Coupe and Hawk Headliner Installations:
Typical Coupe body: 1955 Commander (some missing photos replaced w/ better1961 Hawk photos)
Remove the Seats, This allows lots of working room- you are going to need it!
Remove the windshield, Rear glass, old headliner, sun visors, windlace retainers etc.. You may wish to cover the dash to prevent damage. Note the positions of the headliner bows- They are color-coded on the ends. There are also some special retaining clips on the ends.
Remove loose insulation from roof panel. You may install THIN (1/4") heat/sound deadening material. Be sure to use a HIGH-Quality spray adhesive.
These windlace retainer clips are part of the body stamping. Carefully open them up- to hold the "tab" sewn on the windlace.
Install the windlace-tab under the body-clips,and gently tap them tight to hold the tab securely. Also install any sheet-metal retainers or clips. Tuck the windlace ends under the carpet. I like to install a small screw to hold the windlace tight at the driver's side. Getting in and out of the car places considerable wear on this portion.
Install the Headliner retainers. Be sure to straighten any bent teeth. The teeth are bent upwards at a 60-degree angle.
Slip the headliner bows into the sleeves sewn at the seams of the headliner. Be sure you have them in the correct order. They are color coded- and numbers are stamped into the ends.
Hook the rear bow to the rear retainer straps. **You will need to cut slots in the bow's cloth covering where the clips attach. This allows the headliner material to stretch sideways without creating wrinkles. Insert the headliner bows into their corresponding holes drilled in the body. Let the headliner just hang for the moment.
Put a coating of good quality interior contact cement, or 3M Super weatherstrip adhesive spray, on the windshield and rear glass flanges. Stretch the headliner forward- and fold it over the windshield flange. Do the same to the rear flange. Start in the center, and work your way out about 10-12", alternating between the windshield and rear glass. . Use several sets of vice grips with plastic or wood strips (to prevent headliner damage) to hold the headliner in place. You may have to continually use more glue as you stretch and adjust the headliner.
When you have the center 10-12" like you want it, begin stretching the headliner towards the sides- tuck the headliner under the headliner-retainers. I use a 1" wide piece of stiff plastic or a paint-stick - to prevent cutting or damaging the headliner.
Work front to back-and side to side, until you work most of the wrinkles out of the headliner. Dont worry if there are a few small ones remaining, A commercial Heat-gun or Hair Dryer will usually shrink them taught.
Install windshield, rear glass, side windows, and interior panels. The wrinkles appeared when the window was installed. A heat gun removed them easily- sorry, I don't have that photo. (yet)