One day, many days ago, I noticed something bluish WAY down a hill on the side of a road. Naturally, I had to investigate the situation. What I found was truly an awesome automotive specimen. It was an upside down, engineless, rotting, yuckified, and a downright perfect car for this blog. Anybody care to guess what it is?
In yesterday’s 1A Auto Blog, we left off with a completely clean floor pan and interior. The nasty old carpet is out of the car and out of our lives. Thank goodness. Today we are going to sort out the rest of it.
1) Start off by laying the new carpet in the vehicle and wiggling it around until the driver’s foot pad is in the right spot. Chances are good that it will just plop right into it’s happy new home.
2) Now feel around for the different areas that you will need to cut out. Holes for the shifter, seat belt bolts, high-beam headlight switches (old school, I know), some random brackets, seat bolts, console, etc.
3) This is where things start getting tricky. So we need to go over some very important rules.
Rule # 1 – Always make sure the drivers foot pad is where you want it.
Rule # 2 – Never ever use the old carpet for a template. Ever. Never. Ever.
Rule # 3 – Never cut holes in the carpet, only cut straight slices. For obvious reasons, you can’t fix holes in the carpet once they are cut out in the wrong spot. A slice on the other hand can be taped back together on the back side, and forgotten about.
4) Now where were we? Once you have the carpet right where you want it, you need to begin making very small slices (or X’s) with a utility knife for objects to poke through. This will allow you the get the carpet nice and flat on the floor pan so you can be 100% sure that it is in the right spot. If you accidentally make a slice in the wrong spot, no problem, just grab some tape and tape it back together on the back side. It is a slow process, but you will be rewarded with a factory looking install when you’re done.
5) Work your way around the entire carpet from the center outward, making slices for all the different components. You may have to make a quite a few slices up under the dashboard because there is a lot going on up there. Remember, patience is key.
6) Ok, so you finally have the carpet in its new home. As long as you are 150% sure that every slice is properly located, then (and only then) are you allowed to trim those slices a bit for perfection. Use the seat bolts & seat belt bolts to help hold everything in place while the carpet being trimmed.
7) Now it’s time for the sides. Some carpets will fit right in without any trimming of the sides, but if yours isn’t one of those, slowly but surely trim back the sides until the door sill trim sits flush and covers them. Remember that it is best to trim a little at a time. You can always take more away, but you can’t put it back. Actually, Doc Brown from Back to the Future could bring it back, but I doubt he would considering he is a fictional character.
8) You are probably thinking that the console, seats, trim, kick panels, and seat belts can go back in now, and you are right. Go for it.
Well, you have done it, installed a brand new auto carpet all by yourself. You can take all the credit, we won’t tell your friends that you had step by step instructions.
Installing an auto carpet is not rocket science, brain surgery, or even rocket surgery for that matter. It may seem daunting at first, but once you get the ball rolling, it becomes very do-able for any motivated do it yourselfer. In my case, the previous owner had removed the carpet long before I got the truck. This made my life easier because I only had to do half of the dirty work.
Let’s get started shall we?
1) Begin by removing your carpet from the box that it was shipped in, and let it unroll back into its original shape. If you can do this for a few hours in the sun, that is great. If not, a warm and cozy basement will suffice.
2) Once the carpet is in its rightful shape again, hop in the car and begin removing the seats, the kick panels, and the door sill trim. The seats usually have 4 decent sized bolts holding each one in. In the case of bench seats, there are 4 bolts holding the entire seat in. Don’t forget the seat belts. They are often driven into the floor with Herculean strength at the factory, and have an electrical connector to guarantee the annoying “no seatbelt” beeping sound.
3) Once those parts are completely removed, you may have to remove the console, shifter, shifter boot, and possibly a few other odds and ends. Do that, and keep track of all the screws and bolts. Sandwich bags are great for this, and extremely cheap. If you are really organized you may be so bold as to label the bolt & screw bags with a Sharpie marker.
4) Now that all of the important interior parts are scattered across your driveway & yard, it’s time to gather up the buried treasure. This is always the most disgusting fun part of the job because you find all of those missing things that have eluded you for the past few months & years. Action figures, $4.37 in US coins, some foreign currency, an entire bowl of cereal, a pair of sunglasses, and a heaping mound of disturbingly new looking French-fries are just a few things that you may come across.
If coolness were a land mass, this engine would be the Louisiana Purchase. It has fuel injection, electronic ignition, and a centrifugal supercharger feeding a pair of large turbochargers. Oh yeah, and it also appears to have a little nitrous to keep things scary. The owner of this metallic masterpiece has combined every straight six owner’s crazy automotive dreams and put them into physical form. I don’t know how much horsepower it makes or how fast the car runs, but my guess is that it will hit 1.21 gigawatts faster than you can say “easily tuned”.
Let’s say you own a Mitsubishi Evolution IX, and want nothing more than to stand there and admire the turbocharged delicacy that resides beneath your hood. You reach down for the hood release and are instantly greeted with the firm “thud” of the hood-pop in action. Reluctantly, you free yourself from the hug-like grip of your race-inspired Recaro seat as you hop out of your machine. The opened-windowed door closes behind you. You walk toward the front of the vehicle while holding intense eye contact with your freshly cleaned 14-spoke BBS 17’s. The hood is then effortlessly lifted toward the sky and you are greeted with one of the finest examples of Mitsubishi technology to ever roll off the assembly line, the 4G63.
Within an instant, your eyes focus on something that is clearly out of place. It is something so strange that you aren’t sure if it belongs there or not. You have looked at nearly eleven billion EVO’s in the past, but never noticed this kind of nonsense. You are stunned, disappointed, and nearly jallywagged. “What was the purpose of these drilled out holes in my cylinder head!?” you screamed at the heavens. Sadly you are answered with the deafening sound of silence.
One of my favorite things to do in “off seasons” (read: cold seasons), is to look at abandoned & wrecked old cars in the woods and in the junkyards. I’m not really sure why I enjoy looking at old rotten cars, but it’s probably the same reason that dogs chase cats; because they can. I have come across some really amazing vehicles over the years, but one of my all time favorites was finding a large wooded area of TriFive Chevy’s, most of them being 1957’s. There were probably about 20 of them, and almost all models were present from two doors, to 4 doors, and even wagons. Other than the convertibles & Nomads, no model was spared from this automotive atrocity.
Got a picture of an old rotten car ? If so, send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will make sure it gets up here.
Recently we replaced the passenger side power mirror on a 1997 S-10 Blazer. The owner of this Blazer got a bit too close to a support column in a parking garage, and broke the mirror at the hinge. (Note the custom duct tape repair.)
The tools we used for this installation:
A 7mm nut driver
A 10mm socket & ratchet
A flat head screwdriver
A Phillips head screwdriver
A door panel removal tool
First match your new part to the one you are replacing to be sure it’s the right one. It’s better to find out now that after you have your whole door torn apart.
On some vehicles there is a small access panel that needs to be removed to expose the mounting bolts or nuts. The small access panel allows easier mirror replacement, and is usually attached with only 2 or 3 plastic door panel clips. Our 1997 S-10 Blazer unfortunately did not have this access panel, so we had to remove the whole interior door panel for replacement.
Most door panels are held on by a few bolts and screws, plastic door panel clips, and the lower lip of the window opening.
We first removed two 7mm bolts inside the door pull handle. There was also a trim screw on the door handle bezel. The window and lock switch panel can also be removed for easier access to the plastic door panel clips inside. Once the hardware is removed, take your door panel clip removal tool and wedge it between the door and the door panel itself, slide the tool along until the tool runs into a clip. Position the tool so the clip is in the middle of the fork, and pry the clip out. Use of a door panel clip removal tool lessens the chances of damaging the door panel, and in most cases you can also reuse the clips.
Once all the hardware is off, and the clips are released from the back of the door panel, carefully lift the door panel up and over the lip of the window opening.
Now the door panel is only held by the inside door panel bezel and handle, but you can turn it to access the mirror mounting holes.
Next you need to reach into the door and disconnect the mirror power cord. Then remove the 3 foam rubber covers over the access holes, and remove the 3 10mm nuts that hold the mirror to the door.
A tip to prevent dropping the nuts into the door panel and completely ruining your day: Apply a bit of grease to the end of your socket to help hold the nuts.
The first step to the installation is to plug the new mirror in, and make sure it works properly.
Next reattach the mirror with 10mm nuts (remember the grease trick). Then reinstall the door panel. Inspect the plastic clips to be sure none are broken. If they are, you will need to replace them. Reinstall the 2 7mm bolts in the pull handle and the trim screw in the door handle bezel.