240Z – Seat Rebuild

Datsun 240Z seat rebuild

The Datsun 240Z seat rebuild and upholstery is a straighforward process, and is a mostly DIY project. Installing the seat covers was a lot more difficult than I anticipated, and after ruining one, I elected to have an auto upholstery shop finish that part for me.  The fit is perfect and TIGHT.  The upholstery shop has the right skills and equipment (like steamers) to get the job done right.

Are you tall?
One word of caution – I’m 6’5″ and I thought I fit in my Z pretty well. Turns out the seat cushion was shot as well as the webbing, so I actually sat “in” the seat rather than “on” the seat.

Here is the underside of one of the seats before I started.  The foam is deteriorated and the webbing is gone.  The result: one actually sits in the seat, rather than on the seat. What you think is extra ‘headroom’ is actually extra ‘buttroom’.

After the re-webbing and new padding you no longer ‘sag’ into the seat. I even removed all the mounting spacers and I still have to recline the seat all the way, and slide down a little bit to avoid hitting the roof. It’s a very small price to pay.

Original Seats, underside, Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB
Original Seats
Excellent Forum Post
A brilliant and very detailed post with tons of photos for a ’72 Z is on the ClassicZCar forum by Hardway.

Preparation

After stripping off all the old coverings & such, I had the seat frame sand blasted and powder coated.

I purchased the the webbing repair kit (I think from Motorsport Auto).   I used regular-old pop rivets each fitted with two flat washers that fit snug.

Pop Rivet prepared for seat restoration, Datsun 240Z seat restoration, WoodWorkerB
Generic pop rivet with two washers added

I used a hole-punch tool (Harbor Freight) to “pre drill” the holes in the webbing fabric to take the rivet.

Harbor Freight Hole Punch for Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB
Hole punch tool (Harbor Freight)

Carefully fold over (twice) the material around the hook.

Punch two holes with the punch tool, ensure you have sufficient material around the rivet.

Rivet securely.

Prepared webbing, Datsun 240Z Seat Refurbish, WoodWorkerB
3 views of wrapped-and-riveted seat webbing

After some experimentation, once the final, finished length was determined, I transferred the dimensions to a piece of paper to make a ‘storyboard’, from which I could quickly cut and rivet the remaining web pieces without have to guesstimate each one.

Jig to measure strap length for Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB
Measurement for seat webbing

I also replaced what was left of the thick rubber protective pad that was placed between the cushion material and the seat latching mechanism.   I can only assume this is to keep the seat cushion material from getting caught/shredded when the seats are moved fore and aft.

Seat Heaters

Although not necessary, I did add seat heaters (to both seats) as a sign of respect for my wife, who put up with this whole project for over a year.

Seat heaters in package, Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB
Seat Heater kit (one seat)

Seat heaters installed, Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB
Seat heater installed

 Finished Seats

Here are two shots of the completed seats.

Finished seat, , Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB

Seat, new, competed, top_front view
Finished seat, underside, , Datsun 240Z seat refurbish, WoodWorkerB
Seat, new, completed, bottom view

Datsun 240Z seat upholstery update

The seat cover kit was purchased from Motorsport Auto.  The look of the seats is great, but the durability is questionable.  The piping on the drivers seat, closest to the door frame is badly frayed after very little use (occasional weekend driving).  I assume it is the seat belt rubbing that is doing the damage, but regardless, this level of damage should take years of heavy use to manifest.

Datsun 240Z seat upholstery kit, Motorsport Auto, showing wear

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