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Discussion Starter #1
Somebody asked about this so I'm starting a separate thread on this particular job because from what I was able to find, there isn't that much detailed information including pictures that could answer some of the questions I had before I started. This is a work in progress, so far I have gotten the headliner out of the car and have started removing all the nasty orange foam bits. It is slow going and the weather here is in the 90's, so I have to take my time.

All the seats have been removed from the car. It's not that hard a job and it makes it easier to maneuver the headliner out of the car. And if the car was as dirty and junk filled as mine was, you really want to get the seats out so you can clear it out and clean the carpets underneath.

Here are some shots of the headliner still in the car, I pulled out about half the material, there wasnt much holding it up anyway.




Here you can see the clip locations on the A pillar. I found it was best to pull it up from the bottom as there is a hook tab on the top. Generally that seems to be the best way to remove the other pillar trim as well.



Here you can see the condition of the C pillar. It comes loose starting at the bottom edge near the seat and then working up. There are two clips that hook under the cover for the rear deck. You have to unfasten the seat belt at the bottom so you can thread it all out through the slot.




Here you can see the back of the panel with the clip tabs and one of the base hooks.



Here is the naked C pillar:



And here is the naked B pillar. You can see the clips (2 sets) on the top half and one set much closer to the bottom. I had to tug a bit to get the covers off, the clips tended to want to grab the fabric on the trim. Good thing I'm recovering it all anyway.



Rear dome light hanging loose. It just pops out of the metal insert ring. There is one hook right near the hole for it that holds it to the metal frame of the ceiling. There are also two metal fasteners that looked like they were originally glued to the back of the headliner board that stayed up in the ceiling. I will probably put some contact cement on those and the back of the board and hope they resume their former relationship...




Here you can see the headliner hanging down. Those two little "X" marks are the glue residue from the two former attachment points.




Getting the headliner board out was a bit tricky. You need an extra set of hands and somebody that can conceptualize how to maneuver this big board out of a small opening. So ask somebody other than your wife unless she is really good at that sort of thing. It was a very tight fit and while it did make it out the passenger front door, we did have to bend it very slightly so it would clear the console. As it was, I had to take the gear shift and move it all the way back for the board to get by. The board is fiberglass, but very thin and the edges are especially vulnerable to breaking. You have to take your time and go slow, but it will come out.



I'll post more photos as I go along. Started scraping off the foam residue outside. I'm hesitant to use any solvent, I don't want the residue reacting with the glue for the new material. That material should be here tomorrow, so hopefully more pix in a day or so. I also need to figure out how to get the sunroof panel board out without a major dismantle of the sunroof. If anybody has a question of comment feel free. If you want photos of a particular part, just let me know.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Made some progress this morning on getting the sunroof shade panel out. It was not inherently obvious, some searching on the web led to one posting about removing the two side bellows and a plastic piece up toward the front. After playing around with it for a half hour and getting nowhere, I went back and re-read the post again and came back out and decided to remove the plastic trim in the front that looks like this:



Like most of the plastic it was a bit brittle and even though I was as gentle as I could be one of the small tabs cracked. Guess if it doesnt go back snug a little silicone should help things a bit. The bellows refer to the two rubber side pieces that attach to the glass and the moving frame and keep rain out when the glass is tilted up. The top of the rubber slips into a channel alongside the glass and you can see there are a couple of small metal clips in the middle.






Toward the back, there is a small clip thing that you need to fit a small screwdriver in under the metal and pry it up a wee bit and the rubber bellows will slide inward free and clear. Then you can remove it out of the way.





After you get both rubber pieces out, then you lower the glass panel back down from the tilted position and slide it back retracting it about 2-3 inches from its furthest travel. At that point you can pull the inner panel forward and then tilt it up and out of the car. The basic mechanism of the sunroof hasn't been touched so no adjustment should be necessary.









I did start to clean it up a bit. There is actually a cloth layer that was attached to the base material which is again some sort of fiberglass panel. I removed that since it was not going to clean up smooth enough for the new material. I did try and push out one of the louver panels and it rewarded me by promptly cracking. 14 years sitting under a glass exposed to the southern sun, and it's a bit dry and crispy. Go figure. Not sure what I will do about it. I've never seen a sunroof panel with louvers in it before, I guess it was supposed to help avoid excess heat buildup in that area in between? Only Mercedes.

One thing I will do before I start to put everything back together is to pull the drain hoses for each of the 4 corners of the sunroof drain and flush them and make sure they are working. Easy enough with everything exposed.

More to come, stay tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Appreciate the interest. I decided to order 4 yards of a suede material in Gray instead of the first material I got this week. Should be here beginning of next week so I'll probably have some updates in a couple of days. Hopefully the heat will break as well, its been in the upper 90's here and it's murder doing much outside in the middle of the day.
 

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This is a great thread. Thanks for all of the documentation.

My understanding is that the grills are to allow air to vent out when you have the back of the sunroof raised in vent mode but don't want to have the shade open due to heat from the sun.

On really hot days when you have to park the car in the sun to run errands, you can put the sunroof in vent position and utilize the rest feature. It won't "cool" the car unless you are just gone for one or two minutes but it can keep the temperature from soaring as high as it normally would go and thus is faster to cool when you do get back into the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well the material came today and I wasted no time getting to work on the headliner. I had previously cleaned up the board as best I could and even today did a bit more scraping and using the vac to pic up whatever loose bits of foam I could. I measured out the board and it was just a bit longer than 60" but since the material is 60" wide I ended up cutting a piece that was about 68" long so I would be sure to have enough, especially with the contours that needed to be covered. This material was a grey suede material that I got online from Miami corp for about 16 bucks a yard. I bought 4 yards to be sure I had enough for the headliner as well as all the trim pieces.

Here is the material laid out on the prepped board, cut oversize but not trimmed yet.


Applying the glue (second section):




Moving right along:



Flipped over, starting to trim:



Opening up for the dome lamp assembly:



Getting closer:



Done:



I also recovered the two A pillar trim pieces, no pix of those, was loosing light and wanted to get done. They were easier than the headliner since they were much smaller. Actually used scraps from the headliner section for both. Fairly happy with how they turned out and I like the suede material for looks as well as the darker shade of grey. I suppose if I were to do it again it would come out a bit better, there are a couple of areas with some creases, but not a bad first try. Used one can of spray adhesive for the headliner, hopefully the second can will do all the trim. More to come.
 

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It is looking really good!

What did you use for a glue and do you put it on with a roller or what? I would think it would have to be a substantial coating of the glue to hold porous stuff together?

When it comes to the edges, do you wrap it around to the backside and glue or are the edges covered during install so you don't have to be exact about the edges?

Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The glue is a spray contact adhesive. You spray both the board and the back of the material, wait about a minute and then bring both sides together and it's done. I got two cans with the first order of material, think they went for about 12 a can. Specifically made for headliners, says hi temp so I guess that means it can stand up to the interior heat in the summer. On the front and back I wrapped it around the edge since they don't tuck under anything. On the sides the headliner tucks under the elastic trim so I didn't want to make it too thick. It's not a perfect job, but way better than spending 600 bucks to have somebody else do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's contact cement, depending on how hard you push down will vary the amount it sticks. The idea is to roll it out from the center, although I have picked it up in spots, resprayed both sides and waited a minute and reapplied it.
 

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Tried this myself and got fed up. Kudos to you my friend, a local shop here charged me $250 to complete this job (including sunroof and sun visors) didn't think that was unreasonable giving all of the (now brittle) plastic trim pieces. Best of luck!
 

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Tried this myself and got fed up. Kudos to you my friend, a local shop here charged me $250 to complete this job (including sunroof and sun visors) didn't think that was unreasonable giving all of the (now brittle) plastic trim pieces. Best of luck!
Thanks, it's a lot of work and I'm basically very cheap.

I did get the headliner back up last night. Had a couple of days of rain here so that slowed me down. Didn't get any pix of the install, had a friend come over and we had it back in the car in about a minute. Amazing how things go after you have done them once or twice. I got it back up on the ceiling, looks pretty good. Still have 4 out of 6 trim pieces to recover along with the sliding sunroof panel. Hopefully will have some or all that done today or tomorrow with some more pix.
 

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OK, if you thought everything was going honky dory, think again. For some reason and I can't explain why, I cut the material off flush with the edge of the sunroof rather than rolling it over. I thought it would somehow tuck under the metal frame that remained in the car, glued to the roof. And I thought it might be too thick as well. Well it didn't tuck under so now I had a raw edge of exposed board and unfinished material looking down through the roof.



After stewing about it I came up with a plan. I would apply some of that U channel edging they use to prevent door dings. Went out this morning and got a roll of it for about 11 bucks at the local advance auto. Like all good ideas, execution left something to be desired. But this wasn't the first trouble spot I ran into. I tried to cover one of the c pillars and it turned into a mess. Problem is that the cover has a fairly sharp drop off that turns into a concave area that caused the material to bunch up very badly. Fortunately we have a friend who is a very talented seamstress and can do just about anything with fabric. I asked her for some help on the c pillar and she came over this morning as I was struggling to get the molding on the sunroof opening edge. Long story short, she was able to manipulate the plastic edge so that it nicely covered up the edge and should hopefully hang in place as it has a glue strip inside in the middle. Moral of the story: if things go too easy, Murphy hasn't gotten here yet. Moral 2: Be very glad for your friends with special talents:



We still haven't gotten the C pillars done, but from this picture you can see why they are a bit problematic:




Glad I bought 4 yards, hopefully it will be enough for everything. And the pillar trim had no foam backing, it was only a cloth covering, so using this material with the foam is fine on the A pillar, should be fine on the B pillar and we will see how the C pillar turns out tomorrow.

Finally, I tried using some silicone to act as a glue to hold the headliner board up to the roof. Previously there was some glue residue on both the board and the roof, so I know that is how they held it there, besides the hand fixtures and the around the door trim. Well, this morning I found that the silicone let go and I easily peeled it out from the board. Now I need to find another type of adhesive to try.

Holding up the board to set the adhesive:







Stay tuned, it aint over yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Ok, it's been a bit of time since I've worked/posted on this part of the car. I've had it on the road for a couple of weeks now, so far so good. Will be doing some work on AC replacing an evap temp sensor and brakes, but I thought I would catch up on what has been done so far with the headliner job.

Last week I was able to recover the sliding panel as well as the B pillar pieces. Now the A and B pillars are in the car, only thing left I have to do is the C pillars and am not anxious to do that since I know they will be a bear and probably won't come out as well as I would like them too. But maybe I'll be surprised..

So here is what the A pillar looks like:



And here is the B:



I did not capture the sequence to recover the B pillars, but one thing to note was that I popped out the sliding part for the belt and then used some blue tape to cover the plastic that it slides in from overspray with the contact adhesive. When I had the outside done, I removed some of the foam in the middle and then cut the window and glued the edges back around to make a nice smooth opening. Came out fairly well.

For the sunroof panel, I debated over whether to order the new louvers since for sure these would be destroyed if I tried to pop them out first. I decided to leave them in and cover over them with the material since they were pretty well flush and the foam would hide them fairly effectively. I initially covered them with paper to shield them from glue, I'd rather it just sat on top. If you do yours and feel the need, they cost about 40 bucks each and more power to ya, but I have to cut costs somewhere. This material does breathe fairly well so there will be air movement even covered up.

Here is the board with the material glued on but edges not doubled over yet. I am removing the foam backing so I can get it down tight.



Blue tape on the rub strip, other edges already glued:




All edges glued, cutting out the foam so I get a tight fit for the handle:





Finished product:



Gotta fix the issue with the sunroof motor first before I put the panel in. Don't want to risk having the roof open and no way to close it. Car sits outside all year long so it has to stay dry.
 

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Great work I must say..

I have not attempted such yet, but when the need arises it shall be done :D

all the best!
 

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This may be the final update unless there are any questions. I finally got around to covering the C pillars this last week. As much as I would have liked to cover them with one piece of fabric, I could not get it to work where it would have bunched up in the concave section on either side. If you give it the slack on one side, the other side would look terrible. My seamstress friend talked about laying it down on the bias, in other words 45 degrees from the direction the direction the cloth is made in (top to bottom, side to side), but there was little to no extra give to make up for the difference. I even tried to use a piece without any of the foam backing, it is fairly easy to peel it off, and I did use that technique in several spots to gain some clearance, such as the B pillars opening for the seat belt slider. But that didn't look good either.

So, to take a woodworking truism, I "celebrated the joint" by making the covering in two parts and then folding over one edge so I had a fairly neat finished edge that followed the line of the panel. Maybe a pro could do it better, but its all mine and I'm fairly happy with the result and it's mostly done except for putting the sun roof panel back in and sorting out the motor issues. I'll save that for a day where I can get an early start and not worry about rain. Here is what the C pillar looks like installed:





This is to show the problem area of the panel, no way to cover it without the fabric bunching up and looking lousy.




Hope this all helps the next guy brave enough to take this job on.
 
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Chris Kreschollek
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