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Old 12-12-2008, 06:27 AM
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Headliner Wrinkle

I just installed my first headliner and it got some wrinkles in it. I've heard some of them can be steamed out.How do I do that?Its vinyl not cloth so I;m thinking the steam would have to get to the inside because it won't go through the vinyl.Any ideas? The car has no motor or trans so I can't take it anywhere to get fixed.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:01 AM
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How bad is the wrinkle? If it's a big wrinkle, nothing will help. The only thing a steamer will do to vinyl is make it sweat, and in order for it to work, it needs to be in contact with the vinyl. If you hold the steamer on it in one place too long you can go right through the vinyl. Smaller wrinkles can be removed with a heavy duty heat gun. A hair dryer won't get hot enough to be much help. The key is not to stay in one place too long and keep the gun moving. Stay about two or three inches away from the vinyl. You want to aim the heat to one side or the other of the wrinkle, not right at the wrinkle. Be careful, and don't do this for prolonged lengths of time, only about a minute or so at a time. Let it cool down and repeat if you are making progress. Some of the newer vinyls don't respond to heat. The heat gun in the picture has adjustable heat, but a lot of the heat guns only have maybe two settings. Good Luck.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
Smaller wrinkles can be removed with a heavy duty heat gun. A hair dryer won't get hot enough to be much help.
THE KEY IS NOT TO STAY IN ONE PLACE TOO LONG AND KEEP THE GUN MOVING.

I first tried a hair drier and just as Dan says it will work just enough to get you frustrated with it so I switched to a heat gun and that did the trick BUT heed the warning! There is no reason to be afraid to use the heat gun but you do have to be careful with it, ask me how I know! It's a good thing for me that Mustang liners are cheap.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:51 PM
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I do have a heat gun and I'll give it a try.So the steam thing will basically do nothing?Will the steamer work on a cloth headliner if I over do the heat gun or get really disappointed and rip out the vinyl one?
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Old 12-12-2008, 03:25 PM
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jd,

"if" you can get that problem area edge loose,,,,

what works excellent for me is binder clamps (see pic) from a office supply store

stretch out the vinyl and the wrinkle, a couple of inches at a time, and secure with the clamps every couple of inches....

they do grab and hold like a SOB(!!!!) while the glue cures!

if you re-do it all,,,do give them a try,,,

if you re-do it, stretch out and glue/clamp secure across the car and leave it over night,,,,do front to rear next day which is where the most stretching is normally needed...

I'm not a pro,,,but have been complemented on several I have done that way with the clips....
(almost makes it easy to do)
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdss
I do have a heat gun and I'll give it a try.So the steam thing will basically do nothing?Will the steamer work on a cloth headliner if I over do the heat gun or get really disappointed and rip out the vinyl one?
You are operating under a misconception. Steam, or just plain cold water for that matter, will work on any fabric with a high cotton content, but not on man-made fabrics. When I first started in this business 35 years ago, in the furniture factory I worked in, the final inspectors all had a spray bottle filled with water. All they had to do to get that cotton fabric to tighten up instantly was to just mist it. When I say instantly, I mean you could literally watch it tighten as soon as the water hit the fabric. Unfortunately, any fabric made in the last 20 years will have a small, if any, cotton content unless you pay big bucks for it, and that won't happen with a headliner. Steam does basically nothing on vinyl, or fabric that is man-made. If you have a cloth headliner, unless it has a lot of cotton content, or it is wool, steam will have no effect. Fabrics made of Nylon, Polyester, or Olefin just don't shrink. If you follow my instructions, you have a lot better chance of getting wrinkles out of a vinyl headliner than a man made cloth headliner.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:07 PM
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Dantwolakes I read your instructions on headliner install.You make it look easy,mine turned out like crap.I pulled mine front and back then i pulled the sides.I'll try to post a picture of the wrinkles but I doubt It can be saved.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:50 AM
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By all means, post some pictures and maybe we can figure out what went wrong. BTW, it would help to know what make and model car you are working on.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:23 AM
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I agree with Dan that some of the new aftermarket headliners don't react to steam or heat very well.But most of the headliners from places like Acme still seem to have a OEM type backing.I have always left the visors and dome lite off,steamed thru the holes and it shrinks any last wrinkles from the back(not from face side)
Bruce
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:35 AM
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Bruce: Great suggestion. Do you use the steamer's wand attachment to do that with?
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:49 AM
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Dan I use a pressurized steamer with a wand so it can blow it all the way back into the quarters.
Bruce
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:05 PM
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Thats what i did.Blew steam in through the dome light hole and I left a small opening on each side of the c pillar to blow steam in there.It didn't seem to do anything.I got the headliner from a place called Stock Interiors.

The headliner is going in a 65 chevyII sedan.The car has a full roll cage so that makes the job a little more difficult.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:07 AM
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The roll cage sure complicates things, but the headliner you bought is vinyl, so the heat gun should take out minor wrinkles.

Did you have the car inside out of the cold when you installed the headliner? Where in Wisconsin do you live?
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