JBugs Video Series

1970 VW Karmann Ghia - Headliner Installation:

Video Overview:

We're starting off the revival if you will of this 1970 VW Karmann Ghia with the most tedious portion, the headliner. The job itself isn't necessarily all that difficult, other than working above your head for a good portion of the task, which can be tiring. Realistically, the hardest part of the job is the tear down to get to the point where the headliner can be installed, and then reassembling it all afterwards. Follow along as we start the reassembly of an all new interior in this beautiful little Karmann Ghia.

Intro: 0:00
Installation prep: 0:14
A-pillar headliner installation: 1:04
C-pillar headliner installation: 3:09
Roof headliner prep: 4:48
Roof headliner installation: 5:50
Rear view mirror installation: 10:26
Sun visors installation: 10:42

Video Transcript:

Hi I'm Sam with JBugs.com 0:01 This isn't a rock show but this is a headliner. 0:06 We're going to put it in this Karmann Ghia, follow along. Installation prep 0:14 Before we get started on the installation, we still have a little disassembly to do. 0:19 The metal gripper strips around the windshield opening need to be removed 0:22 as most aftermarket window seals are not designed to be used with them. 0:26 While we're doing that, we'll take a moment to ask you to click the like and subscribe buttons if you don't mind. 0:32 So between prying the strips up with a screwdriver, 0:35 bending and pulling them back and forth with a pair of vice grips, 0:39 and even using a hammer at some points, 0:42 we get all the metal grippers removed from around the windshield. 0:46 We start the install with a loose yardage piece of material that comes with our headliner kit 0:51 and mock it up against the a-pillar to get an idea of how big of a piece we'll need for either side. 0:57 And, we cut a piece of material for them. 1:00 We double check that the piece will cover the a-pillar. 1:03 Then we start brushing on Landau top glue, that is specifically made for vinyl to metal contact, A-pillar headliner installation 1:09 onto the pillar of the car wherever we want the material to cover. 1:14 We are cautious about not applying glue too close to the outside edge of the body. 1:19 We also coat the back of the vinyl with the same glue. 1:22 This same process will apply throughout the installation. 1:25 Whenever we glue a piece of material in place, both the surface of the car 1:29 and the back of the material will need to be coated in glue. 1:33 As the glue will need some time to set up, once we're done prepping one side 1:37 we start applying glue to the other a-pillar and material piece as well. 1:42 Once the glue is tacked up and is more or less dry on both the body and the vinyl, 1:47 we line up the material so that it will cover the pillar completely 1:51 and press it into place where is lies smoothly. 1:55 At the bottom side, where the material will tuck in behind the dashboard, we cut off the excess material. 2:02 Then we cut down the roof line and a-pillar very carefully with a razor blade. 2:06 We don't press hard as we don't want to cut into the paint, we just score the vinyl. 2:11 We choose a cut line that will be covered by the aluminum molding later 2:15 and we come back with a pair of scissors to help as we tear and cut the extra material off. 2:21 Now we can start to work the vinyl into the windshield opening. 2:24 We cut back the material at the top where the roof portion of the headliner overlap. 2:31 A trim tool helps to get the vinyl pressed into place against the window seam. 2:35 Relief cuts at the top allow the material to be stretched down and pressed into place. 2:40 At the bottom of the opening, and at the dash, we heat up the vinyl so that we can stretch it and press it into the seam. 2:47 A trim tool helps with the tight areas. 2:49 With the vinyl glued in place, we can cut some more reliefs in the material. 2:54 [We] make sure that the vinyl is pressed in place, 2:57 and then we cut off the excess material 2:59 and roll it over the body seam and press it against the outside edge. 3:04 With one side done, we follow the same process on the opposite side a-pillar. C-pillar headliner installation 3:09 Then we move to the back to get to work on the c-pillars. 3:12 Like we did up front, we mock up a piece of material yardage, 3:17 cut it, and a piece for the opposite side, and apply glue to the back side of both pieces. 3:26 While the glue sets up on the material we apply more glue to the c-pillar. 3:31 Once it's set up we set a piece of material against the inner window ledge 3:37 making sure that we can wrap the material over to the quarter window. 3:41 The vinyl is pressed into place and a trim tool helps to make sure the material is tucked in against the seams. 3:48 The extra material overlapping the seam is cut back leaving us about a half inch of material. 3:55 At the top edge we trim back the material at the top where the headliner will overlap. 4:01 We cut reliefs into the material at the curved area 4:04 and then roll the lip of the material over the body seam to the outside of the car. 4:09 The vinyl is pressed down into the rear window shelf and cut along the front lip. 4:16 Then a heat gun is used to warm up the vinyl so can work the piece into the quarter window opening. 4:23 Reliefs are cut as needed and the materials trimmed along the roof line. 4:28 We also trim the vinyl at the bottom edge of the rear shelf, 4:32 into the quarter window opening, 4:35 and finish cutting the material at the bottom edge of the c-pillar. 4:39 This entire edge will be covered by the new window molding. 4:43 The same steps are used to cover the opposite side c-pillar. 4:47 And now we can get to work on the roof portion of the headliner. Roof headliner prep 4:51 Since we still have the old headliner that we pulled off, 4:54 we can use it for reference and start by measuring the length of the bow pockets 4:58 which are all about 33.5 inches long. 5:01 We'll use that measurement to cut back the pockets on the new headliner which are fully sewn across the width of the material. 5:08 The new headliner is folded in half and we measure 16.75 of an inch 5:12 half of 33.5, from the seam and make a mark and carefully cut the pocket from the edge to our mark. 5:19 Once all eight edges of the pockets are cut open, we can slide the headliner bows into place. 5:25 We left the bows in the old headliner when we pulled it out so we would know the orientation. 5:30 The medium length bow is at the front pocket, 5:33 the two short bows go in the middle pockets, 5:35 and the longer bow sits in the rear pocket. 5:39 Ghia headliner bows have a bent and curved ends that will sit up on the roof brackets inside the roof channels. 5:45 All four bows are slid into place in the headliner. 5:49 Then we start setting the headliner in place into the brackets. Roof headliner installation 5:53 At the back points, we set the bows and the holes closest to the rear window. 5:58 We stretched the material from back to front, adjusting the bows as needed, 6:03 and end up with a bows in the front two mounts at the foremost points. 6:07 Your installation may vary. 6:10 Here we'll use pinch welt as a tool for installing a headliner to temporarily hold the material up in place 6:16 at the front while we stretch and glue the vinyl at the back. 6:19 The pitch welt is not included with the headliner. 6:21 There seemed to be confusion with this the last time we did a headliner video. 6:26 Glue is applied to the edges of the rear window opening. 6:30 Then the headliner is pulled up to the roof so we can apply a line of glue as a reference point. 6:35 [Before] we apply a full coat of glue. 6:39 Once the glue is set the real fun begins. 6:42 The middle of the headliner is stretched back to the window opening and pressed against the window seam. 6:48 We work from the middle out, stretching the headliner back and towards the quarter window openings. 6:55 Down the c-pillars overlapping the pieces we've already glued in. 7:01 We cut a relief at the curve of the rear window, 7:04 use a heat gun to warm the vinyl up, 7:07 and use a trim tool to press it into place into the rear window seam. 7:11 Now, we pick a cut point for the headliner on the c-pillar, past the overlapping point. 7:17 Then, we trim the headliner along the rear window seam across to the other side where the process is repeated. 7:25 Once we have the headliner material cut away from the c-pillars, 7:29 we pull back the material slightly, 7:32 apply glue to the vinyl underneath, 7:35 and when it's ready the material is folded back into place and pressed into the window seam. 7:41 At the back window opening we cut release in the material across the edge, 7:46 and roll the material over the outside lip. 7:49 For the moment, we finish the back edge with our pinch weld tool to hold the material in place while the glue cures. 7:56 Next, we apply glue to the side of the roof all the way along the length to the front a-pillar. 8:04 Then we apply a coat of glue to the headliner material. 8:08 While the glue is setting up on one side we do the same to the other side. 8:14 Once the glue is tacked up, we begin pulling and stretching the headliner from the rear window and c-pillar 8:20 to the side window and from the center forward towards the outer edge. 8:27 We repeat the process on both sides. 8:29 Once the headliner is in place against the window side openings, we trim back the headliner along the body. 8:36 We leave some loose material at the front 8:38 which we'll use later when we stretch the headliner down the a-pillars. 8:42 We apply glue to the windshield opening and seam, 8:46 to the back of the headliner along the front, 8:49 and down the sides where it will meet the a-pillars. 8:53 Then we stretch the headliner forward and press it into the windshield seam. 8:58 We pull the edge towards the front and the a-pillar and press it into place. 9:05 We pull the headliner back from the center to work out some wrinkles and waves. 9:10 Inside the car we use a heat gun to get the material to smooth out more. 9:15 While the material inside is cooling down, we cut the excess material from the windshield side of the a-pillar. 9:22 Then cut the headliner across the post past where it overlaps the material underneath. 9:27 Here you can note how the headliner is much smoother where we use the heat gun. 9:32 The headliner material is tucked in to the windshield seam, 9:36 and the excess vinyl is cut back from the side window opening. 9:42 We press the headliner into the body at the sun visor mount. 9:46 Work in the headliner to the windshield seam along the front with a trim tool, 9:51 before cutting relief slots trimming back the material at the corner and across the front. 9:59 The remaining material on this side is rolled over the outer lip of the windshield opening, 10:04 pressed in place with a trim tool, and we press in our pinch weld to hold the headliner in place. 10:12 Then we can do the same steps on the other side of the headliner; stretching, heating, cutting, 10:19 until the headliner is finally installed and we can press in our pinch welt to hold the vinyl in place. Rear view mirror installation 10:26 Inside the car we can cut the opening and a headliner for the rear view mirror, 10:31 pull out the wires, 10:33 install them onto the rearview mirror noting the positive and negative terminals on the base, 10:38 and finally screwing the rear view mirror into place. Sun visors installation 10:42 Next, we'll locate and poke holes in the headliner for the visor clips. 10:47 We only puncture the material for the base of the clip which is pressed in, in the vertical position. 10:54 The clip is rotated down into place and since the clip is keyed, 10:58 if it's properly installed it'll stay in place without a screw. 11:03 The screws for both clips are threaded in, before we mock up the sun visors. 11:09 Here we'll note with emphasis: 11:11 the mounts for the visors are pressed all the way in and must be rotated out from the visor until the posts line up with the clips. 11:18 We can't tell you how many times we've gotten calls or emails from angry customers that say their visors won't line up. 11:23 They won't, until you twist the visor away from the mount. 11:28 Now, we'll poke three holes into the headliner for the mounting base of the visor. 11:32 One for the arm and two at either side for the screws. 11:37 Then, we'll set the visor in place into the roof and the clip and we'll screw the mount in place. 11:45 We twist the visor away from the mount a bit more so that it lines up with the rear view mirror. 11:50 And repeat the process on the other side. 11:54 We wrap up by cleaning up all the glue and smudges from the headliner and roof. 11:59 We'll sit back for a moment and enjoy the view before we get to work on our next step 12:03 installing the carpet in our next video. 12:05 Thanks for watching and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.