"Just sweep it under the carpet." It's an old expression that's more of a metaphor for hiding one's sins from public discovery than it is a tech tip. In fact, as far as tech tips go, hiding anything lumpy under a classic truck carpet installation is a bad idea if one's trying to obtain the best results possible. We've all seen it before – a DIY guy attempts to install a carpet kit into his truck and when it turns out looking like an overstuffed pair of adult disposable diapers he's all over the Internet forums complaining about the company he bought it from.
Except for the Internet trashing, I know exactly how the guy felt because I went through those stages teaching myself how to install a carpet kit into my trucks. The very first time was one of those large rubber mats that are supposed to be a direct replacement for the factory original floor covering on a base-model truck. I laid the large rubber mat into the cab of my Chevy C/K and it looked just awful. The mat didn't fit around the tunnel, the edges were hanging outside of the cab, and I was just plain depressed. I could tell I didn't have the natural born abilities it was going to take to get the darn thing looking right.
In lieu of natural ability, I sought out how to educate myself on the subject. The next time I wrote a tech about how to install a carpet kit I took it to a professional shop and photo-documented every step the pros made installing a carpet kit into my 1979 Chevy C10.
After my C10, the following occasion was to work alongside of a professional installer putting an LMC Truck carpet kit into a slight later-year-model C10. I was impressed. I contributed at least half of the labor and the thing went right in and looked perfect. Soon after that an assignment came to write a tech article on installing an LMC carpet kit into yet another 1973-1987 Chevy C10. I worked with a pro to lay it in and all went well.
The first installation I undertook alone was at home in my driveway with the 1976 F-250 loyal CLASSIC TRUCKS readers have been seeing appear in CT's pages recently. The carpet kit I installed in the 1976 Ford was sourced from LMC Truck, and that's exactly where the carpet kit getting fitted into the 1986 Dodge shown here came from. And speaking of classic Dodges, you might want to check with LMC Truck to see if its new 1972-'93 Dodge catalog is out.
1. Custom embroidered silver Dodge floor mats from LMC Truck have a heavy backing that works great from the get-go to help form the carpet kit into place.
2. Step one was to lay the carpet kit out in the sun and pop the transmission tunnel into its pre-molded shape by hand. No sun, use a heat gun ... cautiously.
3. A week of sitting in the rain without side windows proved Eastwood Thermo-Coustic sound deadener is impervious to submersion. Sitting in the hot California didn't phase it either.
4. The floor needs to be dry. Before placing the carpet kit into cab use compressed air or a vacuum to ensure there's absolutely nothing that will poke up or cause mildew.
5. This is how rust starts. The big hole is obvious, look closely for tiny pinholes or screw holes that will allow water to enter the cab. Blue tape holds wiring away from damage.
6. This cab floor is rust free. I used a strip of Eastwood Thermo-Coustic to plug the large hole and the screw holes.
7. Trust me, folding the carpet in half before fitting it into the cab works best. Start at the highest point of the floorboard under the dashboard and square (pull) the carpet into place.