September 18, 2015
Once your headliner sags or retains dents, it cannot be glued or fixed in the car. The foam has released from the fabric and turned into a powdery goo and you won’t be able to revive it. Your only options are to re-cover your board or get a new pre-covered board. This article only covers replacement with a new unit, so I was not all that careful in the removal process. I know a lot of people will re-cover the factory board and repair cracks with metal tape, but I wanted the durability of a completely new ABS unit. Honestly, I didn’t trust my ability to do a good job with a re-cover and wanted the satisfaction of installing all-new.
This document describes how to remove and replace your hardtop Regal headliner with a high quality ABS piece. Mine came from Mike’s Montes and it was a perfect match to the maroon interior.
About two hours
My prefabricated headliner was around $150 shipped.
T50 Torx bit and ratchet
Philips screw driver
Needle nose pliers
(3) Rear headliner clips (not required, but I can almost guarantee you will break them in removal)
- Pull all trim loose from around the headliner. Start on the passenger side working your way around. The A-pillar will have to come first.
- To remove the metal trim above the doors, you have to stand outside of the car. The metal trim is held on by three clips per side. The clips have an inside tab and an outside tab. To remove the metal trim from these clips, grasp the trim with palms up and pull it toward your body at a downward angle. The metal piece will pop off the outside tabs and it will hang down a bit. Then, push the piece toward the inside of the car to pop the metal trim off the inside tabs. Don’t break the clips because they are not easy to find anywhere. Remove the three clips on each side with a philips screwdriver.
- Remove the upper seatbelt mount by popping off the cover and using a T50 Torx bit.
- Remove the coat hangers. I didn’t put mine back in because it looked better without them.
- Remove the B-pillar window trim and door trim.
- To remove the metal trim from above the rear window, you will need two flat blade screwdrivers. You can try pliers, but two screwdrivers are easiest. Remove the two Philips screws, one on either end of the molding. Pry the metal trim down a bit until you can see the three plastic clips. They have a triangular plastic piece that inserts into a slot in the roof. Use two flat blade screwdrivers and squeeze the bottoms of the triangle together while pulling down on the trim. It is best to have someone help pulling down as you squeeze the clips. It should either pop out or the clip will break.
- Unbolt the sunvisors.
- Pop the cover on the interior light in the center of the headliner. Use needle nose pliers to remove the two fasteners on the studs and drop the dome light down. Let the light hang by the wires for now.
- The board needs to be removed. I didn’t care much because mine was going in the trash, but you can easily ruin your factory board by not being careful.
- Leave the front metal trim along the top of the windshield IN the car. This one is a bear to get out and you are better off not messing with it in my opinion. You can slide the headliner back and down to get if out of this trim piece.
- Now, it is time to remove the headliner from the car.
- Slide your seats all the way back, and recline them as far as you can.
- Have both doors open and see if you can get a friend to help you maneuver the board out of the car. You must take it out the passenger side, it won’t clear the steering wheel on the driver side. Drop the front of the board down a little and rotate the front so it comes out first. You will want the passenger side up against the roof and the driver side against the floor.
- Make sure the board goes over the shifter not under it or it will bind.
- Don’t get frustrated. It will come out.
- Here is my old headliner compared to the new one. Notice how the old one retains the form of hands and feet. The foam was so old, it compressed and didn’t pop back to shape. As a side note, my headliner was not as bad looking while it was in the car. This picture was after I was kneeling on it.
- Now that the headliner is out, the interior is pretty bare up top aside from sound deadening material.
- When this is all done you can reverse your process and reinstall the headliner. You may have to cut holes for your dome light and sun visors. I cut my dome light hole with an Exacto knife while it was out of the car. The holes are already there in the ABS backing so you just have to cut it out to match the type of light you have. Mine was the standard round dome light. Don’t try to cut the sun visor holes out of the car! Just wait until you have the headliner installed and lined up perfectly and this will be your last step.
- Roll your headliner a bit to get it into the passenger side of the car. It is fine to roll an ABS liner since it is tough and will return to shape. Do NOT attempt if you are re-using your styrofoam one. Use masking tape to tape the power wire to the dome light in position so you can easily locate it to pull it back through the hole you already cut in the previous step.
- Slide the headliner into the metal trim above the windshield. It is helpful to have a friend, but I used my head to hold it up.
- Attach the three plastic tabs to the passenger side and driver side to hold the headliner up. Remember, these were the tabs that were above the metal trim in step 2.
- Pull the dome light through and let it hang.
- Install the A-pillar moldings and the B-pillar window trim.
- Snap the metal trim in place above the doors … you know, the ones you dealt with in step 2.
- Install the metal trim above the rear window. Position the triangular clips in the metal molding first and then position it in place so the clips line up with the slots in the roof. Pop them in place with a few pounds of the fist. Insert the two screws, one in either end of the trim.
- Push the headliner up by the dome light hole to reveal the mounting studs. Mount the dome light and secure it with the little metal rings you removed in step 8.
- You are almost there. It is now time to mount your standard sun visors. Use your finger to locate the hole in the roof. It will be easy to find. Trim the hole out with an Exacto knife.
- Use your finger to find the three screw holes in the metal roof. Use a sharp punch to poke a hole through the headliner for the screws.
- Mount the sun visors.
- Step back and enjoy your work.