A while back a couple of people suggested I outline how I retrimed my seats and asked me to write a guide for the how to section.
At the outset I’d like to say I am not a trimmer. Big respect to those that are, because they make the old look new. I am an amateur at best and because of a desire to see if I could do it myself and to realise some cost savings I decided I would re-trim the seats of my deluxe myself.
My resto is not designed to be original. I liked the seat trims I found online at https://www.facebook.com/hallsclassicinteriors?ref=ts&fref=ts
. You could just as easily ask a trimmer to make deluxe, 850 or cooper seat covers and do it yourself. I’d like to say I had two key things that helped me. The Newton commercial guide to fitting mini seats:
Front: http://www.newtoncomm.co.uk/documents/m ... t-fitting/
Rear: http://www.newtoncomm.co.uk/documents/m ... t-fitting/
and the advice of the foam shop salesman who was a trimmer at Mona Vale NSW http://www.luxafoamnorth.com.au/
and of course other ausmini posts.
Essentially there are two parts. Destroy and Rebuild.
My seats as you can see where pretty shagged. If you were doing a resto for concourse you may want to replicate what you destroy. I wanted the easiest path back. As usual take heaps of pics so you can see what you are aiming to get back to.
As you can see there was strapping for the back of the seat and the base is rubber. I could have replaced the strapping from Newton but figured it’s older technology and found it easier to purchased the Newton sprung squab for the back of the front seats.
The front seats have a mixture of hessian and horse hair that is glued to the frame around the front face of the seat. The easiest way to get this off was with acetone and a grinder with a wire wheel.
Where I found any rust I used the wire wheel and then rust convertor. Rust convertor is phosphoric acid and is nasty stuff so wear hand and eye protection. I then primed and resprayed the frame in satin black. The rear frame is pretty much the same.
If you follow the Newton Guide you can’t go wrong. Be patient. Respect the material so you don’t tear it and remember with vinyl the sun is your friend as it will make the vinyl more pliable.
Front seat back
Fitting the squab for the back of the seat was relatively easy. The holes are already in back of the front seats and matched up to the springs for the squab. They are tight so it’s best to clip the spring to the squab first and lever into the holes with a small screwdriver. The rubber base is much the same. I did find that some holes on the frame base had worn an elongated hole after years of use, so I just drilled new holes in the frame.
The trimmer gave me advice to use a heavy cotton drill material like calico to cover the springs and protect the foam. Cut the material to the size of the back of the seat so it will drape around the shape of the seat frame and the bottom of the squab. Apply contact adhesive on the frame and cloth wait till it becomes tacky then lay it in place. It didn’t need to be tight, just enough to cover the face of the squab, springs and enough to wrap around under the bottom of the squab as it will protect the vinyl when you apply the seat cover later. I found sikaflex spray adhesive the quickest and easiest to use.
I then cut a section of foam for the back of the seat so that with glue it would wrap around frame of the seat back the same as Newton used with the horse hair. On advice from the trimmer I then covered the seat back in cling wrap to ease the seat cover on and test fitted the cover. The test fit identified sections of the seat cover were showing gaps between the seat foam and the cover. I removed the seat cover and on advice of the trimmer I used a very soft thin green foam he described as “trimmers friend” that helped soften any imperfections under the covers. I glued the “trimmers friend” over the areas that needed softening and then attach the seat back cover as per the Newton guide.
Front seat base
On the front face of the seat base you glue a thin layer of foam so it covers the sides and front of the base. This will smooth the look of the vinyl when you fit the seat cover later. Calico once again is also applied to the seat base and glued which protects the foam from the springs.
You then cut the foam and fit as per the Newton guide. I got my seat base cut by the trimmer at the foam shop. Don’t remember what size unfortunately. The front seat base foam sits just off the front of the seat and is glued to the base. In the Newton guide it shows an extra 1inch thick piece of foam about 3 inches wide at the front of the base for under your thighs. As my seat cover kit didn’t include that section the trimmer suggested putting that short section of foam under the main foam seat base rather than on top of the foam seat base. This smoothed the line and worked a treat.
In fitting the seat covers I simply used the Newton guide and glued the base seat cover on to the foam. I also used the sun to soften the vinyl as I stretched the sides of the seat cover over the base of the seat and slid the clips onto the base. I managed to run out of the trim clips for the base and on the advice of a friend used Nally Clips from Office Works which worked fine.
Rear Seat Back.
The rear seats are a bit easier. I simply followed the Newton guide http://www.newtoncomm.co.uk/documents/m ... t-fitting/
The seat covers are connected to the frame using metal rings. You can buy from Bunnings a tool and hog rings for tying fencing together which act the same as the trimming ones.
After stripping the frame, priming and painting the back I glued calico once again over the frame to create an area to glue to the foam onto. I forgot to take that pic so here is the old one. I then test fitted once again and used “trimmers friend” as needed to soften any gaps.
For the rear base I kept the original rear seat foam. The trimmer suggested that as it was difficult to cut all of the unique sections and no one was likely to sit in it that I just cover it in “trimmers friend” to smooth out any bumps. The foam despite being almost 50 years old was in pretty good condition. You don’t need the calico for the base just use contact adhesive to mount the foam back on to the frame and follow the Newton Guide.
No doubt I may have made some mistakes but on the whole I am pretty happy with the finished job and glad I gave it a try.