How To Repair and Install Headliners
Universal Headliner Installations
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|Dodge Caravan Headliner Replacement Instructions
The majority of vehicles today manufactured after 1970 have headliners that are attached to headliner boards. These boards are suspended inside the interior of a car, truck, van or SUV and held in place by the vehicles trim, visors, dome light, coat hook and sometimes the seatbelt. The process to remove the existing headliner board is not difficult but patience is best applied first. It is strongly recommended to disconnect the battery before starting and work in a well ventilated area.
The first step to replacing your headliner is to remove all the obvious accessories, start with the sun visor and work your way to the rear of the car. As you remove the accessories that hold up the headliner board make a note to the position that accessory is in, this will make re-installation less challenging. Most sun visors are held with three screws and the mounting plate may have guiding marks to make installation easier. Some sun visors have lights in them, when the sun visor assembly is freed from the headliner board you will notice a power wire, simply disconnect this and move on. Next remove the dome light. By removing the cover to the dome light bulb you will see either screws or clips, simply unscrew or squeeze together the clips to remove. This will cause the clip to break but not to worry; each Headliner kit comes complete with 2 new dome light clips. If your vehicle has plastic clips that are pushed through the headliner they need to be removed as well and just pull down. Next look around at the headliner and remove the grip straps, coat hooks and any other accessory that goes through the headliner board.
Each vehicles interior trim removes slightly different so before you start look at yours and decide which best describes your trim. Either there are screws that hold the trim on like in the Jeep Cherokee or Chevy Caprice, or the trim is held into place form the back side by a clipped/slot and groove method in which case the trim is hard to the touch like in the Ford Crown Victoria or the Chrysler Lebaron or Saturn’s or the trim is held up with soft flexible trim that is just pushed into place like the Dodge Caravans or Volkswagen Jetta. In each of the cases it is best to slowly pry the trim away from the cars frame to make the method used more obvious. Once the trim is removed the headliner board is free to be removed.
The easiest method is if your car has a rear hatch, but if not then the headliner board comes out the passenger side front door. It is easier if you have the help of a second person to help guide the headliner board out the door but can be accomplished by yourself as well. Recline the front seats and push them to their back most position allowing for the maximum amount of room between the seats and the dashboard. If your vehicle has tilt wheel, tilt the steering wheel up to allow for more room between the steering wheel and the seat. Guide the headliner board between the steering wheel and the seat while twisting the front of headliner board toward the passenger side door. The goal is to have the headliner board come out of the passenger side door front first.
Once the headliner board is out of the vehicle, remove the old headliner from the board. Pay attention to if the fabric wraps around the board in places. Clean off all loose debris with a brush, I like to use a tire brush, and place the headliner board in an open clean area that is well ventilated. Lay out the new headliner fabric so that you can cover the headliner board with enough room to wrap over where needed. Fold back onto itself the new headliner fabric so you are looking at the back side of the headliner fabric and the headliner board that you just cleaned. Apply the spray adhesive to both the headliner board and the back of the headliner fabric and gently apply the headliner fabric to the headliner board smoothing the fabric as you go. Do Not Press the fabric into the curves; rather let the headliner fabric freely flow into the curves. Repeat this process for the second half of the headliner. Trim off all excess headliner fabric but remember to leave enough to wrap over any edge that originally had the headliner fabric wrapped over on it. Cut out any openings to allow for the accessories to be re-installed.
Re-installation is as easy as following your removal steps in reverse, but first you might want to clean your cars seats from any fallen debris or loose dirt. Below are images of each step.
Remove the old headliner from the board.
Clean all the loose debris from the liner.
Make sure that the surface is as clean as you can get it.
Lay out the new headliner fabric so that you can cover the headliner board with enough room to wrap over where needed.
Fold back onto itself the new headliner fabric so you are looking at the back side of the headliner fabric and the headliner board that you just cleaned.
Apply the spray adhesive to both the headliner board and the back of the headliner fabric.
Gently apply the headliner fabric to the headliner board smoothing the fabric as you go. Do Not Press the fabric into the curves; rather let the headliner fabric freely flow into the curves.
Trim off all excess headliner fabric but remember to leave enough to wrap over any edge that originally had the headliner fabric wrapped over on it.
Fold the fabric over the edges and use spray adhesive to secure the material.
Cut out any openings to allow for the accessories to be re-installed.
Place the repaired headliner board into the vehicle.
Mount the headliner to the cealing and replace the dome light and accessories.
Connect the power cord for the sunvisor and install the sun visors.
Now take a look at your new headliner, that wasn't that hard and it looks a lot better than that old saggy one.