1962 Mercury Comet Dash
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Floor & Carpet

Floored

1962 Mercury Comet Vinyl FloorThe original flooring in my 1962 Comet was a red & black speckled hard rubber or vinyl material.  Being a standard version Comet, this was the basic durable flooring that was offered.  It was low maintenance and easy to clean.  Unfortunately it was not meant to last 50 years.  Through the years it had dried out and was as brittle as, well brittle.  The only thing holding it together was the thick fiber padding that was adhered to the back.  

The up side of the brittleness and the backing, was that it was easy to remove.  I first removed the kick panels on both the driver and passenger side and then removed the scuff plates along the door openings. 

Original 1962 Mercury Comet Vinyl FloorI looked for a dealer selling a replacement and had no luck.  While there were vinyl replacements available, they were a single color and not available in the speckled red & black pattern like the original.  Now earlier, when I was sorting through my father-in-laws receipts, I came across one for a replacement carpet.  When I picked up the car there was no carpet in sight.  At the time I didn't know he had purchased one so I wasn't really looking. 

So I had my mother-in-law on the lookout for a rather large box.  After a few weeks she called to tell me that she had opened up the door of the shed in the back yard and found the purchased carpet laying out flat across some stuff inside.  I was grateful that it was located and that it had not sat in the box for several years taking on the shape of the box.

One Small Step.. for a factory worker

1962 mercury comet floorI began by removing the front and rear seats.  Four bolts held down the front seat tracks.  I was surprised at how easily the seats came out.  They were not loose or anything but I expected to struggle getting the nuts off the bolts that went down through the floor, since they were under the car, exposed to the elements.  I had my WD-40 all ready and everything.  But, a simple pull of the wrench handle broke each of them loose and they unscrewed easily.  I guess I was lucky the car had not seen much in terms of the elements over the years.

Now I may not have mentions this previously, but I love zip-loc bags.  Or more generically put "re-sealable zipper storage bags".  Being a collector (and/or pack-rat), has me owning 100's of bags in various sizes.  Not the regulate sizes you see in the store but smaller sizes that can be used for storing all kinds of small objects, from matchboxes to plastic James Bond ejector seat figures used with the 1960's Gilbert battery operated tin Aston Martin (I'm a big Bond fan).  Well, every nut, bolt and screw that I have taken off the Comet has found its way into a re-sealable zipper storage bag, that I label.  Sure helps later when trying to put things back together and not remembering what screw went where.

1962-mercury-comet-floor-03The vinyl floor can out very easily since it was falling apart .  Some of it was still attached to the "mass" backing, and was removed in large sections.   Below the vinyl flooring, in the sections where your feet would be, was a layer of padding.  

Below the padding was some tar paper material which was also in great shape, but I have other plans which involve some sound deadening material.

Below the tar paper was the painted metal floor.  The original floor that has not been exposed, let alone seen, in over 50 years.  I was surprised to see how messy the floor looked with the yellow colored glue, black tar sealer and exposed brown colored primer. 

comet-floor-onesmallstep01The biggest surprise was the presence of two foot prints on the white painted floor in the rear seat area.  All I could imagine was a factory worker stepping on the greasy dusty factory floor and then stepping into my Comet to apply the yellow glue to hold down the tar paper or rug pad.   I wonder where they are now.

 

 

When it rains, it PORs

1962-mercury-comet-floor-05_smWith all the flooring removed, I assessed the condition of the sheet metal. Now I have heard horror stories about rust holes big enough to stick your foot through. And I've seen dozens of pictures of floors pans that had to be patched or completely replaced, so I was feeling quite fortunate and thankful, as there was not much rust at all. Except for one spot on the passenger foot area that had gotten wet when the heater core leaked, and two areas below the gas and brake pedals, it was tough to find any rust at all.


What looks like yellow rust stains in the photo is the glue used to hold down the carpet pad. The reddish-brown color is primer paint showing through in spots where there is no white paint. Apparently, it was not necessary to completely cover the primed floor with the exterior body color. I guess it was hit or miss. Additional there was black seam sealer applied to all the welded metal seams, some of it was the raw black color while some was painted over in white.

Now having a floor in such a great shape, didn't mean that there wasn't much work for me to do. I have plans on putting down some sound deadening material to quiet the road noise and it seemed like the thing to do since I had the floor exposed.

The first thing I did was address the surface rust on the passenger foot area. The leaky heater core allowed some water to drip in this area causing the rust.


Surface rust floor board 1962 Mercury CometI used my new most-favorite chemical called Evapo-rust to address the problem. I had used this miracle liquid when I rebuilt my carburetor with great success. I soaked some paper towels in the stuff and laid them on the slanted metal. I left it there for about a hour, adding some fresh solution every 15 minutes. The rust cleared up pretty good.


My next step was to remove any of the dried and cracked seam sealer. The factory workers didn't do such a neat job when it came to applying the stuff. There were big globs of it everywhere. It reminds me of the scene from Gung-Ho, the movie comedy about the closing of an auto factory. In it George Wendt (NORM!) is an assembly line work whose job is to apply some spray (I forget if it's paint or maybe even seam sealer) to the car bodies and does a very messy job in doing so. Of course by the end of the movie, he is doing it the proper way.


por-15After vacuuming and de-greasing the floor, I used a new tube of seam sealer in my caulking gun to reseal any of the seams that needed filling. After the sealer had dried,. I scuffed some of the spots I wanted to paint over with a 350 grit sandpaper. Next I applied a Metal-Ready made by the Por-15 folks. This product prepares the rusted metal to accept the POR-15 Rust Preventative paint. A final washing and then I allowed it to thoroughly dry overnight.

The next day I was finally able to open up a can of the POR-15 and start applying it to the exposed metal areas. I got a little carried away and overlapped much of the existing paint as one small bare spot seemed to flow right into another. I wanted to coat all the exposed primer and any areas where I had pealed off the excessive seam sealer, and there were many. With the proper preparation to the floor, adhesion should not be a problem.

1962-mercury-comet-floor-05_smNow this stuff is messy. I wore rubber gloves and still managed to get it on my hands and a few small dots on my face. They warn you that if you get it on your skin, and don't wash it off immediately, it will have to wear off. Well, they were right.

You apply two coats of POR-15 about 2 hours apart. You wait until the first coat is almost dry to the touch and then you apply a second. It really shines even when dry. Now I'm waiting for some warmer weather to install my FatMat sound deadening material.

FatMat - More than Meets the Eye*

FatMat Sound deadening materialThe weather finally cooperated and I was able to begin the installation of the FatMat sound deadening material.  You want it a little warmer when you are installing this material as heat makes it more flexible and able to mold into all the nooks and crannies in you car floor.  I also used a large work light to light the interior and provide some additional warmth.

The FatMat material does two things.  It provides for a quieter ride and blocks some of the heat produced by the engine and exhaust system.   I looked at several of the sound deadening materials available and chose FatMat as it seemed to have the best price/performance ratio.    Installation is pretty simple, but time consuming. 

fatmat sound deadening material

I ordered 100 square feet of material on Amazon.  It came in two rolls and included a small hobby type knife and a wooden roller.  They recommend that you either install the FatMat material when it is rather warm out to help it conform to the floor or make use of a heat gun.  I purchased a heat gun for just this purpose but found a better way.  I used my 2 x 1200 Watt work lights to heat up the interior of my car as well as the material itself.  It warmed up both the floor and FatMat up just enough to make the installation much easier.

Installation took several hours spread over a few nights.  I learned while smoking pork shoulder, that low and slow is the way to go.   If it works for pulled pork it will work for FatMat.  You really have to piece together some areas on the floor. 

Comet Floor with Fatmat

You'll also end up overlapping the FatMat in several spots to get complete coverage.  The roller worked great and pushed the material into all the nooks.  Coming back the following night, it was very apparent that the FatMat was not going to be coming off any time soon.  It was adhered to the floor permanently.

The last part of the installation is to locate the holes in the floor that will be needed when reinstalling the seats and for a new set of seat belts that I purchased for the front seat.  You cut out the FatMat so that the holes are clear.

 

* "More than Meets the Eye" is a reference to the Transformers toy and movie franchise.  The FatMat logo reminds me of the Transformer's Logo.

Carpet Diem

carpet install Mercury CometAfter returning from a weeks vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, I began to tackle the carpet installation.  Now, my father-in-law purchased the carpet in 2005 and it sat in his shed until a few months ago, so it has lost some of the preformed-ness.    So it took a while to get it into position and coax the carpet to accept some of the corners.  They say not to use any adhesive since the seats and scuff plates will hold it in place.  I did make use of some adhesive in one place near the hump in the rear seat foot area.  I just couldn't get the carpet to lay flat.

 

 

1962 Comet Carpet installationNext I carefully punched a hole in the carpet everywhere there would be a bolt going through it.  That included 4 for the front seat and two for the front seat belts.  What I had forgotten to do was cut a hole for the front seat spring.  The spring attached to the back of the seat track and stretches up to a metal tab in the floor near the front of the seat.

 

 

 

Fortunately, I was able to get to the point after the fact since this is where the rear carpet piece and the front carpet overlap.

1962 Comet carpet - Back Seat

 

 

 

...more to come