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C Cab Truck Headliner Installation Help, by Skip Lackie

Installation hints for C-cab truck headliners, part numbers ST002 and ST003

These headliner kits fit either 1949-54 or 1955-64 Studebaker C-cab trucks. The #ST002 is designed to fit 1949-53 2R series trucks; these trucks have a two-piece windshield and a flat rear window. The #ST003 is designed to fit 1955 E-series though 1964 8E-series trucks with a curved windshield and a larger, slightly curved rear window. Owners of 1954 3R-series trucks should use the 2R headliner kit and trim the front edges of the two large roof pieces to match the contour of the windshield header panel. The old roof panels can be used as templates. The large roof panels of all headliner kits fit into the notch in the header panel to which the sun visors are attached. They are then held in place with sheet metal screws.

Installation is much easier if the rear window is out. The rear window weather strip covers over the edges of the adjacent panels. Make sure that the tack strips around the doors are in good condition with no gaps. Welting around the door openings should be attached before headliner installation. The original headliner panels were attached with #8, round-head sheet metal screws in the windshield header panel and around the rear window and the doors. Using small pieces of masking tape to mark the locations of the original holes drilled in the sheet metal can be helpful in showing the exact location of the original panels.

The two large roof panels cannot be made to mesh together completely until the curvature of the truck roof forces them together. However, some preparation can make the installation of the two large pieces go more easily. Lay the two pieces out on a flat surface and glue the back 12 inches or so of the large panels together. The panels must be bent to conform to the shape of the truck roof, and most of this curvature occurs about a foot forward of the back edges. Kinking of the panels can be avoided by carefully pre-bending the metal strip in one of the assembled panels after gluing over a large round object, like a small trash can.

Installation of the two large roof panels in the truck is much easier if two people are available for this operation. (If one of them has long fingernails, so much the better.) The rest of the installation can easily be done by one person. The rear edges of the large panels are held in place by sheet metal screws that are usually covered over by the rear window rubber weather strip. Putting these screws loosely in place and then hooking the panels behind them will allow time for the panels to be centered, and for their front edges to be screwed in place.

The two panels that bend around the rear corners of the cab and are cut out for the rear window go in next. They can be pre-bent by placing them between two fixed objects with a round weight, like a 2-liter soda, imposing curvature. If the old panels are available, use them as guides. First, attach the edge closest to the door, snug up against the round door welting. Then attach the other edge in place around the back window.

The panels behind the doors go on next. The top screw on each is shared with the above panels. 1949-54 3R kits have an additional panel that goes below the rear window. 1955-64 kits have additional thin strips that go along the front edge of the door openings.

The pieces over the doors go on last and cover over the joints between the other panels. Carefully test locate in place and bend back the end closest to the windshield to fit against the ridge in the header panel. 2R/3R only: If the pointed end intrudes too far into the rear window weather strip, it can be trimmed back. Studebaker had to do that on most trucks. Tack in place around the door welt, then install the screws at each end, and attach the aluminum trim mouldings over the doors.

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