Jeep Cherokee Floor Repair (other vehicles should have a similar process)
I pulled the rubber "carpet" out of my 1987 Jeep Cherokee XJ this morning and took care of the rust on the floor. This project took just three hours, and should be similar for other vehicles (not just Jeeps). You will need:
- 3/8" drive ratchet
- Deep 13mm 3/8" drive socket
- #2 Phillips screwdriver
- small angle grinder with either a wire wheel or a coarse grit flap disc
- Utility knife
- Masking tape
- Doctors masks (trust me, you don't want to breath rust, or paint dust)
- Safety goggles (don't take risks with your eyes)
First remove the front seats, using the 3/8" drive ratchet with the deep 13mm socket to remove the two front nuts, and two rear bolts that hold down the seats. Once the nuts and bolts (don't forget about the washers under the rear bolts) are out, lift the seats out of the Jeep. If the nuts under the rear seat mounts break their spot welds, use another 13mm wrench to hold them still so you can unbolt them.
Use the utility knife to cut the carpet into manageable pieces, and remove them from the vehicle. You could just lift the carpet out as one piece, but it doesn't fit in most towns' garbage cans in one piece. My rubber liner was already torn, so this was easy to do.
Most of the rust was on top of the paint, with a few bad spots here and there.
Coarse grit flap discs work great for eating rust!! Grind any rusty spots down to bare metal.
I sprayed the giant dark spot with rust converter after grinding on it. Only one pinhole here, directly below the brake pedal.
I painted the floor with primer and paint to seal it up. I then filled the government radio and equipment holes with silicone sealer. I will be repainting the trim and console, so I little overspray won't hurt me here. Re-install your seats and you're good to go!!
The interior is a little noisier at freeway speeds and maybe a little warmer without the insulation and carpet. If you want to quiet it down, then go and buy some new carpet from the dealer, but be warned, it's the carpet that caused the rust in the first place by never getting fully dry, so you may have to redo this in a couple years.
Since doing this repair I realized I need to Herculine the floor, as my paint is slowly disappearing from the sand that comes off the beach from our shoes. You can do this yourself or have a place like Line-X do it. The bedliner material deadens noise and make the interior washable by garden hose — pull the plugs and hose away! (Be careful not to splash the electricals, and make sure anything electrical has insulation in good shape - and make sure everything is completely dry before putting seats back in.
The bed-liner material could also have carpet re-installed on top of it without the rust returning due to wet carpeting.
I intend to buy boat plugs for the floor, to ditch the factory drain plugs for something that is a little more user friendly.