14 May 2016

Floor it!

THE MAGIC OF NEW CARPET

If the carpet in your classic is tired, installing a new carpet kit is an easy weekend job for any DIYer.

Places like Summit Racing, Legendary Interiors and Auto Custom Carpets all sell kits for a variety of cars. When yours arrives, let molded pieces settle for a few days, or for a couple hours in the sun.

You’ll have the doors open all day long so disconnect the battery. (If the car has power seats, get them unbolted and then disconnect.) Remove the floormats, scuff plates, kick plates, seats, seat belt bases, shift boot and floor shifter, if equipped. With back seats, check beneath the lower cushion for spring-loaded clips in brackets on either side.

As you pull up the old carpet, you’ll uncover wiring that may be stuck to it, so take care. If underlayment has been glued to the floor, you’ll need to scrape it away with a putty knife and wire brush.

With the floor exposed, inspect for damage and make necessary repairs. This could be as simple as brushing off surface rust and sealing with quick-dry paint, or something more involved like welding in new sheet metal. When in doubt, consult an expert. Check the factory seam sealer, too; it's likely dry and brittle, so applying a new coat of sealer can’t hurt.

Vacuum everything thoroughly. If you plan to install a sound deadening material such as Dynamat, clean the surface with a wax and grease remover. Sound deadener isn’t necessary, but it’s great for reducing interior noise. Take your time lining it up before you expose the adhesive, as it is near-impossible to remove once you get it down. A wallpaper roller is handy here.

Whether the kit is one piece, two pieces or more, installation is the same. With molded pieces, ensure that each is in flush and straight side to side, and that they sit properly in the foot wells. Begin with the rear piece, which lines up on the rear seat shelf ahead of the brackets. Install the front piece so that the front footwell depressions sit flush into the floorpan. The finished seam at the trailing edge should overlap at least two inches over the rear carpet piece.

Note: Before the install, loosely screw in the bolts for seatbelts and seats. With the carpet aligned, cut an X over each head. In cars with floor shifters, some kits will have a hole precut.

If not, once all sides are aligned, cut a large X across the opening and trim accordingly. If you’re happy with all alignment, use an adhesive like 3M Super 77 in deep corners or other abrupt elevation changes to hold the carpet in place.

Before reinstalling interior equipment, give it a thorough vacuuming to get up all the fuzz. Then try not to spill anything.

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