Late Model Mustang Carpet Replacement
by Christopher Ihara

Project Mongoose is a long running project car. Over 6 years in the making on a budget that would make your average paper boy look like Bill Gates (who is now worth $39 Billion+). Like most folks we don't have a lot of money. Given this cash short fall we've had to learn to do modifications that utilized a relatively small cash outlay, yet provided high quality returns. This leads us to our next modification to Project Mongoose.

It would seem that after 173,000 miles our trusty steed had acquired a severe case of mange. The interior carpet was faded, stained, smelly, and just all around nasty. What was once gray carpet was now tarnished by some strange mix of dirt, oil, and soda stains - not to mention the cigarette burns caused by the previous owner. Everything finally came to a head when a friend hopped into the car and said, "You know, why do old Mustangs seem to have that same weird smell?"

OLD?!?! This car isn't old, she's just now getting to where we like her. Well we certainly can't have office mates running around spreading rumors that the interior of our beloved project car is reminiscent of some well trodden school carpet. We had to do something and we had to do it fast. We also had to do it for very little money.

Enter Auto Custom Carpet, manufacturers of replacement carpets for just about every car on the road. For about $100 our brand new carpet was in the mail. A slight mix up in color caused a delay in our installation, ACC was wonderful about taking the unused carpet back and exchanging it. We HIGHLY recommend that you send them a sample of your carpet so they can color match it for accuracy. Had we done this simple step this article would have come out much sooner. Ford used many different colors over the past 30 years of the Mustang, and hardly any of them have the same name. Some are the same color with different names so sending in a sample of your carpet is the safest route. This quick step will ensure you of a first time match.

Our carpet arrived fresh from the ACC factory pre-molded for our 87's floorpan. The carpet was very well constructed with only slightly less carpet pile per inch than stock. The backing material was somewhat thinner than factory as well. This was not a problem and actually makes the carpet somewhat lighter than factory by at least a few of pounds. These differences were completely indiscernable once the carpet was installed and it looks as good, if not better, than factory stock. So for you racers out there looking to shave a little weight and maintain that stock look, this could probably be a part of your game plan.

Some holes were pre-cut from the factory; however, the carpet ships with relatively few holes to ensure that it will fit in the widest variety of years. The floor pan in the Mustang is almost identical from the Fox 3 platform to the SN95 platform. What changes throughout the various years are the holes used for interior electrical connections. You'll need to do some minor cutting to your new carpet to get it to fit properly.

When you receive your new carpet it will come rolled up for easier shipping. You'll want to immediately lay it flat for a day or two to make installation easier. This will also make the carpet look a little nicer after it is first installed as the "wrinkles" from shipping will have worked themselves out.

This is also a good time to install a theft-deterent fuel pump kill switch.

Now for the installation. The installation isn't complicated, however, it is a little tedious. You will need the following tools:

Torx T-46 (for removing seat belts)
Torx T-7 (for removing kick panel)
Ford Radio Removal tool (if you still have a factory radio)
Razor Blade (for cutting carpet)
Black Permanent Marker (for marking carpet)
15mm socket (removal of front seats)
8mm socket (removal of arm rest)
Ratchet
Phillips Head Screwdriver
Masking tape

TRIM REMOVAL

Remove the scuff strip at the bottom of the door frame. It is held in place with four philips head screws. When you remove it put the screws back in place on the plastic strip and hld them in place with a little masking tape. This will help you keep all the screws in their proper places.

Remove the foot-well kick panel. Simply give it a firm pull and it will come out.

Repeat the procedure on the opposite side of the car.

FRONT SEAT REMOVAL

Using a 15mm socket remove the two bolts and two nuts that hold the front seat in. Disconnect the power lumbar and power seat rack if your car is so equipped. Repeat the procedure for the other seat.

Under the driver's seat of 1987- 1993 Mustangs is the Fuel Pump relay. It is mounted to a "T" shaped metal bracket that is bolted to the floor. Disconnect the fuel pump relay and unbolt the bracket. Be sure to keep the bolt with the bracket.

REAR SEAT REMOVAL

Removing the rear seat can be a little tricky. First you can tilt the rear seat backs forward slightly and lift up on the rear seat cushion from the back. This requires some forward and backward manipulation of the seat backs to pull up the seat cushion.

SEAT BELT REMOVAL

Using the Torx T-43 bit remove the two seat belt latches next to the center console. Be careful not to lose the rubber gromets. The driver's side seat belt is attached to a wiring harness, disconnect it.

Now remove the torx bolt from the seat belts where they attach to the floor pan. Once again, don't lose the rubber gromets. Just set them aside where they won't be in the way, you do NOT have to remove the entire seat belt assembly.

CENTER CONSOLE REMOVAL

The center console must be removed in order to complete the installation. While this is the biggest part of the installation, it is not difficult. It does, however, require the removal of several other pieces before it can be removed. The center console is composed of two pieces, a top rear piece that covers from the rear of the console to the shifter, and a bottom piece that runs from the arm rest to the dash board.

click to enlarge If your car is equipped with a center console arm rest you will need to remove it first. Pop off the oval shaped covers on either side of the center console. Using an 8mm socket remove the four bolts that hold the arm rest to the console. Lift up the arm rest and set it aside. You may find it helpful to put the bolts back into their holes so that you will remember where they went.

click to enlarge Next, pull up the trim around the shifter boot and lift it up. Unscrew the two trim screws. You will need to remove the shifter handle, but you will not need to remove the shifter knob. Unscrew the two bolts that join the shifter handle to the shifter base. Remove the shifter handle.

Now, using your Ford Radio removal tool pull your stock radio out. Disonnect the wiring harnesses and set the radio aside.

The dashboard is the front mounting point for the center console and houses four screws that join the center console to the dash. Two are behind the driver's side knee panel, and two are in the glove compartment.

click to enlarge

Remove the trim around the heat/air conditioning controls by gently prying it off. Empty your glove compartment and squeeze the rear part of the glove box together, it should now hang all the way out. Disconnect the trunk release and the fuel door buttons from their respective harnesses (some later cars will not have a fuel door release button). Now remove the two screws on the left hand side of the glove box that attach the center console. You may want to tape these screws to the glove box to keep them handy.

Using a 7 or 8 mm socket, or a torx T7 bit, remove the trim screws from the under side of the driver's side knee panel. Remove it and set it aside. You may want to tape the trim screws to it to keep things in order. Now remove the two screws that hold the center console to the dash. Tape these screws to the side of the console.

click to enlarge Remove the ashtray. Remove the two 10mm bolts, at the end of the center console, that hold it to the black metal pad. You should now be able to lift the whole center console up from the rear. Pull the center console out. You may have to work it over the shifter. Engage it in second or fourth gear for easiest removal.

A black metal bracket is mounted to the transmission tunnel under the dash. It is held in by two nuts. Remove the nuts and lift this bracket out. You should be left with this.

click to enlarge CARPET REMOVAL

Lift the carpet up from the rear seat area and roll it up towards the front of the car. Make sure to push any wiring harnesses through their respective holes. You will have to work the carpet out from under the heating and air conditioning plumbing under the dash. Your car should be completely devoid of any carpet now! It was amazing to see how bad our old carpet looked.

Vacuum out the floor pan and clean up any rust spots. Now is also a good time to check for torque box tears, floor pan cracks, and rust. It is also a good time to re-arrange aftermarket stereo and cellular phone wiring.

CARPET CUTTING

click here to enlargeLay your new carpet down on a flat clean surface. Place the old carpet on TOP of the new carpet. Make sure that the two fit closely together, this will ensure that you have accurate cuts.

Using the black magic marker trace the outline of the cut out areas on the old carpet, onto the new carpet. Keep in mind that it is better to have your outlines be a little on the small side. Once you have traced every hole on the old carpet, remove it from on top of the new carpet. You should now see your tracings for the shifter, parking brake, and any other holes for wiring.

Using a new razor blade, cut out the outlined areas. Remember, make conservative cuts, you can always trim out more carpet later, but if you cut out too much you can't put it back!

After you have finished cutting you may want to go over the carpet once quickly with a vacuum cleaner to pick up bits of carpet fuzz.

CARPET INSTALLATION

Roll your new carpet up about half way, starting from the rear and working forwards. Place the carpet in the car as close to the front as possible. Work the carpet as far forward as possible, making sure it is well up under the heat and air conditioning ducting.

Try to get the carpet to lay as flat as possible under the pedals, and make sure that it is far enough up that it will not catch the accelerator pedal.

Once you have the front section of the carpet situated, begin unrolling it towards the rear of the car. Make sure to push the various connectors through their respective holes as well.

click to enlarge As you roll the carpet back pay close attention to its alignment with the seat mounting holes and seat belt bolt holes.

The carpet may have some "bumps" in it, and it may not lay flat in all areas. This will cure itself within a week or so as the carpet molds itself to the shape of your particular car.

Check to be certain you've pulled through all wiring harnesses for fuel pump relay, seat belt switches, lumbar support, cigarette lighter, center console illumination, power driver's seat, etc. Ensure that all holes are properly cut and provide enough room.

Re-install the seat belts, these will help keep the carpet in place while you work on the interior. Now, simply reverse the installation and you're finished!

Here is the final product.

Special thanks to Don Robertson of Auto Custom Carpet.
You can contact ACC at:
http://www.accmats.com 1-800-352-8216
Auto Custom Carpets, Inc.
Post Office Box 1350
Anniston, Alabma 36202

CORRAL UNIVERSAL RATING SYSTEM:
Difficulty (Easy 1-10 Difficult) 4
Special Tools (Few 1-10 Many) 2
Price (Cheap 1-10 Expensive) 4
Quality (Poor 1-10 High) 7
Improvement (None 1-10 Alot) 8
Customer Service (Poor 1-10 Good) 9

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