Custom Starlight Headliner

crazikyle

Test Drive
Location
Roswell
Hello everyone! I wanted to share my favorite mod I've ever done to my '04. A long time ago, I saw a Rolls-Royce with a starlight headliner, and have been in love with that ever since I saw it. I didn't think it was possible to do to a regular car, but after stumbling across a Youtube video of someone adding a starlight headliner to their truck, I jumped right into the project.
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To start, I bought two 450 strand, 13' units off Amazon. I wanted two so I could have multiple colors at once, and 900 total fiber optics seemed like a perfect amount for an Xterra roof. I also went to a junkyard and pulled a used headliner, so that if the project failed horribly, I always had my original one to go back to. I got the headliner reupholstered, because of course it needed to be reupholstered, and got to work.

Day one was planning and prep. I divided the headliner up into 8 sections, and put 112 strands in each section, with 4 extra. I did this so I would not lose count of how many holes I had plotted/drilled, and also to ensure there was an even distribution. After all 900 holes were plotted and drilled, I split the strands into manageable chunks. Each grid would be fed equally by both units, so I divvied each main fiber optic bundle into 8 sets of 112. That took a lot of time, but was well worth the investment in the end. Day one was about 8-9 hours.
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Day 2 saw me starting to feed the strands through. This was extremely time consuming and tedious. It took me about 10 hours to get about halfway done.
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Day three was more pushing and pulling strands through, but at least I was done with the worst of it all at the end of these 10 hours.
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Day four was finishing up the headliner and prepping for install. I used hot glue to secure all 900 strands in place, and trimmed them up a little bit so it went in a little easier. I didn't trim them all the way, so if some of them got snagged and pulled back, I could pull them through again. Day 4 was only about 6 hours.
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Day five was install day. It went pretty smooth, I pulled the old headliner out and put the new one up there. There is enough space for the fiber optics to fit above the headliner without any additional modifications. For all intents and purposes, it was a simple swap job.

The units I bought came with a remote and have a bluetooth app, but I wanted the operation to be hands free. I spliced into the power wire for the front 12v outlet, as that one gets power in acc mode. I ran a wire to the back, under the seats and carpet so it's not visible, and connected it to two female 12v outlets I purchased. I got everything hooked up and hidden behind trim panels, and when the system is off, you cannot tell there is anything out of the ordinary. The main units sit behind the wheel well, kind of behind the rear cubbies. There is one on each side.
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The fiber optics run up the D pillar, and fit perfectly. There is a little bit of light bleed between the trim and windows, but not enough to be a bother. I could probably easily stuff something there to fill the gap if I was interested.
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The units cycle through 7 colors at different speeds, and twinkle as well, so the color combination is always changing. Pictures and videos cannot do the project enough justice, and if you want a fun challenge, this is it. It's relatively cheap, as I only spent about $500 on this. Rolls-Royce charges $2k, and you don't even have the option of RGB with them. So suck it, Rolls-Royce. Total time was about 35 hours. I watched a lot of Seinfeld while doing this.
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CHUG

Skid Plates
Supporting Member
Wow. impressive work. That will make for a romantic date, under the stars... Add music to pulse with the lights..

sure gives a whole new meaning to Dome light!..

good job!
 

outback97

Wheeling
Supporting Member
Location
SLC, Utah
This turned out great. I don't think I'd have the patience but it looks awesome!

Dumb question maybe, but do you just snip off the extra with a diagonal cutter or nippers or something? What does the headliner look like in daylight... can you see the fiber optic cables, or do they just kind of blend into the headliner?
 

crazikyle

Test Drive
Location
Roswell
Dumb question maybe, but do you just snip off the extra with a diagonal cutter or nippers or something? What does the headliner look like in daylight... can you see the fiber optic cables, or do they just kind of blend into the headliner?
Yeah, that's pretty much what I used. I've heard people use toenail clippers, I don't know the name of what I used but it was essentially a more industrial set of toenail clippers.

As for when it is off, there are a few noticable spots where something looks off, either from a fiber optic I didn't trim down well enough, or from some loose fabric from the headliner. I could easily clean it up with another pass with the cutters and maybe a razor to trim the loose fabric, but it's not worth the hassle right now. But to answer your question, on a well executed hole and trim job, no, you can't see anything.

Wow. impressive work. That will make for a romantic date, under the stars... Add music to pulse with the lights..

sure gives a whole new meaning to Dome light!..

good job!
The units I got actually have a music mode, if I have the app open it can pulse the lights to the stereo system in the car. I haven't tried it yet, but it was an advertised feature.
 

kirk

Butterfly Wings
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
I'd like to share this and a link to your thread via the XN facebook page if that is okay with you.
 
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