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I installed my ceiling support crosswise vs lengthwise but now I'm regretting I didn't check if it would line up (lengthwise). I planned on using replacements plastic fasteners that were a little longer so my wood paneling would be flush with the headliner; like the picture below plus holes aligned with the headliner. Turns out it's harder to find longer fasteners (1 inch +), so it will hold the panel. Has anyone installed blind fasteners on this support rib above the cargo tray? (e.g expansion nuts, rivnuts or mollys). My rivnut tool won't fit so I am trying to find another solution here.
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This may not help your situation, but I stopped my ceiling at the rear edge of the headliner. I shaped a wood ceiling rib to match the roof curvature and glued it to the roof just aft of the headliner with construction adhesive. The ceiling panels attach to it instead of the metal roof rib under the headliner. I also made another wood ceiling rib for the back of the van. I can post the curvature offsets for the roof if anyone is interested.
 

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Thanks for the insight @SteveSS, the curvature measurements would be awesome since I was just following this guide from Titan vans for their panel kit. I actually read your post and thought it was a great idea to avoid putting a screw through the roof, as some others did. I wanted to have more secure support above the cargo tray so I could mount a fold-down monitor mount above the passenger seat. Maybe I will have to find another location for that :)
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I found some threads about this but no detailed answers. @proeddie I read your response on another thread, did you remove the tray and use a manual rivnut tool? I am sure the $300 drill attachment will fit but I already purchased the manual astro tool. How to finish ceiling transition?
I did similar to @SteveSS used aluminum flat bar & it polishes up like chrome. If you wanted a wood “batten” instead of the aluminum bar, I think if the wood was thin enough it could conform to the mild curve.

I did not remove the shelf.

To drill & install rivnuts, I used an angle drill & hand angle rivnut install tool (the cheap ones).

One this page 3 of my build thread;


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Also stopped my ceiling at the headliner. To attach it I screwed a half dozen wood blocks into the back (rear-facing) edge of the metal rib (that the front headliner wraps around) so I wouldn't have to worry about the curvature. Then I screwed through the paneling from below into those wood blocks, that are just thick enough for the panel to be flush with the headliner.
 

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Also stopped my ceiling at the headliner. To attach it I screwed a half dozen wood blocks into the back (rear-facing) edge of the metal rib (that the front headliner wraps around) so I wouldn't have to worry about the curvature. Then I screwed through the paneling from below into those wood blocks, that are just thick enough for the panel to be flush with the headliner.
That's a simpler solution than mine. Being a boatbuilder, I approached it like a boat. Not always the easiest route. Here are the roof curve offsets, if anyone is still interested in doing it the hard way ;)
Horizontal distance from centre | Vertical offset (both in inches)
0 | 13/16
6 | 3/4
12 | 5/8
18 | 1/2
24 | 3/16
27 | 0
 

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That's a simpler solution than mine. Being a boatbuilder, I approached it like a boat. Not always the easiest route. Here are the roof curve offsets, if anyone is still interested in doing it the hard way ;)
Horizontal distance from centre | Vertical offset (both in inches)
0 | 13/16
6 | 3/4
12 | 5/8
18 | 1/2
24 | 3/16
27 | 0
My solution is simple because it was born out of laziness. ;-) Never get the 'hard' worker in the organization to fix a problem as the fix will often involve difficult workarounds, always requiring extra effort because that's what hard workers do - work hard! Get the laziest person (that you can still employ) on the case and the fix will often be simple, elegant, maybe even obvious, surprising almost everyone that it wasn't seen before. ;-) (not saying my solution is better in any way, was just easier for me)

As a boat builder you're always looking for that sweet line eh? My grandfather grew up in Dundee, Scotland, then went to Glasgow to study nautical engineering. He talked of being instructed back in the 1920's on ways to find that sweet line regarding nautical curves.
 

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This may not help your situation, but I stopped my ceiling at the rear edge of the headliner. I shaped a wood ceiling rib to match the roof curvature and glued it to the roof just aft of the headliner with construction adhesive. The ceiling panels attach to it instead of the metal roof rib under the headliner. I also made another wood ceiling rib for the back of the van. I can post the curvature offsets for the roof if anyone is interested.
I did the same, I glued a piece of wood to the roof and screwed the front of my ceiling into that.

I have a wood frame around the opening to the cab area to frame the cellular blind I use as a divider so I did not need anything on the lower part of the shelf. The frame also makes the sliding door opening square for the eventual installation of a sliding screen over the door (and provides a nice shelf over the door that I am going to make my mini-bar).
 

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Also stopped my ceiling at the headliner. To attach it I screwed a half dozen wood blocks into the back (rear-facing) edge of the metal rib (that the front headliner wraps around) so I wouldn't have to worry about the curvature. Then I screwed through the paneling from below into those wood blocks, that are just thick enough for the panel to be flush with the headliner.
That is essentially what I did. I seem to recall using a manual rivnut setter and put a block at each indented area in the headliner. Then a strip of plywood, screwed to the blocks served as a place to screw the front edge of the ceiling to.
For the rivnuts, I think the holes that were there from the push fasteners were a good size, so I used a wrench and bolt as my rivnut tool. Google "DIY rivnut tool" for lots of pics and Youtube how to.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to everyone's advice I now have the 6 holes drilled and 1/4-20 rivnuts inserted that align with the cargo tray headliner. After another trip to the Depot and Harbour Freight I had the right tools to make the job easy. My cordless drill and Astro rivnut tool definitely wouldn't fit with a regular 3/8" drill bit. Now I have a contraption of my Ryobi drill, a DeWalt right-angle attachment, and Milwaukee hex drill bits to fit the attachment. Usually Harbour Freight tools will self destruct after 1 job, but their "Threaded Insert Riveter" (SKU 1020) actually did a great job in the tight space with 1/4-20 rivnuts.
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