Leading up to this story, all the upgrades to our 1999 Ford F-150 Lightning project, dubbed Project Stealth Fighter, have been performance based. Going fast is fun, but doing so in a beat-up interior is no fun at all. This time, we address the comfort and good-looks side of things. This truck had been through the wringer. Its last three years have been spent sitting in a paint shop, collecting untold amounts of sanding dust, rainwater from sitting outside, and paint fumes. It goes without saying the interior was thrashed.
The only answer to this predicament was to gut the interior and start over. Our first call was to ACC. One of the leaders in replacement auto carpets, ACC provides drop-in, direct-fit carpet kits for just about every car and truck on the road. Next, we called Roadwire and ordered new truck seat covers in elegant black perforated leather with yellow stitching to match our yellow Baer calipers. We figured this would also be the perfect opportunity to dress up the interior with some billet accent pieces. All Sales Manufacturing was the go-to manufacturer, and we ordered all the billet parts the company makes for the 1997 to 2003 Ford trucks. The last step was to take our headliner and beat-up steering wheel over to 714 Motorsports in Westminster, California, to have the headliner wrapped in suede and the steering wheel in matching black leather. Continue reading to see how easy it was to transform a flogged interior into one that is the perfect combination of comfort and aesthetics.
1. The interior not only looked outdated, but the seats were also worn out, the carpet was stained, and there was a lingering odor of sweat, dust, and broken dreams.
2. After pulling the seats out, we ripped out the carpet and threw it in the dumpster.
3. To help quiet the interior and keep radiant heat to a minimum, we laid down a nice layer of Hushmat over the entire floor, door panels, roof, and back of the cab.
4. Laying the carpet out was a no-frills affair. ACC makes sure all the holes are pre-cut and the carpet is pre-molded to the floor pan.
5. The next goal was to update the look of the factory seats. The talented team at Roadwire handled this and made our seats look and feel better.
6. The seat bolsters were worn out from years of guys climbing in and out of the truck. As you can see, the fabric had also seen better days.
7. To begin disassembly, all the plastic base pieces had to be removed in order to access the metal seat base.
8. The back was separated from the bottom and set aside for later.
9. Finally, the old fabric could be pulled off the seats to assess the damage to the foam underneath.
10. We kind of figured, but the foam in the seat was pretty destroyed. There were several tears that were sealed with glue to prevent further tearing.