Cummins 12-Valve Headliners Are Shoddy Quality

Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler are the worst at making headliners. The glue they used to hold fabric and foam together can best be described as snail snot. It is here today and gone tomorrow. After 23 years, this old work horse has a new toupee.

The stock color of a tan interior? No! Nasty old foam without its grey fabric! This stuff begins to snow as it slowly deteriorates.

At the time of my 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins 4wd resurrection from its early grave, it had a few problems. One of the more annoying was the headliner fabric gently rubbing the top of my head as I drove. It was sagging down and looked like a bag of smashed apples. The glue failed causing the delamination of the foam and fabric.

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Watching it fall apart was actually kinda fun. The square at center was where the 4wd instructions label was affixed.

I promptly created a hole in the sagging fabric and tore it from the remaining foam. The headliner remained fabric-less for the past two years until my good taste couldn’t stand it anymore. Replacing a headliner isn’t exactly difficult. It is time consuming and makes me yawn. It’s boring, I really didn’t want to do.

BUT! This is my twelve valve afterall. I am the second owner, the first being granddad. This was his baby. I must continue to polish this turd. It is a low mile (88,000 currently) and absolutely stock as it can be. With a little spit shining, and elbow grease (and considerable money) we can make her as nice again.

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The headliner material as sourced from eBay for approximately $70, and two cans of 3M Super 77 were used, with a third can of spray adhesive that I wanted to use up as well. This is a cheap project that will drastically improve the interior space.

A slow process to remove the foam. Don’t hit it too hard or you’ll remove the fiber from the board.
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You may have see some people re-do their headliners in camo, or other non-factory patterns. I almost did this... except this truck is too stock to modify at this point. I wanted a clean, factory look, so I stuck with the OEM gray.

The trick to successfully replacing a headliner is don’t destroy it on the way out of the truck, keep it as clean as possible, let the spray adhesive dry, and for god sake don’t let it prematurely touch the material prior to addressing wrinkles.

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I can smell this picture. The glue is nasty.

Last time I did a headliner was on my 99 Jeep Cherokee. I accidently got some of the old foam on the new material. Big problem. It’s like trying to remove dingleberries off your socks. It was miserable. I also didn’t let the glue dry long enough, leading to two dime sized spots where the glue bled through onto the fabric... I was furious. I was not about to let these problems arise again.

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In and out this took about two hours, with no fire lit beneath me. I was unfortunate to have ONE WRINKLE. I could not get the material smooth around the rear of door to cab (b-pillar?) transition. I’ll be reminded of it every single time I see it...

Compare the visors to the new fabric. Dirty and old vs. clean and new. Rat-bastard wrinkle at top right.
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Regardless... doesn’t this look better?! Makes the truck look a million times better. Now I need to replace the seat foam and fabric. A job that I will not be tackling myself. I don’t have the patience or time for it. A local shop gave me a cheap quote to do the labor, I’ll let them throw the wrenches this time.

Taking shape nicely!
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On a side note, I was finally able to install the gauges. Picked these up used for $40, and bought the corresponding new sensors for $60. Isspro customer service is second to none. I had no idea what I needed but they were able to translate my grunts and howling into some relevant data.

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Things are coming along nicely. It needs a new radiator (leaks from time to time), the exhaust has a hole, the suspension is shot, and it is about as fast as a single mule cart loaded with logs. Other than that its a peachy machine.

Next up: Big boxes...

But what is in the other box...?!

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