Hi everyone, i am starting to repair a 64 cadillac Fleetwood but don't have much experience with them. First step is the moldy headliner that's destroyed. Any tips on removal and replacement?

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Find a professional to do it. LOL If it's not something you've done I would look at as many you tube videos as you can find. 

it's really easy (but saying that, i've done tons of upholstery work).

Here's some tips: 

  • get the shop manual, the body section will walk you through it.  
  • use weldwood glue with a brush, spray glue is a mess, and, depending on the fabric, will make pulls or stains when it dries
  • use latex or nitrile gloves, and change them often.  
  • do it on a cool day, sweat stains or any stains won't come out as easily as not getting them there in the first place.
  • mark the rods, and have a plan for how to keep them in order (most use a piece of cardboard or styrofoam with numbers.  Make note of which holes the factory used, there can sometimes be multiple for adjustment purposes.  I mark them (if there are multiple holes) with white-out.
  • the rods will be rusty, and this will mark up your new headliner.  clean them and coat them with clear lacquer, being sure they are 100% dry before sliding them into their pockets.  If you don't, you'll have rust on your hands and rust on your liner.  Handle them before you start to make sure they are dry and nothing can transfer.
  • screw holes for lights or visors can be damn near impossible to find, so put the screws back in the holes, and feel for them after the new liner is installed.  Use NEW, FRESH rubber gloves to find them through the fabric.  then use a razor blade to cut around the heads.  this alone can save a job.
  • DO NOT OPEN THE NEW HEADLINER UNTIL ALL THE PREP IS DONE.  The roof is a time capsule of dust.  It probably hasn't been opened in 40 years, that dust goes everywhere and clings to the new lining.  If you need to open it to check fit before starting, only do so on a clean flat surface and pack it away while you're tearing out the old one.
  • Cover the interior with plastic, and wear a dust mask.  The original cloth will disintegrate as you take it down, and you will smell it for a week if you don't.
  • When you glue the fabric to the sides, work from the middle out to the front and back, so you don't get any wrinkles.  If you do end up with wrinkles you can't avoid, use heat or steam (carefully) to stretch the fabric, it will even out as it cools.
  • As Tony would say, ENJOY!.  
Thank you so much all that is awesome info. Looking forward to it

Nice and thorough instructions, going to attempt this on my Fleetwood  also in the near future, that cotton nap does not age well! thanks for the tips!

Should be added to the Help section.

Mark

Nothing more valuable than very detail info and instructions
Very Nice Job

Like Tony Says ----Enjoy

Mark

I am giving you --the Golden Termistat Award -- for having your info post to the ---HELP --pages
That is big time my friend
I can't be sure but you might be eligable for some other awards on here
Nice Job ---again

Enjoy

Some things I forgot: 

  • Before you start, fold the new lining in half and mark the center line at the front, back, and all the listing pockets for the rods.  Then, find the center of the car's roof and mark that with chalk (if the glued on sound deadener is in place) or sharpie, and align the marks as you pop in the rods.  This will  keep every thing lined up as you go.  Some pre-made linings have center pre-marked, so look for it.  
  • Use a razor to scrape the old glue off where it's adhered, then sand where the glue was until it's clean.  You can also use goof off or mineral spirits or whatever.  New glue doesn't stick to old glue, but it will seem to at first and ruin an otherwise good job later.  
  • I use spring clamps to "dry fit" before starting any gluing.  It lets me get everything in place before I make it permanent.  They're like big clothes pins made out of metal or plastic.  Use pieces of cardboard under the jaws to prevent ripping or marking.  You can just cut a couple long strips of cardboard, one for each side, attach the clamps, then move the fabric till you like what you see, then remove the clamps one by one and glue.  Don't use the clamps to hold after gluing.

As i think of more, i'll comment again.  sorry for the broken up reply

  

Great advice Mark, thanks!  I am doing this project on my coupe this spring so your timing could not be better.

Link added to Help Page.

Silly question and a bit late but who sells the best original looking headliner?  I see lots of companies out there, some of whom only offer white, black or green? Some offer non original materials cut and sewn to original specs but obviously not original looking.  My interior is butternut yellow and tan and I need a tan headliner for '64 series 62 coupe. Car was originally Bahama Sand.

Thanks!

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