Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Well, I wasn’t!  As I mentioned last week, the foam cushion in the driver’s seat back had split along the left side vertical frame, giving a twist to the seating position, losing lumbar support and looking pretty terrible too.

I bought an Exmoor Trim replacement foam cushion (surprisingly cheap), but as the covers are in fairly good condition a re-trim was not required.  The first job was to remove the seat from the car, as this job needs a bit of space and access.  The wiring to the heater pads was disconnected, the seat base cushion lifted away and the four mounting bolts were undone (this was made easy by the use of stainless bolts with plenty of grease and rivnuts in the seat base).  With the seat in the garage, the head rest was removed (just pull it straight up and out), the cloth trim unclipped along the bottom, and then rolled up and inside-out like removing a sock.  A little above half way up the back is a lateral steel wire.  This passes through three hooks which are sewn into a web from the fabric front of the cover – this rod needs to be removed from the hooks and the hooks pushed through the seat back gusset and foam to allow the cover to be fully removed.   This exposed the damage foam, which was even worse that I had thought.

I removed the lumps of foam still stuck to the glue on the frame from its original construction and then, after gluing the heat pad to the new foam (with tape over the edges to prevent the cover from grabbing and detaching the pad), put the new foam in place.  I poked the steel wire through the foam to make small holes for two cable ties along each side of the frame to hold the foam in place while the cover was refitted.  It’s quite tight, even with old covers, and low temperatures don’t help, especially with old covers, as they make the vinyl stiff and prone to creasing (which is why the cover looks so bad in the re-clipping photo – it’s just temporary creasing and the flash photography greatly exaggerates the issue; the seats look absolutely fine in the flesh).  I found it was easiest to get the top of the cover on and fit the head rest, so that the head rest’s upright would keep the top of the cover located, then roll the cover down like putting on a tight sock.  The hooks and lateral wire were refitted as the cover was rolled down to that point, continuing all the way to the bottom.  The bottom end of the cover is held in place by two plastic strips, one along each edge.  The strips lock together like a resealable food bag, and the hidden inside edge of the strip sewn to the front (fabric) side clips into three tabs pressed in the steel frame’s lower member (the photo shows the left and centre of the three tabs).   This last bit is really fiddly and takes a bit of effort – it might be easier with someone’s help.

Refitting the seat was as easy as removing it.  It could probably do with a bit of a clean, like the others, with some fabric shampoo and vinyl cleaning spray, but it looks almost new.  At least it’ll be comfortable again; driving 45 minutes each way to work wasn’t too bad, but the damage was certainly continually noticeable.

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