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1984-1991 Seat Cover Replacement

Sitting In Style

Tom Rounds Feb 18, 2000

Step By Step

Here you can see before and after. The old covers were cracked and separating from the backing material--they were long overdue for replacement.

Zip Products helped us out with a new set of leathers. When ordering, be sure to check whether you have the base or sport seats. The lumbar-support feature of the sport seat makes the covers different.

We started by removing the cushions from the seat frames. The seat frames do not have to be removed from the car because the cushions are easily snapped out. In this photo you can see the clip on the frame that holds the top of the back cushion in place.

The bottom cushion was removed just as easily by unhooking a clip under the front. Then the cushion just simply slides forward and out. Here’s a view of the clip; it’s attached to the front spring and swings to the back when it’s released.

Now that the cushions are removed from the car, we started by removing the old covers from the foam cushions. The covers are held in place with hog rings--this makes removal very simple. Using a pair of diagonal pliers we twisted or cut the old hog rings, being careful not to tear the foam cushion, and removed them.

On the underside of the cushion there are metal listing wires going across the foam where there are no springs available to give a secure spot for the hog rings to attach to. Here we removed one that had rusted and needed to be replaced. Cutting an old wire clothes hanger to length solved our problem.

In this photo, the old listing wires were removed from the old covers. The listing wires will be used in the new covers so don’t throw them away.

Once the old covers were removed from the foam, we were ready to reverse the process. To ensure a good fit without any bulges in the new leather covers, we added a layer of 1/2-inch foam to the existing foam. At a local material store we purchased a 12x3-foot piece and cut it to size. We covered all the top surfaces of each foam section without going between the sections. This made the new covers fit snugly and still made it easy to put the new covers in place. In this photo we cut the foam to fit.

After fitting and cutting the new foam we used 3M Spray Trim Adhesive and applied a thin coat on the new foam and the foam cushions.

We let the surfaces dry for a few minutes and then put the new foam in place. With both surfaces coated with glue, it’s important to be precise in placement because once the two come into contact with each other, they will not move.

Applying foam to the bolsters is a little trickier. After applying the adhesive we started on the inside, wrapping the foam over the front and around the outside. The ends of the bolster needed to be cut so there is no overlapping of the foam. In this photo you can see how we seamed and trimmed the foam to fit smoothly.

Here’s the bottom cushion after the new foam was glued in place. Notice that we didn’t put the foam between the cushion sections to maintain the available space.

Now it’s time for the new leather. The first thing was to put all the listing wires into the listing-wire sleeves. We won’t need one of the listing wires because the new covers have a core sewn into the front edge that the old one did not have. Here we slide one of the listing wires into place.

To make access easier to the center listing wires that will be hog-ringed into place, the cover was turned inside out.

Starting in the middle of the cover, the listing wire was pushed down between the covers. Using hog ring pliers, the hog ring was crimped onto a second listing wire going across the bottom of the cushion. Special hog ring pliers (PN 52032) and stretching pliers (PN 52031) are available from The Eastwood Company.

Here, we turned the bolster right side out and at the same time tucked the foam cushion into the new cover. The cover then was stretched down to the springs and hog-ringed from the center, working our way out to the end of the seat, keeping it tight.

Here we crimped a few hog rings into place. Be sure to use enough hog rings to secure the cover evenly around the entire seat. If you don’t use enough, the cover can look as if it’s being pulled in one or two spots, and even has a chance of ripping out.

We repeated this on the other cushions, and here we are returning the newly leather-covered cushions back into the car. We started with the bottom first--it sits on the seat frame and on the front bottom, a clip is pulled out (top photo) to line up with its mounting hole... the seat frame. This clip simply snaps forward around the seat frame. Raise the seat up as far as it will go--this will help you get your hand in place while snapping in the cushion.

The top cushion is a little different; there are four points where the cushion attaches to the frame. In this photo you can see an indentation on the back of the top cushion, exposing a spring rail. This exposed spring rail will slide and snap into the frame clip.

Here’s the clip in the frame; there is one in each corner of the seatback.

When putting the seat in, slide it from the side so the two inside clips receive the exposed spring rails.

When the seat is in place, hold the bolster forward and push on the spring rail so it slides into the clip on the seat frame.

Here’s the finished seat reinstalled in the car.

Wow, open the door and that smell of new rawhide goes up your nose; get in, and you sink into the seats as if they were made to fit your body. There isn't anything better when it comes to seats.

The seats in this '88 were long overdue for a change. With help from Zip Products, we received new leather skins for our cushions and got started. Follow along with us and watch how to change the seat covers and make the interior look like new again.


Zip Products
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
The Eastwood Company

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