Cutting clean holes in factory headliner for puck lights?

Onefin

Active member
I cannot seem to find my notes of what people have used with success.

Method or tool that has been good for cutting clean holes in factory headliner for puck lights?

Standard hole saw?
Hole saw running backwards?
Fabric hole saw? Link?


Thank you.
 

Montucky

Member
I don't know if it will work for headliners, but for my wall panels I found that if I marked the circle/shape and then heated up a scribe with a torch allowed me to cleanly cut through the fabric and foam while also cauterizing the fabric so that it didn't fray.I could then use a hole say through the plywood to create a clean cut. Might work for the headliner the same way?
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
I used a hole saw successfully on a dozen holes. Any minor fraying of the headliner is covered by the puck light flange. Start slow increasing speed once you are thru the fabric.

One word of warning from my experience. My soldering iron touched the ceiling while wiring the puck lights. Instant cigarette burn.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

hein

Van Guru
I have used a hot knife to cut upholstery and plastic. Use in well ventilated area. I imagine one could heat some thin wall tubing and use that to melt a properly sized hole.

All the best,
Hein
DIYvan
541 490 5098
 
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H.Mont

Member
I second the hole saw run in reverse method. I used the square section I cut out for my fan to test this method and it worked fine.
 

Onefin

Active member
Thank you everyone for the responses....I’ll pull the headliner down again this weekend and get after it!
 

asimba2

2016 4cyl High Roof 144
Onefin--I broke a couple of clips in removing the headliner but found these replacements work just fine: https://amzn.to/2O6igI4 A bag of 30 of these cost about the same as 1 clip from MB.
I used the foam cutter for installing my upper cabinets but it was too small for my overhead lights, so I just used a utility knife. It's not pretty but the bezel of the lights cover it. The last video I posted on youtube (linked below) showed my factory headliner/light install.
 

Shawn182

Active member
Also if you are putting in a roof vent...use that scrap cutout piece as a test for whatever method you use for the hole to see results without any consequences.

Did that test with a regular hole saw on the scrap to see the outcome before making the actual hole with no turning back.
 

kcshoots

Active member
I had no issues with a high quality hole saw; cut cleanly and without any fraying, tearing or pulling on the material.
 

H.Mont

Member
I used foam cutter, clean hole but tool was expensive. Edges of my holes are exposed so clean cut was necessary for me. Sacrificing a hole saw by grinding the outside edge would make a cut cleaner using saw in reverse.

Looks like you are doing the Karavan install. Awesome. I didn't like the expense of the foam cutter which forced my hand at reverse hole saw cutting.
 

H.Mont

Member
Onefin--I broke a couple of clips in removing the headliner but found these replacements work just fine: https://amzn.to/2O6igI4 A bag of 30 of these cost about the same as 1 clip from MB.
I used the foam cutter for installing my upper cabinets but it was too small for my overhead lights, so I just used a utility knife. It's not pretty but the bezel of the lights cover it. The last video I posted on youtube (linked below) showed my factory headliner/light install.
Hey Ken - I just today discovered your new video on the headliner. Great job, as usual. I am doing the same thing of using the headliner, but have a couple other questions in regard to wiring the lights that you did not cover in the video. I left a message on your youtube channel, but here it is again. I am wondering how you wire the dimmer and the "b" pillar switch. Assume it is a two way switch, but wondering if you have any wiring diagram of it? Also, what do you recommend for an LED light bulb in the OEM overhead lights? And how did you wire those into a switch to change to the red light? Does that work with the MB wiring? Sorry if this is too much, but I am at this point in my build and trying to keep ahead of it all.
Thanks -
Hugh
 

asimba2

2016 4cyl High Roof 144
Karavan install?, I am not sure about that. Yes, foam cutter was expensive. I did try hole saw before going into the foam cutter, didn't look good.
The overhead cabinet install is 100% George's design. I had my own design and quite frankly George's was better. With his permission I credited him in the install video.
 

asimba2

2016 4cyl High Roof 144
Hey Ken - I just today discovered your new video on the headliner. Great job, as usual. I am doing the same thing of using the headliner, but have a couple other questions in regard to wiring the lights that you did not cover in the video. I left a message on your youtube channel, but here it is again. I am wondering how you wire the dimmer and the "b" pillar switch. Assume it is a two way switch, but wondering if you have any wiring diagram of it? Also, what do you recommend for an LED light bulb in the OEM overhead lights? And how did you wire those into a switch to change to the red light? Does that work with the MB wiring? Sorry if this is too much, but I am at this point in my build and trying to keep ahead of it all.
Thanks -
Hugh
Thanks Hugh. The dimmer switch has inputs for power and ground, then outputs for positive and negative to the light(s). All I did was install a rocker switch inline between the dimmer and the lights themselves. I interrupted the ground. The idea being that lighting can be turned on and off at the switch on the slider door as you enter and exit the vehicle. But when getting in bed you can use the dimmer and turn the lighting completely off without leaving bed. Inverse in the morning.

The LED bulbs I used were discontinued, or at least the link no longer works. The VS30 Sprinters have factory LEDs that fit in the same headliner and some of my friends have purchased those from the dealership for apparently a reasonable price. Something worth investigating.

The red light is a custom affair. I installed a Cree LED on a heatsink in the factory light housing, powered from a Luxdrive 350mA driver and hooked to a switch on my house battery system. It's separate from the factory lighting even though it's in the same housing. Let me know if you need more details. It's not as complicated as it sounds.

Hope that helps!
Ken
 

The Wee Beastie

New member
Does anyone know what the headliner is made of, underneath the material? I need to find the right primer and paint, having removed the fabric. The "all purpose covers everything" primer I tried just soaked right in. After second coat, it was only slightly opaque. 3rd coat got it a little more white, but who wants 4-5 primer coats? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.
 

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