The simplest thing to do when starting on the full interior restoration of any car is to pull out all the seats, pull out the carpet and see what kind of condition your floors are in. The condition of your floors can tell you a lot about the condition of the entire car.
On our K5 Blazer we felt going in that the floors were going to be in almost perfect shape… we were wrong. After we un-bolted the seats and removed them through the back of the Blazer we found our first issue. Our “new” carpet was simply laid on top of the old carpet. They didn’t replace the old carpet, they just laid the new stuff on top of the original stuff. At this point I know that if the new carpet is just laid on the original carpet that it’s almost certain that the original sound deadening insulation is touching the paint underneath it all. The reason that it’s concerning is because the old 80′s sound deadening material was infamous for holding water and molding.
So whatever, it had to all be removed anyway. Knowing that we weren’t keeping the current carpets we removed them the easy way, with a razor blade. Sure enough after pulling out the 2 sets of carpets we found exactly what I thought, old wet moldy sound deadening insulation. It looks a lot like the insulation under the carpet in your house except it has a black covering on top.
The insulation under the carpet was horrible, so bad that I went and put on my paint respirator so I wouldn’t breathe anything in. Most of the insulation could be pulled out and was so old it became brittle on top and would just break into pieces. The remaining pieces that were stuck to the floor were removed with a flat sheet rock knife.
So now that the carpets and insulation were removed it was time to take a look at our floors and see how much rust we had to deal with. The first rust we found was under the door weather stripping on both sides. It’s the thin metal that the insulation fits over, it’s where the inner and outer rocker panels come together.
Other rust spots that concerned me were under where the rear passengers feet would be behind the front seats. It seems like water sat there under the insulation and simply rotted it away. We also found rust right behind the drivers seat where the floor and the inner wall come together.
I’m still trying to decide if there is enough rust to require some aftermarket floor pans? Most of the spaces are just flat sheets and wouldn’t require any type of metal working other than cutting a square but there are some places that need some structural pieces? I’ll think about it and let you know later in the interior build.
The bed area looked great. The only rust areas were the gas filler neck cover and where ever there was a bolt or screw hole.
All in all it wasn’t that bad but I do hate seeing rust anywhere inside the cab.
My Plan of Attack
I plan on stripping the entire floor with a 40 grit sanding pad to check for any rust that would be concealed under the paint then welding up all new patches for the floor. After all the metal work is done I think I am going to go with a rust sealer paint like a KBS Coatings product. I need to do some research but I have been very impressed with what I have seen from this company.
The process of painting a floor like this is first degreasing the entire floor to make sure the paint gets good adhesion then using a rust converter to convert any remaining rust to a paintable surface. Once the rust is converted and turns black you can begin using the rust sealer paint by either brushing it on or rolling it on. I think some of them do allow the use of a sprayer but with paint like this I think i’ll just apply it by hand. Some people say this paint is like a brush on powder coating.
Once the rust sealer paint is done i’m going to cover it with a Dynamat type deadening material and leave it until the final carpet needs to be installed. Hopefully the floor restoration won’t take too long. I want to make it better than before but I don’t want to have thousands of dollars in it either.
This is a good shot of the mold…