Classic Mustang Carpet Installation Guide

Classic Mustang Carpet Installation Guide

Last Updated August 29, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

Cleaning tough stains and stubborn smells out of your Mustang’s carpet can be very difficult. That's why carpet replacement is often on most classic Mustang owner's project lists.

New carpet not only makes a big visual impact but it also ranks up there with reupholstered seats when it comes to making your Mustang “like new.”

Here’s what to know about selecting and installing new carpeting.

Carpet Selection

Classic Mustangs came with a loop-style carpet with nylon backing. Carpet that meets the original OEM specifications is still available. If you like loop carpet and really want the original backing, you can order it in your factory color.

But you also have the option of getting mass back or cut pile carpet. These options have some pros that may make them more desirable than your original carpet.

If you don’t know your factory interior color, you can find it using our data plate decoder and interior trim code guide.

Is Mass Back Carpet Worth It?

Mass back carpet has an extra layer of rubber between the jute padding and the carpet. This helps with sound deadening, heat insulation, and vibration dampening. In short, it helps create a more enjoyable driving experience by reducing noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). The rubber layer in mass back carpet has another benefit as well: Its increased rigidity and firmness make it easier to install.

If you already plan to install underlayment, you may not need to spend money on mass backing. Some still prefer mass back’s installation ease though, and you could still combine it with underlayment for serious NVH reduction.

a side by side comparison showing the extra layer of mass back carpet

Cut Pile vs Loop Pile Carpet

Classic Mustangs came with loop pile carpeting. That just means that the carpet fibers are folded down into loops. This creates a denser, more durable fabric.

Left side shows cut pile, right shows loop pile

Cut pile is made of fibers that have been cut, instead of folded, so they sit straight up. That makes it a lot softer, which is good for comfort. Vacuuming dirt out of the loose fibers is also easier than getting it free from a loop.

If you want carpet that’s true to the original, the 1964.5-1968 Mustangs had an 80/20 loop pile (80% rayon, 20% nylon). In 1969, Ford went to a 100% nylon loop carpet.

Sound Insulation

Though mass backing reduces NVH, it doesn’t have the kind of sound dampening capabilities that a true underlayment offers. Dynamat and Lizardskin both offer underlayment options that significantly reduce road noise inside the cabin.

There’s no better time to upgrade your underlayment than when you’re installing new carpet. Products like Dynamat’s floor kit are very easy to install if you’ve already disassembled the interior. It should only add a few minutes to the project overall.

How To Install Carpet

It’s important to remember that installing carpet is a big job. Take your time and make sure your cuts are precise for a carpet that fits as well as the factory one. For most people, this installation will take the better part of an afternoon, or right around 5 hours.

To make the job easier, lay out your new carpet in the warm sunlight while you disassemble your interior. This will help soften it so you can pull it taut and get the fit you want.

Tools:

  • Jack and Jack Stands
  • Razor Blades
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • 3/32” Allen Key
  • ½” Socket
  • ⅜” Socket
  • ⅜” Drive Ratchet
  • Punch or Awl
  • Small Flashlight
  • Scraper
  • Brush
  • Vacuum

Step 1: Lift Your Mustang

To get started, you’ll need to lift your Mustang, so you can remove the seats.

Pro Tip: If you’ve never lifted your Mustang before, here’s a guide for doing it the right way.

Bill stands under a classic Mustangs that’s been lifted

Step 2: Remove Grommet

Use something flat, like your screwdriver, to lift the edge and then pull the grommet away.

Pulling grommet loose from under classic Mustang

Step 3: Remove Nuts

If the nuts are the originals, they’ll be a half-inch in size. Because they’re so far in, you may want a flashlight to line up your socket.

Bill uses socket wrench to undo nuts

Step 4: Remove Seats

Lower your car back to the ground and then simply pull the seats free. You can remove the rear seat in the same way.

Front seats of classic Mustang have been removed, rear seats are about to be

Step 5: Remove Door Sill Plate

You’ll need to remove the screws (usually 9 or 6) to access the edge of the carpet.

Removing screws holding door sill plate in place

Step 6: Remove Kick Panels

Remove the two screws that hold your kick panels in place and they’ll simply slide out.

Removing screw from the kick panel

Step 7: Remove Shifter Bezel

Pull up on the chrome bezel to release it from the floor. You can leave the rubber boot in place.

Pulling up on the chrome shifter bezel

Step 8: Remove Seat Belts

The seat belt bolts are often the hardest to remove. You may want to use a breaker bar in addition to a socket.

Removing the lower bolt of a seat belt

Step 9: Remove Old Carpet

Now that it’s loose, you just need to pull up on your old carpet to remove it.

Bill pulls the old carpet free from the Mustang

Step 10: Clean Up

Grab a vacuum and clean up your Mustang. Be prepared, it’s going to be very, very gross.

Dirt, debris, and rust underneath where the seat and carpet used to be

Step 11: Use Old Carpet as Template

Lay your old carpet over your new one and use it as a template. That way you’ll have an idea about where items like your shifter will be located. Use a razor blade to make small marks in these areas (but don’t cut them out yet).

Bill uses a box cutter to cut through the old carpet into the new carpet so they’ll line up

Step 12: Trim New Carpet

Using your old carpet as a template, carefully trim the front and back piece of your new carpet using a razor blade.

Pro Tip: Don’t cut off too much at once. It’s ok to trim little by little until you get the perfect fit.

Bill uses a razor blade and old carpet to make a cut in the new carpet

Step 13: Lay New Carpet

Once you’re finished trimming your new carpet, it’s ready to be placed in your Mustang.

New carpet is placed and smoothed out in classic Mustang

Step 14: Cut Holes for Seat and Seat Belt Bolts

You can find the seat and seat belt bolt holes by prodding the carpet with your fingers. Then use your awl to make a hole in the carpet. You’ll use your razor blade to make a small square around this hole.

Bill uses an awl to punch a hole in the carpet

Step 15: Install Grommet for Dimmer Switch (Optional)

If your carpet came with a grommet for the dimmer switch, go ahead and install that now.

Adding the grommet for the dimmer switch

Step 16: Fit Carpet Under Quarter Trim Panels

If you opted for a thinner carpet, it should slide under the panels like the original carpet. If you’re able to do this, you can skip ahead to Step 22.

Bill prepares to work carpet under the quarter panels

If you opted for a thicker mass back option like we did, you’ll need to remove the quarter trim panels to get the carpet in place.

Step 17: Remove Rear Seatback

Unscrew the bolts on the bottom and then lift the back seat out.

Bill pulls out the rear seat back

Step 18: Remove Window Crank

Take the window crank off by accessing the retaining screw underneath the handle. With the screw removed, you can slide the handle off.

Unscrewing the bolt under the window crank handle

Step 19: Remove Windlace

Pry up the windlace from the bottom and then pull up to slide it off.

Pulling windlace free from the quarter panel

Step 20: Remove Trim Panel

Unscrew the three screws that are holding the trim panel in and remove remove the trim panel.

Trim panel has been removed, carpet is now in position

Step 21: Cut Flap Around Door Post

Pull the carpet taut and then cut two slits in it so it lays flat on either side of the door post. Follow the lines of the panel. Repeat Steps 17-21 on the other side.

Cutting the carpet flap so it lays flat against the trim panel

Step 22: Fit Carpet Under Door Sill

The carpet must come up to the door sill so it can be held in place by the bolts there. Pull the carpet tight and trim the excess so the carpet is flush against the seam.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry too much about excess carpet in the front corners since it’ll be covered by the kick panels.

Carpet is snugly pulled to the door sill

Step 23: Cut Out Shifter Bezel

You made a small razor mark, but now you’ll need to make larger cuts. Carefully trim pieces of the carpet away and pull the boot through. Then, slide the shifter bezel on and attach it.

Bill pulls up square of carpet

Step 24: Reassemble Interior

Work in the opposite direction of how you disassembled your interior. Rear seat and quarter panels will go in first, then the seat belts, then the kick panels, and so on until you finally put the seats in place.

Bill places front seats back in place

Keep Your Carpet Clean for Years

Once you’ve installed the new carpet, you’ll be able to enjoy it for years. As long as you keep it clean, anyway. It’s a good idea to invest in easy-to-clean protection, like Mustang floor mats. You can also check out these interior detailing tips to keep carpet looking fresh longer.

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Source:Carpet Selection: 100% Nylon or 80/20, Vintage Mustang Forum | Carpet-Any advantage of Cut-Pile vs Loop?Vintage Mustang Forum | Review: ACC Mass-Back vs Standard Carpet, Vintage Mustang Forum

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.