AATLAS1X Leather Install

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by smcphc, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. smcphc

    smcphc

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    I've had my '93 Land Cruiser for about six months now, and finally got tired of my butt hurting from my awful drivers seat. The leather had completely broken down and it felt like I was sitting on a sack of potatoes.

    [​IMG]

    Some friends of ours just bought an Acura with leather and took us for a test drive. I forgot how good new leather feels, and I told my wife recovering the seats was certainly cheaper than buying a new car.

    I got a quite from a local upholstery company, they wanted $550 just to do the drivers bottom cushion in vinyl, so I went home and ordered the leather from Shane instead.

    https://forum.ih8mud.com/merchandise-storefront/214149-new-leather-kits-80-series-land-cruiser.html

    I wanted to add some color, I loved the way the Metal Tech seats looked so I ordered a set of those for the first and second row. They arrived about two weeks later.

    [​IMG]

    While I was waiting for the leather to arrive, I got some hog ring pliers (both straight and bent handle) and a pound of hog rings from the local upholstery supply company. I also got a new cushion for the drivers lower.

    My second row seats were already in the garage, so I went ahead and started with those. The bottom was pretty straightforward, but I ran into a slight issue with the seatback so I put the second rows on hold and called it a night.

    Scott
     
  2. bpassmore

    bpassmore Site ***** SILVER Star

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    Great. Keep us updated
     
  3. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo Mud.. it's a life...

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    Interesting..


    Like to see the finished product.. with the truck also.


    and welcome to MUD :flipoff2:
     
  4. smcphc

    smcphc

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    I started on my drivers seat on Saturday afternoon. I made several mistakes in seat disassembly but this was a learning process and I used my lessons learned on the passenger seat which I did on Sunday. I'll start with the way I did my passenger seat and also address the mistakes I made as I go on.

    The seat is pretty heavy, and you need to maneuver it around as you go on so it's best to separate the bottom cushion and the backrest. Once you remove the two side trims and the back panel from the seat, you'll see the leather held on by the hog rings. If you undo the side hog rings, you'll be able to peel back the leather enough to access the bolts that hold the seat back on to the bottom cushion. There are two on each side, once they're out you'll be able to pull the seat back off. You can then start peeling the leather back, removing hog rings as you go.
    [​IMG]

    The headrest mounts are snapped in place from underneath.

    [​IMG]

    You can squeeze the snap together with a 12mm or 13mm socket on an extension.

    [​IMG]

    Once the seat back is done, I tackled the bottom cushion. Once you know where to look, it's pretty easy to remove the bottom seat pan. It's held on by four bolts, once on each side:

    [​IMG]
    And two on the underneath towards the front:

    Left side of the seat (as you sit)

    [​IMG]
    Right side:

    [​IMG]

    On the drivers seat that I did first, I couldn't figure out what held the seat pan on, and wound up removing the bolts that are under the seat track-big mistake that wound up costing me time.

    This is what the bottom looks like with the cushion/seat pan removed.

    [​IMG]

    With the seat pan off, you can start peeling back. The front of the leather is held on by some metal tabs along the front of the seat pan:

    [​IMG]

    Pry these out with a flathead screwdriver. Start peeling back, removing the hog rings as you go.

    Once the old leather off, the new leather goes on. I found it easier to start at the front of the seat, putting the lip in the metal tabs and working back, putting the hog rings in the same locations as when removed. You need to pay attention to how the new leather is lining up, and pull it one way or another to get the band to line up correctly before doing the forward most hog rings. Once you get to the last row things start to get tight. I put a piece of carpet on my garage floor, put the cushion upside down on it, and kneeled directly on it. This compressed it enough to let me pull the leather around to the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    Next up, the back rest.
     
  5. smcphc

    smcphc

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    Thanks - I need to take a break, so I'll finish the write up later.

    Scott
     
  6. 24HOURSOFNEVADA

    24HOURSOFNEVADA

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    Keep em coming. I'm gearing up to do this.
     
  7. smcphc

    smcphc

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    Just a few quick tips...

    Even though I read Romers thread, I still wound up making mistakes that could have been avoided if I had stopped and rechecked the thread. When you're taking apart the seats, if it doesn't make sense, stop what you're doing and rethink it. There are lots of bolts staring you in the face, especially once you remove the plastic trim covers, and also when you flip the seat over.

    Make sure you have a couple of pairs of needle nose nose pliers that you are comfortable with, they're going to be your best friends for a few days. You'll get pretty tired of twisting and pulling those hog rings out, quality pliers will help out.

    I spent the first day doing the work on the garage floor. My back was not happy. On the second day, I set up on a work bench. Most of the disassembly can be done on the work bench. Once you start to put the leather on, you'll probably need to get back on the floor so you can apply some pressure. I put a piece of carpet down to protect the new leather.

    I ordered a set of hog ring pliers from amazon. It was a two pack, one straight handle, one bent. You'll definitely need a bent handle, so if you're getting only one, get the bent handle. The straight handle was good for pulling straight back to stretch the leather over to the embedded wires. The bent handle was great for getting in tight places, especially the strips that run up and down the seats that pull the bolsters in. In case you've never used hog ring pliers, they're spring loaded and have indentations that hold the rings while you get it into position.

    I bought a pound of hog rings from an upholstery supply store, that seemed to be plenty (I have no idea how many are in a pound).

    I had to redo a couple of sections, nothing worse than going back and having to remove new hog rings.

    There is an amazing difference between a sharp and dull razor blade. I had a leather punch that was the perfect size for the lumbar knob hole, but for the headrest holes I used the socket method described in another thread. A few whacks with the socket made a nice indentation, even broke the leather in a few spots, then I just trimmed it off with the razor.

    Things will start to make sense once you start removing the old leather. I had no clue as to how the upholstery was gathered and pulled in, as soon as I removed the first old cover it all became clear.

    Even though it was a full weekend job to do the two front seats, a lot of time was wasted due to some unexpected things. First was the removal of the wrong bolts on the drivers side seat pan. Removing the bolts that are under the rail probably cost me at least two hours. There are a bunch of things that need to line up to get those brackets back in, and it was compounded when I moved the adjustment at one point when the brackets were off, which caused all sorts of misalignment.

    The second time waster was when it came time to put in the two side bolts that attach the bottom seat pan. Depending on where your seat height adjustment is when you remove the bolts, getting those bolts back in can be difficult. The bolts go through a bracket that moves up and down, and on the passenger seat I couldn't get the bracket to line up with the seat hole no matter what I did. Those side bolts are pointed and shallow threaded so they're usually pretty easy to get started, but I wrestled with it until I finally removed the rod that moves the bracket allowing the bracket to pivot freely. That was probably another hour or so wasted.

    I will say that this was well worth it. I have the original window sticker from my 80, and back in '93 it went out at $40K. Every time I sat in it, I thought that there was no way the top of the line flagship of Toyota had seats that were this awful. As soon as I sat on the new leather seats with the new cushion, I knew this was what it was supposed to feel like. Huge huge difference. Close your eyes and you're in a new car.

    Scott
     
  8. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo Mud.. it's a life...

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    Really great write up ;)

    Your doin a great job also. This'll be a great thread to reference for others.

    :beer:
     
  9. 24HOURSOFNEVADA

    24HOURSOFNEVADA

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    Thanks again. What position (Height wise) do you recommend the seats be in prior to removal?
     
  10. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    full weekend, eh... ummm.... probably way more for me.... seems like a lot of learning curve there. Wonder how much a pro would charge just to put the leather on. These guys must be able to whip through that in a couple of hours, no?
     
  11. bpassmore

    bpassmore Site ***** SILVER Star

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    i think i read $300 to $500 on a post somewhere - seems reasonable if they are a good shop.
     
  12. smcphc

    smcphc

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    You'd be surprised at what you can do...I've never touched upholstery before I did this. And realize that until you cut out the holes for the head rests and the seat controls, everything you do is reversible. On the first front seat bottom I did, I started from the back and worked my way forward, and got to those clips and realized that there was no way I was going to get the leather in there. I wound up removing all the hog rings and going from the front to the back (just like the threads I had read up on told me to do).
    Get an estimate from a local shop, maybe it's easy money for them if they don't have to do all the sewing, I don't know whether they make their money from labor or materials but if it's labor they may welcome the extra business. I did it on my own for a couple reasons. One is that I enjoy doing these kind of things, I always balk at the unknown but once I stumble through it and figure it out, it's really not as bad as I thought it would be. Much like many mechanical jobs, it's a step by step process and I think the hard part (making the covers) is already done. I now have lots of respect for the custom upholstery guys who do this from scratch, I can't imagine the skill it takes to cut foam and be able to stitch the leather together so it fits so well.
    The other reason I did it is because sometimes you pay money and still get a half ass job, then you have to waste time getting it right or wind up fixing it yourself anyway. I know the job I did isn't perfect, but it's not a show truck, it's going to get beat up and dirty so a few imperfections for the money I saved is worth it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still some minor stuff to do on the fronts, head rests haven't been done, and I haven't installed the small piece that covers the bar between the bottom and the seat back. I also decided not to do the back section of the seat back for now, mine aren't too horrible and I the effort/benefit ratio didn't add up. A good project if I get bored, but I have enough on my plate for now. Same with the arm and head rests.
    If you silently curse every time you slide into your beaten up, worn out leather seat and are thinking of your choices-do something, because it does make a world of difference.

    I'll be doing the second rows in a day or two and will follow up when they're done.
     
  13. PabloVTA

    PabloVTA beside La Caja China SILVER Star

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    awesome write up...just the info I had been wondering about.
     
  14. smcphc

    smcphc

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    Thanks - Here's a picture of the outside for those who were wondering:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. AATLAS1X

    AATLAS1X

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    Scott, you should be proud as you did a great job! I can do some detailed work but installing leather I would not do!

    Cheers!
     
  16. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    Nice write-up. Dont have time right now, could you paste a link to this thread at the end of mine, that way it will be in one place, so to speak.
     
  17. nodaksn3

    nodaksn3

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    Nice write up, terrific job, that's one of the many articles that makes Mud great.:clap: Ned
     
  18. NLXTACY

    NLXTACY Wits' End Supporting Vendor

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    Romer, may want to consider adding the link to the start of your FAQ ONLY because this one is good for a quick overview and will help to decide whether or not to even do it, whereas yours goes into the nuts and bolts of doing the installation. Just thinking about future peeps looking at the thread.
     
  19. rrdogma

    rrdogma

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    They look great, Scott! Looking forward to seeing them in person.

    Kelly
     
  20. josharre2000

    josharre2000

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    Great write up! I am getting ready to order these covers and this will definitely help!
     
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