Carpet Installation

It would be a good idea to read this procedure in its entirely before beginning so you're sure you know what do next and what to watch out for.


Tools You Will Need Ė

  • Wire brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Large scissors
  • Sharp utility knife
  • Can of black paint
  • Masking tape
  • Contact cement (see Safety Precautions below)
  • Acetone (for cleanup)


Front Carpet Installation Procedure

  1. Remove the two shifter bolts and remove the shifter assembly and stop plate. Note the position and orientation of the stop plate so you can reinstall it the same way. (See our Stop Plate Adjustment procedure.)
  2. After the carpet is installed, you want to have a nice clean look to everything. For this reason, notice those areas that will be exposed after the carpet is installed Ė
    • Emergency brake
    • Pedal assembly
    • Seat rails
    • Etc.

  3. Wire brush and sand these areas, then once youíve made a mess, vacuum out the car with your Shop Vac -- get all the debris off the floor and out of the seams so that the carpet will lay nicely as its being installed. With the vacuuming complete, mask off the exposed areas to keep from getting paint where you donít want it, and paint these areas that will be exposed once the carpet is installed. All the paint to dry thoroughly.
  4. Now youíve got the shifter removed, the entire inside of your car cleaned out, the exposed parts painted, and youíre ready to install the carpet. First, lay out all of the carpet pieces to make sure you have the correct kit and all of the pieces are included.
  5. Note: The carpet is installed using contact cement, which you will apply with a two-inch throw-away brush. You'll start at the perimeter of the car and work your way around, saving the main floor sections until last. The whole operation should take you approximately two hours.

  6. If your car is a 1968 model or earlier, you should find a heater grommet in the left and right kick panel pieces. Make an incision in the groove around the grommet with a utility knife, and then cut the grommet out with sharp scissors. Removed the central oval completely; the grommet that is left will surround the heater opening on each side.
  7. Hold the kick panel piece up to where the heater opening and make sure that youíve cut the heater grommet out correctly and the carpet piece will fit correctly in place. This will also show you exactly where the piece fits so youíll know where to apply glue later on.
  8. Now weíre going to begin application of the contact cement -- first please pause and make sure you understand the safety precautions and the application instructions -
  9. Safety First!

    Read the Safety Information on the container
    before opening it!

  10. General Notes Before Starting:
    1. Stir contact cement thoroughly with a standard paint paddle or stirring stick.
    2. Pre-fit all parts before applying contact cement. Both surfaces must be clean, dry and free of wax, oil or other release agents foreign to the surface itself. Painted surfaces must be scarified with sandpaper before adhesive is applied.
    3. The temperature of surfaces and adhesive should be above 65oF for a minimum of 24 hours before and after application to ensure proper drying and bond strength.
    4. Use a two-inch throw-away paint brush; apply an even coat of adhesive to both surfaces.
    5. Allow both surfaces to dry 15-20 minutes (depending on temperature and humidity). Dry contact cement will feel tacky and appear glossy (like a varnished surface) if sufficient adhesive has been applied.
    6. Carefully align the surfaces to be joined, as adhesive will bond upon contact.
    7. Once surfaces are joined, a minimum of 25 pounds per square inch of pressure should be evenly applied to surface starting in center and working out to edges.
    8. No clamping is required. Contact cement bonds instantly upon contact, but reaches maximum holding strength in 7 days.
    9. A seven-piece carpet job with require one quart of contact cement; the 10- or 12-piece kits will require two quarts.

  11. With the heater grommet area cut out, apply glue to the back of the driverís side outer kick panel piece, right out to the edge of the carpet. Itís very important that you get the glue right out to the edge of the carpet, and use a pretty liberal amount.
  12. With the outer kick panel piece glued, now brush glue onto the car body itself, where the piece will fit. Allow the glue to set for 15-20 minutes (see above).
  13. Note: While youíre gluing, its a good idea to place the piece not being glued upside down on the floor and put the glue can on top of it so you donít accidentally drip any glue onto the floor and mistakenly put any of your carpet pieces into it.

  14. Starting from the heater grommet, line up the outer kick panel piece properly, put it in place, smooth it in with your hand (see application instructions above).
  15. Before installing the kick panel piece on the passenger side, you must remove that angled metal kick panel directly across the floor from the seat. It just lifts out. Youíll reinstall it when you put in the large floor section on that side.
  16. Install the passenger side outer kick panel piece just as the one on the driverís side was installed.
  17. After youíve installed the two outer kick panel pieces, the header piece is next. Set it into place so you know how it goes, then apply glue to the back of the carpet piece and to the body of the car. Allow the glue to dry (glossy appearance).
  18. Line up the header piece with the steering column and work it down around the rod for the master cylinder.
  19. Note: You can maneuver the carpet around a little bit even after youíve put it in -- youíll have time to work with it for probably a couple of minutes.

  20. Move on now to the rocker pieces (immediately inboard from the doors) on either side. Youíll notice that on the í68 and earlier cars there is lip along side the door that the edge of the carpet must go under. If you have a later model car, the carpet kit will come with a rubber piece sown onto it that goes under the lip from the other side.
  21. Carefully open up this metal lip with a large screwdriver or small pry bar, taking care to not mar the paint. Slip the edge of the carpet under the lip, taking care to line it up properly for the remaining part of the fit.
  22. Note: Before tapping the lip closed, make sure that the large tails on the rocker pieces are towards the rear.

  23. Lay a piece of 2x4 or other block of wood about a foot long right along the edge of the lip, and tighten up the lip by tapping it down with a hammer (hammer applied to the wood, not to the painted metal!).
  24. After youíve installed the rocker piece under the lip along the door, fold it back so that it lays outside the car and glue both the carpet and the body of the car. Apply the glue right down onto the floor, because this carpet piece is going to overlap onto the floor. Make sure you apply the glue all the way out to the edges of the carpet. This is very important.
  25. Allow the glue to dry.

  26. Massage the rocker section into place. (On some model years it might be necessary to make a cut so that the carpet will mold around the seat rail.) Be sure to take all the slack out of the carpet.
  27. Next is the rear floor piece. Without gluing it, lay the piece into place. Make sure itís in the right place and smoothed down, then feel your way up the side of the tunnel to where you feel the emergency brake through the carpet. With the utility knife, make a small incision about 3/4 of an inch up from the base of the emergency brake. Then remove the carpet and make the rest of the cut, using the incision you made as a marker.
  28. Note: You can eyeball the emergency brake when making your cut to see what size it is, or if youíre obsessive like me youíll measure it. :-)

  29. Cut out (with large, sharp scissors) a hole in the carpet the shape of the base of the emergency brake, but a little bit smaller (about 3/4 of an inch all the way around.
  30. Now make a cut out about 45-degrees from each of the corners. What that will do is enable the carpet to come up the side of the emergency brake housing. That way you wonít come out short of any carpet on any one side if weíre off just a little bit, and it will give a nice finished look to the carpet when youíre done.
  31. Fit the hole you just cut over the emergency brake, noting how nicely is comes up the sides. Of course once you install the emergency brake boot it will cover all this area. Donít glue anything yet!
  32. Now flip it up over the emergency brake onto the other side, and apply glue to the floor and half way over the tunnel. Use a lot of glue over the whole floor and the tunnel area, being careful not to get any glue on the seat tracks.
  33. Move around to the other side of the car and apply glue to the bottom of the floor piece that you flipped over, right out to the edges. Be careful to not get glue anywhere that itís not supposed to be! Allow the glue on the floor and the floor piece of the carpet to dry.
  34. When the glue is dry, roll the glued half of the carpet down onto the floor and smooth it into place.
  35. On the edges where the floor piece overlaps the rocker piece, apply glue right out close to the edge. Put a little glue on both surfaces, so when they overlap theyíll adhere to each other.
  36. Repeat the process with the other side of the rear floor piece.
  37. Move now to the front. In the area where the passengerís feet are going to be, reinstall the metal kick panel that you removed before. It simply fits right back in the slot.
  38. Without gluing it, lay the large front carpet piece into place, noting exactly where it goes and where it overlaps with other carpet pieces. Flip the carpet piece over so that the passenger side is laying upside down on the driverís side.
  39. Note: The shifter has been removed, leaving a hole in the top of the tunnel. You will carpet right over the shifter hole, then cut it out after the glue has dried, making for a nice, neat installation.

  40. Now working on the passenger side, apply glue from shifter area on top of the tunnel, down onto the side of the tunnel, and across the floor, up onto the metal kick panel and all the areas that the carpet will cover, including the areas where the carpet will overlap.
  41. Apply glue to the bottom of the passenger side section of carpet, all the way out to the edges. Allow the glue on both the floor and the carpet to dry.
  42. Note: Be very careful not to get any glue on the carpet youíve already installed, except on the edges where itís going to overlap. If you get glue on any areas that you donít want, sometimes you can just rub it off or flick it off with your fingers. If itís soaked into the carpet, quickly use a little thinner (acetone if you have it) on a rag, then rub the spot with water. If you get it on your hands, clean it off immediately with acetone -- you want to keep you hands clean during the carpet installation.

  43. Carefully fold the passenger side of the front carpet back into place and smooth it into place with your hands, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets.
  44. Notice that there are overlapping areas up in the front. Massage these areas in with your hands to get them nice and neat.
  45. Work the carpet into the seams and corners to get it good and tight. Smooth out the tunnel area with your hands.
  46. Now we'll move to the other (driver's) side and install the large section there. Fold that section of the carpet over into the passenger area and apply glue to the car side, beginning at the top of the tunnel, down the side, and across the floor and all of the places that the carpet will cover, just as on the passenger's side.
  47. Apply glue to the back side of this half of the carpet, all the way out to the edges. Allow the glue on both the floor and the carpet to dry.
  48. Carefully fold the driver's side of the front carpet back into place and smooth it into place with your hands, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets. Take careful note of the area behind the pedals.
  49. With the front carpeting installed, it's time to cut the hole on the top of the tunnel for the shifter. Locate the hole with your finger (feeling through the carpet) and with the utility knife make an incision right in the middle of it, right down the center.
  50. Cut the hole out with the scissors, just to where you can see the bolt holes, so the the base of the shifter will cover the edges of the hole.


Rear Carpet Installation Procedure

  1. With the front carpet installed, move to the rear area. The rear carpet consists of three pieces -- the two pieces that go over each of the two wheel wells and the large section that covers the floor above the engine compartment and up the back wall behind the rear seat, part-way up to the window.
  2. Note: If you have a later model car, this carpet piece will cover the back wall all the way up to the bottom of the window.

  3. First, fit the the two pieces that will go over the wheel well areas into place to see where they go and the extent to which glue must be applied on the car body.
  4. Now apply glue to the backside of the two wheel well pieces, using a generous amount of glue, all the way out to the edges. Apply glue to both of them together.
  5. Apply glue to the wheel well areas that will be covered by the carpet pieces. Allow the glue on the carpet pieces and wheel well areas to dry.
  6. Press the two wheel well pieces into place, smoothing them out with your hands.
  7. Before gluing, fit the large rear piece into place, noting the areas it will cover. Note especially where the top of the piece will go on the very back wall. There is a seam about half way down under the rear window -- you can feel the hump where it makes the transition. Note this point for gluing later.
  8. Because the rear piece is so large, it is best to take it outside of the car for gluing. Apply glue liberally to this large piece, all the way out to the edges -- except, don't apply glue to the bottom 4-5 inches of the piece, as that area will be trimmed off.
  9. Apply glue to the floor above the engine compartment and to the rear wall up to the seam noted above. Allow the glue on the rear carpet piece and the rear areas of the car to dry.
  10. Carefully fit the rear section of the carpet on the seam you've noted under the rear window, making sure to get it equal from side-to-side, and straight across the top.
  11. Smooth the carpet down the back wall, tight into the corner, and across the floor above the engine compartment.
  12. The end of this carpet piece (the end you did not apply glue to) will tuck into the channel that runs horizontally across the car right where the rear floor turns down into the under-rear-seat area. Cut the piece off at this point with a pair of scissors, making sure that you leave enough carpet to tuck into the channel.
  13. Note: This is the same channel that the carpet on the back of the back seat will tuck into later. This carpet piece will be applied later when you do the seat upholstery.

  14. Tuck the forward end of the rear carpet piece into the channel, all the way across.

Stand back and smile! :-)


Contact Cement Precautions

  1. The solvents in this product may damage painted surfaces, vinyls and other plastics. Test a small area before use.
  2. Contact Cement is not suitable for structural applications.
  3. Do not use on copper, copper alloys or Styrofoam.
  4. Allow assemblies to cure for 72 hours before exposing to direct sunlight or temperatures over 150oF.


Contact Cement Safety Precautions

Flammable liquid and vapor. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Vapor harmful.

Danger Ė Contains petroleum naptha, methyl ethyl ketone, and toluene. May cause eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. May effect the brain or nervous system, causing dizziness (voice of experience here!, headache, or nausea. Prolonged vapor inhalation may result in severe physical injuring. NOTICE: Reports have associated permanent brain and nervous system damage with repeated and prolonged occupational over-exposure to solvents. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling vapors may be harmful or fatal.

Warning Ė This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.


Precautionary Measures for Use, Handling, Storage and Disposal of Contact Cement-

Health Precautions Ė

  • Use in a well-ventilated area (Amen!).
  • Provide fresh air such that chemical odors cannot be detected during use and while drying. Vapors are heavier than air and will collect in low areas. Check all low areas (basements, sumps, etc.) for vapor before entering.
  • Wear suitable gloves.
  • Avoid skin contact.
  • Wear eye protection with side shields.

Fire Precautions Regarding Contact Cement -

  • Vapor may ignite explosively.
  • Keep away from heat, sparks and flames.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Extinguish all flames and pilot lights.
  • Turn off stoves, heaters, electric motors and other sources of ignition during use and until all vapor is gone.
  • Keep container closed when not in use.
  • Do not reuse the empty container.
  • Do not use in areas where static electric sparks may be generated. Empty container may contain explosive vapors.
  • Do not weld, cut or torch on or near this container.
  • Store away from oxidizers and caustics.

First Aid for Exposure to Contact Cement Ė

  • Skin contact: Wash with soap and water.
  • Eye contact: Flood with large quantities of water for 15 minutes. Contact physician immediately.
  • Inhalation: Remove to fresh air. Contact physician immediately.
  • Ingestion: If swallowed, DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Immediately contact physician or Regional Poison Control Center for additional treatment.

Keep contact cement out of reach of children (and teenagers)!


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