Weekend Project: Stock Seat Restoration

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by cruiser enthuiser, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    I love the look of the early style stock bench seats for my '68 FJ40. About 1 year ago I ditched the lousy junkyard buckets from the Previous Owner in favor of a used set of original seats. My new bench seats were rough but in my mind still an upgrade from those nasty buckets. I have seen a number of nicely restored bench seats around Mud and knew I wanted the same. Six months ago I ordered new foams and seat covers from SOR and a pewter paint kit from CCOT. I am little embarrassed to admit it has taken me until now to finally get this little project going.

    Part of my reluctance to do this was the down time - I drive my cruiser every day :) and I didn't want to be without it, especially during the summer. So I challenged myself to tackle the seat resto in one weekend and the following thread documents how I did it. I hope this will inspire some to consider keeping their stock seats and show how easy it really is to bring them back to glory. Please note, this is "practical" rather than "painstaking" restoration as you will see. Enjoy!


    First up, a list of parts:
    -SOR seat covers & Foams - about $400 w/shipping
    -CCOT Pewter Paint Kit - $60
    -Box of 100 #6 1/2" Stainless steel sheet metal screws - $7
    -Box of 100 Stainless steel finishing washers - $7
    -Spray Can Stripper - 2 cans @ $6 ea
    -Spray Can Rust Converter Primer - $9
    -Spray Can Self Etching Primer - 2 cans @ $5 ea
    -Replacement Seat Springs - 6 for $14 total

    Everything but the SOR and CCOT stuff came from the local ACE hardware.

    A few pics of the products:
    P1010336A.jpg coolfj40_2114_418894115.jpg P1010429.jpg
     
  2. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    Friday

    I got home from work Friday evening and I was pumped up to get started. Obviously the first step was to pull the seats and remove the old upholstery. I was grateful (and a little surprised) to not find rat corpses, dead critters etc. However, I still wore a dust mask while pulling off the old stuff, it was still pretty nasty. I also made note of how the old covers had been installed and took several pictures. I have never tried to upholster anything so I was a little nervous going in to this.


    A pic of the old buckets and crappy cell pics of the bench seats as they looked on Friday night:
    DSC00679A.jpg IMG00031.jpg IMG00033.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  3. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    A few pics of the upholstery coming off. Once they were stripped down to bare metal I took them to the car wash and blasted away all the caked on gunk on the inside of the seat bottoms. The frames were in really good condition overall with only minor surface rust here and there.
    226.jpg 227.jpg 228.jpg
     
  4. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    Saturday


    To the seat back panels and any areas on the seat frames that would be visible I applied the stripper and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then I scraped all the loose paint off. Unfortunately, the stripper still left plenty of old paint behind so out came my old friend, the wire wheel. It took me a solid 3-4 hours to get these parts satisfactorily prepped for paint and I payed special attention to the back panels since they are obviously the most visible part. Sorry, not many pics to show of this process, but trust me, it was the least enjoyable part.

    Once this was complete I sprayed the rust fix paint to any remaining surface rust in areas that would not be visible once the seats were covered. This product converts rust to black primer. It takes several hours to cure, so use this product towards the end of your day.

    I also replaced some broken springs in the drivers seat. The replacements I found were super close to the original in size and tension. and worked out nicely.

    Pic of the spring repair and side by side of the original seat back screws compared to the new ones:
    P1010409.jpg P1010414.jpg P1010410.jpg
     
  5. mcwinery

    mcwinery

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    I am looking forward to seeing more pictures. Keep it up.
     
  6. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    The seat back panels went into primer on Saturday afternoon as did areas on the seat frames that I stripped down to bare metal. It was a hot day so everything dried fast. By Saturday night they were ready for paint.

    To paint I used my crappy HVLP gun from Harbor Freight. I have used it with success on a number of projects and it actually works pretty good provided the internals are kept very clean (the outside I dont worry about so much :flipoff2:).

    The pewter paint from CCOT is single stage acrylic and lays down pretty easy for a noob painter like me. I have used this color on some other trim pieces in my cruiser and I really like it. Everything got 3 to 4 coats. It was important to me to get everything in paint on Saturday so that the seats would be ready for re-covering on Sunday. I was a little tired when I laid down the last coat at about 10pm that night but the seat frames were starting to look really good!

    Pics of primed pieces and the HF gun:
    230.jpg P1010406.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  7. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    Sunday

    Sunday morning I was eager to get a look at my paint job in the sun - not too bad!

    I also still needed to strip all the small parts like hinges, brackets etc. Those went into the blast cabinet and straight into primer. 1 hour later they got a coat of paint.



    Pics of the painted pieces (note that the bare metal visible on the frames did get covered in primer prior to upholstery) and sandblasted parts:
    P1010402.jpg P1010404.jpg P1010416.jpg
     
  8. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    My wife graciously offered to help me with the upholstery and I would say for the larger, bench portion of the seat, a second set of hands is invaluable. The covers themselves are very straight forward and easy to understand. There is a cord around the perimeter of each seat bottom cover that needs to be threaded thru and tied off. Getting the springs on the bench seat bottom to compress enough to get the covers on was tough. Once the cover was where it needed to be we started securing the edge with the screws/washers. The back panels take a welt strip which was very easy to install as the screws and washers were tightened up. I recommend tightening these screws by hand as the screws will strip out easily.

    By the end of the day the seats were looking AMAZING, but I my original hope of getting them back in by Sunday night was not happening. The upholstery took longer than expected (only becuase of my learning curve). They were covered but not reassembled. However, I was so pleased with the results I didn't mind at all. A simple matter to assemble after work on Monday and back in action :)
    P1010418.jpg P1010419.jpg P1010422.jpg
     
  9. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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    Monday Afternoon

    It took me an hour or so to reassemble the seats. I cleaned and lubricated the driver's seat track and it works so much better.

    So finally, here are pics of the finished product and I am very happy - the seats are soooooo much nicer. Not only are they more comfortable and extremely handsome they really class the rig up.

    Thanks for reading!


    -Ed
    P1010424.jpg P1010423.jpg P1010425.jpg
     
  10. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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  11. mcwinery

    mcwinery

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    Great Job. Nicely done.
     
  12. Coolerman

    Coolerman SILVER Star

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    Beautiful! I have the same seats and the same covers just need to paint the hardware and finish my body so I can install them...;)
     
  13. cruiser enthuiser

    cruiser enthuiser

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  14. Assassin

    Assassin

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    i like it when a plan comes together, you planed it out, did the work and it looks awesome, good job.
     
  15. skidplate

    skidplate

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    Beautiful! It shows how a little patience can really pay off. It's stuff like this that gives us confidence to tackle things we normally think we cant do!:clap:
     
  16. DSRTRDR

    DSRTRDR I can mangle anything ... SILVER Star

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    what kind of steering column sleeve is that ? why doe sit remind me of a cocktail shaker :confused:

    BTW, nice seats :cheers:
     
  17. BJEC69

    BJEC69 SILVER Star

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    Nice job! Great before and after photos too.:cheers:Brendon
     
  18. middlecalf

    middlecalf SILVER Star

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    Nice, reminds me of my restore earlier this summer. 'cept I had to rebuild the bottoms of the seats, they were pretty rusty. Good score on the replacment mini-springs, wish I was able to find what you did. I improvised with just straight wire (can't tell with everything back together).

    Now you need to replace that blingy steering wheel with original!
     
  19. DSRTRDR

    DSRTRDR I can mangle anything ... SILVER Star

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    ACE is the place to go - they got a huge selection of springs of all kinds of sizes and tensions ;p
     
  20. kling-on

    kling-on Kool Arrow

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    You know I was just lookin at a 62 that had buckets in it and passed cause I wanted the stock bench and my buddy looked at me like I was crazy:lol: looks great I love the flaming river tilt too.. Man you got me thinkin now:hmm:
     
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