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Calibra Modifications & Calibra Maintenance => Calibra FAQs & Guides => Requests & Submissions => Topic started by: Miscbrah on May 10, 2012, 20:24:04 PM

Title: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: Miscbrah on May 10, 2012, 20:24:04 PM
Hi all!

I've stood on the shoulders of giants to bring you the saga of my headliner replacement, so credits coming. Needless to say, thanks to EVERYONE who's helped me and I hope this might come in handy to anyone approaching this as a project in the future.

Split up into a few digestible parts, have a gander at my thrilling escapades. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remove your headlining.  :D


Right, well it was a mammoth effort to get this done. Seeing as I'm a 'cack-handed oaf' and got no skills with regards to cars or DIY or anything, embarking on the project at all probably wasn't the most sensible thing to do, but I did it anyway. So go me.  ???

Worth pointing out that I ballsed it up. A bit. Only a TINY bit but I've written this guide up anyway, to serve partly as a cautionary tale rather than a step-by-step expert hand-holding, because you definitely should NOT bugger it up like I did. However I was damn close to all-out world domination headliner styleee. Read and understand and pick holes in this entire guide before attempting anything - if you stuff it up too don't blame me (I've suffered enough! >:( ) and I won't be responsible for any damage to you or your car from use or misuse of anything here. We are taking seatbelts off after all, and you may need those to save your life.

I've also taken bits of this guide from elsewhere as I worked from them, and I've tried to reference thoroughly at the end.


Ok, so I bought this Calibra, as we are wont to do around these parts:


BEAUTY ain't she? But there's been something wrong since I got her:


Ewwww! And it was even worse at the back! The fault was due to a rotten rubber seal on the base of the aerial, but DURING the procedure I found ample time to address that too using links and info from one_more_inch's guide. ( If that's your problem too then all well and good, but if there's anything else leaking it will be worth checking out the sunroof or seals, as you'll definitely get sick of doing this every few months...

Right then, to work. It'll be about a 7-8 hour job OR a 5 hour job one day, then overnight leave the adhesive, then budget another 3 hours next day.

What you'll need is:

- Granville black silicone sealant ( (optional if re-sealing the aerial and gasket, just seal any extra bits that need it up in there.)
- Sharp Stanley knife.
- Torx screwdriver set, flat blade and Phillips screwdrivers or a GOOD multi tool.
- Pliers.
- Socket set/plug spanner to (sigh) remove the seatbelts. Yes really.
- Plastic dish/pan scrubbing brush (scouring pad a VERY poor second, wire brush FAR too harsh.)
- Sellotape to keep bits of trim together and organised.
- Trimfix headliner adhesive. ( There is also a 3M product (probably the same/better.) 2 cans will be necessary.
- Elephant tape or the ULTRA-brand Duck tape. Regular Duck tape won't cut it for this.
- New headliner material. Choose whatever you'd like really! There are even complete kits for the process on eBay. I chose cream leather-effect vinyl to match my cream leather seats, but they even do fake purple crocodile-skin, so y'know go nuts ;) Get about 2m by 2m which will leave you LOADS AND LOADS spare as I think I recall measuring about 150cm by 130cm of material out for a generous fit.

If you have a car interior trim removal set then break the sod out, but if not then no bother. I didn't have one.

Righty ho, to work! Stage 1 requires us to remove the front interior top trim as shown, the pillars, the b*stard seatbelt b*stards (front and back,) loosen the rear top trim and remove the sun visors, the interior light, the handle, the sunroof control and motor cap, the alarm cowls and alarm sensors and not lose any of the screws and bits. (I kept all little plastic bits/screws in the shallow holder behind the handbrake  :) )

From the front then, unscrew the visors and clips. These are Phillips screws:

Notice the connector for the visor lights. Hold plastic bits and pull apart:

The sunroof control should prize and pull out alright, and the power connector just unplugs:

Alarm cowl unclips revealing this, which unscrews. The little hooks above the seatbelts push up or prize up from the bottom and reveal a screw:
Undo that torx screw and pull the seatbelt down as far as it'll go. Pillar trim should now be loose and you'll see how the front and rear trims nestle in behind that now.

Interior light clips out of the lining and leads pull out of that, also remove the little circular plastic sunroof motor cover to the rear:

Starting to come apart now huh! Ok, now for a meaty bit. The front top trim has one torx screw behind a cover, the centre pillar had one behind that little hook above the seatbelt, and the rear top trim has one towards the back behind the seatbelt (you'll see all these.) Proceed as follows:

Now the bits you'll be undoing which attach the plastic trim to the bodywork look and work vaguely like this:

Some of them WILL break or come out of the plastic when you pull the trim loose, but none of them or their fixings outright broke on me. It takes a bit of pulling though! Start from the centre pillar edge when the torx screw's out, and pull until the headliner's nice and loose, but don't pull it out all the way just yet so it's still supporting that headliner a bit. On the other side you have the passenger grab handle too, and that just unscrews:

Trim around the sunroof just unwraps from the join:

Now for the REAL sod as we're taking the seatbelts off. If you're not 100% confident this won't go wrong and you're not 100% alright with any potential consequences then don't do this; it's not too late to turn back! I've done this however, and have to say it's all completely fine and my seatbelts have been unofficially judged as such by an ex-Vauxhall mechanic since (quite honestly.)

Plug spanner in hand, take a look at the bolt on the seatbelt (if your plug spanner is like mine, ffs use a Phillips screwdriver as a flatblade may slip and SERIOUSLY hurt you:)


Position it and yourself carefully so as not to slip and get hurt, nor go through a window. Turn and undo the bolt.

Nothing happens.

Turn it harder to undo the bolt.

Nothing happens.

The level of force you need to undo the bolt here is HUGELY disconcerting! I mean, I can bench 90kg for sets and curl 20kg dumbbells for fun, and even I (Schwarzenegger lol) found it super super hard going. They will eventually release with an almighty ''crack!!!'' When off, sellotape the little kebab of bolt, washers and belt positioner together so it doesn't all slide off and bounce away. Same now with rear seatbelts.

Last stage and you should really be seeing the headliner looking loose now! If like me you've noticed the headliner is 'caught' at the front in the area atop the windscreen centre, it may be a small amount of glue holding it to the roof there. I had this and prized it off.

REALLY loose now huh? 

Ok, undo the last torx screw and loosen any remaining top trim front or back:

Be prepared for it not to fall down at the back, as there are three little clips attached to a strip of metal which hold it up. As and when you start to pull it back and out the boot these come out anyway, but might need guiding:

It needs VERY VERY GENTLY pulling, side to side, out of the open boot.

THIS IS THE PART WHERE I SNAPPED IT! I was also being SUPER MEGA careful so it is easily done. Do remember you're dealing with a very feeble sheet of what is essentially polystyrene made 20-odd years ago. Mine broke along this area where the sunroof gap is (a weak point but also a mercifully flexible one!) and happily I fixed this with 2-3 wraps of Elephant/Ultra Duck tape.


Okay now, is it out? In one piece or repaired now like mine?

You should be greeted with something like this:

Stay tuned for part 2, starring Tom Cruise and Gary Glitter.

Title: Re: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: Miscbrah on May 10, 2012, 20:28:45 PM
Of course, any hints or recommendations for the guide in progress do post and let me know. The punctuation's off in places so I'm going for an edit. :)
Title: Re: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: Butcher on May 10, 2012, 20:45:03 PM
Awesome mate, I did laugh and cry and cheered once you imerged triumphant.

Karma awarded 8)
Title: Re: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: Miscbrah on May 10, 2012, 23:04:47 PM
Awesome mate, I did laugh and cry and cheered once you imerged triumphant.

Karma awarded 8)

Thanks Butcher! And thanks for your help along the way.

Ok... Onto the (marginally less good)


Here is a departure from my procedure as I did things, because it?s far better to take it from the experts for this stage! This is where the glue comes out, this is where it gets messy, this is where it can go TOTALLY wrong as that glue leaves you with less than a second of contact time before it's adhered. Permanently.

I have a slight 2" crease in the back of my headliner likely forever now to remind me of this fact! Do your research so you don't get one of those? Though I must add that particular part was due to my (on the whole very helpful) assistant who lost her grip on the material and let it drop at a bad time  :'( Also, as my material was leather effect vinyl it's quite thick and not very stretchy next to the foam-backed standard headliner fare, so you may have a more forgiving time with that.

Righty, before continuing this might be a chance to break for the day if you?re knackered or an opportunity to get the prep work or gluing done and leave it for the night. Either way, it?s time to do some studying (aren't you glad you read this whole guide before you got started now?? ;) :P )

Maybe do that aerial you've always meant to tackle now too? ;)

The following videos in order of decency helped me IMMENSELY: ( (

See that technique where they fold half of it, glue the board THEN the back of the material THEN stick it down THEN do the other half? That?s how I did it, and the only departure from the text/photos guide I?m about to link.

This guide I?m pretty much just regurgitating for a bit as it?s SO good and detailed. Any departures I?ve made are because I?ve used a thicker, less flexible material and felt I needed more/different methods, so thanks go out right now to lem0nmonkey ( of .uk for writing this superb guide: (

(I have saved the pics and content just in case it goes awry. Also the YouTube vids.)

Feeling good and like you want to continue? Honestly now the trim's out the hardest part's behind you.

Lay your headliner upside down with the material on top (as you'd like it when it's finished) as per the videos and trim it down roughly (I left about 6-8" around every edge but I had LOADS of material:)

Take that off and, without creasing it, lay it somewhere safe indoors. If your material HAS creases, leave it overnight to settle.

Now to prepare the headliner. You'll need to get your plastic bristled brush or scouring pad and remove all the remaining gritty glue bits left over underneath that original headliner. Nassssty stuff it is, makes dust and goes everywhere. If you used a dust mask you'd be sensible.  8)

Lem0nmonkey here uses a metal scraper, but I think that's probably too easy to damage things with. Then again, I'm not cut out for sensitive work like this (I mostly just build computers):

And from lem0nmonkey's next photo, should look like this:

Lay out on your gluing surface (I HIGHLY recommend outside with plenty of space) after brushing the remaining dust and bits off with an old clean tshirt or rag.

Now you'll need a friend unless you've got ten arms or are SUPER confident. Handily, my mum was on standby (thanks mum?)

Following the linked/video guides, either choose lem0nmonkey's method of 'inside first' or the video methods of 'half then half.' The spray can glue comes out a bit like silly-string/spiderman web stuff. Leave it 60 secs before pressing the surfaces together, using a smoothing open-hand motion spreading out towards an edge, keeping a tension in the material so it's tight and bubble-free but not stretching. Sounds hard but it's easy to get a feel for it. Be brave.  8)

Continue using whichever method you've adopted until it looks as it should in lem0nmonkey's photo here:

Now my instructions didn't say anything about drying times, but do yourself a favour and leave it for 2-3 hours at least. I also used bricks wrapped in clean tshirts to sit in the visor recesses to hold the material in.

When you're back, it's time to get finishing things! You can either follow these guides or some of my method, but again I used a thicker material, so in the parts where material is cut into fingers and folded over, EVERY EDGE of my headliner material overlaps the board edge all the way around with 3-4" (rather than 2") fingers around the outside AND in the sunroof gap, and is taped and glued as per lem0nmonkey's photos below:



This part alone took a solid 90 minutes, which I also spent watching a documentary about tigers so get into the rhythm and take special care around corners and indented areas (such as the indents for those alarm sensors.)

Cut any holes you need using lem0nmonkey's 'X' method as you'll need to find screw holes and such later. Make extra decent effort to get the sunroof, sunroof motor cover, sunroof control switch and interior light gaps right as these parts push fit.

Leave it all to dry and sit for about 2 hours, stretch out that aching spine and have a sarny.

After that, marshall your friends and get ready: ( (

Reinstall the headliner carefully, pushing gently through the boot. Your new material, if replacing a knackered material, will be slightly more reinforced with any above method, but don't rely on this. My method and my material however lends it a little more strength, but to snap it now would be a DISASTER so DO take care.

Manoeuvre it carefully into place, you've already done pretty much everything you need now bar screwing it all in again! Take care on the following points:

- Seatbelts REALLY need care putting back as they are VITAL safety equipment. If in doubt consult a pro, get a pro to re-fit them or don't even get started on them!

- If you had that little bit of glue I had at the front by the windscreen, don't worry as all those visor screws will hold it all up fine.

- The three metal tabs at the back need to go back into their slots! I forgot and now have a stick-on picture hook solution, which holds it in fine, but I was kicking myself a bit.

From this point on, everything screws back into place!

Sit back and bask in glory!

Ok more photos of mine to come and a bit more referencing, detail and tidying up. Have the gf over at the weekend and just wanted to get the bulk of this up asap.  :D

Thanks and sources:
Butcher (here)
ALZ1307 (here)
lem0nmonkey and his guide ( from (
All help here (
All help here (!-%28pics%29/)
All help here (
Title: Re: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: Butcher on May 11, 2012, 00:15:53 AM
Is watching the documentary about tigers nessesery or optional? Reason I ask is I'm on the cheapest sky package and I don't get documentary channels :(

I'm looking forward to your future guides dude they crack me up ;D
Title: Re: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: Bize on November 25, 2012, 18:32:26 PM
Brilliant guide.

I need to investigate why my sunroof doesn't work (I've already read a guide on here showing how to go about that), I have a new gasket for my aerial and my headliner isn't in the best condition. . . All of that suggest to me that it's time to go out and buy some new headliner material and give this a try ;D
Title: Re: Guide to re-trimming the headlining.
Post by: markse495 on January 29, 2013, 13:45:52 PM
Great and patient time on it mate well done!! 8) ..about this karma lark...i got john lennons version of instant karma that any good?? :D 8)