I'm in the process of restoring my 99 f250 SD Crew cab. I'm no expert but I try my best to get the best results for my self.
I Haven't found any instruction on doing the headliner in vinyl so I just educated my self from various projects I came across on the net. There are plenty of examples of doing it in traditional materials like the foam backed cloth that's common in most vehicles and I found one forum where some girls showed how to do it with a micro suede fabric ( I learned some great tips from them that I'll explain later). My goal ?,, a high end OEM look and feel that will blend well with the painted interior,, that will be another post. The interior will be a flat black So I'll be using a vinyl that has no Luster but rather a true flat look and leather texture pretty flexible and not to heavy. Any way lets begin
* Before getting started on any of these steps do yourself a favor and purpose to have patience. Do the project in your head try to work through it in your mind. study your materials and the surface get a good feel for how they move bend stretch contract, read all usage info on cans or any other things, just inform yourself as much as possible, try to anticipate any tough situation you may run into on you project and practice working it out. enjoy the work and creative process.
Materials and Tools List
Vinyl at least 6' feet by 8' feet. I brought mine at Joannes but they only had 54 inch wide so I had to get creative but i made it work for me. the vinyl i used is called Whisper black its $21 yard cheapest i found online was 18 but they had a 50% off at Joannes or sometimes they have a 40% off coupon in circular.
3M 80 Rubber and Vinyl spray Adhesive it does say on the front of can that its for headliners. GO TO HOMEDEPOT, they have it for $13.98 vs the auto parts store version for $25.
High temp glue gun $9-$12 and high temp construction grade glue sticks 2 bags $8 ea of the ten inch size can be bought at Joannes or any craft store.
Respirator for vapor and fumes from glue $20 at home depot (optional) if working outside but these fumes give head aches.
Oven mitt for smoothing out vinyl (optional)
Apron for tools any cheap one will do its good to your tools close (optional)
Sharp Razors, Scissors and exactos the ones with the interchangeable tips that are thin and get into tight places.
Drop cloths to cover things when spraying glue especially your already finished parts.
1.Remove Liner from Vehicle- Self explanatory, take your time. 2.Remove Old Liner material- The Fabric is attached to a foam but the foam tends to stay on the headliner board. when pulling the fabric try not to pull up but rather at a tight angle to the board. You can find videos of this on the net. Then rub off the old foam with your hand or scrape with a stiff brush do not be rough or apply too much pressure. the board material in my truck was made of a stiff foam sandwiched between a fiber glass paper sheet and a thin felt like pressed fabric, the foam gets very Brittle due to heat over time and if you press to hard can crumble inside or on the edges and the layer separate. Vacuum or use a blower if doing it outside.
3.Repair as needed- If liners edges are peeling or you have deep indents or holes or you can feel soft spots like the inner foam has crumbled and there is no support, you will need to repair the liner. I used hot glue and glue gun for my repairs. The glue should be the strongest and a high temp glue since this liner is exposed to lots of heat year round. Some other possibility is fiber glass resin brushed and smoothed but I like hot glue since it dries faster, non toxic, and I can work it and shape it even after it dries I can go back and warm it up and shape or smooth it. Be creative and remember that imperfections will show through vinyl more so than fabric backed with foam. The edges are very important to reinforce with hot glue so they come out stiff and will not peel when gluing down the vinyl. Below you can see some pics of how I glued around the edges of the entire liner, it made the liner stronger and stopper crumbled edges. The better your surface the better your results I have spots that that I didn't work well enough.
4.Measure, Cut and Dry fit New Material- The Liner in the crew cab is 57 inches wide after you measure with a flexible tailors tape so cut your material at least 6 inches over the sides so you have something grab on to and enough to cover all thew contours. fabric shops like Joannes sell fabric that are 54 inches wide not enough for our trucks you can special order fabric online but you can work it out with the smaller width like I did but it just takes some creativity and or carefulness. Dry fit to make sure you have enough to cover all and get a feel for how the material lays and takes the curves and how you will go about smoothing it out.
5.Lay out Material and Glue- I placed vinyl, covered half of it with drop cloth to protect from over-spray and pulled half the vinyl back on the the drop cloth so only the underside showed. I did about 9 inch section at a time from front of liner to back. much easier to work with small sections than the whole half. You have to spray both the liner and the vinyl, let them tack up for at least 3 minutes, the can says 4 to 30 min or till you can touch it and the glue wont stick to your hand but is still soft. Spray as directed and make sure you have good coverage on entire surface. There are solvents in these contact cements that keep them fluid and thin which allows them to pass through the spray tip and also from drying to fast which gives you the time to work with them. When you first spray them they are very liquid and so soak in a bit which helps it grab on to the material but then as the solvent starts to evaporate the contact cement start to skin over and dry so before it dries to much you press the two sides together working the material out from the center with your hand little by little working out bubbles. Try not to stretch the material but rather let it lay down so as not to create tension. Take your time but be mindful that you only have so much time. Flat areas are the easiest but round bowl like spots take time so have a plan of attack for these areas before you start, you don't want to be trying to figure it out in the middle of doing it, although there will be some on the job training some times bubbles pop up, don't panic, you can work them out little by little as long as you covered well with glue. the bubbles happen because that spot still has solvent in the glue that hasn't evaporated enough so the tack is still not strong enough to hold it down. just keep going over it and at times just press on it and hold for 10 seconds. they seem stubborn but its just the way the glue works. Some times I would move on and come back later and see if the tack was better and if it had dried to much I would use heat to soften the vinyl and glue, then press down and hold and shock it with cold like blowing on it so the vinyl contracts and grips better and stays down. Now as the vinyl cures/ dries it shrink pulling down the fabric tight and giving the suctioned contoured look and smoothing out the surface. I usually let sections dry for an hour or more to be safe then test by pulling back the fabric till it gives no further and the hold is well established and strong. Do not get me wrong if you pull hard enough it will come out so don't force it your just testing back to its best hold, then repeat the glue and smoothing process. when you get to round corners you will get these pockets/veins that feel like you have to much material but you can work them out by pulling the material in the direction of the vein, here you can use tension to your advantage to take out the slack, you just have to work it little by little from the glued area to the unglued. I decided to wrap some fabric around the edges for a better hold. When all was dried I hot glued the under side down.
6. Cut out all needed Openings- Use care and very sharp razors. On square openings cut from corner to corner glue the triangle piece you have on the back side of the liner or just cut out the shape that's needed.
Well here is the final product. You can see imperfections where I did not work the glue repair enough but I was able to go back later with a heat gun and reduce it more.
I did mine in two piece cause I didn't want to spend more time sourcing the right size in this material so I have a seem towards the back of the liner but it works out for me because I will be customizing that area as well as the area that goes across the roof where the dome light is. It's not a hard job but it can get frustrating if you don't know what is happening and why, so it pays to prep well, have all supplies on hand and take your time.