Project Update: Putting The Streetability Back In Snake Eyes

Snake Eyes is a project that’s always been about having fun with a cheap, ratty muscle car. It’s a project that came about because many of our readers felt magazine builds only cater to those with deep pockets. But, at its core, it was always meant to be a car the average enthusiast could build, regardless of skill level, or budget – as long as they’re okay with scrimping and saving pennies and doing the work themselves.

In the last project update, we covered all of the accessories we installed while preparing to bolt on the TorqStorm Supercharger Kit. You can read that article, here. Something funny happened during that install though – Snake Eyes lost some of its “streetability.”

Snake Eyes – a car of the people. It has always been a D.I.Y. style car, and always will be.

What’s that mean exactly? Well, let’s just say the new electric fuel pump was louder than the stereo, and the rattling noises from under the car made it difficult to hear passenger conversation. If that wasn’t enough, the heat coming from the floorboards was enough to fry an egg.

So, in this article, we’ll show you how we remedied all those project car woes. With the help of our friends at Original Parts Group, we made the driving experience much more pleasurable. Follow along as we break it down.

Initial Inspection:

Our old carpet was a little worse for wear...

We began by assessing the state of the cabin. If you recall early on in this project series, we replaced the factory bench seat with some ProCar Bucket Seats with a rear seat cover to match. While we were at it, we noticed the shoddy state of the carpet that someone had replaced in the past.

In this shot you can really see the poor state of affairs our carpet was in. Nevermind the huge tear and debris, it was just lumpy as hell!

With the new seats and tattered old carpet, things just didn’t look right. We could only imagine what lay beneath. In some areas, it was just bare metal under the holes in the carpet, so it’s safe to assume that’s largely where the noise and heat were coming from. As for not being able to hear the stereo, that’s partly our fault.

While we were installing the new fuel cell, we ran a remote fuel filler through the sail panel of the Monte Carlo. Unfortunately, the only way to route the large diameter filler neck was through the package tray. In order to accommodate that, we had to remove one of our 6×9 speakers in the rear – leaving only one to blast our tunes.

So, we made it our mission to rectify these street beast injustices. How is one ever going to gain any street cred if they can’t rip gnarly burnouts while blaring Metallica? We have the burnout part figured out, but no one is going to be impressed solely by the sound of our fuel pump.

Disassembly:

We started with some exploratory probing. After removing the seatbelts, shifter, and seats, we were left with the tattered old carpet. It was full of holes, tears, cigarette burns, metal shavings, and other unknown debris. Suffice to say, it was way past its prime.

There were a few trim panels that needed to be removed before the carpet could come out, though. We removed the door sill plates and vented kick panels. That required us to unbolt the emergency brake bracket so we could get to the screws that attach the kick panels. Once that was done, we laid out our new carpet kit and sound deadening material to compare it to the new stuff.

In order to remove the driver-side kick panel, we had to first disconnect the parking brake bracket. The kick panels are held in with five Philips-head screws.

Like the kit we got from Original Parts Group, the old carpet was also a two-piece design so removal wasn’t difficult. We peeled back the carpet and the spongy underlayment came with it. That exposed the old sound deadening material and the Monte Carlo’s floor pans, which were in surprisingly good shape.

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

We quickly began removing the old sound deadening material which was a real pain to get off. The big sections came off easily with a wide flathead screwdriver and scraper, but the small pieces of the asphalt-based material that had been broken off and ground into the metal proved to be much more difficult. A wire wheel on our corded drill did the job.

Once the original sound deadening was removed we were able to perform a closer inspection. There was some surface rust forming so after we wire wheeled the troubled areas, we decided to hit them with a few coats of rust-inhibiting paint.

With all the previous material removed we were able to inspect the floor pans further. Luckily for us, there was only some minor surface rust in some areas. We vacuumed everything out and prepped the areas that had formed some oxidation for a rust-inhibiting spray. A few quick coats before the new sound deadening panels were laid in was all we needed.

Sound Deadening:

When it came time to lay in the new sound deadening, there were a few challenges we had to contend with. The previous owner had thankfully converted the Monte Carlo to be floor shifted. In doing so, there were some holes drilled in the transmission tunnel to accommodate the B&M Shifter.

The sound-deadening kit we got from OPGI laid in perfectly and we didn’t need to do any trimming at all – save for some small holes for our shifter and seatbelts.

In order for the shifter cable and mounting screws to pass through the new asphalt-based sound deadener, we needed to make a few holes. This required us to take the material in and out of the car several times. This would be the case for the other panels as well, since we needed holes for the seatbelt fasteners. But, measure twice, cut once – as they say.

Luckily for us, most of the material had cuts pre-made for the seat mounting brackets.

Luckily for us, the kit came pre-cut and they were pretty much spot on – they even had provisions for the front seat mounting locations so those were holes we didn’t need to cut. Not only that, but there were relief cuts made so the material laid in nicely without any weird bulges or wrinkles.

The relief cuts made the already pliable material even easier to work with. Don't mind the rat's nest of wiring...we sorted it out before routing them where they belong.

We used some double-sided adhesive tape to hold the sound deadening in place, as the carpet would lay right on top.

Two-Piece Carpet Kit:

As for the two-piece carpet kit, it went in just as easily as the sound deadening, except for the fact that we had the challenge of contending with a copious amount of wires running from the trunk to the relay panel under the dash.

Once we laid the new carpet kit in, it was apparent that we were going to have to do some trimming.

We previously relocated our battery to the trunk in order to move some weight and tidy up some unkempt wiring. In doing so, we routed some heavy gauge wires for power, ground, our fuel pump, and MSD ignition box, etc., along the floor of the car. So, when we laid the new carpet over it, we had to be careful to not allow any bulges to form.

Making holes in the carpet was a little harrowing, considering it's permanent, but we measured many times before making our final cuts.

This became a challenge because we were forced to route the wires along the outside of the seat brackets which run parallel to the door sill trim that also serves to clamp the carpet down. Ultimately, we were able to get it done by spreading out the wires instead of having them bundled together as we had done previously.

Another challenge was trimming the excess carpet. To be honest, it wasn’t exactly challenging, per se, but more nerve-racking. Since we had to cut a few holes for fasteners, and there’s only so much material to work with, they had to be right the first time. That said, the kit comes pre-molded so it’s somewhat obvious where the carpet should lay. There’s a hump in the middle for the transmission tunnel and flat spots for the footboards. So, the only substantial trimming needed to be made is on the outside. If you’re nervous with the razor blade like we were, you can always use your old carpet as a pseudo-template. It at least gave us a rough idea. By laying one on top of the other, we were able to see our marker lines were in the ballpark.

When it came time to trim the excess, we made sure to leave about a half-inch of carpet so we could tuck it under the speaker kick panels.

Our best advice for this is to just be patient. You’ll likely need to trim the edges several times, lest you take off too much initially, and then you’re really in a bad spot.

Kick Panels With Built-In Kenwood Speakers:

Speaking of wiring, we also had to hide the wires leading from the one rear speaker to the stereo head unit. Which also meant wiring in the two new Kenwood speakers included in the new kick panels.

By comparing the two kick panels side-by-side it’s easy to see how they were able to streamline the design enough to fit the Kenwood speakers seamlessly. The old vents were actually larger and took up more room than the speakers, albeit in a slightly different location.

The old kick panels weren’t in bad shape, but we’ve found most people end up modifying them to accept small speakers. The problem with that is, they also have to cut holes in the metal panel behind them. Otherwise, the speakers will stick out too far and run into the pedal for the emergency brake, and also, it just looks terrible.

We made sure to test the function of the speakers before we completed their installation, and trust us, they sound fantastic! Especially if you’re playing some Black Sabbath at 10:30PM for your neighbors. (If you’re reading this, sorry.)

Luckily for us, Original Parts Group offers these kick panels with the speakers molded in and they are a direct replacement. Wiring was simple. The stereo’s wiring harness is color-coded so we grabbed two matching sets of green and purple wires from the harness and connected them to the corresponding positive and negative terminals on the back of the speakers.

 

Once the wiring was complete and tucked behind the kick panel, we secured them by pushing them into their channels under the door sill plates, being careful to tuck the carpet under with them.

After the wires were connected we tucked what we could behind the kick panels, along with the excess carpet from that area, and pushed them into place. We were surprised how easily they went in considering everything involved with removing the originals. The new panels don’t require screws to hold them in place – they are simply pressure-fit and very secure. The pressure from the carpet being tucked behind them is enough to hold them in place.

Reassembly:

Once the kick panels were in place and we did a quick sound check to make sure everything was hooked up properly, we screwed down our door sill plates, and began bolting the bucket seats back in. Since we were careful to align the holes between the sound deadening and the carpet, finding the holes for our seat mounting bolts was easy. The same can be said for the seatbelt fasteners.

When it came time to reassemble everything, it went smoothly because we took our time cutting the holes for things like our seat belt fasteners.

Overall, the installation took us about two nights after work. If you’re like us, nights and weekends are the only time you have to work on your ride, so we really have to make the most out of those precious few hours. It’s always a pleasure to find parts that fit easily and don’t require any modification to work.

Impressions:

The sound deadening kit came pre-cut, and the carpet kit pre-molded. The speaker kick panels popped right into place and were a breeze to install. In fact, the longest and most demanding part of this install was the removal of the old materials and wire wheeling the floor pans to bare metal. As a matter of fact, replacing them with the new stuff was the easiest part since the materials were so well crafted. We’ve worked with carpet kits in the past that just didn’t fit right, and left us with lumps and wrinkles – not this time.

A little before and after. Check out that transformation – no more holes, cigarette burns, tears, or most importantly, lumps! The only slight wave you can see in the after photo is caused by the design of the floorpan, and not the sound deadening like it was previously.

Just have a look for yourself, and stay tuned for more on Snake Eyes – the low-buck 1972 Monte Carlo put together on nights and weekends over a few beers with friends. It goes to show you don’t need a lot of high-end tools or crazy big budgets to build a fun car.

What a great improvement! Now we can crank our tunes and enjoy the smell of race gas instead of mold coupled with the drone of our fuel pump.

This isn’t the last of our partnership with Original Parts Group Inc. either. Over the years, our Monte has been beaten and battered, and it’s got the dents and gouges to prove it. So, OPGI is helping us restore Snake Eyes even further in a few future segments where we tackle a D.I.Y. paint and body story. Stay tuned!

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About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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