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How to: Recover your driverside seat using passengerside material

JDM Reverend

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Del Sols are getting harder and harder to find. Finding ones that are in good condition is even harder. The point is, there are things that go wrong with our cars and one of them is the bolster on the driverside seat that always seems to wear out, tear, and break apart. It looks so unsightly, and the solution is as simple as replacing the seat right? Finding just a driverside seat by itself is almost impossible to find for sale, since it's always paired with its mint condition counterpart, the passengerside. However, the passengerside has always been the bastard child of the seat world, not really appreciated, overlooked, and undervalued. I, the Reverend say, No Longer! In a world where we need to be frugal and creative, I am writting this do it yourself, to show you how you can easily replace your busted driverside seat by using passengerside seat material. Sadly, you can find a pair of sol seats that have a busted driverside very very cheap, because the passengerside isn't considered worth anything because theres no real demand for those.


Today I picked up some S model seats for $30 because the driverside was torn and material was missing. I removed all the material from the driverside seat and this is what's inside.






The seat bracket is just a rusted piece of metal that was begging to come out.


Now this walkthrough will show you how to remove the good material from a passengerside seat and how to install that into a driverside bracket.


Now here's what you'll need to do the material swap


(1) Socket Wrench


(1) 12 metric socket


(1) 17 metric socket


(1) Scissors


(1) Needle Nose Pliers


(1) Xacto Knife


(5) Zip Ties


First thing you'll want to do is remove the headrest, if you can. It's usually rusted stuck, but sometimes you can get lucky and you can pull it off without a hitch. You'll need to remove two pins that hold it in place. Just pull back the material and use your pliers to pull them out. Once they are removed, just lift the headrest straight up. If it wont budge, don't worry, we will get them out another way later.








Now lets remove the upper portion of the seat. Three bolts hold the seat together. Two are connected to the reclining part of the seat rail and the other one just holds the upper part of the seat to the lower part of the seat. It can be removed using your 17 metric socket. The other two bolts can be removed by using your 12 metric but they are harder to get to.


On the back of the seat you'll notice two zippers, and the zipper part is tucked under the seat so use your finger and dig em out. Unzip both sides and you'll notice on the bottom that there are five metal rings holding the back part of the seat material together with the front. Just grab your pliers and twist these clockwise and they should just come right off. Pull back the leather material to expose the padding and you'll see that theres already a section of the material cut out already, and thats where those last two bolts are so go ahead and remove those and you can finally seperate the upper portion of your seat from the bottom.










Lets get surgical. Get the Xacto Knife out and locate this spot. That's where the outer ring of the seat bracket is on the bottom side. You'll want to trade around this "ring" so you can expose it.








Now back to the bottom again. Theres a plate where the padding is connected. You'll want to seperate the padding by flaying it with your Xacto Knife. Bottom to top. You'll need to do this to the other side as well, but that's last.












Couldn't get the headrest out? No worries. Lets get that out now. Make two small incisions below where the rails would go to expose the bottoms. Then just bang it out.
















Since were up here, lets get the mickey mouse ears. Pull the materials from the shoulder areas over the fabric to get better access to it. Now if you look at my picture on the top, there are Mickey Mouse ears on top. We have to cut around those. Trace em out like how I did it, and push the material through.










Now theres another bar that go's across the back part of the bracket and we just need to cut across to expose the bar so it's easier to seperate the bracket from the padding.










Don't go ripping this thing off yet. Two more things left. First is the bolster bar. You'll need to trim into that to expose the bar so it's easy to remove from the padding.










Now were back to that plate again but on the other side. Just flay it the same way you did the other side, bottom to top.








Here's the material now seperated from it's passenger bracket.






Here's the passengerside material meeting the driverside bracket for the first time. Awwww... Are they not just the cutest couple? I'm such a match maker.






Lets put that bracket inside the material. It's easy since the brackets are nearly identical.








Remember when we removed the metal clips from the bottom? Lets replace those with zip ties. Start from the right side where the single hole is, and make your way left.






When you get to the last hole, stop and take the opportunity to bolt the seat rail back on the seat bracket. Once you've done that, pull the material to zip tie the last hole, but wait a second! The seat material isn't designed to work around the reclining part of the seat rails so you'll need to make just some small cuts to make it work. Then zip tie the last hole, and finish putting the seat back together.










Here is our driverside seat hybrid.




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Great info!


One question: Will not the cut segment of vinyl around the recliner continue to separate as peoples fat rear ends get in and out of this thing? Shouldn't you do something to finish off the cut fabric to prevent additional separation?

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I've been toying with that idea pretty much since I got my Sol... Nice to see I have someone else's experience to go off of when I finally get around to fixing it up.

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Great info!


One question: Will not the cut segment of vinyl around the recliner continue to separate as peoples fat rear ends get in and out of this thing? Shouldn't you do something to finish off the cut fabric to prevent additional separation?


You know. The foam pretty much wraps around the bracket and when you tie it up at the bottom it pretty much binds it all together.

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  • 11 months later...

Hey, i'm not sure if your still active but would you repost your images? or has anyone downloaded them and could repost them. I'm trying to do this and I want to not F up. I have 6 pairs of seats and I want to make at least 1 good pair :)

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