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Thread: Headliner Conversion

  1. #1
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    Headliner Conversion

    I plan to convert my standard headliner with sunroof opening to a sunroof delete type. My plan is to remove that section where the sunroof sits, when both open and closed, and replace it with a flat piece of fiberglass. Has anyone on this forum done that? If so, do you have any suggestions, ideas, shortcuts, plans or hints that would help? Thanks

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    Great topic -- I'll be following this. My car is desperate for a repaint, and my thought is to delete the sunroof during that process. I'm not so tall that I need the extra inch or two from the non-sunroof headliner, but it would be a cleaner install. Since that part is NLA, I guess we're relegated to homebrewing it. Please keep us updated on your work -- I might wind up following suit if I ever get traction on this project!! Thanks.

    Cheers, John

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    Why do you want to delete the amazing option of the sunroof?
    Nothing better than on a amazing day to open the roof

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    the sunroof delete headliner mounts way closer to the roof, as the entire sunroof cassette is removed.
    I have one, but it is up at Tom's until I pick it up... if you want to be industrious, perhaps you could make a fiberglass mold of it... just a thought, as they are more rare than OEM roof racks at this point....
    '91 Dinan 860 Stage III (soon to be Dinan TT 6L)
    '91 850i 6sp (mint)
    '91 850i 6sp (getting there)
    '90 Dinan 750iL TT stage III
    '94 850 CSi (being restored to factory perfect)
    '96 850Ci, The George Carlin car
    '94 840ci (4 short - obvious parts car), '91 850i parts car
    '73 3.0 csi, '08 535i, '95 318i
    ...and a few other non BMW cars

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatandre View Post
    Why do you want to delete the amazing option of the sunroof?
    Nothing better than on a amazing day to open the roof
    I can't speak for everyone, but I've got a couple of convertibles for days when I want to arrive wind-blown and disheveled. I prefer my coupes without a leaky, rust-prone hole in the top filled by a perpetually misaligned cover constructed from fragile moving parts! My M Coupe is thankfully a factory sunroof-delete model. You said it yourself: it's great to open the roof on a beautiful day, and not just a crummy horizontal window.

    Quote Originally Posted by cartoonz View Post
    the sunroof delete headliner mounts way closer to the roof, as the entire sunroof cassette is removed.
    I have one, but it is up at Tom's until I pick it up... if you want to be industrious, perhaps you could make a fiberglass mold of it... just a thought, as they are more rare than OEM roof racks at this point....
    This is a brilliant and generous offer, if it can be pulled off. If a few people wanted to go in on it to help defray the setup costs and all that, I'd probably be in. Reinvent the wheel once, then pull copies from the mold as people want/need them. The later challenge will be shipping something that big.

    Cheers, John

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    Quote Originally Posted by cartoonz View Post
    the sunroof delete headliner mounts way closer to the roof, as the entire sunroof cassette is removed.
    I have one, but it is up at Tom's until I pick it up... if you want to be industrious, perhaps you could make a fiberglass mold of it... just a thought, as they are more rare than OEM roof racks at this point....
    I've got an OEM roof rack, and a luggage box to go with it. I could probably be talked into parting with both . . . only used the luggage box once, and the roof rack a handful of times.

    Mike Barrett
    Mike Barrett
    94 850CSi, Hellrot over silbergrau dunkel/silbergrau hell
    96 850Ci, Oxfordgrun over silbergrau hell

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbarrett635 View Post
    I've got an OEM roof rack, and a luggage box to go with it. I could probably be talked into parting with both . . . only used the luggage box once, and the roof rack a handful of times.

    Mike Barrett

    Wow, that's quite the "Dynamic Duo" you have. Post those up and they'll be snapped up in no time. Ditto on the roof rack as I used to use mine quite a bit.
    1993 850Ci.....160,000 miles and counting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedBobo View Post
    Wow, that's quite the "Dynamic Duo" you have. Post those up and they'll be snapped up in no time. Ditto on the roof rack as I used to use mine quite a bit.
    LOL. I purchased both for a vacation trip to Hilton Head about 12 years ago, because my wife had a state-car that only she was allowed to drive, and "she wasn't about to do all the driving." At the time, the 850 was our only other car. We were vacationing with friends who insisted we bring our golf clubs. No way three sets of clubs, and luggage for three people for two weeks was fitting the the trunk (our then-teenage son was with us). So I bought the roof rack and luggage box, hauled all our stuff down -- with my poor son crammed in the back with the other seat loaded with baggage -- and we only played golf ONCE! In fact, it's the last time I've ever played golf.

    Ever since, the luggage box has been hanging from the ceiling of our garage (I made a pulley system out of a bicycle hoist), and the roof racks have seen light duty a couple of times bringing a Christmas tree home. That's it. I must admit, the roof rack is pretty slick, the way it attaches to the built in rails in the roof.

    Mike Barrett
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    94 850CSi, Hellrot over silbergrau dunkel/silbergrau hell
    96 850Ci, Oxfordgrun over silbergrau hell

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    Quote Originally Posted by dukegrad98 View Post
    .... The later challenge will be shipping something that big.

    Cheers, John
    Yup, which is why it is still up at Wuffer's House of Wonders...
    '91 Dinan 860 Stage III (soon to be Dinan TT 6L)
    '91 850i 6sp (mint)
    '91 850i 6sp (getting there)
    '90 Dinan 750iL TT stage III
    '94 850 CSi (being restored to factory perfect)
    '96 850Ci, The George Carlin car
    '94 840ci (4 short - obvious parts car), '91 850i parts car
    '73 3.0 csi, '08 535i, '95 318i
    ...and a few other non BMW cars

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatandre View Post
    Why do you want to delete the amazing option of the sunroof?
    1) I never use it
    2) It is a pain with misalignment
    3) It rusts
    4) It takes up headroom space
    5) It disrupts the line of the roof

    Otherwise, it's OK

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukegrad98 View Post
    This is a brilliant and generous offer, if it can be pulled off. If a few people wanted to go in on it to help defray the setup costs and all that, I'd probably be in. Reinvent the wheel once, then pull copies from the mold as people want/need them. The later challenge will be shipping something that big.
    I just bought a sunroof headliner on eBay for $100. It's being shipped; it'll be interesting to see how. I plan to cut out the "sunroof" part, take it to a fiberglass fabricator and fill in the remaining space, without the sunroof "cavity". Could someone who has a sunroof delete headliner, please take a picture of it for me? Could either post it here or PM it. What do y'all think?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by cartoonz View Post
    Yup, which is why it is still up at Wuffer's House of Wonders...
    If you don't want it; I'll take it.
    Last edited by radlaw; 02-10-2018 at 01:08 PM.

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    I considered the same thing. I loath old sunroof mechanisms. I believe someone with decent fiberglassing skills could do it. If you look at non-sunroof headliners vs sunroof headliners, the difference is in the front half. I believe you could cut out a large section of the front half of the headliner and raise it up and fiberglass in the required areas including the sunroof opening. For the roof, others here have had the sunroof metal panel welded to the roof panel and filled in.

    Jason

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    I would look for a headliner of close dimensions at the junkyard, cut out the center, then lay it on top of my sunroof headliner to mark the cut, reinforce the cut line from the inside and upholster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 72tpik5 View Post
    ...cut out the center, then lay it on top of my sunroof headliner to mark the cut, reinforce the cut line from the inside and upholster.
    Got a 2nd E31 headliner. What do you mean "cut out the center"? Now to figure how much to cut out, just the sunroof opening area or all the way back to the area where it dips to make room for the retracted sunroof??? I plan to fill in the cut-out part with fiberglass. Would I still need to "reinforce the cut line"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by radlaw View Post
    Got a 2nd E31 headliner. What do you mean "cut out the center"? Now to figure how much to cut out, just the sunroof opening area or all the way back to the area where it dips to make room for the retracted sunroof??? I plan to fill in the cut-out part with fiberglass. Would I still need to "reinforce the cut line"?
    I am assuming that you are going remove more of your 8s headliner than just the sunroof opening, but are not planning to cut all the way to the edges where the headliner meets the rest of the interior. Cut out the area of your 8s headliner and use it as a template to find a headliner that has the same arch, dome, or convex shape that you need, graft in the new piece with epoxy or some kind of glue, as they are just pressed cardboard usually. That is what I would try first. You could always use fiberglass as plan B. JMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 72tpik5 View Post
    Cut out the area of your 8s headliner and use it as a template to find a headliner that has the same arch, dome, or convex shape that you need...
    Thanks for the ideas. When you say: "...find a headliner that has the same arch, dome, or convex shape that you need", I'm not sure what you mean. I have 2 E31 headliners: 1 in the car & 1 I just bought.

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    I think he's suggesting just finding a random junkyard unit that roughly fits the area you intend to cut out of the E31 headliner, and then create the "filler panel" from that. I don't know much about what these things are made from or how they're put together, but I think it's not a bad suggestion. Like you, I always just assumed that fiberglassing was the answer, but I don't really base that on anything.

    I would still love it if someone could build a mold from an OEM sunroof-delete panel and then pop replacements from that.

    Cheers, John

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    Quote Originally Posted by dukegrad98 View Post
    I think he's suggesting just finding a random junkyard unit that roughly fits the area you intend to cut out of the E31 headliner, and then create the "filler panel" from that. I don't know much about what these things are made from or how they're put together, but I think it's not a bad suggestion. Like you, I always just assumed that fiberglassing was the answer, but I don't really base that on anything.

    I would still love it if someone could build a mold from an OEM sunroof-delete panel and then pop replacements from that.

    Cheers, John
    Exactly. Go to your local junk yard and look for a vehicle that has a headliner that will make a good donor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 72tpik5 View Post
    Exactly. Go to your local junk yard and look for a vehicle that has a headliner that will make a good donor.
    Does it have to be a E31? Does it have to be a BMW? Would any model work? How would I recognize a "good donor"?

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    I believe that any brand of car that has a headliner big enough to cover the area that you want to remove from your 8 headliner should work.
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    Still planning on deleting sunroof, a slow process. I have a 2nd sunroof headliner that I need to convert to a delete headliner. I plan to cut out the sunroof component and fill it in; I don't know with what. I'm trying to figure out how to get the correct configuration/curvature. Any ideas?

    BTW, is the another BMW (E36??) that has a roof with the same measurements as the E31? Is so, I could simply get one of those delete headliners, which may be easier to get. Also, they make sunroof opening panels for E36s, that I could use to fill in the opening. Any help is appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radlaw View Post
    Still planning on deleting sunroof, a slow process. I have a 2nd sunroof headliner that I need to convert to a delete headliner. I plan to cut out the sunroof component and fill it in; I don't know with what. I'm trying to figure out how to get the correct configuration/curvature. Any ideas?

    BTW, is the another BMW (E36??) that has a roof with the same measurements as the E31? Is so, I could simply get one of those delete headliners, which may be easier to get. Also, they make sunroof opening panels for E36s, that I could use to fill in the opening. Any help is appreciated.
    I would cut out the rear section of your loaner headliner and fiberglass it into the front section of your original headliner after cutting out the same size section.

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    That's a possibility. However, that part is predominately flat without the curve that's lines up with the roof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radlaw View Post
    That's a possibility. However, that part is predominately flat without the curve that's lines up with the roof.
    You are going to have to do some fabrication towards the front regardless because the sunroof cassette wont be there. The curvature is relatively the same, with the cassette removed you have some room underneath to play with.

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    if there is a batch of reproduction OEM headliner cards, i am very interested in hopping in on that.

    Quick question, as the headliner sits closer to the roof, do the pillar plastics still work, or is the distance compensated for in the headliner itself?

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