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re-Upholstery 101

>I received the seat covers yesterday and they look great. Never having
>recovered seats before I'm not positive what to do as there were no
>instructions or descriptive titling about the covers.
>Looking them over I did see the elastic cord so I'm guessing that they

>don't need a hogring kit. So, do they slip over the current seat or must I
>remove all the old material and then slip them over the frame?
> Toby Erkson
> erkson@pobox.com

Here's what to do:

First, how is your seat padding? Nows the time to get that extra padding!

Anyway, check your weather forcast for the next sunny day with fairly high temperatures. Have the extra padding cut to size (back and bottom) a piece of carpeting cut to size of the bottom and glued to the underside of the bottom padding. You can leave the previous cover if it is not too shredded. If so, cut the old cover off. If you leave the old cover on, take an exacto knife and cut the beading off the outer edge (it will show through the new cover if left on).

Have the new seat covers sitting in the full sunshine (on a dark car if you have one available). This will get the seat covers pliable and stretchable. Turn the covers right side out (most times when you get new covers they will be inside out). While they are getting warm, remove the seats from the car. You can recover the seats with the back attached, but it is easier when it is not there.

Glue the padding to the old seat cover (or whatever the surface is at this time) with the carpet to the seat and your new padding on top. The carpet will help keep the springs inside and your butt outside. You wont need carpet on the back unless the springs are visible. Glue the stuff together with a carpet glue, upholstery glue or other flexible glue that takes an hour or so to dry. You will need some time and movement to get the cover on the way you want before it dries.

Now that the covers are warm (or you have given up waiting on a sunny day and thrown them in the clothes dryer*), work one piece at a time. (* Dryer usually will not get the vinyl as hot as the sun, but do what you gotta do.) Take a bottom turn it back to inside out, set the seat where you want it and work the sides down around to the underside. The string cinches the ends inside the frame. You can hog-ring it if you want, for a more professional look, but it is not necessary. If you do not have any hog rings, you can buy them at most auto shops that supply seat covers or if you look at the rings on the stock seat, you can make some yourself from coathanger wire.

Now for the top/back. You will need the rods from the original seat back at the bottom. Look between the arms to the hinge bolt along the seam. There will be about a 6-8 guage wire inside each edge of the the seam that attaches to close the "seam". Work them out however you can, even if you have to cut some of the original cover to do it. It would be best not to seperate the seam, if possible. Or (back to the coathanger wire) make yourself new ones. On the new cover there should be a similar loop to each edge of the "seam" . Install it like the original.

Turn the cover inside out and position the headrest peak in the cover to the seat headrest peak. Work it down the sides and over your new padding. Close the seam. Now here you will want hogrings or you can "lace" the rods together with a binding wire. Punch holes like shoelace holes and lace it up.

Now for the "buttons" (no, don't throw them out!) The buttons ('68-'72, I dont know about the '73's) should be removed from the old seat covers (before new cover installation, duh...). They are plastic buttons held together by a wire with hooks on each end. Squeeze the seat next to each button to see the hook. Remove them and repaint them if you are changing seat color.

To install them, if you have kept the old seat covers, this will be easy. Look for the seam on the back where the weave pattern stops. Pressing here will show you where the buttons were. With bravery, your wits together and a swig of your prefered beverage, punch an ice pick type object through the new cover and into the hole that you felt a moment ago. Now continue through the seat (you'll feel the channel the wire was in), through the new padding and out the front. Now do the other one. Hook one button on the wire and insert it from the back. Depending on how extreme thickness you went on the padding, you may want a friend to squeeze the headrest thinner while you push the wire through and hook the other button. Do it again for the other button.

Re install the back to the bottom, do the other seat, reinstall in the car, enjoy your "kooshy" new seats!

Time including cutting pads and gluing should be around 4 hours for the novice, 6 for the anal-retentive novice.

Good luck.

Big Al

And one other thing...
it didn't go through the first time...

I think your email is having a problem, I can't get through to you.

Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 13:42:50 -0600
To: air_cooled_nut@pobox.com
From: Big Al <awpresley@autographica.com>
Subject: VW Factory Troubleshooting Guide Type 3 & 4

You W I L L make me a copy of it, won't you???
Current bid $21.00
First bid $5.00
Quantity 1
# of bids 9 (view bidding history)
Time left 0 days, 2 hrs, 50 min, 54 sec

Just letting you know that you could have lost it... ; )


Big Al

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