, 11:16 PM
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

just clean the board well get off all the loose stuff use the 3m adhesive glue the foam will stick to the board nice when people try to reglue it usually the foam is rotten off and they spray what left and its mostly material so it wont stick just make sure you get it right once you spray it and put the new stuff on there is no pulling it back up to readjust so make sure no wrinkles the first time. easy to do. storm

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 05, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

I'm having second thoughts about how well the headliner would stick to this board.
The glue just soaks in. I'm thinking if I paint the board, then the glue will not soak into the board.

The thing about this car is that it is not worth a lot of money. I hate to dump too much into any repairs I do, because it will just be money lost. I'd really like for the interior to remain original, but you have to draw a line someplace on how much it costs to do this.

Right now, I'm looking at new headliner material = about $70 ? Maybe more?
plus the 3M glue, another $15 and maybe 2 cans which would be $30.

If I paint the board $10 and attempt to glue the old headliner on, $15, this is my cheapest option.
I've already spent the $15 on a can of 3M adhesive and it didn't work.

Why would the headliner stick to the board better if it had new foam on it ? I cleaned off all of the old foam before trying to glue it on and that didn't stick. How would the foam help ? And wouldn't the 3M glue eat the foam anyway ?

I'm tempted to just paint the board blue and call it good.

Nate
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 05, 9:12 PM
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

from my experience when i did mine ,the headliner was sagging also tried to spray glue up there i figure i get enough up there its gotts stick right? well it just soaked thru and got big ugly glue spots and it stuck only in some places so i bought the material cleaned off the board laid it on the picnic table put down the headliner sprayed the board and the headliner put it back down had on small wrinkle tried to lift it back up and it was already stuck for good! did the other side and was all done came out perfect. i saw how it was done on a tv ( shady tree mechanic) i think it was.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 05, 2:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

storm, I understand.
But if the headliner didn't stay up in the first place, why redo it the same way ?
How long could you expect it to last ?

Nate
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 05, 9:37 AM
 
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

It lasted from 76 to present, right? Even take off 10 years for sag and you still have 20 years. Do a good install of a new headliner and it should last as long as the original.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 05, 3:16 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

Who's to say how long it would last the 2nd time around. ???

I think most of these headliners were falling down within 7-10 years of new.

I just don't want to spend $100 for the new material only to have it start falling down again in a few years.

Nate
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 05, 9:45 AM
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

ANY upolstery shop can handle this headliner job for around $100.00. You hand them the board and it will be even less. The material is pretty cheap, you can do it yourself for about $50.00 I'd guess.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 05, 7:18 PM
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

The biggest problem with those glue up headliners is that you tend to stretch the fabric when you put it back on. This puts tension on the fabric, and it will pull itself back off to relieve the tension. If you glue it up and gently lay the fabric on, then use a roller to press it firmly to the board, you'll find it'll last longer. I went through this on my old '84 Cutlass before.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 05, 9:27 PM
 
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

the old headliner falls down not because of glue not working, but because the foam backing to the fabric starts to just waste away. get yourself some new headliner material and try to get a hold of some good contact cement. not the 3m aerosol stuff, i use weldwood landau top adhesive, shot out of a glue (pressure) pot. remove the old headliner, scrape off any remnants of it with a putty knife, spray the board with cement, spray the back of the new headliner material with cement, let it set for 15 minutes, then carefully set it in place. you may find it easier to spray like a 2 foot section at a time so there's less bulk (with glue on it) to deal with. let me know if you have any questions, happy to help.
-sean
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 16th, 05, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

I talked with a local upholstery shop owner this week and he says to replace the material. He sells a cloth with foam backing material. He says I can just glue it on and it will stick, using the 3M adhesive. $12.50 per yd and I need 2 yards, he says.
I wanted to retain the original vinyl headliner, but he says that won't stick, as I have found out as well !

He says that the average life span of a headliner like this is 10-12 years. He said they may last a little longer if the vehicle is garaged.

I guess I'll go ahead and do this cloth headliner. It is actually nicer to the touch. Thicker foam. And he said that it is very easy to glue down as opposed to the vinyl, he says he won't even attempt the vinyl.

So, here we go, another $45

Thanks for all the great advice guys and I'll post a pcture when I'm done.


Nate
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 05, 10:30 AM
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Re: 76 Nova headliner trouble. Need ideas ?

I've owned a couple of Novas in those years and always had the fiberboard headliner with no material on it. It must be the 4 doors with the fabric. You can buy factory style fabric headliner with the foam attached at Jo-anne fabrics for $10 per yard. You will need at least 2 yards. You should use headliner spray glue. I would buy 3 or 4 cans and return what you don't use. Take the board out and scrape it down with a stiff bristle plastic scrub brush first and wipe it down good. Lay your fabric over it to center it up. Fold half of it back and start spraying about 1 foot across at a time. When you get to the end go back to the middle and repeat for the other half. You need good glue that will withstand heat and humidity because that's what causes the sagging. The cost of the project might be around $75. If you are on a tight budget, just scrape it smooth and dye it. 2 cans of SEM cost $16 total!

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