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Old 09-21-2017, 01:34 AM   #1
1st Gear Newbie
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4
E23 headliner removal

I have an e23 that needs headliner recovered. But damned if I know how to remove it. Any assist on how to remove it? Tools? Also, what adhesive and coverings are best??

Thank you.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:42 PM   #2
Bimmer Heaven
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Location: Ontario
Posts: 15,672
Its pretty hard, i don't remember all the details but i know it was a mess. I have an E23 you can come take a look at, will help a lot.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:29 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by Bimmer Heaven View Post
Its pretty hard, i don't remember all the details but i know it was a mess. I have an E23 you can come take a look at, will help a lot.
Thanks for your reply (and offer to view another e23). As recent as last evening I chose to tackle the headliner...

My most pressing concern was the moonroof lining. It seemed my beloved German engineers had chosen some sort of concoction of thin biscuits, peanut butter and marmalade to affix this headliner to the underside of my moonroof. I stopped using the moonroof as it would just fart particles all over my guests and me as it slid in and out of the roof.

Anyhow... I found an article somewhere about a guy with an e28 (very similar setup) who converted his roof to glass from a Saab 9000. Basically, the lining is clipped to the front edge of the roof. I opened the roof back half way and pried the lining down from it, and slid it back as far as it would go. This reveals the 6 fasteners (3 per side) of the moonroof part which I removed. The roof part then lifts out.

At this point, I was perplexed at how I would relieve the lining part from the assembly as it was affixed to a sub-assemble responsible for guiding it along the roof tracks. I dicked with this for about an hour, until it seemed the ONLY way would be to drill out the 2 rivets that hold this to the sub-assemble. Once I did this, it came out immediately.

I gently pulled the rest of the material loose from its metal frame, shook as much of the deteriorated foam out as was possible, then took it to a bucket of warm water and fabric detergent. After washing it thorough, I hung it to dry, and then ironed it.

This is where I am at now. I plan on finding some thin foam to replace the old, clean the rest of the headliner (especially the parts that are along the edge that butt up against this sliding piece so they do not pull it apart again.

What I discovered here is that the roof liner is really just this 3-ply cloth (cotton sheet, foam, and interior colored fabric) that is just stretched across loosely and affixed at points along the roof with glue and by it being wrapped along outer edges and bars being used like strapping to hold it down with screws. It is the oddest fckin crappy engineered setup I could ever dream up really. WTF! were these Germans even doing. Maybe they make great engines, but their interiors are NOT great from a servicing/resto perspective.

I will use an upholstery cleaner, microfiber towels, and brushes (for edge work) to clean the headliner before reinstalling this roof part back. Oh what fun!


ps. I will take some photos for the next guy..
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:18 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Montreal
Posts: 3
Hello there,for my first post I decided to revive that 2 yrs old thread.
I entertain the idea of putting the very nice headliner from my 733i parts car into my
735i with a not so nice headliner.Nice thing is I can practice proper removal on the one
I want to replace.Anyway I'm happy to join the forum,all canadian E23 owners are my
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