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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hopefully there are still active members on this site. I have a 1996 Dodge Intrepid with 305,000 miles on it. I have never owned another car that I like as much as this one, and I'm hoping that I die before it does.

I have a couple of questions about the headliner:
1.) I tried to acquire one at a junkyard; but when I tried to remove the A pillar cover, the clip stayed in the pillar. Instead of coming out, the plastic that the clip was attached to broke off (I've had this issue with several trim pieces - the plastic seems to not hold up well over the years). Is there some trick to removing the pieces without the plastic cracking?
2.) If I can't find a way to successfully remove the pieces without damaging them, I think I will just pull the fabric from the headliner and leave it bare (possibly paint it). Is there a downside to leaving the headliner bare?
 

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Unfortunately, it's not unusual for the retaining legs of the plastic pillar (A and C) covers to break when removing them after they age a bit. I don't know how they are on 1st gen, but I know on 2nd gen, it's almost impossible to remove the C pillar covers without the legs breaking off - the A pillars generally were a bit tougher and came off OK.
 

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I actually just started on this SAME project the other day, replacing the headliner in my 97 Intrepid. I didn't document anything, but I can give you a quick rundown on the removal.
The upper dash pad along the windshield needs to be removed, as it's covering the bottoms of the A-pillars. Also , once you get this upper dash pad section off, the wire harness for the lights in the headliner plugs in under that panel. It's in the near middle of the dash, on the driver's side, then routes along the back of the 3 inch speaker and just behind the VIN pkate. You will need to pop the harness loose as it's fastened in place with "Christmas Tree " type of clips. The harness then runs up the driver's side A-pillar to the headliner.
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I actually considered cutting the harness at the A-pillar and re-splicing it together during the headliner I stall, but once I followed the harness down, I saw that it wasn't terribly difficult to remove. The A-pillars just pop off but like you already know, the plastic is basically made from egg shells. Mine broke apart at the clips, and I pulled the clips off the A-pillars with pliers. I was able to re-attach the clips to the A-pillar trim with hot melt glue, and so far it appears to be holding up okay.
The upper B-pillars need to be removed, but to pop those loose you need to remove the seat belt bolt with a torx bit. I think it was a T-47 or T-50, but I can't remember for sure. The cover over the bolt slides upward to reveal the Torx bolt.
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The C-pillars pop in with clips similar to the A-pillars. Just be careful with these as well, luckily I didn't break anything. Once all the A,B, and C-pillars are removed, the only thing holding the headliner up is the visors, the three dome lights and there is one clip in the rear center just along the top of the rear windshield. On mine, this clip was already separated from the headliner board, but I re-attached it with hot glue. The front dome light clips into a small frame that is in the ceiling right above the headliner board, no screws hold it in. The two rear one each have one screw. Both of mine literally crumbled around the screws, and I haven't figured out a way to re-attach them yet. I also have no re-covered the visors yet, so those are still sitting in the trunk as well.
Once you actually get the headliner board out of the car, you need to COMPLETELY clean all old foam residue off with a wire brush. I used a wire wheel on a drill. Then I used 3M spray adhesive to attach the new material to the board.
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I actually just started on this SAME project the other day, replacing the headliner in my 97 Intrepid. I didn't document anything, but I can give you a quick rundown on the removal.
The upper dash pad along the windshield needs to be removed, as it's covering the bottoms of the A-pillars. Also , once you get this upper dash pad section off, the wire harness for the lights in the headliner plugs in under that panel. It's in the near middle of the dash, on the driver's side, then routes along the back of the 3 inch speaker and just behind the VIN pkate. You will need to pop the harness loose as it's fastened in place with "Christmas Tree " type of clips. The harness then runs up the driver's side A-pillar to the headliner. View attachment 42115
I actually considered cutting the harness at the A-pillar and re-splicing it together during the headliner I stall, but once I followed the harness down, I saw that it wasn't terribly difficult to remove. The A-pillars just pop off but like you already know, the plastic is basically made from egg shells. Mine broke apart at the clips, and I pulled the clips off the A-pillars with pliers. I was able to re-attach the clips to the A-pillar trim with hot melt glue, and so far it appears to be holding up okay.
The upper B-pillars need to be removed, but to pop those loose you need to remove the seat belt bolt with a torx bit. I think it was a T-47 or T-50, but I can't remember for sure. The cover over the bolt slides upward to reveal the Torx bolt.
View attachment 42116
The C-pillars pop in with clips similar to the A-pillars. Just be careful with these as well, luckily I didn't break anything. Once all the A,B, and C-pillars are removed, the only thing holding the headliner up is the visors, the three dome lights and there is one clip in the rear center just along the top of the rear windshield. On mine, this clip was already separated from the headliner board, but I re-attached it with hot glue. The front dome light clips into a small frame that is in the ceiling right above the headliner board, no screws hold it in. The two rear one each have one screw. Both of mine literally crumbled around the screws, and I haven't figured out a way to re-attach them yet. I also have no re-covered the visors yet, so those are still sitting in the trunk as well.
Once you actually get the headliner board out of the car, you need to COMPLETELY clean all old foam residue off with a wire brush. I used a wire wheel on a drill. Then I used 3M spray adhesive to attach the new material to the board. View attachment 42115 View attachment 42116 View attachment 42117 View attachment 42118 View attachment 42119
View attachment 42118
View attachment 42117
View attachment 42119
Nice work!

For those that don't feel adept at the task of recovering the headliner, there used to be guys in almost every town that traveled to the dealers on a schedule to recover headliners. IIRC, prices used to be $100-$200 turnkey - probably haven't gone up much. They likely know the tricks of quickly getting the headliner out and back in and have some tricks to rebuild backer material and repair deterioration/damage. They likely know the adhesives and cover materials that generally hold up so they don't have to make good on their guarantees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I actually just started on this SAME project the other day, replacing the headliner in my 97 Intrepid. I didn't document anything, but I can give you a quick rundown on the removal.
The upper dash pad along the windshield needs to be removed, as it's covering the bottoms of the A-pillars. Also , once you get this upper dash pad section off, the wire harness for the lights in the headliner plugs in under that panel. It's in the near middle of the dash, on the driver's side, then routes along the back of the 3 inch speaker and just behind the VIN pkate. You will need to pop the harness loose as it's fastened in place with "Christmas Tree " type of clips. The harness then runs up the driver's side A-pillar to the headliner. View attachment 42115
I actually considered cutting the harness at the A-pillar and re-splicing it together during the headliner I stall, but once I followed the harness down, I saw that it wasn't terribly difficult to remove. The A-pillars just pop off but like you already know, the plastic is basically made from egg shells. Mine broke apart at the clips, and I pulled the clips off the A-pillars with pliers. I was able to re-attach the clips to the A-pillar trim with hot melt glue, and so far it appears to be holding up okay.
The upper B-pillars need to be removed, but to pop those loose you need to remove the seat belt bolt with a torx bit. I think it was a T-47 or T-50, but I can't remember for sure. The cover over the bolt slides upward to reveal the Torx bolt.
View attachment 42116
The C-pillars pop in with clips similar to the A-pillars. Just be careful with these as well, luckily I didn't break anything. Once all the A,B, and C-pillars are removed, the only thing holding the headliner up is the visors, the three dome lights and there is one clip in the rear center just along the top of the rear windshield. On mine, this clip was already separated from the headliner board, but I re-attached it with hot glue. The front dome light clips into a small frame that is in the ceiling right above the headliner board, no screws hold it in. The two rear one each have one screw. Both of mine literally crumbled around the screws, and I haven't figured out a way to re-attach them yet. I also have no re-covered the visors yet, so those are still sitting in the trunk as well.
Once you actually get the headliner board out of the car, you need to COMPLETELY clean all old foam residue off with a wire brush. I used a wire wheel on a drill. Then I used 3M spray adhesive to attach the new material to the board. View attachment 42115 View attachment 42116 View attachment 42117 View attachment 42118 View attachment 42119
View attachment 42118
View attachment 42117
View attachment 42119
Thanks for the reply. I will definitely hold onto it. My biggest deterrent is the way the clips break off (that, and the weather here at this time of the year). I think I'm just going to tear all the fabric off for now, possibly sealing and painting the headliner. I have so many plastic pieces where the clips have broken off - I will try your hot glue solution on mine. How many miles on yours? How many more are you looking to get? Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice work!

For those that don't feel adept at the task of recovering the headliner, there used to be guys in almost every town that traveled to the dealers on a schedule to recover headliners. IIRC, prices used to be $100-$200 turnkey - probably haven't gone up much. They likely know the tricks of quickly getting the headliner out and back in and have some tricks to rebuild backer material and repair deterioration/damage. They likely know the adhesives and cover materials that generally hold up so they don't have to make good on their guarantees.
I checked with auto upholstery shops in the area - all wanted $250, or more (one said that they would recover it for $125 if I removed it and brought it to them). I've never heard of travelling headliner repairers and have no idea how I can locate one. Again, my biggest concern is with all of the clips breaking off and whether the person doing the repair would fix them properly when they did break.
 

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Thanks for the reply. I will definitely hold onto it. My biggest deterrent is the way the clips break off (that, and the weather here at this time of the year). I think I'm just going to tear all the fabric off for now, possibly sealing and painting the headliner. I have so many plastic pieces where the clips have broken off - I will try your hot glue solution on mine. How many miles on yours? How many more are you looking to get? Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.
Mine is a 1997, I just bought it barely 2 months ago. Lucked out and found it for sale a local salvage yard. Yes, SALVAGE yard. They sometimes sell cars that are still roadworthy, and this one obviously is. It only has 78k miles on it. I thought that HAD to be the wrong mileage but everything I'm seeing actually confirms that the miles are indeed correct. The interior apart from the headliner is in absolutely MINT condition. Not even any holes/wear marks in the carpet around the gas/brake pedals. The paperwork indicated one owner, purchased NEW in January 1997. I can tell it's been wrecked a few times or at least in very minor accidents, both bumpers, both front fenders, and the hood all show signs of being repainted at some point. I also think these are aftermarket fenders, because correct me if I'm wrong but weren't the factory front fenders made of plastic on these cars? Or not the Intrepid? I worked with a lady who had a 96 Eagle Vision and I did her brakes for her, and I remember the plastic fenders cracking, and she couldn't find replacements.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mine is a 1997, I just bought it barely 2 months ago. Lucked out and found it for sale a local salvage yard. Yes, SALVAGE yard. They sometimes sell cars that are still roadworthy, and this one obviously is. It only has 78k miles on it. I thought that HAD to be the wrong mileage but everything I'm seeing actually confirms that the miles are indeed correct. The interior apart from the headliner is in absolutely MINT condition. Not even any holes/wear marks in the carpet around the gas/brake pedals. The paperwork indicated one owner, purchased NEW in January 1997. I can tell it's been wrecked a few times or at least in very minor accidents, both bumpers, both front fenders, and the hood all show signs of being repainted at some point. I also think these are aftermarket fenders, because correct me if I'm wrong but weren't the factory front fenders made of plastic on these cars? Or not the Intrepid? I worked with a lady who had a 96 Eagle Vision and I did her brakes for her, and I remember the plastic fenders cracking, and she couldn't find replacements.

View attachment 42121
I've never hear of plastic fenders on Intrepids - I know mine are metal. You seem to have been very fortunate in your find. I hope driving it brings as much pleasure to you as mine has to me.
 

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Maybe it's just the Eagle Visions that got the plastic fenders? Or maybe it's only earlier year models? Oh well, at least I have metal, and that's all that matters to me. LOL!
And yes, I'm VERY fortunate to have found this car, especially in this crazy market where ANY car that runs and drives, regardless if it's beat to hell and has 300k miles, are selling for $3000-$3500 for RAGGEDY cars! I feel like I hit the jackpot when I saw this for sale for $1900. I needed a vehicle pretty fast because the engine went out on my truck. Every engine place I called said they were on backorder till at LEAST January or February. So I started looking for a cheap used car, and I finally lucked out and found this one. The suspension and subframe bushings were completely shot, and the headliner was falling, along with faded peeling paint. It looked like crap and rode like crap, but it RUNS absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I knew I could easily fix all the suspension and subframe bushings, so I didn't hesitate to purchase it, especially when I found it that the 78k miles was actually accurate. The previous owners obviously left the car out in the weather and sun it's entire life and it shows. Weathered paint, leaky gaskets, rotted rubber bushings.....these are all problems on a 25yr old car REGARDLESS of the mileage. Other than a few leaks, the bad suspension and bushings, the faded/peeling paint (and some dents on the passenger side), the only other issue is an AC actuator in the dash that is clunking/clicking when you start the car and when you shut it off. Had pretty much the same issue on my Suburban, and it was an easy fix. The problem with the Intrepid is parts availability. I can NOT find an AC mode actuator for a 25yr old Intrepid ANYWHERE! I can't even find any of these cars in the junkyards around me. I have only found a few 2nd gen cars, but ZERO 1st gen cars. Speaking of which, I need to make a separate thread asking for help locating one. Maybe, just MAYBE someone has some 1st gen cars in a salvage yard near them. (fingers crossed)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Maybe it's just the Eagle Visions that got the plastic fenders? Or maybe it's only earlier year models? Oh well, at least I have metal, and that's all that matters to me. LOL!
And yes, I'm VERY fortunate to have found this car, especially in this crazy market where ANY car that runs and drives, regardless if it's beat to hell and has 300k miles, are selling for $3000-$3500 for RAGGEDY cars! I feel like I hit the jackpot when I saw this for sale for $1900. I needed a vehicle pretty fast because the engine went out on my truck. Every engine place I called said they were on backorder till at LEAST January or February. So I started looking for a cheap used car, and I finally lucked out and found this one. The suspension and subframe bushings were completely shot, and the headliner was falling, along with faded peeling paint. It looked like crap and rode like crap, but it RUNS absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I knew I could easily fix all the suspension and subframe bushings, so I didn't hesitate to purchase it, especially when I found it that the 78k miles was actually accurate. The previous owners obviously left the car out in the weather and sun it's entire life and it shows. Weathered paint, leaky gaskets, rotted rubber bushings.....these are all problems on a 25yr old car REGARDLESS of the mileage. Other than a few leaks, the bad suspension and bushings, the faded/peeling paint (and some dents on the passenger side), the only other issue is an AC actuator in the dash that is clunking/clicking when you start the car and when you shut it off. Had pretty much the same issue on my Suburban, and it was an easy fix. The problem with the Intrepid is parts availability. I can NOT find an AC mode actuator for a 25yr old Intrepid ANYWHERE! I can't even find any of these cars in the junkyards around me. I have only found a few 2nd gen cars, but ZERO 1st gen cars. Speaking of which, I need to make a separate thread asking for help locating one. Maybe, just MAYBE someone has some 1st gen cars in a salvage yard near them. (fingers crossed)
My biggest issue is also finding parts, especially from cars in a junkyard. When I first got the car, there weren't many in the yards. As the car aged a bit, I could almost always find at least one (sometimes multiples) of the 1st Gen Intrepids. Now they are almost never there. I did luck out when one came into a junkyard near me the week before Christmas. I've gotten so many parts from it that it probably won't remain in the yard much longer.

I have several sites that I use for parts. So far, I haven't been unable to find any part that I've needed.
 

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my 95 intrepid had plastic front fenders.
it was just the early cars.
i don't think they had them in 96 and after.
or maybe early 96.
i never came across another with plastic fenders.
 

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Maybe it's just the Eagle Visions that got the plastic fenders? Or maybe it's only earlier year models? Oh well, at least I have metal, and that's all that matters to me. LOL!
And yes, I'm VERY fortunate to have found this car, especially in this crazy market where ANY car that runs and drives, regardless if it's beat to hell and has 300k miles, are selling for $3000-$3500 for RAGGEDY cars! I feel like I hit the jackpot when I saw this for sale for $1900. I needed a vehicle pretty fast because the engine went out on my truck. Every engine place I called said they were on backorder till at LEAST January or February. So I started looking for a cheap used car, and I finally lucked out and found this one. The suspension and subframe bushings were completely shot, and the headliner was falling, along with faded peeling paint. It looked like crap and rode like crap, but it RUNS absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I knew I could easily fix all the suspension and subframe bushings, so I didn't hesitate to purchase it, especially when I found it that the 78k miles was actually accurate. The previous owners obviously left the car out in the weather and sun it's entire life and it shows. Weathered paint, leaky gaskets, rotted rubber bushings.....these are all problems on a 25yr old car REGARDLESS of the mileage. Other than a few leaks, the bad suspension and bushings, the faded/peeling paint (and some dents on the passenger side), the only other issue is an AC actuator in the dash that is clunking/clicking when you start the car and when you shut it off. Had pretty much the same issue on my Suburban, and it was an easy fix. The problem with the Intrepid is parts availability. I can NOT find an AC mode actuator for a 25yr old Intrepid ANYWHERE! I can't even find any of these cars in the junkyards around me. I have only found a few 2nd gen cars, but ZERO 1st gen cars. Speaking of which, I need to make a separate thread asking for help locating one. Maybe, just MAYBE someone has some 1st gen cars in a salvage yard near them. (fingers crossed)


Early Builds got Plastic fenders, but later on were all moved to metal due to fitment issues.

Clunking from actuator is most likely the recirulating act located passenger side. Kinda a PITA to get too. Wanna say has three 8 mm screws holding it in.
 

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My Co-Worker's Eagle Vision was a 1995 I believe, and it had the plastic fenders. I remember it didn't have an OBDII port, and those didn't start till at least 1996. So they must have switched to metal fenders in 1996, or mid year 1996.
Why was plastic fenders all the rage back then? I know Saturn's all had them, along with almost every other body panel on a Saturn. My brother had a 1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille and it had plastic fenders. He had a blowout on the highway and it literally destroyed the fender. He said it looked like potato chip flying everywhere. Lol! Luckily he was able to easily find one at a salvage back then (this was around 1998 or 99)
 

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My Co-Worker's Eagle Vision was a 1995 I believe, and it had the plastic fenders. I remember it didn't have an OBDII port, and those didn't start till at least 1996. So they must have switched to metal fenders in 1996, or mid year 1996.
Why was plastic fenders all the rage back then? I know Saturn's all had them, along with almost every other body panel on a Saturn. My brother had a 1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille and it had plastic fenders. He had a blowout on the highway and it literally destroyed the fender. He said it looked like potato chip flying everywhere. Lol! Luckily he was able to easily find one at a salvage back then (this was around 1998 or 99)

ECO friendly. I wanna say ChyCo actually won an award for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Early Builds got Plastic fenders, but later on were all moved to metal due to fitment issues.

Clunking from actuator is most likely the recirulating act located passenger side. Kinda a PITA to get too. Wanna say has three 8 mm screws holding it in.
Are there any threads on how to correct this? My Haynes manual doesn't seem to have anything on this, as well as on a number of other things - or maybe I just haven't been able to find it.
 

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Are there any threads on how to correct this? My Haynes manual doesn't seem to have anything on this, as well as on a number of other things - or maybe I just haven't been able to find it.
Either unplug the actuator, or replace it. I typically had to use 1/4 drive and ratchet wrenches to get at it.

Here is copied directly from the FSM (Factory Service Manual) from a 1994 (Although all 1G LH are same in this manner)

Motor vehicle Mode of transport Font Auto part Line art



The recirculation door actuator is located on the
right side of the heater housing (Fig. 2).
The recirculation door actuator is an electric motor.
It mechanically positions the recirculation door in
either the open or closed position. The recirculation
door actuator does not have a feedback signal. The
outside air/recirc door actuator is not serviceable and
must be replaced if found to be defective.

REMOVE AND INSTALL
(1) Disconnect battery
(2) Remove floor console or instrument panel center
lower cover.
(3) Remove lower instrument panel assembly.
(4) Remove body controller at right side of instrument
panel.
(5) Remove actuator retaining screws. Pull actuator
straight off recirculation door shaft. Upon removal,
note the shaft position of the actuator, because the
shaft on this motor is keyed. When installing new
actuator, its shaft must be positioned in the same
location.
(6) Disconnect electrical connection.
(7) To install reverse removal procedure.
 

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Here is only photos I have I can find that kinda shows something.

This is what the lower dash remove looks like. I do not have any direct photos of the actual actuator. Dropping the lower dash Isn't that bad. I wanna say I have maanged to do the act without doing it but has been so long I am unsure.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here is only photos I have I can find that kinda shows something.

This is what the lower dash remove looks like. I do not have any direct photos of the actual actuator. Dropping the lower dash Isn't that bad. I wanna say I have maanged to do the act without doing it but has been so long I am unsure.
View attachment 42127
Really appreciate this.
 

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I did the exact same thing with the headliner on my 95 Intrepid. When I got the car it had 58k on it but was parked for 8 years in TN because the main buss was down and the dealer could not fix it for my father in law so he parked it until I got it. Found out the compass was shorted in the overhead console taking out the buss and the BCM. Anyways I ground the old sagging cloth and foam headliner off using a green roll lock gasket disk on an air tool , If you grind too aggressively you will remove the substrate and when you put the new liner on it will not sit flat, ask me how I know that. I also asked around and several shops in my area said they would do it but only if I took the liner out, apparently they know about breaking clips. I went to JoAnn fabrics and bought my material as it was a very close match to the original at a great price. I too used the spray adhesive and other than the sun visors mine looks good and has stayed up.
My friend works at Chrysler and was on the LH program back in the day and told me when my fender cracked that they had a terrible reject rate on them from the supplier. After the factory found that Canadian fenders were shattering under warranty due to their extreme cold environment, they switched to all metal for the Canadian market and late year 95 switched to all metal for the entire line as they were trashing 3 out out of every 10 for quality issues. I sourced a set of 96's for my 95.
 
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