Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For about a decade now, maybe more, I've been living with saggy headliner. The threads holding the material to the bows rotted and started to let go, allowing the seams to come apart. To make matters worse, the first time my son rode in the car he grabbed a part of the open seam and pulled it down, ruining the entire rear section. I used binder and paper clips to hold the material back up onto the bows but it has never really sat well with me. I finally did something about it last month.





I decided to buy a 1pc fiberglass headliner from TMI Products. This is a relatively new product and I couldn't find any installs into Novas, so I took a bit of a gamble knowing their Camaro and Mustang headliners have been used successfully by others. The reasons I went this route rather than a conventional replacement headliner are as follows.
(1) I felt a 1pc headliner would be easier to install successfully myself, with no previous experience, knowing that stretching and gluing material can sometimes result in wrinkles, sag, etc.
(2) I didn't want to pay somebody to install a conventional headliner because everyone wanted a fortune to do that. The 1pc headliner cost more than the traditional headliner, but the cost of installation really changes the calculation
(3) A 1pc headliner can be removed and reinstalled easily, which will be great when I paint the car some day. It needs metal repair around the windows and roof so the headliner will definitely need to come out
(4) It should give a little more room for my race helmet.


After removing all the original headliner, I started by installing some screws and set screws in locations I'd need to find for holes. Here I installed a pair of 5/16" set screws where the shoulder belts attach.





Below you can see where I installed the visor mounting screws.





Next, my wife and I angled and brought the headiner into rough position in the car. We angled it in from the passneger side, putting he back of the headliner in first and titling it so one edge was at the top rear of the door opening and the other edge was near the bottom front/kick panel corner of the door opening. We then angled it up over the steering wheel and swung the rear around as we brougt it in. The headliner is semi-rigid, but there's enough flexibility to make it into the car. We use a combination of spring clips I had on hand to hold the headliner up temporarily along the door opening.





Next, to position the headliner front to back and centered on the car, I installed one rearview mirror mounting screw through a pre-drilled hole in the fiberglass. I did this with my wife helping to hold up the headliner while we found the hole. Later I cut the vinyl out of the way for the other 2 mirror mounting holes.





Then I went to work locating and making holes for the visors. The fiberglass has large cutouts in this area so you are only feeling for the screws through a layer of vinyl. Once located, I used an exacto knife to cut the holes.














Once both visors were mounted, I located the dome light mounting screws the same way. I really need to rewire my car because all the terminals are corroded pretty bad.








The visor and dome light mounting areas had cutouts in the fiberglass that made locating holes pretty straightforward, but there were no such cutouts or predrilled holes for the shoulder belt mounting points. That mean I had to somehow locate the holes and drill them myself without being able to feel for them through the vinyl. So I found something random I could use that would leave a mark on the hole locations that I could easily clean up if needed - plaster.





I lowered the headliner in this area, reached in and smeared a little plaster on the set screws I had previously installed.





Then after pressing the headliner up in place, the plaster was transferred to the hole locations on the fiberglass.





I was able to lower the headliner down and predrill holes through these locations before opening them up larger with a step bit from the inside.











With that done, I could install both shoulder harnesses. I must admit, this resulted in a little oil-canning / distortion of the headliner, so I eventually opened the holes up to be on the large side and provide more room for things to move around which helped prevent that from happening on final install.





TMI provides a pair of fiberglass sail panels with matching upholstery. It's a good thing because one of my sail panels broke as I was taking it out. One thing I did was transfer the stapled-on plastic retainer from the old sail panels to the new sail panels using 3M double-sided adhesive. You can see that component attached to the sail panel on the right below.





When I placed the sail panel in position, it became clear the rear was not matched up well to where the windlace would need to go. It extended beyond the windlace flange by about 3/4 of an inch and curved around more than needed. It also didn't match up to the headliner, which aligned very well with the windlance flanges all the way around.








Here is what that mismatch looks like from outside of the car. The metal flange under the window should match the edge of the sail panel, but instead it was extending about 3/4". There is no way the windlace would have covered this difference.





Once again I brought out the plaster, smeared it along the windlace flange, and then pressed the sail panel into place to make an impression. That gave me enough of a line that I could mark it with tap and cut the sailpanel down using my late grandfather's jigsaw.











Once trimmed, the sail panels fit perfectly.





Installing the windlace can be tough, especially in the tight confines of the backseat, rear window area. I lubricated the channel with some Dawn soap and combined a deadblow hammer with a piece of wood to work it into place. I didn't take a photo, but the both the center of the windlace and the windlace flange have small notches at the center where you need to start if you want the ends to end up in the right locations. I started there and worked my way around.





I did something similar for the front windlace. The side windlace was the easiest to install around the doors.





TMI also provides new fiberglass A-pillar covers. I think the original metal ones would work fine too, but I went ahead and installed theirs because they match and look a little nicer.





Tada!





A little tip - all purpose cleaner works well for cleaning up all the fingerprints on the vinyl from install. I used Chemical Guys "Nosense" in a spray bottle with a microfiber to clean things up.



Overall I'm very happy with the finished headliner. The hardest parts were locating the shoulder harness holes and getting the windlace on at the front and rear. For the harness holes, I think it would help if they provided large cutouts in the fiberglass for the shoulder harnesses like the factory 1pc '73-'74 Nova headliners or the areas they cut out for the dome light and visor mounts.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,288 Posts
Nice write up Clint. I had thought about that for mine, but life has a way of changing things for us. In the end, I sold the Nova about a month ago along with all Nova/GM parts. He was a bit shocked. LOL Took him 2 trips to get it all and I have a few odds and ends to hunt up yet. I believe Tim Simpson put one of those head liners in one of his cars. It does look real nice too, and I would think a bunch easier to install. Keep up the good work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Where did you buy the headliner?
I think it looks pretty good. I just got my bow type headliner delivered, this is making me consider returning it and buying one of these so I can install myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Where did you buy the headliner?
I think it looks pretty good. I just got my bow type headliner delivered, this is making me consider returning it and buying one of these so I can install myself.
I bought it from Summit Racing, TMI part number 20-8400-2295. It was about $400 plus about $100 freight and it took a few weeks to arrive. I was quoted about the same total for a local shop to install a bow-type headliner.
 

·
Registered
1969 Nova . . 2dr . . Chino Valley,Az USA
Joined
·
4,928 Posts
Clint ... Thanks for your detailed write-up and Pictures about installing your new headliner. Also, for giving the part number, and your input about how the install went.

My HL is the original .... and, just like you said -- the "thread - rotted away" on mine several years back , but since then, the fabric has
/getting holes .... which I would like to replace.

I bought some new fabric (matching color) for a new HL ..... but, just the 'Roll-of-Fabric' -- not ready to install -- just material. So, this may be my way that I go ..... Thanks, again .. nice job.

........ jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,515 Posts
Very neat and smooth,I've always liked the looks of Nomad headliners with the chromed exposed bows, now I've got another like.
 

·
Registered
Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
Joined
·
1,658 Posts
Very good write-up with excellent photos to go along with the installation procedures (and modifications) you provided! I'm sure your post will be very helpful to those that undertake this same project.
The final install of the new headliner looks great :thumbsup:
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top