ACC Carpet: Molded carpet sets for Mustangs
Auto Custom Carpets (ACC) manufactures carpet sets for all Mustang models, from the 1st generation to present-day. They make their kits in the USA, in factory-correct colors, with OEM details, in the correct material. ACC carpet sets are the only ones available for early Mustangs, but they make a quality product at an affordable price, so there really isn’t any need for competition.
The ACC carpet set for Mustang is molded to fit the factory floorpan. With almost all of their molded carpet, ACC offers either a standard backing or the upgraded mass back. Mass back is a dense, hard rubbery layer which adds extra rigidity to the carpet. It also acts as a sound deadener and heat insulator, which can obviate the need for Dynamat. In a video description, CJ Pony Parts suggests that the mass back carpet will fit better initially and hold that fitment for the long-term better than carpet with the standard backing will. With that endorsement, I chose the mass-back’d carpet for the Disgustang.
Mass back is great…until it isn’t
I like the rigidity and form-fitting nature of the carpet, but it was also my biggest hurdle to a successful install. I installed the rear piece first, knowing full well that the front would be the real challenge. And after a little trimming on the sides, I had that carpet fitting like a glove. The contours of the ACC carpet matched the rear floor pan exactly. The carpet doesn’t wrinkle or bunch, at least not in the traditional sense. With a little massaging and some light use of adhesive, I was able to get the carpet to make good contact all around, and then I set about making the holes for the seats and seat belts.
The front piece, though, was an absolute bitch to install. I wish I’d had the original carpet set to use as a template for my cuts. Alas, the original carpet was so badly damaged, moldy, and disgusting that I threw it away when I pulled it out. Plus it came out in pieces and plumes of dust, so I wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway. My main obstacle was the rigidity of the carpet. While the rear piece just sits down into place, the front piece needs to be centered and then cut at the shifter opening.
With a standard carpet set, I’d probably fold the set in half to find and cut the center hole. That’s not possible with the mass back. Well, I probably could’ve folded it, but it would leave a wicked crease in the center of the carpet. In addition, cutting the mass back is an exercise in futility. A sharp, strong razor blade might help, but you’ll still need a lot of pressure, and that’s how bloody fingers happen.
No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get the front carpet to fit the contours of the floor pan at the rear edge. The curve of the molded-ness, as I call it, doesn’t match the contour of the floor. So even when I have the carpet in the best position, it’s not making good contact with the floor. As a result, pressing on certain areas will cause the carpet to lift in other areas. I tried heating the backing up a little to get it to relax, but that didn’t help. I tried cutting some of the edges, but I cut too deeply and almost ruined the set. Three hours of fiddling later and it’s still not how I want it, but this’ll have to do for now.
If I were to do this all over again, I’d stay away from the mass back stuff. I feel like standard molded carpet would probably be much more forgiving and workable.
I called the folks at ACC carpet for tips on dealing with the mass back and they were of absolutely no help. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they were dismissive and curt. The woman they put me on with said, “we don’t do installations.” I wanted more information on how to work with the mass back. How much can I heat it? How forgiving is it? Should I be worried about creasing it? These questions have implications for installation, sure, but they’re legitimate questions about the product itself.
In any case, though, remember the old adage, “measure twice, cut once.” I almost burned myself twice on that one…