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Author Topic: Stitcherbob's Upholstery Tips 11-14  (Read 924 times)

Stitcherbob

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Stitcherbob's Upholstery Tips 11-14
« on: September 03, 2015, 12:38:01 AM »

Upholstery tip #11
Most old cars I have worked on or driven have seat adjusting tracks that don't work. Either the seat is frozen in the right place for the driver, or he just got used to it! While the seats are out, let's restore the tracks. When taking the tracks off of the seat frame, be careful if there is a strong spring with stored energy. Release this before working. Next, check to see if the tracks use a series of large ball bearings or roller bearings to slide on. These type don't like to be sandblasted or glassbeaded without being completely disassembled (not for the faint of heart!) because it's very hard to get all of the grit out. I usually just degrease these, soak in PB BLASTER penetrating oil to dissolve rust, final wash with brake cleaner, re-lube, and wipe off the excess with a rag and more brake cleaner. Then you can paint them with either satin black or, to match the bare metal or galvanised finish, I use Rustoleum Stainless Steel spray paint. This stuff really looks the part, and it protects against rust. For the lubricant, the best I've found so far is Wurth's HHS 2000. It can get into the smallest crevice and then sets into a sticky grease. For the majority of seat tracks, those that just use a channel that slides on top of another channel attached to the floor, sandblast or glassbead them and blow out the grit. Wash with brake cleaner, blow out again, paint first and then lube with the HHS200. When the tracks are back under the seat, adjust the turnbuckle that operates the release for the opposite track until it's open with the adjuster lever closed, and then back it off until it just locks. This will allow both to come on as soon as you pull the lever. Check the long rod and turnbuckle in bench seats to see that it's strong enough to open both locks, but allows them to close too. Tie the rod loosely to the springs with wire ties or bent welding rod to keep it from sagging or bending under force. If the seat uses a big spring attached to the floor to pull the seat forward or back, put it on the seat first and clamp vise grips to the other loop. Then you can fish it through the floor bracket. If the tracks have threaded holes for bolting to the floorpan, tap them out, spray the HHS2000 on the threads and the bolts won't fight you while your lying on your back trying to put them in!

Upholstery tip #12
To fix plastic seat skirts and hinge covers that are cracked or even broken and missing pieces, I used a product called FUSOR epoxy. It came in two quart cans and you mix equal parts to make a stiff putty. After grinding the broken parts for adhesion, apply the epoxy and hold the pieces together with tape, clamps, or even hot melt glue until the epoxy hardens. Metal pieces can be laminated in to make it stronger. Then sand or grind down the repair (you can leave some for strength on the backside) until smooth. To refinish, you have three options: send out for re-covering by companys like Just Dashes, cover it yourself using contact cement and expanded vinyl which will stretch better than regular vinyl (be sure to use plenty of heat from a heat gun or hair dryer to soften the material), or spray the part with SEM Texture Coating. You can vary the pebble finish this gives to emulate vinyl grain. If it doesn't come out right the first time, it can be sanded down and re-sprayed. I have also used this as a flexible primer/surfacer to blend vinyl repairs on door panels and dashboards, because it can be wet sanded for a feathered edge.

Upholstery tip #13
How to make door panels:
The easiest way to make new door panel boards is to cut a piece of OEM door panel board material (1/8" thick water resistant cardboard that comes either all black or all tan in color. Cowl board is almost always black on one side and tan on the other, 1/16" to 3/32" thick) to slightly larger size than the door. Then use two self-drilling "sems" screws (integral washer phillips screws about 5/8" long) spaced one on each end of the door to hold the board onto the inner metal panel of the door. Drill where the holes won't matter later. You may have to cut the panel for door handles and window cranks first. Find these by holding the board to the door and tap with a mallet. Then cut the smallest hole needed to clear the obstruction. Once the panel is screwed tight to the door, sharpen a pencil and trace around the inner structure of the door as close and accurately as you can. Then place a piece of carbon paper (remember that stuff?) in between the cardboard and the metal, ink side to the cardboard, and tap around the perimeter of the door where the clip holes are. You may have to repeat this step - that's what the screws are for - the panel will always be perfectly lined up when re-attached. Once you have good ink marks where the clip holes are you can mark the actual holes to be punched. These are offset so when you punch them and insert a new metal clip (and they are the ones labeled Chrysler clips) the shaft goes through the hole in the door. Hold a new clip against the panel over the ink mark and center the shaft with the circle. Mark the back edge of the clip (towards the inside of the door) with a line. Draw a new circle with this line bisecting it and cut out with a 5/16" punch. Now the clips will slide right into place and there is a little bit of adjustment for fit. Cut out the door panel with a utility knife about a 1/16" inside your lines for material allowance. Sand the edges smooth with woodworking sandpaper (60-80grit) and give a slight bevel or roundness to the edges so the door panel doesn't look like just a piece of cardboard
ps-Don't forget the armrest screw holes! You can get these and any other hole from the original panel.

Upholstery tip #14
If you have original sun visors and the binding around the edge is just beginning to come loose, peel it back and apply a tiny amount of VLP or other vinyl mending cement. Hold the binding on with some masking tape until the glue dries. What you want to do is keep the binding in place before the stitches (which always deteriorate) break and the whole strip comes off. Re-binding sun visors is very difficult to do without the special sewing machine and never looks the same as original. If your sun visors need re-covering already and they aren't available new (or you want custom visors), you can make ones similar to Rolls Royce with or without stitching. First, take your old visors down to the masonite board and hinge unit. Make any repairs to this unit as needed. Then, open up and lay the unit's original covering on a large piece of cardstock, such as heavy posterboard or pizza-box type of cardboard. Trace around the old covering and cut out. Spray with glue (such as 3m #8088) and cover with your upholstery.Wrap the edges, glue down with contact cement and trim any excess that doesn't lay flat. Then you wrap the cover around the inner unit just like original and glue together the edges (like a clamshell) with contact cement. Just use the cement sparingly or you can re-activate the glue under the wrapped edges and nothing will stick. Now it's finished, or you can run a stitch close to the edge to really keep it together. They look pretty cool without the binding.

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