How to Replace the Headliner on a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass

If the headliner in your 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass is drooping or damaged, you can make it look new again simply by replacing the fabric. This job is traditionally done by a professional upholstery or auto body shop, but with a couple hours of time, you can save some money by doing it yourself. You can use a headliner kit made specifically for your car, which will be the exact color and length, or you can cut generic foam-backed headliner fabric to fit.

Tools Used: Flat blade screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, Interior trim tool, Headliner adhesive

Replace Headliner

Remove the sun visors, hanger hooks, grab handles, and the interior light. Each of these items are connected by Phillips-head screws driven through the headliner. After removing the screws, pull each item off. The light must be slid towards the front of the car before it can be removed. Disconnect the wiring harness from the light.

Remove all of the plastic trim that overlaps the headliner. Pry it off using an interior trim tool. If this tool is not available, a flat blade screwdriver or thin pry bar can be substituted. Take care not to damage the metal clips attaching the trim to the body. Lay the trim on the ground next to the car in the same order you took it off. This will help you remember where each piece goes when it comes time for reassembly.

The headliner board is secured to the roof with Velcro fasteners. Pull it down with adequate force and the board will come free. Remove it through the front passenger door.

Peel up one corner of the cloth from the backing board, then pull the rest off diagonally. Discard the cloth. Do not attempt to reuse it or glue it back on.

Roll the new material over the board and trim it to size. Leave a few inches extra hanging from the edges to account for any alignment errors when the fabric is glued down.

Pull back half of the material and spray the board surface with headliner adhesive. Press the headliner fabric down firmly. Roll up the other half and repeat the same process, working from the center outward. Allow the glue to dry for the amount of time specified on the product instructions, then trim the excess fabric from the edges. Cut holes in the fabric to line up with the holes in the backboard. This will allow items such as the interior light to fit through as usual.

Put the headliner back in the Oldsmobile. Press it to the roof, allowing the Velcro to bite down. Reverse the disassembly process to replace the trim, handles, hooks, and visors. Slide the light back into place after reconnecting the wiring.

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