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Go Back JeepForum.com > General Technical Discussions > Cheap Tricks & Fixes > $45 DIY headiner (on cherokee but can be applied for any vehicle)

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Unread 07-21-2009, 01:50 AM   #1
Cantstopspinning
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$45 DIY headiner (on cherokee but can be applied for any vehicle)

THANK YOU CHRYSLER FOR INSTALLING HEADLINERS THAT DON'T EVEN LAST 9 YEARS! I've seen them go even sooner.

If you havent replaced your headliner you will soon. Or you're probably one of the people whose headliner is held up by staples or pins. Well here's a how to so you can take out a hot date in the Jeep and hot be embarrassed by your ghetto headliner falling on top of her head (or his ). STOP PUTTING IT OFF! THIS ONLY COST ME 45 DOLLARS IN MATERIALS AND 4 HOURS OF MY LIFE!!!! Just do it!

Hey everyone. I pretty much just troll the forums. I don't post much. My Jeep is nothing you all havent seen before. 00 Cherokee Sport AW-4 trans, 4x4 with 31's on the stock wheels, 2" blocks on the rear springs and 2" spacers up front. Front tires rub on the lca's, but I'm sure you guessed that already.

So about 2 months ago I noticed my headliner was starting to fall down towards the back of my Jeep. I really didn't pay much attention to it because I don't sit in the back. I knew it was a matter of time before my headliner started to fall. They do it all Cherokees. Plus its 9 years old. Finally about 2 weeks ago it got to the point where the only thing that was holding it up were the speakers, front and rear dome lamps, and my sun visors. I shopped around and the best price I could find for someone to do the headliner was 115 and that was beating the guy up. There are plenty of headliner kits out there, but I thought I could still end up spending less, so I decided to do it my self.

Headliner fabric is foam backed. When as it gets old the foam disintegrates and loosens from the fabric. Simply applying glue to the headliner and laying the fabric back over it will only last for a week as the foam continues to disintegrate. So you need to get all new material for your headliner.

I measured the headliner length wise since that's how fabric shops sell their fabric. Ultimately I figured 3.5 yards would be adequate and leave me enough room to do the visors as well. The only foam backed material I could find was foam backed vinyl and it was expensive so I browsed the store until I found a material that was thick enough for my liking. Theoretically you can put whatever material you want on there. I saw shag, silk, even the stuff potato sacks are made out of. If you choose a material too thin the glue you apply it with will seep through and it will look like garbage.

I ended up choosing anti-pill fleece because it was thick, smooth and soft. Instead of the light tan that originally came with the Jeep I chose a charcoal grey color to match the carpet and seats. I was never fond of the two tone and the dark material wont show fingerprings or any other dark stains that mysteriously end up on headliners. Luckily it was on sale for 6.99 a yard. It is normally 8.99. For glue I asked one of the ladies who worked there to reccomend a glue that is extremely strong and will stand up to heat. She said this is the be all end all choice. Once its dry you can throw the fabric in the drier on high heat and it wont come unglued. I bought 3 of the large bottles.

With the headliner out of the car you first have to remove all of the old foam


I rubbed my finger across a 2 inch spot to show how easy and weak the foam is when it gets old.


I used a small putty knife to scrap off the foam. It gets it off the headliner easily but leaves it in chunks.



After I broke up the foam across the entire headliner I used a 3m scotch pad to sand off the remaining foam until the headliner was entirely clean.


The light colored lines going every which way is the old glue. You do not have to remove this.


I forgot to mention that while you are cleaning the headliner you should wash and dry your fabric. You wash it because it will have glitter all over it. I don't know how fabric stores manage to get glitter all over everything, but they just do. Also the fabric will have tons of lint so washing and drying it will get rid of it and any creases it has in it from the way they have it wrapped and folded on the shelves.


I found the easiest way to apply the new fabric was to lay the headliner on my kitchen table. It brings it up to a comfortable level and its inside where there's air conditioning.


I layed the fabric over the headliner and cut it so I had a foot extra laying over the front and back of the headliner. Basically all fabric comes about a yard and a half in width and it was more than enough to cover the width of the headliner.

The glue dries extremely fast so I was not able to take pics while I was gluing the fabric down. Basically I folded it in half and started at one end. You don't have to put down globbs of glue. I put down small streams across the width of the headliner and I went down in one foot sections. Once you lay the fabric down on the glue you have to rub out any creases and conform it to the shape of the headliner. You don't have to do any stretching. Just the force from you pushing down and rubbing out the creases is plenty. The back end is tricky because it has the bulges for the speakers so you have to take your time and let the glue dry, then stretch and press around the contours.

This is what it looked like when I finished gluing the fabric.


You want to make sure you do this in a large enough area because this glue stinks and I have no doubt it would make you light headed. I had the a/c cranking at 70 to make sure there was constant ventilation.

Next I found the holes for the speakers, dome lamps, and visorsand cut them out and glued the flaps to the underside of the headliner.


Cutting an x pattern in line with the corners of the openings makes it easy to fold the flaps smoothly.


Same with the speaker openings


The main dome lamp is held in place with two screws so you have to notch the fabric to allow the screws to be easily installed again.



Once everything was dry I trimmed the fabric around the outside of the headliner to where it had about 2 inches all the way around, folded it over and glued it to the underside of the headliner. Do not pull and stretch the fabric or you will ruin the work you just did. Gently fold it over and push it onto the glue.

Now you can install it back in the vehicle.

Onto the visors! The visors are very easy to do, just time consuming. First I removed the mirrors with a flat head screw driver. You have to pry from the bottom because it has teeth that keep it in place.


Once the entire bottom is out the rest pulls out. Don't pull too hard because if you have lamps in your visors you'll pull out the wires.


Now the visor is one piece folded in half. The fabric is only held in place by the force of the visor clipped together. You can just grab the fabric and pull. You will see it slide out where the seam is around the visor. Try to keep it in one piece so you can use it as a template for the new material.

With the fabric out of the way you will see how the visor holds it self together. I just took a large flat head, inserted it in the hole where the clip is and just twisted. You have to do it on the side with the half moon thing. Doing that and prying where the two halves meet opened it up in no time.


Once it was open I stuck something in between the two halves to keep it open as I worked. Then I drew my template using the old material as a guide.



Last edited by Cantstopspinning; 07-21-2009 at 02:03 AM..
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Unread 07-21-2009, 01:50 AM   #2
Cantstopspinning
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You have to take into account the folds in the old fabric otherwise you wont have enough material to fold around the edges of the visor.


You have to cut a slit for the mirror and the wires too. Take your time and figure out the best place for it.

Once I got everything in place I started at one side and worked my way down. Lay a small stretch of glue down and fold the material over. I actually used hot glue for this part only because it dries faster than the other glue. Almost instantly. Also since the visor folds in half and clips together there is no worry about the glue melting and the material falling down in the heat. DO NOT USE HOT GLUE FOR THE HEADLINER!



When once side of the visor is done and dry, flip it and do the other side. You want to pull the fabric tight and glue it down so you don't get any weird folds and creases. Just take your time and plan ahead as you stretch and glue. You'll see some folds start appearing around the edges of the mirror. Just find the opposite side, pull the material tight and glue it.

Boom end result!



See the nice seam?


Now just put everything back in the car and you have an awesome new headliner. I spent a total of 45 bucks and 4 hours work from removal to installation. I really took my time with everything, especially the visors since it was the hardest part. I understand the dome lamps, mirrors and clips are still tan. I also have yet to install the speaker grills. I will when once they're painted. I haven't found a plastic paint that matches the color yet. Closest was black. Although I've only been to one parts store, but I know I'll find some.







I'm very happy with the way it came out. I had fun doing it so it was more than worth it. If you have any questions just ask.

Last edited by Cantstopspinning; 07-21-2009 at 02:57 AM..
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Unread 07-21-2009, 06:36 AM   #3
04RedTJ
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Great job, looks very good.
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Unread 08-03-2009, 07:57 AM   #4
JuniataCounty
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wow; that looks great.
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Unread 08-03-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
BriansCJ
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That looks awesome.
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Unread 08-04-2009, 01:55 PM   #6
crem
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haha thats awsome i have to do this really soon. Thankfully my overhead consol is keeping it out of mine and my passengers hair. CRAWLED
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Unread 08-06-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
davidj
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i need to do my girlfriends cherokee and my f250 its so low in the cherokee it touches my head and i always think theres a spider or something crawling on me when it touches me lol
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Unread 08-14-2009, 10:59 AM   #8
Evilnissan
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Subcribed, the headliner is falling out of my ZJ and its driving me nuts.
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Unread 09-12-2009, 08:49 PM   #9
idno_jstxploded
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that is awesome. looks really good. ive been thinking about doin mine cuz i found some material at wal-mart that is basically a bunch of raiders symbols and i thought it would look sweet in my xj. hadnt done it yet cuz i didnt know how to do it. thx man
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Unread 09-12-2009, 10:12 PM   #10
GromMudder757
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wow thats nice
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Unread 09-15-2009, 05:39 PM   #11
chevyobsession
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this is one of the best explanations of any DIY idea i have seen on this site so far. I am already thinking of all the people i know who need this done that would pay me to do it. thanks for the great write up and pics.
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Unread 09-23-2009, 06:38 PM   #12
vtgrand
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awesome job, that turned out real well
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Unread 02-17-2010, 11:52 AM   #13
aland57
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Awesome write-up, but what about sunroofs? What do you think would be the best way to approach fixing the headliner on it?
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Unread 02-17-2010, 02:04 PM   #14
BRad704
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The headliner with a sunroof should come out the same way. I believe, there is a trim ring that goes on from teh bottom and holds the headliner up tight to the sunroof... Once that is off, the sunroof is just another hole to cut...
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Unread 02-17-2010, 03:04 PM   #15
toplessanddirty
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Good job. Somehow my headliner has stood the test of time, lmao.
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