August 10-11, 2002
When we moved our household belongings from the house we sold in Lincoln to our retirement home in Grand Island I saved back all of the new and restored parts from Maych and moved them into our temporary apartment in Lincoln.  The apartment reminded me of Ma and Pa Kettle's house in those old movies - our couch in the living room was Maych's newly re-upholstered bench seat; the front and rear bumpers and the grill were stashed under the bed; new trim was stacked against the wall in the living room; and the bedroom closet was packed with boxes of various parts, both old and new.  I thought it was kind of funny, but my wife didn't really see the humor.  However, my grandson, Joshuah, thought the new "couch" was "sweet" (his currently favorite word).

Over the next few days I hauled Maych's parts over to Dave's house (much to my wife's delight).  I had to get Dave to help with the "couch" because it was too heavy and bulky for me to tote down the apartment stairs by myself.  I might have talked my wife into helping but she was in Grand Island watching the grandson and I wanted to get the bench seat installed over the weekend.  The one truck part that somehow managed to escape to Grand Island instead of the apartment was the new carpet.  I needed the carpet before the bench seat could be installed, so I made arrangements to meet my wife halfway between Grand Island and Lincoln (about 50 miles) early Sunday morning and retrieve the carpet.  In the meantime, we spent all day Saturday preparing the cab for the new carpet and bench seat.

The first thing we did was remove the old carpet padding.  The padding didn't look too bad but it was very brittle and once we began to remove it, it literally fell apart.  This was ok with me, because I didn't plan on re-using it.  I wanted to replace the old tar matting with a little "newer" technology to help with soundproofing and insulation.  I thought about going back in with the original style mat, but because there are newer products that are far superior to the original tar matting and because it would be completely hidden by the carpet, I deviated a little from my "keeping it stock" motto (don't tell anybody).  The product I decide to use is called RAAMmat.  It's a product very similar (some say superior) to Dynamat.  However, Dynamat costs around $8.00 per square foot, while RAAMmat costs less than $1.50 per square foot .  I bought a 50 square foot roll on their web site for around $80.00, including shipping.  

I was a little scared of what I mind find when I removed the old carpet and tar matting.  Even though I had never looked under the matting, I knew there were no rust- through places because I had checked that thoroughly from underneath when I had the body and paint work done.  However, I thought there might be a lot of surface rust that would need attention.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that the cab floor was in "like-new" condition.  All that was required was a thorough cleaning with soap and water.

After cleaning the cab floor and removing the seat belt brackets I began laying down the RAAMmat.  Man is this stuff sticky!  You have to be careful to put it where you want it, because it is near impossible to pull it back up.  Fortunately, it is also very pliable, so it's easy to mold around the hills and valleys in the cab floor.  All in all, it goes on fairly easy.  Even if you have some areas that don't overlap because of poor alignment, you can just lay a piece over the top of the gap.  It sticks to itself as well as it does to other surfaces.  Some "audiophiles" put 2 or 3 layers in their vehicles, but I settled on one layer for now.  If I later decide that I need another layer, it can be added without much trouble.  I also didn't put any RAAMmat on the back of the cab or the roof of the cab, mainly because I didn't want to have to remove the gas tank or the headliner.  If I ever have to remove these two items I might consider putting it in those locations also.  

With the RAAMmat in place, we could lay the new carpet.  I was also a little apprehensive about the new carpet..  I had bought the carpet almost a year ago and had never tried to see how well it would fit.  That's one disadvantage of buying stuff too far in advance of when you're going to need it -- by the time you discover it won't work, it's normally too late to return it. But again, my fears were unfounded -- the new carpet fit perfectly.  The only difference between the new carpet and the original (other than it was obviously in better condition) was that the new carpet covered the entire cab floor, whereas the original did not cover the area beneath the bench seat.  Full coverage is much better, in my opinion.  The only small snag we hit was that the RAAMmat covered the bolt holes for the seat belt bracket and bench seat rails .  We found the hole locations easily by poking an awl through the holes from the bottom of the cab.  Time to put the bench seat in.

I've been looking at my refurbished bench seat since last May when I got it back from the upholstery shop.  I had ordered new seat covers almost a year before with the intention of putting them on myself once the paint and body work was completed.  However, on one of my trips to check on Maych at the paint and body shop, I notice that Alan (the paint and body guy) had removed the bench seat.  When I asked him about it he smiled and confessed that he had left one of Maych's doors open one night and one of his Dalmatians decided the bench seat would make a good bed.  Of course, in the process of making himself comfy, he ripped out some rather large chunks of foam rubber.  So, Alan removed the seat and took it to a local upholstery shop to get it mended.  I had the new seat covers on hand and thought maybe this would be a good opportunity to have them install the covers also.  Turned out to be a good deal.  The upholstery shop replaced a couple of broken springs, patched the foam, and put on the seat covers for $65.00.  The refurbished seat sat in my garage for 2 months and then served as a "couch" in our temporary apartment for another month.  Finally, I was going to see it back where it belonged.

The new upholstery looked so good on the bench seat that I decided it would be a shame to not spruce up the seat rails before re-
installing them.  They weren't really rusted, just filthy and faded from 30 years of use.  

We put a piece of cardboard on the garage floor to prevent the seat cover from getting dirty, then we removed the rails.  They come off fairly easy but, like most things,  you need to take note how all of the levers, springs, etc. are installed so you can get it back together.  There are an amazing assortment of gizmos used to operate the sliding rails.  

Once removed, we sanded the rails with 320 grit sandpaper, wiped them down with lacquer thinner, then gave them a couple of coats of Rustoleum gloss black enamel.  That's my friend Dave in the photo doing the painting honors.  You'll notice he found a nice shady spot.  Must have been 98 degrees this day -- miserable to work in, but the paint sure cured quickly.

While waiting for the paint to cure (about 20 minutes in the 98 degree heat), we located the mounting holes for the rails.  We marked the hole locations by sticking an awl up through the holes from underneath the cab.  I thought we could just cut a slit in the carpet and RAAMmat for the bolts but Dave said he had tried that when he installed his bench seat and had a world of trouble installing the bolts because the carpet fibers would get in the threads.  So, we used a utility knife to cut a 1/2" square opening around each bolt hole. 

After the holes were cut in the carpet it was simply a matter of putting the seat in place and bolting it down.  The hardest part was making sure we did not scratch the insides of my newly painted doors getting the seat in.  Next task -- the new door panels.

 

 

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