Information on modifications and repairs to Body and Interior of your BMW 2002 and Neue Klasse car. Hoods and bonnets, trunks and boots, fenders and wings. Submit an Article if you have something to share.
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I needed a new headliner in my project car and after seeing how much work it was going to be, I decided I might as well personalise it a bit. Having been inspired by the use of tartan design fabric in Porsches and VWs I started a search for a suitable fabric for my Inka coloured 71. I was aware of the danger of using a dark fabric for headliner which would make the interior feel small and claustrophobic. This is the fabric that I settled on:
It has the orange of the car and also a complementary light blue giving it a much lighter feel than many other tartan designs. I used polyester poplin but it doesn't have much stretch so I had some difficulty when I was pressing the headliner in to install the sun visors, a more stretchy fabric might work better or the headliner could be left a bit slack where the visors go in.
So with the fabric chosen, these are the steps I followed to make the headliner and the parcel shelf.
First lay out the old headliner and measure it.
These are the measurements that I got from my old headliner
Mark the centre of the board with the holes for the clips from the old headliner and then remove it from the headliner material as we need to reused it.
Cut the new fabric to 1200mm x 1800mm
Turn fabric over and with a pencil, don’t use pen or anything which may show through on the on the other side, mark a centre line length-wise.
Starting from the back, leave 200mm and then draw a perpendicular line to the centre line.
This will be where rod #5 will sit and we need to add 2 more lines to guide us in making the loop that this rod will go through.
Draw 2 lines from the last line we did, one at 20mm and another at 40mm. The idea is that we will fold the material at the middle line and then sew along line 3 which should be sitting on line 1, this creates the pocket or loop that the rod will go into.
Since the rods are bent at their ends, if the loops were left uncut all the way to the end of the material, then the headliner would bunch up and cause wrinkles so the loops need to be cut at the ends to relieve the fabric. I measured the cuts on my old headliner and then marked a little bit less on the new material to leave room for adjustment, you don’t want to cut too much, better to leave some of it uncut and adjust it once it is hanging up from the rod.
The slanted lines are my cutting guide lines.
From the last line for rod #5 measure 280mm and then repeat the process of drawing the 3 lines for rod #4.
Repeat this process for all the other rods but note that the distance between rod #1 and #2 is different, it is 230mm instead of 280mm
Once all the lines are drawn, start with rod #5 markings, fold the material along the middle line, pin the material to itself and then iron along the fold.
This helped me sew along a straight line, which is important if the material has lines which make it easy to spot where things don’t match up.
Before doing any sewing use some cut off pieces to adjust the tension and stitch length on your machine.
Now sew along the visible line from the last step. I decided to sew a 2nd line 4-5mm to the right of the 1st one just for a bit more strength.
Part of the loop is then cut out, taking care not to cut the stitching.
Repeat the sewing for the other loops.
We need to glue the board back onto the new fabric but I found this to be quite tricky because the board is actually bent when it gets installed. So from my old headliner, I cut out the piece after rod #5 and along the curve where the old headliner was folded over the board. I then used this as a template (draw mid line on the old headliner before cutting so that it can be lined up with the mid line of the new material) for where the new material should be glued to the board.
Pin the template down and draw a line around it.
Cut the fabric about 50mm away from the curved line that was drawn in the previous step.
Apply glue to the board
Line up the edge of the board with the curved line on the fabric, you will have bend the board a little. Then fold the end of the material over and press into to the glue.
The headliner is ready to be installed, now is a good time to iron it to get any wrinkles out of it.
Also put the screws into roof of the car for where the handles, sun-visors and quarter window hardware get attached. This saves hours of time later when trying to find the screw holes.
Temporarily install the rods into the car, move them until they are in the top most position, mark this position in the roof with some masking tape, these marks will help during installation and ensure that each rod is in the correct position before we move on to the next one.
Install the board which is now glued to the headliner, into the car using the metal clips.
Insert rod #5 into its loop in the headliner and then put one end of the rod into its position in the roof and with the top of the rod closer to the back of the car, bend the rod a little bit until the other end can be put into position. Then pull the headliner to the front of the car until the loop reaches the masking tape mark.
Check for wrinkles around where the rod bends down, if necessary cut a little bit of the loop to relieve the fabric, go slow.
Repeat the above process for all the rods, the headliner is now hanging up and looking something like this. It is not fixed at the front yet so it looks floppy.
Line up the centre line of the headliner with the centre line of the car, pull the headliner tight and add a clip. Work your way to the sides, pulling the material and adding clips one clip width apart.
Once the front is clipped, start clipping the sides.
Then fine tune the front further by pulling and adding a clip in between the clips which are there already.
Glue some foam to the pillars and tuck it under the headliner. Some vinyl will cover this up later and the foam helps hide the wires that run underneath. I used 6mm because thats what I had handy, bit thicker might be better though.
Once you’re happy with the way the headliner is sitting, start at the front windscreen, remove 5 or so clips, use a brush to apply some glue to the body, wait 1 min for the glue to get tacky and then press the headliner in.
Repeat all around the car.
Cut off excess fabric with a sharp knife.
The headliner is glued in now, but there is still lots of details left to do.
The vinyl on the pillars from my car were not in very good shape so I re did them, a heavy duty sewing machine would be handy for stitching the vinyl but a standard one will just manage a fold.
I think it’s better to do the rear pillars with the same material as the headliner because doing it in the dark vinyl would probably create high contrast and might be distracting in the rear view mirror.
I used some paper to create a template which was then transferred to the material
With the headliner in, work starts on the parcel shelf. Use the old one as a template to cut out a new one from 4.8mm masonite. Using thicker masonite might be a good idea because my staples were denting the good side of the masonite. I got around this by adding foam underneath the vinyl to hide any imperfections.
Trying out the fit for the new shelf with the speakers.
Cut out enough vinyl so that the edges can be folded over underneath. I sewed in a bit of the headliner material to the vinyl to go in between the speakers.
Cut reliefs in the vinyl where there is a curve in the shelf, add a layer of foam under the vinyl, apply glue to the edges and around the holes for the speakers. Fold the vinyl over and then staple with an air-powered staple gun (my manual stapler didn’t cut it).
With a sharp knife carefully cut out the vinyl which is hiding the speaker holes. Install the parcel shelf into the car, screw in the speakers and install the grilles. All done, ready for windscreen installation!