BMW E39 Headliner Replacement DIY

IMG_4272I recently replaced the headliner in my E39 540i/6 with the Alcantara headliner exclusive to the E39 M5, and here is how I did it.

Objective:  Remove and reinstall the headliner.

Applicable Vehicles: 

  • 1997-2003 BMW E39 5-series: 523i, 525i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 540i, M5.

Parts required:  Replacement headliner.

Cost:  $100-$750

Difficulty:  Medium to High

Time Required:  Four to eight hours.

Procedure: To see how to do this for yourself, watch the embedded video below!

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Colton Frey

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11 thoughts on “BMW E39 Headliner Replacement DIY

  1. So, great video… I didn’t see what the roof looked like while the headliner was off. Is there much room for running an audio wire between the roof and the liner? Would the best path for the wire be along the drivers/passenger side or through the middle of the roof?

    • You would have room to run some wires through there… but I wouldn’t. If you’re going from the dash to the trunk, go under the door sill trim and behind the B pillar lower trim and then behind the rear seat (driver side bolster) there is a whole that you can push it through into the trunk to get the amp area. That’s the best way of running wires, and probably the easiest. I’ve got several in there on my car!

  2. My main problem is the sagging headliner on the sunroof SLIDING panel–I am not sure how to remove the panel. I took off the sunroof a month ago to replace one of the plastic parts which move back and forth when the glass part is tilted or slid, but I could not see how to take out the sliding panel to have it recovered. From your video, it looks like I would have to take out the plastic piece which holds the bellows and then lift out the sliding panel. Any more details beyond what you show–it looks like you skipped the exact procedure I am interested in– removing the sliding shade!

    • Hey John,

      The slider is removed by first removing the glass. First, tilt your sunroof.

      There are two rubber accordions (pass and drivers side) that attach to a slot on the underside of the glass. These need to be pulled out gently ( I broke one and paid $60 at the stealership).

      With the accordions out, there will be 3 small screws that attach the glass to the metal mechanism that raises the glass. Mark the position of the screws as this will help in aligning the glass later.

      The glass comes out pulling slightly back and up. There is a metal support with sort of a hinge towards the front of the sunroof, pay close attention as to how it hooks the leading edge of the glass.

      Then there are two flat sliders (for the sunshade) and two or three small screws per side (left and right) that attach the sunshade to the flat sliders. Once these screws are removed, the sunroof shade should lift out through the roof opening.

      Taken from:

  3. Would be nice to have some printable instructions as well, pretty hard to watch and constantly replay a video while doing something like this. But otherwise, nice guide 🙂

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