Replacing '49 Super 4 door headliner...

I've replaced cloth headliners before but not any without a tackstrip.
My headliner was original but stained...there are metal pieces to hold the windlass but no tacks trip to staple or tack the edges of the headliner to..?
The manual is not clear as to how to pull the headliner in the directions I need to in order to get out all the wrinkles and seems to direct me to tuck the edges under those metal plates. This does not seem like an easy way to get the headliner secure and wrinkle-free.
Does anyone have experience with installing one, or can you direct me to where I can get that information?
Thanking you in advance


  • Upholstery shops used to install the headliner and then steam them to get the wrinkles out.
  • ratlee2
    ratlee2 Expert Adviser
    on the sides of the last 3 headliners I did they were too wide.  You will need to trim back the bow loops sewn into the headliner.  When you stretch the sides the cloth loops for the bows will reach the end of the bow and prevent you from pulling it tight.  Just stay away for the seam when you trim it, or the seam will come apart.
  • ratlee2
    ratlee2 Expert Adviser
    You start at the back window then stretch forward towards the windshield.  After that, you tuck the sides into the tack strip.  I found it easier to get some binder clips from the local office supply store to hold the headliner in place around the rear window opening while the contact cement is setting. 
  • lostmind
    lostmind Expert Adviser
    I used a glue for cloth. Sparingly. putty knife with a flat edge to  push it in place.
    I installed it with the back window still in.
    Lots of patience needed.
    A spray bottle with water and a hair drier took care of wrinkles.

  • Yes Lostmind, I do not see a tack strip…I guess you’re suggesting I pull the headliner and hold it while I push/tuck it into the space between the roof and the bracket that attaches the windlace. Seems difficult to do, but I haven’t tried yet, so I’ll give it a try with a very smooth, rounded off putty knife.
    What is the procedure for the back window, I would like to leave it in place. How far from the gasket do I trim the headliner so I can tuck it in (is that the procedure?)
    Thanks everyone!
  • lostmind
    lostmind Expert Adviser
    It's been about 25 years since I did mine. time fly's.
    On the back window , take a hair drier and heat the rubber gasket to make it flexible.
    Use your putty knife to flex it away from glass and loosen it in preparation for the install.
    I would leave the rear window until last , after the rest is secured , then you can press the material against the rubber to see where to trim. I think I left it long , folded it ,and pushed it in with the putty knife.
    A dry fit first , then a little cloth glue behind the rubber and redo.
    I did this all in one day, but you might plan on a couple if you need a break or two.
    Pull out the seats, cover the dash, cover the floors. You'll be crawling around on your knees , and shoes can make a mess of carpets.
    It actually was easier then I expected, but I couldn't do it now because of physical limitations.
    I wrote an article for the " Hornets Nest" to explain it, but I don't have copies.
    Good luck.
  • Thank you Lostmind, I don't exactly do have physical limitations also but I "have to" do it myself, if you know what I mean. Sure would love to view that article on Hornet's you think it's on the internet?
    Thanks again

  • lostmind
    lostmind Expert Adviser
    That was the Western Reserve chapter news letter. The internet was just getting started 25 years ago. Most of the guys that were around then are in Hudson Heaven.
    I don't know if the National club kept copies , I know they were sent one every month.
  • I’ll be away for a couple of weeks, when I come back I’m going to try it!
    I’m going to try to do it with the rear window still in place, even though I’m not exactly sure how to cut it and how to adhere it to the window frame!
  • StepUp
    StepUp Member
    edited May 2023
    Following this thread. Those who have done it please provide as much detail as possible ---it's a skill and experience that's waning away as the years roll-on. Adept blacksmiths are nearly extinct too...