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.
[stextbox id=”info” caption=”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.[/stextbox]
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.
[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Excellent Forum Post”] A brilliant and very detailed post with tons of photos for a ’72 Z is on the ClassicZCar forum by Hardway.[/stextbox]
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.
I used a hole-punch tool (Harbor Freight) to “pre drill” the holes in the webbing fabric to take the rivet.
Carefully fold over (twice) the material around the hook.
Punch two holes with the punch tool, ensure you have sufficient material around the rivet.
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.
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.
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.
Here are two shots of the completed seats.
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.