Putting in a new carpet involves more than just taking out the old one and installing new pieces in its place. Either way, you need to remove the seats, console, and other items. However, if you want the end result to look good, what you put back in and how you do it involves much more than just installing the new pieces.
First you need to make sure your floorpans are in good shape. No point in putting a nice new carpet on top of rusted areas that might give way. (If you need to do any metal repair, refer to Chapter 3.) The next decision involves whether or not to put down any sound-deadening material or any kind of matting under the carpet. The former is relatively thin and thus has a minimal effect on the installation. Usually the material is sticky on one side and has foil on the other. Sheets of the stuff are cut to fit and rolled into place with the foil side facing the interior of the car. These do add some weight, but they can make a real difference in the interior noise level. You probably want to do this if you are spending some big bucks on a killer sound system. If you’re going to be running a relatively loud exhaust, there is little point. We didn’t have a loud exhaust and wanted to save both weight and cost, so we did without any kind of sound deadening or cushioning material under our new carpet. We went with a higher-quality carpet set and had it installed at Mustang Country, so I could show some of the tricks an experienced, professional installer uses to make the carpet look its best.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, HOW TO RESTORE YOUR MUSTANG 1964 1/2-1973. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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The fold-down rear seats found in many early Mustangs also were carpeted from the factory, and these should have their carpet replaced if the floor carpet is replaced, to ensure a proper match.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #1
Removing the original carpet revealed solid floors to work with, a blessing we expected based on the condition of the car when we got it. We will not use any sound deadening or matting in our car but, if you’re going to use the material, you need to install it at this stage. First clean the floors and seal any rust spots before rolling on the sound-deadening material. If you use additional matting, place it on top of the sound-deadening material. Normally the sound deadening alone is sufficient for both noise abatement and heat insulation. More matting adds more weight and makes proper fitting of the carpet more difficult but it may be suitable for certain situations/tastes.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #2
Mustang Country showed us that steaming the carpet makes it much easier to fit it to the vehicle. Do this with a simple carpet steamer and a suitable model that approximates the shape of the transmission tunnel. This helps make the carpet less stiff to work with and also helps keep it from moving around so much while you are working on it. Steam can also be used after the carpet has been put in the car to help it better conform to irregular shapes.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #3
The rear section of the carpet is generally installed first. Be sure to center it as best you can and leave sufficient material to overlap the sills and the rear seat ledge. It is less critical to bring the front edge up to the edge of the seat pedestals because the front carpet section covers these areas anyway. Use steam to help make the carpet conform to the floor’s shape.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #4
Another trick is to anchor down the middle of the carpet first and then work your way out to each edge. Here we see the holes for the inner seat belt bolts being cut. Use an awl or similar sharp object to locate the bolt hole and then a razor blade or X-acto knife to cut away the carpet and backing from the area. Make sure you leave a neat, clean hole.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #5
The inner seat belts are installed on each side of the transmission tunnel. Smooth out the carpet and make sure it is properly positioned before you install the bolts. The bolts have a shoulder for the belt buckles to rest on so they both can still rotate after the bolts are tightened. This car had a factory shoulder belt setup, thus the dual belts per side.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #6
After steaming the carpet so it conforms to the shape of the floorpan, spray adhesive (3M Interior Trim Adhesive or similar) on the back of the carpet at the rocker/sill area before you place it. This helps prevent it from moving around during installation and in use. Don’t spray too much; it could seep through the backing onto the carpet.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #7
After installing the seat belt and retractor (again, the bolts must allow rotation after being tightened) cut off the excess carpet. The edge of the carpet should slightly overlap the metal flange on the sill to prevent gaps after the sill plates are installed. Remember, mold the carpet to the shape of the floorpan before cutting; let the adhesive work for you.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #8
The front section of the carpet is installed after the rear section has been glued down and cut.The length of the front section must usually be cut according to the position of the edge of the rear carpet section and floorpan. However, you need to ensure the carpet goes far enough up the transmission tunnel and foot wells. It usually helps to place the rear edge first and then roll back the front edge. The front edge can then be unrolled as needed and marked for cutting. Treat the sides as before.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #9
There are no seat belt bolts to hold the front section of the carpet in place, so use sheetmetal screws to hold it down. Locate these screws on each side of the transmission tunnel at the rear edge of the carpet, as shown. Adhesive can hold down the front edge of the carpet, so screws are not needed there. Punch a starter hole and then use a sheetmetal or self-tapping screw to keep the carpet in place. Check the back side of the panel so there are no fluid lines or wires where the screws will go. It may also be advisable, especially in harsher/wetter climates, to use waterproof sealant on the screws/holes.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: INSTALLING CARPET- STEP #10
Install another pair of screws at the rear edge of the carpet near the rocker panel/sill on each side. The same precautions and procedures apply. Pull and smooth the carpet to eliminate any slack or unevenness. It is more critical to make sure the screws hold the carpet tight than it is to worry about the carpet molding to the step in front of the seat platform; that can be addressed later with steam and some force. Make sure enough carpet overlaps the sill to ensure coverage.
Rear Seat Carpet Replacement
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #1
When the carpet is replaced on cars with a fold-down rear seat, it is usually necessary to also change the carpeting on the seat to better match the floor. This begins by removing and disassembling the seat panels. The chrome moldings can usually be rubbed with 0000-grade steel wool to remove most mild to moderate pitting or other surface roughness. More extensive damage requires replacement or re-plating. When removing the chrome, take care to remember where it went and to avoid stripping out the threads for the screws. All hardware comes off.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #2
The process continues with a ScotchBrite-type pad to remove the residue of any adhesive that was used to hold the carpet on. You don’t need to remove every last bit as much as you just need to knock down any high points; make it smooth and clean.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #3
Lay the new carpet over the panels, so you can get an idea of how to trim the various pieces. Most kits come with considerably oversized pieces, so you have plenty of material to work with. It usually helps to line up the best/straightest carpet edge with an edge of the panel.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #4
Spray adhesive on the carpet and the panel, but don’t overdo it and soak through the carpet. It is usually better to spray a section of the carpet and then lay it down than it is to fully spray both pieces and then try to match them up. The adhesive dries quickly so spray a bit, roll and smooth the carpet, and then spray more.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #5
After the carpet has been applied over the whole panel and has been checked for both straightness and smoothness, trim it with a razor blade or razor knife. Don’t leave any material past the edges because the chrome molding pieces will fully cover the ends. Be sure to cut the carpet away from any functional holes.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #6
Some molding pieces need to be slipped under or into others to fit properly. Loosely assemble all of the pieces for a panel, attain proper fit, and then fully tighten the screws.Tighten the screws by hand to prevent stripping.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #7
The proper alignment of the various mounting points as well as the locking hardware determines the proper functioning of the fold-down seat. A common problem is these latching plates are not positioned properly or are loose, causing the seat back to not latch properly. Make sure the screws are tight and the latch is flush and flat.
MUSTANG RESTORATION: REAR SEAT CARPET REPLACEMENT- STEP #8
The finished panels should have a smooth, tight look. The carpet should be fully glued down and the chrome moldings should all be tight and straight. It is especially important to make sure all of the screws are used at the hinge because leaving even one or two out can result in the others being stripped out over time. Stripped holes can be filled, re-drilled, and threaded, but it is not a very good fix even though the metal hides it.
Written by Frank Bohanan and Republished with Permission of CarTech Inc