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Old 01-30-2009, 03:43 PM   #1
Sander
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Default Reupholstering the headliner on a 700 series (with original Volvo sunroof)

Reupholstering a saggy headliner on a 700 series (including sunroof)

Since the 700 series headliners all go crappy and sag due to the foam rubber that deteriorates, I thought I’ll write this article while doing it myself. It isn’t the most difficult job in the world, but requires you to be a bit patient and not try everything at once. Mine looked like this:



I have to mention that this article is written using a wagon, which makes it considerably easier as you can yank the headliner right out the back. For a sedan, you’ll need to remove the windscreen, the rear window or the back seats in order to get the headliner out of the car in one peace.

Tools required:
8mm socket with extension
Ratchet
Flat head screw driver
Philips screw driver
Filling knife

Estimated time to completion:
4 – 6 hours (this time can be greatly reduced if you do this with two people. A pair of extra hands is really useful for this job!!) or double that if you have an original Volvo sunroof like mine.

Materials you’ll need:
Fabric
3 or 4 cans of glue in a spray can
Thin foam rubber (5mm thick max, you can get this at every car upholstery shop, together with the glue)
Double sided tape (only for sunroof)
Nice weather (only applies to the people who have a sunroof). For people in England, get some plastic and tape.





Total costs:
About $70

Step 1, removing the headliner:
The first step is to remove the headliner. This is done by removing all the trim around it, the interior lighting, the sun visors, the rear view mirror and, if you have a sunroof, the sunroof crank and trim for that. Be gentile with the trim pieces as they break quite easily (the clips and fasteners brake off)!
The trim is removed by unscrewing the handles (that your passengers use when you are flying through corners) by removing the black cover from each handle. It then reveals four screws on each handle. For the driver’s side, you’ll need to remove the two black caps that cover the holes where that handle should be. This reveals two white plates with a screw in them. You then should be able to remove the first piece of trim on both sides. Remove the trim peace in the back of the car by unscrewing the big round plastic screws with a flat head. Then, disconnect the interior light and it should come loose.
The sun visors and rear view mirrors are bolted to the roof with 8mm bolts. Unscrew them and they should all come off.
Be careful on the interior lights that you don’t let the wires touch each other or the car body, as this will blow fuse nr. 5 (20 amp) and your radio will stop, which is annoying. Even better, before removing the interior lights, take out fuse nr. 5 (located in the white block with fuses behind the ashtray). When the interior light in the middle of the car is out, you can remove the metal bracket that holds the middle of the headliner to the roof (don’t know if it’s there in a car without a sunroof though).
It took me about 20 minutes to get it out. It’s that easy!

Step 2, preparing the headliner:
Hurray!! The headliner is out! As you can see, it looks like crap (which yours is also supposed to look like, otherwise you wouldn’t be using this article):



Now that the headliner is removed, you can start by tearing the fabric off. This should go very easily as the foam rubber is all rotten underneath it.



Now it’s time for the most boring bit, which is to get out your filling knife and scrape all the old what used to be foam rubber crap off. This also goes pretty easily. You’ll need to be a bit careful not to tear up all the cardboard stuff underneath the foam rubber with your filling knife. When you are done, it should look like this:



Then take an old T-shirt or other rag and give the headliner a good rub. This removes all the little foam rubber pulp that annoyingly sticks to the board. It helps by putting the headliner against the wall and work from top to bottom, as it will all fall to the ground and not somewhere else on the headliner.

Step 3, getting busy with foam:
Now your headliner is ready for the new layer of foam rubber. First, spray in both the foam rubber and the headliner board with glue. Let it dry for about a minute (depends on what type of glue you are using! Read what it says on the bottle and do that) and glue them together. Gently place the foam rubber on the headliner pressing it onto the headliner from the middle to the outsides, following the bumps and curves in the headliner so you don’t get any folds or wrinkles. Remember, when the two glued parts touch each other, they are stuck together for good! When it is all on, push it all together hard with your hands. Still be careful that you don’t create any folds! Then let it dry for 15 minutes or something (again depends on the type of glue). Time for some coffee.
When you have finished your coffee, cut off all the excess pieces of foam and open all holes again.



Step 4, reupholstering the headliner:
For this bit, you can really use an extra pair of hands in order to get it right. Firstly, make sure the fabric you bought doesn’t have any folds in it. I bought a big piece of black cotton, as this can be glued easily and is cheap. It had a couple folds in it, so I got out the ironing board and ironed it. You then spray both the fabric and the headliner with glue (don’t go crazy with glue, otherwise it will soak the fabric and shine through, which will ruin the headliner). Then, get two friends/parents/brothers or sisters/neighbors/homeless people or anyone who would like to help you, and let them hold each end of the fabric. Let them hold the fabric just above the headliner in the way it should be placed, while you gently push the fabric on to the headliner, starting in the middle and working your way outwards following the curves and bumps nicely, so you don’t create folds or wrinkles in the fabric. Because of the glue, you would never be able to get rid of folds or wrinkles if they appeared! When this is done, it should look like this:



Then, fold over the excess fabric on all sides and glue that to the back side of the headliner. You can also staple it if you run out of glue or have a really cool staple gun.
Cut out all the holes again, but leave an edge in the side for the sunroof. This will be held together with the sunroof with the trim bits. If you don’t have a sunroof, go to step 7.



Step 5, removing the panels from the sunroof:
Firstly, you’ll need to remove the sunroof. This is where the nice weather comes in, and for the English people the plastic and tape, as the weather mostly sucks over there. You’ll first need to remove the four drain pipes in each corner. Then, unbolt all 14 bolts and the whole mechanism should come down on your head, proving that friends are useful.



Now that it’s out, you’ll have to remove the two panels for reupholstering. You start by sliding the sunroof all the way back and removing the flap that comes out and redirects the wind over the hole in the roof by sliding it sideways. It is held on by two pins with a spring on it.
Then, unbolt the rails on which the roof slides and remove the panel covering the cranking mechanism. When everything is unbolted, pull the rails upwards on the front.



Lift out the entire assembly. Put the crank back and crank the sunroof all the way forward and in the tilted up position.
Now twist one of the rails and move it outward a little so you can take out the front slidy bits of the top panel that needs to be reupholstered.



Lift the smaller panel up on the front. You’ll see two springs attached to the bottom of that panel by two hooks. Pull on them to disconnect them from the panel.



Pull the big panel backwards to remove it. It is held on by two clips on the bottom (see the red circle).





Remove the panel from the slides by rotating it.



Remove the smaller panel from the bigger one by sliding it sideways.

Step 6, reupholstering the sunroof panels:
Now tear off all the old fabric. Volvo used some weird double layers of fabric with some foam in between, taped to the back of the panels with double sided tape.
I used thin double sided tape on the top of the panel to stick some thin foam rubber on it. I used double sided tape and not glue because the panel isn’t flat.



If you would glue the foam to the panel, it would follow all the curves of the panel, which would show when you upholster it. Apply double sided tape only to the “higher” parts of the panel, and then stick foam rubber to it. You do this for both panels.



Apply glue to the fabric for the panel and to the foam on the panel and glue it on (same thing as in step 4, only on a smaller scale).







Reassemble the sunroof in the reversed order of step 5 and put it back in your car.



Step 7, put it all back together:
Put the headliner back in and install all the trim bits (Step 1 in reverse). If you have a sunroof, you now need to reattach the fabric of the headliner to the sunroof surroundings



You do this by cleaning all the old sticky stuff of the edge of the sunroof part where the fabric will be attached. Then, apply thin double sided tape again.





Now cut the excess of fabric you left on the edge of the hole for the sunroof on the headliner to the right size for it to be pulled over the edge and stuck to the double sided tape, and attach it.





Reattach the trim piece around that edge and you are finished.
Once it is all in, it will look like this:







Quite an improvement over the old saggy headliner!

Last edited by Sander; 04-30-2012 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:28 PM   #2
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This is awesome!
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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Very nice job! you gonna paint those visors etc?
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:19 AM   #4
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The two tone still looks awesome.
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:28 PM   #5
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is that the headliner fabrick standing next to it? OOOOO FUR headliner. LOL
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:19 PM   #6
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Very useful article. Going to redo my headliner next week or so aswell.
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Old 01-31-2009, 07:10 PM   #7
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you sir are my new hero. my headliner looks like crap and has been known to attack my friends sitting in the backseat. as soon as this winter bs is over i will be doing this!
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:10 PM   #8
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+1, I am going mine in the spring also. Has anyone done a sedan? If so, how hard was it to get out of the car? I did one on my old buick century and it wasn't to bad to get out through the passager rear door.
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:22 AM   #9
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couldn't you fold the seats down and finagle it out of the trunk?
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:16 AM   #10
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Save yourself a lot of time and use a wire brush to remove the old foam. Leaving the headliner out in the sun for a few hours also helps remove any remaining foam, it doesn't like UV light and breaks down very readily.
Also, either buy material already foam backed(teh foam backing often has a light knitted cloth on the back, making it much easier to use), or use one of the newer light carpet/lining materials.
I used lining material on my headliner that has a lot of stretch, it has a texture similar to a fine carpet. It is similar to the material on the back of the rear seats on a wagon.
This does not require any foam underlay and is the way to go in my opinion.
I would also recommend buying proper contact adhesive and borrowing a spraygun to apply it. 1 litre will do it. I've seen too many spray can adhesives fail.

Regards, Andrew.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew9578 View Post
+1, I am going mine in the spring also. Has anyone done a sedan? If so, how hard was it to get out of the car? I did one on my old buick century and it wasn't to bad to get out through the passager rear door.
I heard of people redoing their sedan. All i know that it is possible to get it out through the front door, without removing seats.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:18 PM   #12
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Nice job. I like the two tone too.

For the sedan, I was told you have to put the all the seats down as far as possible and bend the headliner a little to pull it out the door. I was also told that a helper is a good thing to have. I will be removing one from an 850 sedan parts car and installing it in my 850 T sometime this week, so I will know all about it soon.....
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:30 PM   #13
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What i have been told about the sedan is that it should be possible to remove it without having to take your car appart, but i don't know for sure how. Would be nice if someone did it and posted here how he did it so i can put the description in the article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon View Post
Save yourself a lot of time and use a wire brush to remove the old foam. Leaving the headliner out in the sun for a few hours also helps remove any remaining foam, it doesn't like UV light and breaks down very readily.
Also, either buy material already foam backed(teh foam backing often has a light knitted cloth on the back, making it much easier to use), or use one of the newer light carpet/lining materials.
I used lining material on my headliner that has a lot of stretch, it has a texture similar to a fine carpet. It is similar to the material on the back of the rear seats on a wagon.
This does not require any foam underlay and is the way to go in my opinion.
I would also recommend buying proper contact adhesive and borrowing a spraygun to apply it. 1 litre will do it. I've seen too many spray can adhesives fail.

Regards, Andrew.
It took me about 30 minutes or something to take all the old foam crap of with a filling knife, it was really rotten. The wire brush got all full of foam crap and damages the surface of the board as it is only cardboard.
The reason why i didn't use the lining material is that it is impossible to find here. The spray can adhesive i got from a proffesional car upholstery shop in the area which use it themselfs. It's the industrial stuff they put in a spray can themselfs . But if you can find the lining material stuff in your area it would be nice, yes. Although i don't know what it costs (i expect it would cost quite a lot?).
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:29 AM   #14
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I went for this option:

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Old 02-10-2009, 01:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I went for this option:

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Old 02-15-2009, 09:15 PM   #16
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I don't know if the back seats fold down in the 700/900 sedans, but I just did an 850 headliner by removing it through the trunk! It was cake. It only took about 1/2 hr to remove it from one car, and maybe an hour and a half at the most to remove mine and install the donor. I had a helper though.

Hope this helps, but I never had a 700 sedan so I don't know if the back seats fold down.
If they don't fold down, the easiest way may be to remove the rear seat back and just go through the trunk.

Dave
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:15 AM   #17
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That won't work as there is a frame in the way on the 7's and 2's. You need to pull out a seat, on my 760 I pulled out the passenger seat and it came out pretty easily. Now I need to do the sunroof too.....
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:19 AM   #18
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Looks good. I did mine a while back but I still need to re tuck the fabric around the sun roof hole. This job is definitely easier with a helper.
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:44 PM   #19
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You can get actual headliner material fabric. I got it at JoAnn fabrics. It comes with the foambacker already on it and in a variety of colors also. Also great article will come in handy when I do mine.
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:45 PM   #20
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looks real nice. im not sure i could do better

well written article.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:33 PM   #21
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suggestion: I used to do headliners, and a quick way to get that goopie foam crap of is an airtool with a soft wire-wheel attatchment.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:42 AM   #22
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say what?
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:53 AM   #23
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I'm trying to get my headliner out tonight. This thread gave me the extra confidence i needed
Thx!
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:52 PM   #24
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This


+

This
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Old 02-19-2009, 11:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VolvoForLife View Post
I'm trying to get my headliner out tonight. This thread gave me the extra confidence i needed
Thx!
Don't use that avatar please, it was specifically made for Mr. Borrie.
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