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I'm currently experiencing a bad water leak in my new CRX SE that needs immediate attention. I've isolated the leak to the roof area of the car, but I'm uncertain if it is coming in from a bad sunroof drain, or from another cause. As a result, I need to drop the headliner panel in order to trace down the source of the leak. Here's a brief "how to" article on how to do this (without bending or damaging the headliner panel).

Tools needed:

Philips screwdrivers (regular size and large)
Torx screwdriver
Panel separator tool (ideal) or thin needle nose pliers (less than ideal, but workable)
Thin knife.

Removing the Headliner Panel

First, open the sunroof (if applicable) and pull off the fuzzy trim around the sunroof opening. Be careful not to kink or crush the trim, as it is difficult to get it to fit right again if you do.



Gently squeeze the clear dome light cover, and pull it off. Remove the single philips screw that holds the dome light unit in place and gently pop it off the rear roof panel. Put the dome light cover and screw aside for safe keeping. There is no need to disconnect the wires from the dome light...leave it hanging.



The next task is to remove the rear roof panel where the dome light was mounted. This panel is held up with clips that will pop out if enough pressure is applied. Start in the middle and gently squeeze your fingers under the panel and pull it away from the roof. As each clip separates, you will hear a pop. Work out towards the edges, one clip at a time. Apply even pressure with as much surface area of your hand as possible to avoid cracking the panel.

Note: The rear view mirror assembly on my car is the same as USDM cars with pillar mounted seatbelts. If you have door mounted seatbelts, your rear view mirror assembly will be a bit different. If you have removed one before, please post instructions below so that this writeup can be helpful to others with door mounted belts as well.

Now to remove the rear view mirror (pillar mounted seat belt cars only). Grab the mirror base and yank on it (slightly to one side or the other). It is held up by a metal clip...and it can sometimes get stuck on there very tight. The plastic cover on the base does come off, but it's not advisable to remove it until after you remove the mirror from the roof (to avoid damaging the fragile headliner panel). The mounting plate and clip are held up to the roof with 3 philips screws. Remove them as well.



Next, pull the sun visors down and turn them towards the side windows. The retaining mount and the swivel mount are both held onto the roof with torx screws (star shaped screws). Unscrew the torx screws and pull the retaining mount off the roof. Now unscrew the torx screws on the swivel mount and gently pull the sun visors off the roof. You may need to turn them towards the side windows in order to separate them from the roof.



You will now notice that there are 3 white panel clips holding up the headliner panel. One is underneath where the mirror base was. The other two are at the rear of the headliner panel. Use your panel separator (or other substitute tool) to carefully pull the clips out of the roof. Take your time and try to salvage the clips if possible. If you break them, you will need to buy replacements. The headliner panel should now only be held up by the a-pillar panels on each side of the car.



Using a thin knife, gently pop off the two cover panels on the "holy crap" handle on the passenger's side of the car. Underneath these covers will be two large philips screws. Unscrew the screws and remove the "holy crap" handle.



Now to remove the a-pillar plastic panels. First separate the door trim around the top of the door opening. You do not need to remove the trim all the way...just far enough that you can uncover the edge of the a-pillar panel along the roof section. The a-pillar plastic panels are held on by the same clips as the rear roof panel. As before, gently slide your fingers under the middle of the panel and carefully pull the panel off, one clip at a time. You do not need to remove the panel all the way...just far enough that it no longer covers the edges of the headliner panel.



You can now slide the headliner panel forward towards the windshield, and it should come down easily. Carefully maneuver it out of the car and put it away some place safe so it doesn't get damaged.

You have now exposed the sunroof pan and/or the inside of the metal roof skin.

Reassembly is the exact reverse of removal with one exception. The rear view mirror mounts up in a different manner than it was removed. You will need to remove the plastic cover on the base of the mirror. And then, with a large philips screwdriver, you will need to remove the large mounting pin on the base of the mirror. You can then place the mounting plate on the base of the mirror, along with the mounting clip, and screw in the mounting pin. You can then screw the mirror assembly back up to the roof and reinstall the base plastic cover.



During the reassembly, you will need to reattach the a-pillar panels and rear roof panel. Make sure that the clips are lined up with the holes on the a-pillar and roof. Then gently give the panel a wack with the palm of your hand overtop each clip. If it is lined up correctly, each clip should seat itself with ease.

You will also need to carefully reinstall the fuzzy trim around the sunroof opening. The "joint" in the trim (where the two ends attach) goes to the rear of the opening. Take your time. It can sometimes take a bit to get it lined up correctly. I've always had the best luck by starting with the rear part and lining the joint up in the middle and getting the corners lined up from there.

I hope you find this How to helpful. If you have any questions or comments about this How to, or if you have an easier or alternate way to do things, be sure to make a post about it.
 

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i just did this about a month ago... i shoulda used my camera and made my first HOW-TO.

at least the how-to guru beat me to it, and did it better than i would have done :) i had a water leak too, but then i ended up painting my liner black before replacing it.

nice write up, btw
 

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I did this today. For the rear-view mirror with door mounted belts, you can pop the cover off the front to expose the 3 phillips head screws that hold it on. There are 2 tabs toward the windshield side you need to push in, and then pull it down and forward to get it off. I'd also like to add somethinig if you are removing the sunroof drains. When you put the tubes back in with the little wire clips that tighten them, make sure the 2 tabs on each clamp are facing upward, otherwise they will make a little dent in your headliner, I suppose they could come through if not pushed hard enough.
 
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