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CARPET REPLACEMENT
 

Part 1:  So You Think It Will Only Take One Day

For anyone planning on doing this switch, I recommend a strategy, as I came across situations that interrupted my plans of accomplishing this switch in one day.
For those of us with 4 door cars, remove the armrest, window crank and door handle on the drivers side rear door. Don't forget to take off that doorsill plate also.  Then remove the rear seat, bottom and back, as it is easiest to take the front bench seat out as a unit through the back door.  For the front seat, it is thru-bolted, which means getting under the car and first removing the 35 year old rubber plugs.  Ah yes, the first in a list of replacement parts.  Don't be too hasty to remove those thru-bolts yet (as I did).  The thru-bolts have a nut press fitted in the middle and not all bolts will come out in one piece.  (Add to parts list)  Look to see where the bolts
attach to the seat frame-rail and give them a spray of Liquid Wrench or something similar to ease removal.  After all, the only thing you will damage is that carpet you are going to throw away and maybe a vintage stick of Wrigley's gum.  With the help of a friend, or your wife, lift the seat (oops, unbolt the seat belts) and ease (not easily) it out the back door.  Now you know why you have taken the rear seat back out and removed the door handles.  Be careful of any thru-bolts that may still be attached to the seat frame.
Ready to yank that old carpet out, right?  WRONG !!
You want something softer than that floorboard (or waiting until your new carpet is fitted) to lay on in order to look under the dash for any hidden clues to your car's history or your history of not doing a thorough detail job when you first got the car and were too lazy to take the seats out.  You have now finished, after a few hours, cleaning those little things you couldn't reach until now, you did wipe the dust and grime off the under dash wiring, checked that all vent hoses are not brittle and made adjustments to your heater / A/C controls, yes?  I was amazed at how much more detail work I was willing to accomplish with the front seat removed.
Now is also a good time to remove the kick panels and pillar panels as these will need to be out in order to get the correct cut on your new carpet.
Give consideration to removing the package tray and replacing or at least make a template for future consideration.  Fortunately, my floorboards are as good as the day the car was assembled.
Where did the day and a 6-pack go?

Part 2:  Working In The Rain, or, "no, you cannot bring the car seats in the house just so there's room in the garage for the car."

Don't plan to finish your project quickly if rain or snow is in your area's 5-day forcast.  Unless of course, you have garage space.  Remember that you now have the carpet that you laid outside to relax back in the garage, NO PETS ALLOWED.
Since you are not going to be in the car, with the engine running to keep warm and the windows defogged, you might as well clean up all the parts you removed.  Show season will be here soon, even for the snowbound, and now is a good time to shine.  Those optional parts for the interior you have been saving for install, now is the time to break them out and have them prepped.  The emergency brake warning lamp, XL pedal chrome you found at the yard but didn't have time to clean 'cause Santa wrapped them up for X-mas, etc.  How about the dash knobs for the wipers and A/C, heater, fan control?   The ones on my 66 have a lousy, wrinkled finish and good replacements can be found on other year Galaxies. (I got mine from a 67)  You thought you cleaned those seats good before, now is the time to take a closer look.  And look under them.  Maybe you can replace the worn burlap yourself, if it makes a difference.  You might even find the dated "OK FOR SHIPMENT" tag attached to the seat or???  While you have that front seat upside down, remove those stubborn thru-bolts that didn't come out in one piece and clean the threads on the rails.  Take time out from playing around and head off to the parts store for those items you know you are going to need when it stops raining.  If you didn't purchase, or don't have a very good carpet knife, get one.  For under $6 at a Home Depot etc, it is a good investment.  I have a "Bloody Mary" (carpet installer's term) 2-edged Wilkerson blade.  You will figure out why they call
it that later.(if you're not careful)


Part 3:  Outside Again.  Or, before you lay that new carpet kit outside to relax again.

You should still have the old carpet in the car to rest on and now be readyto install all those optional gadgets you've saved and finished cleaning.  Now to the fun part.  Take your time removing the old carpet.  You want to review the little things that made the carpet fit just right.  The back piece is pretty straight forward, but still look around the seat belt attachment holes, pillar areas and doorsill plates.  Remove the carpet slowly so as to keep the original padding on the old carpet for any references you may need for install. (the carpet kit came with padding attached)  ALSO, by removing slowly, you just might not disturb any build sheet that may be hidden or attached under it.  The front section of carpet requires more care when removing.  There are so many more (relatively speaking) cuts than the back.  You have already been nursing on the gas and brake pedal while being under the dash, so get a second helping and see how the fit is for the dimmer switch, pedals, steering wheel and heater housing. You know that brittle flap the carpet tucks under at the passenger's feet?  Get rid of it now.  It will only breakaway in more little pieces when you install and right now it probably does not pass your standards anyway.
The old carpet is now out and you wisely did not throw it away.  Reference material, you know.
Hold on now, Big Guy.  Don't plop that new carpet in yet.

Part 4:  Prepping For A Good Lay, or, making the bed first.

Now that you have the feeling the carpet is ready to install, take a moment and gather your thoughts.  Of course, if you know the floor pans need work, you have already alloted the time for this interlude.  If you have ever had the idea of installing a sound system, either now or in the future, now is the right time to lay those wires and cables.  CABLES???  Are you Rodders going to move the battery to the trunk?  (DANG, parts list again)  Clean up those dried soda spills from years gone by and check for rust around where that heater core leaked fluid on your old carpet.  Don't forget to clean the seat belt mount threads and any old sealant leftovers from around the belt and seat mount holes.  The manual should show how and where the new sealant should be applied.
Note: on my 66, the front seat center seat belt anchor holes had a washer loosely glued to the pan.  These came up with the carpet.  Re-glue them back to the pan, otherwise the bolts will not seat properly.  And glue the washers before the new install so they have plenty of time to set.  This will help when locating the hole in the new carpet and prevent you from having to fool with them if they slip during installation.

Part 5:  Now Is The Time, or, it's about time.

You have been itching for this moment for a while and have already compared where the padding is on your new carpet set with the old.  If you had to get additional padding, you've done that already and if you happen to only need a little, you probably have some household heating duct insulation in the garage you can use.  Foil side down.  Make a quick comparison between the old carpet and new so you have an idea of just how much you will need to trim.  But wait until you have test fitted the new carpet before cutting.
Take care when sliding the first carpet piece in.  Due to the extra width of the carpet, you will need to bow it to get through the door.  If you are not careful, the course underside of the carpet could put scratches along your door panels.  A pain if they are cloth panels, especially if it catches a thread.  The molded recesses in your new carpet should be your guide for the first test fit. It is now that you will want to do your first trimmings so that the carpet begins to lay properly.
Remember the "Bloody Mary"?  If you didn't try this blade out before now, BE CAREFUL.
Any new-bladed knife should glide through the carpet and you only want to remove enough to allow the carpet to start laying down.  Don't remove a fingertip.  Blood stains on your new carpet will just piss you off.  The front section takes good concentration.  Aren't you glad you took that second look at the pedal area.  Just take your time as I really don't have any tips to speak of for cutting, except to not take off large sections at one time.
Follow the contours of the areas that need trimming and don't be afraid to look out the door to check the old carpet you laid in sight for reference.
YOU CAN ALWAYS CUT TOO LITTLE AND BE OK, BUT YOU'LL KICK YOURSELF FOR TAKING OFF TOO MUCH.
I trimmed my carpet a little oversize and let it sit in the car for a couple of days so that it would have more time to relax in place and then did the final trim.  After you have completed the trimming, fitting and are happy with the way the carpet lays, now is the time to "do the holes"
During one of those relaxing days, I took one of my old soldering irons, (not guns) heated it up and poked it through a scrap piece of new carpet.  It was hot enough to go through the carpet and melt a perfect hole.  And since I have irons of different diameters, I knew that I had one for every size hole I would need to make.  When starting to find and work the holes for good, use an awl or scribe to first mark them through, then use that soldering gun.  As the Duke said, "you only get one shot, make it count"

Part 6:  The Finale, or, aren't you glad I'm finished

With the trimmings finished and the carpet in just the right place, now is the time to replace that brittle flap at the front, under the dash.  I chose to use flexible vinyl cove base, as used in commercial bathrooms.  They come in a variety of colors, I used black.  This will require some work, fit/cut/fit etc. but looks quite nice when finished.  Reinstall all those parts you had to take out for proper fitting and you are on to the next phase, the seats.  Since you have someone there to help carry the front seat in the car, keep them around to help you guide the thru-bolts to the seat rail.  The last thing you want is to crossthread those puppies.  Don't forget to weather seal the seat and belt holes.  This just about does it.  Some clean up and the job is finished.  I had a large enough trim piece left over to have 2 small mats made for the back if I had wanted to.
I'm sure that there are many other tips that others have for this kind of job, but I wanted to share my first experience with others as I did learn that there is more to it than just yanking out the old and throwing in the new.

BTW, I did not find my build sheet or any carpet tag.  I did find an "OK FOR SHIPMENT" tag under the front seat and a paper label w/part number for the rear seat.

Thanks for taking the time to read these entries and I hope that my experience with carpet replacement will give insight to others considering the same job.

The end result is most rewarding!

Thank You,
Tom Yanulaytis

 
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