This page deals with mending or renewing seat upholstery, a subject we have never yet found in a car manual!


The photo on the right shows a front seat on which both corners of the backrest are rounded. On earlier cars the corner on the inside was square (i.e. left on the driver's seat, right on the passenger seat) whilst that on the outside was rounded. If you order new tailor-made covers you will need to specify which seats are fitted in your car. In the photo the seat base is hessian while the backrest is sprung wire. On later seats the backrest was also hessian. Bases and backrests are now available in a fibre glass or plastic material which is less likely to fray at the edges. Both types have wire sewn into the edges.
The rubber bands in the base can be replaced from underneath without removing the seat cover once the seat has been removed from the car but to replace those in the backrest the seat cover must come off. The seat part of the cover is held to the seat frame by 3 rods running through the seams of the covers (see photo on right). These rods must be bent just enough to remove them from the holes in the frame. Where the backrest meets the seat there will be several hog rings holding tabs on the covers to the tubular frame. You may be able to prise these open but more likely you will have to carefully snip them off. The entire seat cover can now be lifted off the frame backrest for access to the rubber bands on the backrest.
Replacing the covers is a reversal of the above but you may want to replace the hog rings with something which does less damage to the material! Getting the 3 rods straight after you have bent them into the holes in the frame requires patience. Note that the seat cover on the outside of each seat is passed under a rod welded to the frame (marked "X" in the photo) then back up inside to locate the removable rod .
We recently fitted new covers in a car and were pleased to find that they used elastic and hooks for fitting, similar to loose covers. This meant we didn't need to use the hog rings. Fitting methods may differ according to the supplier.

The rear bench seats are virtually identical in construction to front seats and as far as we know the hessians are interchangeable. Obviously the two sheets of foam are much larger but you don't need to remove the seat cover in order to replace the rubbers in the backrest as the cover has no back so the rubbers are easily accessible from inside the boot. As with the front seat, you would have to remove the rear seat from the car to replace the bands in the seat base. The main difference in construction is that each side of the rear seat's backrest cover has a wire running down its seam. Hog rings are fitted through the cover material, round the wire and then round the hooks on the rubbers where they locate in the tubular frame (see the photo on the right). This may not be necessary with replacement covers depending on the supplier.

Some of our members are now using Morris Minor seat webbing instead of the hessian and rubber bands. This gives a firmer ride and should last longer. The original hessian is retained over the top of the webbing to stop the foam dropping between the gaps (see photo) but only a few of the rubber bands are needed to hold it. The webbing has a double hook on each end and the wire shown in the photo is to pull the hooks and drop them simultaneously into the appropriate holes in the seat frame after the hooks at the other end have been located. We haven't tried it but we see no reason why this webbing shouldn't also be used on the backrests.

The webbing could also be used on the back seat but the tubular frame is about an inch wider than the front so the webbing will be very difficult to stretch and may be damaged in the process. One solution could be to fit longer metal hooks but there could still be a problem with passing seat belts through the webbing so you may decide to stick with hessian and rubber bands for the rear seat.
The base and backrest are held in place with rubber bands and hooks and these are the items which will need replacing from time to time when you feel the seat is starting to sag too much. The smaller hooks on the rubbers fit round the wires in the sides of the hessian and it's important to make sure that the hook is correctly located round the wire as if not it will tear the hessian. The larger hooks on the other end of the rubber bands fit in holes in the tubular seat frame (see photo). There are usually 12 pairs of holes in both the base and the backrest so you will need 24 bands for each seat base and 24 for each backrest. If the result is still too soft you can try doubling up on some of the bands i.e. two bands in one hole.
Sheets of foam are fitted over the base and backrest. The foam needs to be held in place to stop it moving as the seat cover is fitted. Originally glue was used to stick the foam to the frame and hessian (a bit messy!) but we've found that Duck tape stuck to the foam over the sides and front of the frame is just as effective and does less damage to the foam if you need to remove it. We believe the original foam was 15mm thick but for extra comfort we use 1". Each seat base requires a piece of foam 22" x 20" and you should only need to trim it at the back corners to go round the backrest tube. Foam can be obtained from the usual suppliers. Or Dunelm Mill keep sheets 1" thick the correct size for front seats.
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