Headliner Woes

RustCollector

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11 years ago I bought an ABS headliner from LMC Truck for my '88 Suburban. "Guaranteed not to sag!" it said in the catalog... uh huh.

So 6 months later my new $500 headliner was touching the top of my head. Apparently it should have said "guaranteed not to sag... as long as you don't park it outside in the summer in Arizona."

Fast forward to now, I just bought the same headliner, uncovered, from Rock Auto. It's literally all I can seem to find.

My PLAN was to fiberglass the SOB to bolster it, then upholster it after after mounting my AC and drop down TV. BUT, as I'm shopping for fiberglass mat/resin I'm not only taken back by how bloody expensive it's gotten, but I'm having doubts both that it will work and that it's the right approach.

Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions?
 

Itali83

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Is it the fabric that’s sagging or the actual cardboard backing? My headliner was sagging in my 87 and I just recovered it myself with new headliner fabric. The cardboard was in great shape. Yes I’m in Maine and not down south but the truck is originally from down south until last year. It’s a pain but just get the fabric and redo it yourself. It’s very easy especially with our two piece headliners.

Ben
 

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Is it the fabric that’s sagging or the actual cardboard backing?

So the original press board/cardboard headliner was disintegrated, cracked, and broken in many pieces, which is what prompted the original ABS replacement. The ABS units replace the cardboard with ABS sheets that I assume are vacuum formed.

What happened to the ABS liner is that the plastic softened in the AZ heat while parked (170F+ is not unheard of) and just bowed down... by a lot! The fabric did separate, but the melted plastic is the main problem.
 

Itali83

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So the original press board/cardboard headliner was disintegrated, cracked, and broken in many pieces, which is what prompted the original ABS replacement. The ABS units replace the cardboard with ABS sheets that I assume are vacuum formed.

What happened to the ABS liner is that the plastic softened in the AZ heat while parked (170F+ is not unheard of) and just bowed down... by a lot! The fabric did separate, but the melted plastic is the main problem.

ok gotcha. That’s a bummer. I guess I’d make some strips like the one that divides the front and rear section, and at each cross brace in the roof, I’d screw to that. It’d look decent and keep the headliner up.
 

Itali83

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Put a console from an 89-91 suburban and that’ll hold up the front section. Then just add a cross in the rear maybe.
ben
 

eskimomann209

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Wonder if adding some lizard skin or some type of heat barrier would help keep that big ass top from absorbing all that heat.
 

shiftpro

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Wonder if adding some lizard skin or some type of heat barrier would help keep that big ass top from absorbing all that heat.
No it wouldn't do anything! Nice try though... it would allow the interior to get a bit cooler while driving with the AC on.... or warmer in the winter!
 

shiftpro

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as I'm shopping for fiberglass mat/resin I'm not only taken back by how bloody expensive it's gotten,

It doesn't help you don't live on a coast, but if you source fiberglass through the boat industry in 5 gallon buckets it's the best price. Not like the the auto industry.. still pricey but won't kill ya. But I like the idea. Just resin with lots of hardener...
 

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It doesn't help you don't live on a coast, but if you source fiberglass through the boat industry in 5 gallon buckets it's the best price. Not like the the auto industry.. still pricey but won't kill ya. But I like the idea. Just resin with lots of hardener...

From what I've found, i'm looking at about $50 PER LAYER of matting to cover it. How many layers are sufficient? That I don't know. That's kind of where some of my doubts are coming from. If I need 4+ layers it's just gotten into stupid cost territory. My fiberglass experience isn't extensive, but at least 2-4 has been my experience to date for good rigidity.

I considered just using an epoxy resin sans mat, but I'm not sure that would be sufficient considering the area, weight, and the fact that the ABS base is useless at temp.
 

shiftpro

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From what I've found, i'm looking at about $50 PER LAYER of matting to cover it. How many layers are sufficient? That I don't know. That's kind of where some of my doubts are coming from. If I need 4+ layers it's just gotten into stupid cost territory. My fiberglass experience isn't extensive, but at least 2-4 has been my experience to date for good rigidity.

I considered just using an epoxy resin sans mat, but I'm not sure that would be sufficient considering the area, weight, and the fact that the ABS base is useless at temp.

i was thinking of just resin with hardener. If it soaks in, even a little, that should be all you need. Might need to prop up the liner with sticks so it's not sagging when you hit it. And lots of hardener so it... hardens... quickly and all the way through.
 

Big Chip

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Can you fiberglass cross bows to the top of the headliner? I'm thinking something the the batten strips in a sail or something along those lines going side to side.

Something like this with some spring to it:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/114166101149?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-213727-13078-0&mkcid=2&itemid=114166101149&targetid=4580496732614417&device=c&mktype=&googleloc=&poi=&campaignid=418233788&mkgroupid=1230353745471221&rlsatarget=pla-4580496732614417&abcId=9300542&merchantid=51291&msclkid=3e27baeefa4214e28feadbfb45e4cc92

Edit: not sure why the link looks like this but it works.
 

AuroraGirl

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No it wouldn't do anything! Nice try though... it would allow the interior to get a bit cooler while driving with the AC on.... or warmer in the winter!
does he garage the truck? starting out from a shelter would prob make it worth a try but thats only the start
 

Raider L

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@RustCollector, *see the site he's referring to.

@Big Chip
,
That's not a bad idea! You could sew it into the material like ribs and cut them a bit long then put them into the edge above the door and they would bow up and hold themselves in. It would never come loose!
 

Chris Gibson

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11 years ago I bought an ABS headliner from LMC Truck for my '88 Suburban. "Guaranteed not to sag!" it said in the catalog... uh huh.

So 6 months later my new $500 headliner was touching the top of my head. Apparently it should have said "guaranteed not to sag... as long as you don't park it outside in the summer in Arizona."

Fast forward to now, I just bought the same headliner, uncovered, from Rock Auto. It's literally all I can seem to find.

My PLAN was to fiberglass the SOB to bolster it, then upholster it after after mounting my AC and drop down TV. BUT, as I'm shopping for fiberglass mat/resin I'm not only taken back by how bloody expensive it's gotten, but I'm having doubts both that it will work and that it's the right approach.

Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions?
You might look at Lock-Tite PL375. It's construction adhesive that sticks to just about anything and holds really well. I've used it to adhere exterior rigid foam to concrete foundations (one of the things it's design for). Another product that may prevent you ever removing the headliner without destroying it is 3M VHB (Very High Bond) adhesive tape.
 

RustCollector

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You might look at Lock-Tite PL375. It's construction adhesive that sticks to just about anything and holds really well. I've used it to adhere exterior rigid foam to concrete foundations (one of the things it's design for). Another product that may prevent you ever removing the headliner without destroying it is 3M VHB (Very High Bond) adhesive tape.

Service temp on the 375 is only 160F. I actually know it won't work because I used it once upon a time to hang foam insulation from a shed roof and it let go second week of july. But glueing the pig in is an interesting thought. I'm sure i can find an adhesive that would hold up.

If nothing else, since i'm starting with raw ABS and covering it myself, I may be able to run screws into the cross members on the roof. Probably wouldn't be much more effort than glassing.

I'll have to ponder on those options....
 

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