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Thread: removing headliner

  1. #1
    Sustaining Member cooper999's Avatar
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    removing headliner

    Ladies and germs:

    Some of you may have recalled my earlier post about leaks in our nav. chart cabinet. As fate would have it, we have a similar leak in the galley cabinet exactly opposite the leaky nav. chart area. Despite rebedding the port lights (which showed no signs of causing rot, thankfully), I'm still getting unpredictable leakage in just these areas. I've tested to see if the life line stanchions are to blame by putting paper towels underneath the ones near the leaks, but they continue to come up dry, suggesting to me that the leak may be coming from the outside sail tracks (for the spinnaker). Regardless, I would like to remove the headliner to rebed the lifeline stanchions, the spinnaker track, and the jib track (inside of the outer track/adjacent to the port lights where the cabin wall flares upward).

    Our headliner is in pretty good shape, and I'm afraid of damaging it. It looks like it's stapled onto wood trim. Is it as easy as removing the staples? Anything I need to be wary of? As usual, your insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Patience and lots of staples

    First you remove the narrow teak battens with all those little flush headed screws in them.
    There will be a lot of staples, and they were power-driven when the fabric was stretched into place, and before the excess fabric was cut off just beyond the line of staples.

    I have needed to remove up to 2 or 3 feet of staples to get at the underside of the deck or cabin top. Needle nose pliers was the main instrument, but it's whatever works. Quite a few will break off with not enough wire sticking up to get a grip on, and you can ignore those or set them flat with a punch.

    I put our headliner back with a HD hand stapler, but it would really work best with an air powered stapler. I did try an inexpensive electric version, and it was a waste of $$.

    Tedious work, but satisfying when it's all back in place with the batten covering the edge and no evidence of the reassembly. We did also clean and varnish those battens while they were off.

    Loren
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 09-28-2016 at 08:44 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Universal M25XP
    Fresh Air
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  3. #3
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I've done a bit of it too. No real need for stainless staples, which I used an is ridiculous overkill (and they're hard to get out!). The trick is getting the stretch correct when reinstalling. If a wrinkle starts developing, just start over. The vinyl is pretty forgiving. I used a furniture stapler, and occasionally, when there was no access, thumbtacks. Consider the "depth"measurement of the staples, they come in various penetrations and the minimal that holds is best.

    I would double-confirm that the tracks are leaking before tackling removal. Seems like a big job, although I've never done it

    And although you didn't ask, what I do for mystery leaks is have somebody else put a fire-hose stream of water right at the trouble area, blasting any suspected fitting close and hard for a long time while I watch from below.

    Since these kinds of leaks are remarkably sneaky, and can transverse long distances in hidden aqueducts, a sustaining blast test at least eliminates candidates, which can be half the battle.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 09-28-2016 at 12:29 PM.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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  4. #4
    1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
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    Two areas where I have found leaks:
    The traveller mount in front of the dodger with water coming inside the headliner, then between the teak veneer and the fibreglass and exiting below the ports.
    Also, water from a hose while washing the boat entering the cockpit locker and into the food/dishes cabinet next to the companionway and galley sink.
    Both were easily fixed and solved puzzling leaks.
    Frank

  5. #5
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    Headliner Leak

    Hi Frank
    Good post. How did you confirm the traveler leak? And (of course) how did you seal it? I have leaks that occur from time to time and then disappear???
    Best Regards
    Pat O'Connell
    1981 E28+ Chips Universal 5411

  6. #6
    1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
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    Hi Pat,

    That was quite easy. Our traveller on the E30+ is mounted on two moulded/raised areas on the cabin roof with three bolts. From inside the cabin, I unzipped the headliner zippers in that area, and with a small flashlight was able to see the three bolts holding the traveller. I noticed the inside of the headliner (the furry part) a bit damp and saw a small water droplet on one of the bolts. I then positioned a water hose on the cabin top to spray that area and saw periodic drips from that same bolt on the inside. After drying everything, I removed the leaking bolt, rebedded with butyl rubber and reinstalled it. A test with the hose showed no leak; I left a small paper towel inside the headliner before closing the zipper to catch any drips, but it was completely dry after the next rainfall. The area has remained dry since.

    I think leaks that appear from time to time and then disappear are really tough to diagnose. But it may be due to the flexing of the boat during sailing, or from temperature changes that expand and contract different parts of the boat at different rates, or even from the direction of rain or waves. I have learned to use Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure liberally though carefuly as a preventive measure on many areas of the boat. It is generally available in most chandleries for about $10 per bottle which lasts a whole season. It is thinner than water, so will get into the smallest cracks and cures like a rubbery epoxy. It lasts fairly well and when applied around stanchion bases, cleats, etc. turns invisible if applied carefully (otherwise, it leaves a bit of a film, but that can be removed with acetone or other cleaners).

    I hope that helps!
    Frank
    Last edited by Frank Langer; 09-28-2016 at 02:50 PM.

  7. #7
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    Headliner Leak

    Hi Frank That is exactly what I was asking for. Those vinyl liners were very good engineering presuming the owner unzips and lubes them every several years. (which I haven't) Some great advice on this site tho as to how to tinker with them.
    Best Regards
    Pat
    1981 E28+ Universal 5411

  8. #8
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    Wink Tolleys Crack Cure

    Hi Frank I sure agree on Tolleys Crack Cure. Use a little every year. Chips takes a 50 mile trailer ride every year for launch and haul. The launch and haul parking just about always looks like the Marines landed tracked vehicles on it. Best Regards Pat

  9. #9
    Sustaining Member cooper999's Avatar
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    Thanks as always for your rapid, insightful responses.

    Christian, I take your point on the sail tracks looking like a big job. However, I'm at a loss as to where else the water is coming from. I will focus my efforts on seeing if this isn't the case as far as the leaks' sources, but it's almost as if it's coming in from behind the teak veneer panels at the edges of said cabinets.

    I will say that looking at the remnants of a previous bedding (companionway hatch, various other hardware), there's at least a decent chance I'm getting water from elsewhere. It's just funny that I'm getting two nearly identical leaks on both sides of the boat.

  10. #10
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    leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by cooper999 View Post
    Thanks as always for your rapid, insightful responses.

    Christian, I take your point on the sail tracks looking like a big job. However, I'm at a loss as to where else the water is coming from. I will focus my efforts on seeing if this isn't the case as far as the leaks' sources, but it's almost as if it's coming in from behind the teak veneer panels at the edges of said cabinets.

    I will say that looking at the remnants of a previous bedding (companionway hatch, various other hardware), there's at least a decent chance I'm getting water from elsewhere. It's just funny that I'm getting two nearly identical leaks on both sides of the boat.

    On Sketcher.
    I would like to add some info about leaks on Sketcher. I had a leak under the Sea Hood, very frustrating to find and the Sea Hood not so easy to remove.
    The leak caused teak veneer to rot on port side (very slow leak) and not visible unless headliner was off. Last winter had to replace the plywood behind the port windows.


    The leak was caused by the teak blocks that stop the sliding hatch. Port one was loose (factory screwed them down)...I through bolted them. Added plenty of sealant.
    One little screw created total havoc...but all came out Great.

    Hilco on Sketcher

  11. #11
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    Aqueducts and the Ides of March

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams View Post
    I've done a bit of it too. No real need for stainless staples, which I used an is ridiculous overkill (and they're hard to get out!).

    And although you didn't ask, what I do for mystery leaks is have somebody else put a fire-hose stream of water right at the trouble area, blasting any suspected fitting close and hard for a long time while I watch from below.

    Since these kinds of leaks are remarkably sneaky, and can transverse long distances in hidden aqueducts, a sustaining blast test at least eliminates candidates, which can be half the battle.
    I'm in the midst of the headliner surgery and not sure when it will be safe to close up the patient. Great tip on the thumbtacks, there were some obvious spots where the stapler was just not going to fit and I was afraid I was going to have to buy something expensive and use it once.

    I think I've isolated an obvious source of my leak, but then I noticed that the terminal block for the mast wires was rusty. It could have been exposed to wicked moisture from the adjacent offending fitting, but are there generally similar concerns about water coming down the mast wire to the block as there are with the antenna coax further down? When I unscrewed the block, the screw hole offered up a drop of water as if to taunt me--and the boat has been under a cover since 12/1. Oh, and it was about 15 degrees outside when I was doing it.

  12. #12
    Contributing Partner jreddington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat O'Connell View Post
    Hi Frank That is exactly what I was asking for. Those vinyl liners were very good engineering presuming the owner unzips and lubes them every several years. (which I haven't) Some great advice on this site tho as to how to tinker with them.
    Best Regards
    Pat
    1981 E28+ Universal 5411
    Any tips on freeing the zippers. Could not move them when I first bought the boat about 12 years ago. Have applied zipper lube with no help. I'm wondering if there is a solution which will dissolve whatever is binding them together without damaging the zipper material or liner. Plain water would seem to fit the bill, but I've had no luck with that.
    Jim R.
    ABYC Certified Master Technician
    Lady J - 1984 E-28
    Homeport: Old Saybrook, CT

  13. #13
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    The pulls? Most of us have had to replace some of them. Usually the Nylon zipper itself is fine.

    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...dliner-Zippers

    The procedure is:

    Cut zipper tape with razor blade close to stuck pull. Remove pull (crushing with pliers works).
    Unstitch one or two inches of zipper tape from headliner, so the zipper hangs down. This allows easy insertion of the replacement zipper pull.
    To close the wound, just sew the zipper teeth back together. The zipper run will be shortened only by an inch or two, and the sewing job isn't noticeable.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 11-14-2017 at 04:49 PM.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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  14. #14
    Contributing Member III MarineCityBrian's Avatar
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    Leaks & Zippers

    On our E35-3 I removed the headliner via the techniques mentioned above (patience, time, and I actually had success with a somewhat sharpened flathead [slotted] screwdriver to get under the staple heads, then a pair of lineman's pliers with a very knurled jaw to pull the loosened staple)

    Once removed, I could pretty easily see the source of the leaks, and confirmed them during several rainstorms (and could have just as easily with the hose-down techniques mentioned above). My similar leaks were coming from the sliding hatch cover screws (a few specific ones). They manufactured this with a nice rim of sandwiched plywood on the inside of the cabin to secure the sliding hatch cover screws to (it follows the hatch cover screw pattern in a horseshoe shape around the sliding hatch). However, where they placed a cross-cabin piece of bare plywood to fasten the headliner to, they CUT AWAY this hatch-cover fastening plywood (instead of just omitting the headliner plywood in this area - seems like it would have been far easier!). As a result, the hatch-cover screws were only essentially going through the upper layer of glass and about 1/16" of the top layer of plywood, and could very easily loosen and allow water intrusion. This would in turn leak down the headliner and over to the Nav Station on the port side and Galley area on the Starboard side. At present, this leak is being stopped with tape above the screws... This winter, the plan is to replace the missing section of sliding hatch-cover reinforcement, and replace all wood screws presently holding on the sliding hatch cover with machine screws through-bolted to lock nuts on the opposite side, oversize-drill and fill with solid epoxy, re-drill and bed with butyl tape (a technique also mentioned previously in this post - I can say with confidence that all areas I've bedded with butyl tape have yet to leak thus far). If this is indeed your issue the good news is that you'll only need to remove the 2 staple-covering trim pieces on the aft of the cabin, the ones around the sliding hatch, and the ones on the port and starboard sides. Then you'll only need to remove the staples in the aft areas, and on the sides only up to the first cross-boat plywood strip (I believe these to be in ~ 3' spacing since the fabric likely came by the yard, and this is where they stitched it together)

    I can take some photos of this leaky area if needed. I'll be aboard this Friday. I will say she's much less pretty with the headliner removed...
    Also, for oversize drilling, see this post (start at the bottom of the page, then proceed to page 5 of the post):
    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...er-Setup/page4

    Regarding zippers, I actually had luck prying off (very carefully, with a slotted screwdriver) the offending zippers and then utilizing one of the $5 'zipper repair kits' available from numerous sources (I got mine from Amazon, but I'd think any hobby, craft or fabric store should have them as well). The included instructions seemed to work fine. Now that my headliner is completely removed, I can much more easily give some tlc to the zippers. For now, though, I plan on putting a coat of white paint on the bare glass until I complete installation of all of the deck hardware I have planned. Not ideal, but something plenty of no-frills race-boats employ (not that this is my objective...).
    Brian Ross
    1983 Ericson 35-3 Hull #119
    "Moonshadow"
    Universal M-25

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