Monday, February 18, 2008

Corners on the Ceiling

I distinctly remember the 1969 Plymouth Satellite station wagon my dad purchased when I was a teen. It was brown with gold sides and mag wheels. That was the coolest car I remember my dad owning. It had a see-through, inline fuel filter next to the carburetor on the top of the 318 cubic inch V8. I always thought that was fun to watch. The only time I got to drive it was in the parking lot of our church when I was 15 (before my driver's license). Unfortunately, I couldn't remember which pedal was the brake and got to make the acquaintance of a "friendly" neighborhood attorney. But that's a different story.

That car comes to mind whenever I own a car with a hanging headliner. Previous to dad's purchase, someone had installed heavy fabric (maybe carpet) on the ceiling and had it held up with plastic strips. I don't recall if it was a professional job or not. But I do remember the strips falling down once in a while.

When the Turbo needed a new headliner, I was sure that something like that would work. But I never found that "something," and so ended up paying a specialist to install new fabric for around $400. I've heard that was a pretty good deal. And, honestly, it did look exceptional after he was done. But when the Jaguar's headliner fell down this summer, I wasn't quite ready to part with several hundred dollars again. There had to be a better way.

My summer courier job took me to Chardon, Ohio one day. And while I waited for my next assignment, I began thinking through the headliner problem again. If somebody could hold up the headliner of a 1969 wagon with plastic strips, surely something in this store would hold up my flimsy cloth headliner. I'm not sure if it was one of the workers or my own ideas, but that day, I purchased several lengths of clear, plastic, corner guard. This is the protective guard you affix to the corner where two walls come together in your house.

The fix was somewhat temporary as the wind (or my head) would often knock one of the supports down and I'd have to pull over and fix it. But as I got used to the vertical adjustment of my seats and had the air conditioning unit fixed, things started to work fairly well. Keeping the windows up reduced the chances of them falling down. But when I put the car up for sale (ebay), I knew this would be an issue.

Last Saturday, I visited Joughin's Hardware in Painesville and purchased five or six clear, plastic, corner guards and went to work. The secret is to measure each segment of the ceiling separately. Depending on the spot, you may be able to leave the peice long by sliding the corner edge under the trim work. Most importantly, you must make it a tight fit. Loose supports eventually fall and it usually happens at an inopportune moment.

As you can see, the ceiling looks pretty good. And it only cost about $12. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

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