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Totally non-standard headliner type, apparently.... help?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by neroden, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    #1 neroden, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
    After getting the news that every single Model S will come with a headliner which I'm allergic to (Alcantara == polyester), I inquired about the nature of the headliner, because headliner replacement is usually relatively cheap and simple as custom work goes.

    This is what I got back:

    "The headliner is approximately 3.0 thick sheet molded compound with fabric laminate covering that is bonded to the substrate in the tool. It can be re-covered (over the top), but the existing Alcantara cannot be removed without damaging the panel. It would difficult to completely pull off the fabric and replace it. I also inquired about a "blank" headliner delivered with no Alcantara. This will not be possible because the material acts as a mold release in the forming process. "

    This appears to be completely nonstandard, unless I'm misreading the message.

    Unless I can get specific information on how to re-cover this sort of headliner, or over-cover it with non-permeable material, I will probably have to cancel my reservation, because custom shops won't know how to do anything with this headliner.

    Yuck. :crying: Can anyone help.

    EDIT: from what I can tell, standard modern headliners are foam-backed material glued to a plastic (or whatever) board, and are normally scraped off very carefully at the custom shop. It's not clear what can be done with Tesla's headliner design, however, as it sounds like they've done something different.

    This is make-or-break for whether I can get the car or not; if it's impossible to redo the interior so I'm not allergic to it, I just have to cancel my reservation and wait for a company to come out with an electric car where it is possible to redo the interior. Anyone with deeper understanding of what Tesla is saying, who thinks there's a straightforward way to fix the headliner, let me know.
     
  2. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    If the headliner is covered and it's not something you touch directly, does it still cause problems? I imagine it must be next to impossible to find a car that doesn't have some polyester so that must be tough.
     
  3. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    It sounds like they can add a fabric layer of your choice over the top. Are you allergic to alcantara specifically? Unless it creates something that falls off (like alcantara dust) I don't see how you can be directly allergic to the fabric if you can't touch it. I'm not trying to disagree with you, I'm just trying to understand the parameters of your allergy and needs. As dsm363 pointed out, plastic is everywhere and all around you.

    If it's that the fuzziness of the fabric attracts dust, maybe you can coat the fabric in some way...
     
  4. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    Alcantara is 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane any fibers released from the cloth could affect him and I think all cloths releases tiny amounts of its fibers over time, if the alcantara cant be scraped off the headliner best would be to cover the alcantara with something else that keeps any fibers from getting in to the air. The problem is gluing something to the alcantara and have it look smooth but it should be doable. Another source for allergies are compounds released from the substance when heated, in older cars you can sometimes smell them when the car has been sitting in the sun. The panoramic roof would cut out a large part of the alcantara and without the large flat alcantara surface it might be easier to cover the rest of the fabric and have it look good.
     
  5. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    That's an excellent thought, Bearman. Minimally, neroden should consider the pano roof to minimize the alcantara.
     
  6. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    With the pano roof, maybe the headliner is small enough that it is easier to be completely tear it out and have a custom new one made by a custom shop?
     
  7. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    #7 Tommy, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
    In reading the various posts on the forums, I was left with the impression that it was only the Signatures that were getting the alcantara, if that were the case a production model might be the solution for you. I guess I would double verify what the headliner is made of and talk to several custom upholsters about a solution. Sounds like you're on top of this already, hate to see you not get your car thou.
     
  8. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    That does not sound different from any other headliner. Removing the old is difficult and time consuming, but once done, recovering it should not be a big deal.
     
  9. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    I think neroden has a catch-22 situation here. I think he had mentioned earlier that General Prod cars have a lot of polyester in the door linings and such while all that's leather in Sigs. So, dropping down to P from S is not an option either for him, I guess.
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Why not remove the liner and seal the alcantara. Either by a spray plastic/paint/rubber/latex/whatever or skin it with a shrink wrap cling material or a vacuum bag. Then cover the now safe form with baby seal skin.
     
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  11. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    <--- This is exactly what happens. Then I breathe it.

    I'm fine with solid plastics, the problem is that polyester fibers really do "bleed" small amounts of polyester all the time.

    Further, the headliner goes all the way down along the A and B pillars and it's going to be hard to avoid touching it while using the seatbelts etc.

    If it can be covered in a *non-permeable* layer and then with a fabric I'm not allergic to, I'll be fine. I need to be able to glue something to the top of the Alcantara though, and I have no idea what sort of glue one uses for that... and I'm also having trouble thinking of an appropriate non-permeable layer.

    Regarding general production, apparently the general production car has a polyester blend (microfiber) headliner, which is affixed in the *same way* as the Alcantara is affixed in the Signature (melted onto the plastic, I guess).

    So I now have the problem of how to glue a layer of nonpermeable material on top of the fabric while having it actually come out OK.

    Lloyd:
    So I may be misreading the message? That would be good news. It did sound like they were directly melting the back side of the Alcantara/microfiber to the plastic in the plastic mold, without leaving a join of foam-to-plastic at which to scrape the fabric off.

    vfx:
    Now, that's what I'm looking for! Thank you very much, vfx. :smile: You've just given me a list of possible ways to seal the stuff. I would like to pick your brains on which of these is most viable. (Sticks best, most likely to give a smooth result, thin enough it won't interfere with reinstalling the headliner.)

    Or whatever. :wink: I think I'll forgo the baby seal skin, kind of expensive.
     
  12. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Headliner will cover the entire A and B pillars down to the bottom of the windows. (Yeah, yuck, I know.) Lots of custom shapes there, better not to try to remold them -- that's getting into genuinely expensive ground.
     
  13. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Are there any cars that come from the factory the way you want it without custom work?
     
  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    What do you currently do to deal with seatbelts and carpet?
     
  15. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Pretty much, no. The question is how easy they are to alter.

    Some cars are pretty nearly all hard plastics, which means very little work.
     
  16. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    As for the carpet, it is, luckily enough, *nylon*.

    The seatbelts themselves, due to what I'd loosely describe as "waxed" design, don't seem to bleed much; surfaces like that can also be polyurethaned to make them even less likely to bleed fibers. This helps with things like ropes and pull cords as well. I'm usually pulling on the hard plastic & metal bit so I don't touch them with my skin much. I haven't actually checked my current car's seatbelt material now that you mention it; checking involves cutting a sample out which I don't want to do with a seatbelt. Feeling them, I suspect my seatbelts are nylon rather than polyester. Thank you for reminding me to check what material Tesla is using for seatbelts.

    A similar waxy covering might work on the headliner, depending on what will stick to it. But I'm not sure what will stick to it.

    At the moment my car's seats are simply covered over with a couple of layers of cloth, the headliner is dripping on me, and so I'm still allergic to the car I'm driving. I had my allergy diagnosed only about 2 years ago, while I was already planning to get a new car, so I figured I'd invest in allergy-proofing the new car rather than the old one. Meanwhile, I had to replace most of my wardrobe, my sheets, my bed, all my upholstered furniture, and my drapes, and that's taken quite a while, though it's made a large improvement in my life.
     
  17. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I hope you get it worked out. Even if they can't do a one-off custom Model S for you, hopefully the custom work you'll need to to isn't any more than a comparable car.
     
  18. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    It's an unusual allergy - any word from your doctor regarding why they think you acquired it? I know latex allergies are common among those who use latex gloves -looking around at the docs on this site- ... sounds like you're taking a very commonsense approach to reducing your exposure.
     
  19. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    It must be a rare allergy and you're right, latex allergy is more common and can be very serious. Is there anything like those allergy shots you can do weekly to desensitize yourself to this allergy? I don't know which is why I'm asking. I'd imagine you'll already met with an allergy specialist though since you said it was diagnosed 2 years ago.
     
  20. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    I hope you were diagnosed by a true Allergy Specialist, and not a holistic 'doctor' that hooked you up to electrodes and tested muscle weakness or conductivity! If you are willing to share, Symptoms, Tests given and results? The process of making Polyester involves solvents and reactants. If not mixed to proper proportions or to vent the solvents then unreacted material may be present in improperly made material. Once reacted Polyester is extreemly inert.
     

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