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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:10 pm    Post subject: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Is there a thread that shows the proper way, or order of layers, when recovering Bus seats? Any pointers or tips you can give me from your previous projects? Necessary tool recommendations to make the task doable?

Any help you can provide me, I'll appreciate.


Thanks!

EDIT: Found this

Link

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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Time to get started.

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This seat cover kit included instructions for Coconut pads, or cotton padding. I have both the Coconut and the cotton. I noticed Matt Miller, in the excellent video above, by Bill Bowman (Thanks!), used the cotton.

Would anyone here have a recommendation of which I should use, coconut, or cotton, and why?
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Major Woody
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:56 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

I would actually use both. When you take apart factory seats, you will find extra very soft padding around the edges of the seat and in certain other areas to soften the curves and fill out the covers. This padding has the consistency of very firm dryer lint Confused As a substitute for that material, I would use 1/2" foam which will compress down to nothing and blend in to the adjacent areas.
You may not know which areas need this extra padding until you stretch the seat covers on and use the heat gun to remove wrinkles. To achieve a really nice fit, you want the seams to be centered over a change of plane, too. So as the seat back transitions into the seatback side, you want that seam right over the change in angle. You may have to add padding to take up space in order to make that happen.
Having to remove and replace the covers 2-3 times to get a really nice fit is not a sign of failure. If you find slack areas, remove the cover and add padding to those areas.
Before you put the coconut fiber pads on your springs, tie a layer of canvas cloth over the springs. It will protect the pads and will contain bits of the pads so that your interior is not always covered with bits of coconut husk.
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crofty
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Id also suggest that if the covers come with string to pull them tight swap that out with bailing wire. the string often fails and is not as strong to get a tight fit of the cover to the frame.
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Major Woody wrote:
I would actually use both. When you take apart factory seats, you will find extra very soft padding around the edges of the seat and in certain other areas to soften the curves and fill out the covers. This padding has the consistency of very firm dryer lint Confused As a substitute for that material, I would use 1/2" foam which will compress down to nothing and blend in to the adjacent areas.
You may not know which areas need this extra padding until you stretch the seat covers on and use the heat gun to remove wrinkles. To achieve a really nice fit, you want the seams to be centered over a change of plane, too. So as the seat back transitions into the seatback side, you want that seam right over the change in angle. You may have to add padding to take up space in order to make that happen.
Having to remove and replace the covers 2-3 times to get a really nice fit is not a sign of failure. If you find slack areas, remove the cover and add padding to those areas.
Before you put the coconut fiber pads on your springs, tie a layer of canvas cloth over the springs. It will protect the pads and will contain bits of the pads so that your interior is not always covered with bits of coconut husk.


That sounds like great advice! I only have one seat frame that still has the OG skin, and that's the rear seat. I've not pulled it apart yet, so I've not seen how things are supposed to be. I'm really looking forward to pulling the rear apart, but I'm thinking about doing the front buckets first, just to get comfortable, since I'm as green as they come when dealing with upholstery. I really appreciate your experience, and letting me know what to expect during this!

I'll post steps along the way to make sure I'm doing it right.

Here's the walkthru bucket kit - it has the three burlap style grey spring covers, some jute, and cotton:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I'm hoping this cotton padding will work for the foam around the edges, to smooth out the seams:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



crofty wrote:
Id also suggest that if the covers come with string to pull them tight swap that out with bailing wire. the string often fails and is not as strong to get a tight fit of the cover to the frame.


These covers are from Corey:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2161196

They came with like what you mentioned, strong bailing wire in the hem:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Would you guys start with the easier front seats, or go for the hardest first, rear seats?
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

I asked Corey about the coconut versus cotton in an email, he just replied to me:

Quote:
Coconut hair pads are used for the front seats only. Middle & rear is cotton. That is the way VW did it. We believe it is because the coconut hair does not break down from daily use as quickly.


Wish I'd asked better questions before buying all the coconut pads from WW.

I then asked: Do you think it would not be a good idea to use the coconut pads for the middle and rear? Would they even fit? I already have them.

Quote:
I would not use them on the rear & middle seats. The seats will be less comfortable & not look right. Wolfsburg West will accept returns.

Also you will see as you do the installs on the front seats that you will probably need to sand down the outer edges of the coconut hair pads so they look good once the seat covers are finished installed. The molds they use do not come out exact around the outer edges each time. Kind of like making a paper mâché mold, it is never even & kind of lumpy. An air powered DA sander works great for quick light reshaping of the coconut pads.

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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Kragen Auto Parts, mid-90's seat cover, pretty sure that's genuine rodent fur:
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Passenger walkthru seat I traded for in the mid-90's, it came with this nasty 70's cover - never seen what's under it before:
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Had to get it a diaper - shat all over the rug:
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It wasn't pretty under there:
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The backrest is better than the seat, thankfully:
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I need to carefully bend the frame barbs to get the OG wire and material off, and then remove all the hog rings. I'll then probably wire wheel the rust off the seat bottom frame, and paint it. Long way to go.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Have you shopped around for a price to have a professional auto upholstery shop do the final fitting? I want to say that I paid $500 for the drivers seat and the front 2/3 bench. I restored and painted my original seat frames and then ordered a bunch of parts from WW as you’ve done. I know that I don’t have the skills in my locker to do this and the shop used some other padding in addition to the WW stuff. Anyway I am super happy with it and in looking at the work in detail I fully respect the art. I figured that I paid too much for the covers to rip one and then have to order a new set vs outsourcing the job.

Good luck either way.
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

It looks harder than it actually is, has been my experience so far. Cleaning up these frames looks like it's going to take the most amount of time. I kind of doubt if I took these frames to an upholsterer, they'd fix them as well as I intend to.

I understand that attention to detail, when stuffing the seams, and edges will be the most difficult.

I may have to redo the covering a few times, but these are Matt Miller sewn seat covers, not flimsy, or of disposable quality. It should make this project easier knowing the fit, and seam strength will be there, but it won't be easy.


Bucket style cover replacement:


Link

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hitest
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

I discovered a few tricks cleaning up these frames and doing this job-

Use a dry car washing brush to vigorously scrub the crap off the springs with one hand, and use an air gun or vacuum set to "blow" with the other. You'll have all that fuzz scrubbed off quickly.

Feed 16g wire through the covers as suggested earlier. It also has less a tendency to cut into the vinyl when drawn tight.

When straightening the tangs- pry them up just enough for 16g wire to fit without putting too much stress on the bend (to avoid snapping them off). When it's time to knock them back down- take several small whacks with a plastic mallet. It's the gorillas who must pound them down with one whack who break them off.

As Corey suggested, expect the hair pads to not fit perfectly. You may have to clearance the underside where they wrap the spring packs. I'd notch them from below before shaving from above- if you catch my drift. If you have to shave these pads- a spray wax or a weak (craft grade) spray adhesive will help keep the stuff stuck together nicely. Craft grade spray glue also comes in handy to keep things in place when layering the materials. I like the stuff to have about a post-it-note amount of stickiness.

Finally, and I can't say this enough in any forum... Install the covers inside out! This isn't a parlor trick or fable. It intentionally sets the inner flap of the beading onto the padding in a consistent way. You can see MANY examples throughout this site where people have this inner bead seemingly flip-flopping its way down the backrests. It makes the bead look wavy and generally destroys the whole earth from its core. You'll hear many people suggest using dry cleaning bags, plastic trash bags and all manner of bags to make these covers easier to install the wrong way. When you pull them on inside-out, guess what? You don't need any crinkly plastic bags! Have fun
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

This is extremely helpful, thanks for adding that information to this thread. I plan to do just that with the inside-out-and-roll technique, I definitely don't want squirrelly beading. Thanks hitest!


I really am determined to try to get the best results, and to do this right. I'm in no hurry to complete this project, and I'm prepared to learn how it's done.

If I had to pay someone for everything that I've had to do to this Bus over the last 30 years, I'd still be paying it off, couldn't even afford gas. But seriously, I get the most pleasure out of this old gem by doing everything myself, except center section trans (thanks Rancho!).

Thanks again all, for your great advice and effort to assist. I'll have another couple hours tomorrow to keep going on this.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

As gnarly as your seat frames are, you might as well take the time to clean them and paint them.
If you wash the springs with soap and water, or they are crusty and dry, spray them with spray wax (cavity wax) to prevent squeaks.
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Waxing the springs, never would've thought of that one! That's one thing that's been very annoying over the years, the creaks of the spring seats. Glad to know there's something that can be done about it before I cover these frames. Adding cavity wax to my cart. Thanks, npbusguy!

I had to order some other tools today also to get the walkthru seats pulled apart. These walkthru seats are going to be the hardest to do because of the frame condition, will pick back up on those tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's my 2/3 seat, this one should be less work than the walkthru seats:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


All frame barbs are still there luckily:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

I am glad to have come across this thread, and a bit surprised that there was not one on this topic previously.
I have a '67 and will soon too be re-upholstering my seats (walk thru). I have found a few videos on youtube and from suppliers (TMI) on how to install covers.
As I was reading through the post I was thinking about posting the plastic bag trick, until I read the Hitest Post. His instructions make sense, however, depending on the thickness of the vinyl used in your seat covers....this could put a lot of stress on the seams.
I am a Mechanic and work at Subaru. I have replaced quite a few seat covers and have tried that method on those seat ( with leather covers and a zipper 2/3 up the back ) and the seams have failed.
I am not saying that it is a bad idea, just use caution and be aware of the danger.

Good luck, love the colour choice and will be watching.

Gordo.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Split 66' wrote:
Is there a thread that shows the proper way, or order of layers, when recovering Bus seats? Any pointers or tips you can give me from your previous projects? Necessary tool recommendations to make the task doable?

Any help you can provide me, I'll appreciate.


Thanks!

EDIT: Found this

Link




Cool to see this again. I filmed that long "how-to" video of Matt Miller in my garage in St. Louis as he worked on my bench seats many years ago. A very helpful video for installing his seat upholstery!

Bill Bowman

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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

flemcadiddlehopper wrote:
I am glad to have come across this thread, and a bit surprised that there was not one on this topic previously.
I have a '67 and will soon too be re-upholstering my seats (walk thru). I have found a few videos on youtube and from suppliers (TMI) on how to install covers.
As I was reading through the post I was thinking about posting the plastic bag trick, until I read the Hitest Post. His instructions make sense, however, depending on the thickness of the vinyl used in your seat covers....this could put a lot of stress on the seams.
I am a Mechanic and work at Subaru. I have replaced quite a few seat covers and have tried that method on those seat ( with leather covers and a zipper 2/3 up the back ) and the seams have failed.
I am not saying that it is a bad idea, just use caution and be aware of the danger.

Good luck, love the colour choice and will be watching.

Gordo.


Hey Gordo! I'll definitely be cautious with these covers, but just to reiterate, these are Matt Miller Aero Papyrus/Steel sewn covers, the strongest and best quality available. If it seems like my seams are about to burst with the inside-out-roll technique, I'll have plan B waiting. Thanks for the reply!


BulliBill wrote:


Link



Cool to see this again. I filmed that long "how-to" video of Matt Miller in my garage in St. Louis as he worked on my bench seats many years ago. A very helpful video for installing his seat upholstery!

Bill Bowman

Bill


I can't thank you enough for making that video! That has given me the details and courage I needed to make this happen. Thanks, Bill!! And of course Matt Miller too!!!


Had a short opportunity today to hit the passenger walkthru frame with a wire wheel:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Barbs are perfect still! As bad as it looked with all that surface rust, the pitting is not deep at all; this turned out to be a decent seat after all, stoked! More pics to come this weekend.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Buy yourself a small spot sand blaster. it will make quick work of all that surface rust and it will prep all the rest of the seat frame nicely to accept primer.

If you are taking the time to do it...It seems like you want to do it right. Nice to see all the effort, I'm sure it will result in a quality finish.

gordo.
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Split 66'
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Thanks, Gordo!
I'm in tight quarters over here, no blasting cabinet, or containment that large unfortunately. That would save a lot of time though.

But that wire wheel can get it done:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


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Before:
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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I don't want to risk breaking off the tabs that hold the spring assembly to the frame, so I'm going to use some Rustoleum rust converter, to get between there:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And then cover over that with semi-gloss:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Major Woody
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

One more piece of advice that I forgot earlier.

Understand that the seat frames are always under compression when the upholstery is on. You will need to mash the seats down just to get the covers on, and that's the way it's supposed to be. Very helpful to have another person there to press things down so you can focus on the fit.

I think bus seats are easier to recover than beetle seats but maybe I am just pickier about how bucket seats are supposed to look.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Seat Cover Replacement Reply with quote

Major Woody- well said. And it addresses flemcadiddlehopper's concern about stretching seams. These materials, when working warm, can be stretched beyond your imagination. I've never split a seam (on TMI or West Coast Classic covers). You really do have an advantage when you work on a large flat surface (I use the backyard patio table) to compress as you pull. I put a knee in the middle of front seat bases. And I bear hug the backs as I roll the material over them.

On the benches, I tug the material over the upper padded spring pack, then flop the seat upside down on the floor and continue the knee press as I tug material up and over the frame base(s). Then it's time straighten the seams before the brave job of tugging your 16g drawstring wires with all your might. I get the material pulled over the tangs- and bravely poke them in. Then, more tugging on the drawstring wire.
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