1997 Olds Headliner problems - ClassicOldsmobile.com


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Old July 1st, 2012, 07:15 AM   #1
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1997 Olds Headliner problems

The headliner in our "new" olds has begun to fall down, mostly in the back.

Any tips on how to fix this? I think I read somewhere that using a ironon a low setting could reattach the glue.

Years ago, I used staples. Not an option as this is my "good"car!
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Old July 6th, 2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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Auto parts stores sell the glue to reattach the headliner (which requires some work). If you really want it perfect an upholstery shop will charge $150-$300 depending on the car/area you live in.

You would need to remove the headliner backing board, sand off the old glue, spray new glue and put on the fabric.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 01:30 PM   #3
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That's a small area luckily so you might want to try some DAP contact adhesive and brush it on and press back into place. I'd bet more of it is ready to come down. You can't really reattach it as the foam turns to dust from age and UV causing it to sag and eventually the whole thing will come down.

If you were going to redo it, I've found that after the board is out and the fabric is off, just spraying the board with a hose and using a plastic brush will get the old foam off pretty well. I use a little bleche-wite for tires and it gets it really clean. Not a fun job, took me 3-4 times on different cars before I learned a technique and was happy with how they came out. Definitely skip the spray crap as I've had nothing but problems esp if you don't apply the right amount, just get contact adhesive.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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3M 8090 adhesive would work but only if there is no deteriorated foam in between the fabric and the roof.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lady72nRob71 View Post
3M 8090 adhesive would work but only if there is no deteriorated foam in between the fabric and the roof.
Right. The original design of the headliner called for a thin layer of foam rubber between the cardboard backing and the cloth covering.
This provided a pleasing "firm but soft" feel to the surface, and a sound deadening quality to the headliner, all in a package that could be quickly and easily snapped into place on the assembly line, thus avoiding all of the tedious rigging required in installing "old-style" headliners.

The cloth is glued to the foam, and the foam is glued to the cardboard.
Unfortunately, the foam turns to dust, and then the cloth is glued to nothing.
You can clean the deteriorated foam from both the cloth and the cardboard and then glue them back together, but the effect will not be exactly the same, as there will no longer be any cushioning or sound deadening.

The only way to restore the original qualities is to get a new headliner.
If your car has been exposed to unusually harsh conditions (especially heat, and possibly cigarette smoke), then you may be able to find a better one in a junkyard or parts car.

- Eric
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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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The headliner is about to fall down in many places!

I will try some contact adhesive first.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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My father used the 3M spray "trim adhesive" , which did not hold up very well years ago.

Depending on my results, going professional might be the only way.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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If you have that deteriorating foam in between, it would be best to just replace the headliner now instead of tacking it up here and there.
That foam as I recall is either powdery or sticky, and makes a mess.
One problem I foresee on replacing the whole headliner assy (if mounted on the board) is removing the front or rear glass to get it out!

To tak it up, do not use too much adhesive to avoid soak through of the fabric.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:55 AM   #9
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That foam as I recall is either powdery or sticky, and makes a mess.
It's both!

The deteriorated stuff that doesn't stick anymore is powdery, and can fall down and get all over.
The stuff that's still on there (that you need to get off in order to re-glue it) is sticky, and makes a different mess.

Altogether, another excellent design solution from 1980s GM.

- Eric
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Old July 8th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #10
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Just like the sticky tarry brown foam crap that blows out through the HVAC vents.... Did that in my '86, and also my '97 Caddy.
In all, I despise foam - very limited life. In fact my new couch cushions are wearing out only after 6 months - geez...
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Old July 11th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #11
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To tak it up, do not use too much adhesive to avoid soak through of the fabric.

That's the plan!
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