Porsche Tombstone Retrim

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by Lazy Andy, May 12, 2013.

  1. We have a pair of popular Porsche Tombstone seats that we're having a crack at retrimming ourselves... chuffing madness, but we've generally been quoted £150-200 per seat to have this done so there's quite a big saving to be had if we can do it ourselves!

    Mrs Lazy Andy (Nicki) is the sewing one, I'm the mechanical one... she has loads of experience with dresses and girly stuff and has already done a good job with the door panels... check the build thread here if you're interested!

    A few people have said "I wish we could do that" so I thought I might do a separate write up "step by step" so to speak and explain how we are going to fumble our way through this process! Note : we threw a loose cover over our old bay seats, but haven't ever trimmed something like this before! Our rule of thumb was to do exactly what Porsche did :D. So, off we go....

    A Porsche Tombstone seat from a 944... about '83 we think. The drivers side seat has worn through cloth on the seat base, but the foam is all good! Have installed the seats swapped round in the van so that the passenger seat will get more wear in the drivers position in the future.

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    Actually, just realised the dining chairs in the background were recovered by Nicki and I... all six of them, nicely fitted and still intact 6 years down the line! Anyway, I digress as my Geography teacher used to say...

    So first to remove the controls.... I'm convinced the adjuster isn't designed to be removed! the plastic bit is in two parts that don't come apart and are held on by a circular spring clip, which spins on the adjusting screw underneath. I bent the spring clip on both using monkey magic and may have to find new ones! The right way would be to remove the centre of the plastic handle and turn the spring clip had Porsche had thought people would want to remove them.

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    Next, pop the plastic cover off... easy.

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    The otherside is a big screw, which was pretty tightly screwed in. I adapted an old chisel with a grinder to create a sideways screwdriver and eventually got it off...

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    And back to the other side, these two bolts come off easy enough....

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    Leaving the seat back held on with the release wire. This is another fitting not realy designed to be undone easily! The end has a shaped nipple (top left of the photo) that passes through another spring clip on the seat base. A bit of judicious wiggling and a flat bladed screw driver saw this come apart....

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    The release handle just pops off with a bit of screwdriver leverage, while it's surround is just a tight fit and wiggled off easily....

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    chrisgooner likes this.
  2. And that should be the two parts separated! Now, we took the covers off. Both the base and back are very similar in their structure with a few minor bits of tensioning and shape. First to be undone is the tail flap (I think Porsche call it the Arsenflappen). This has a bit of wire running through a loop and secures over four or five teeth on the frame...

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    The side and front of the cover are sewn right down to a point which is folded like a christmas present in the corners. The piping is left long and hog ringed to the seat springs...

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    Hog rings... difficult little blighters!! again judicious monkey force with a set of pliers and these can be levered open against the springs. As the seats are 30 years old, some of the fabric loops had deteriorated and came apart as we did this, no biggie as long as you keep them to hand to measure them later. Open out the corners...

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    Now the front side can be unhooked from the teeth. I've read elsewhere that these can become brittle, probably in reference to rusty VW seats, so proceed here with caution!

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    Now the fun bit! Pull the cover back carefully like a condom cucumber wrapper for about 3 inches. There tensioning wires / rods in the seat are sewn to the join between the vinyl and the fabric and consist of a stiff wire in a fabric cradle about 1 inch deep. The wire is then tensioned against the springs, through the foam and held with hog rings.... these need to be removed as the seat cover is drawn back....

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    And then a few inches further....

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    The tensioning wires are very stiff and may not bend with the fabric and will probably tear the cradles...

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    On the seat back, there is a short tension wire running across the top of the fabric insert. This is held with 3 or four hog rings, the outer of which hold both this top wire and the side wires to a bar in the frame.... worth making a not of for the refit.

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    Then the cover just slips of the top! (Nudity Warning)

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    The seat base is very similar... here is the underside with the four screw tabs for the runners (removed)

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  3. So, to refresh... arsenflappen....

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    Corner flaps and the perimeter wire shown tied off against a seat spring...

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    There were two extra lengths of fabric that ran from the tension wires in the bolsters forwards and over hooks on the front bar.... we'll try and get a good photo of this as we rebuild them.

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    Alongside the adjuster is a small cardboard insert that hooks into a pocket on the frame (a bit like some of the bay headlining parts)

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    More hog rings...

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    Reverse cucumber wrapping...

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    There is a cross tension wire that goes across the seat, ours had come apart...

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    The base foam just slips off the metal frame unlike the rear which makes it easy to strip and paint any of the visible parts if needed....

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    At this point we had the covers of the front and back!! Next pattening....
     
  4. I then handed much of it over to Nicki. She carefully marked up the panels and made notes of the key features, joints and made aligning marks on the fabric to aid assembly...

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    Her fingernails aren't normally that dirty :D

    Then the individual panels were carefully transferred to new vinyl and fabric... with a bit of help from the dog barking at passers by! The important thing is to make sure the alignment marks and seam alowances are transferred correctly otherwise the seats are going to be twisted or loose.

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    And then we have the vinyl cut for the bases!! When arranging the original vinyl on the new, pay attention to the weave. Vinyl stretches in two directions, but unequally, so it's important to make sure they align... that's why we're not cutting efficiently above!

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    And that's where we're at for now. The sewing machine needs a service, so it'll be a week before we're sewing again :(

    In other news, were planning on doing a little shaping for the bench and buddy seats too... but more on that when these are done!!

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    Kruger, Lofty and Terrordales like this.
  5. Nice one Andy, I've got a pair of porker seats exactly the same as yours sat in my shed waiting for the day I can afford to get them re trimmed, can I commission you and mrs L to do mine :)
     
  6. Terrordales

    Terrordales Nightshift Mod

    Excellent work :thumbsup:
     
  7. Great stuff! They'll be awesome! :)
     
  8. [anorak]Pinstripe seat fabric is later than '83. Back then it was all those trippy check designs[/anorak]
     
    Lazy Andy likes this.
  9. If that's all I get wrong on this thread I'll be well happy!! :D
     
  10. Nice thread Andy and Nicki. Really clear instructions
     
  11. Today, we have reached this point... at some time in the next few days we'll tell you how we got there :D

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    Swervy Jim, NewtoVW, madpad and 4 others like this.
  12. That looks really professional.
     
  13. Very nice:thumbsup:
     
  14. Good work!

    Looking forward to seeing more updates on this as I'm planning to do similar to mine. Do you need a special needle on the sewing machine? Where did you get your material from?
     
    marigold13 likes this.
  15. I have a broken assistant!! She's just getting to the end of term at uni so is massively busy marking and stuff (or so she tells me when she getting home late from work)!

    She's going to try to get the second base made this weekend and hopefully fit this one... we have a twisted web of 34, 35 and 1 year olds birthdays to celebrate this weekend! Fitting the second cover should help us work out how to fix the mistake on the first base!!
     
    chrisgooner likes this.
  16. Matt,

    These guys are good for material supplies http://www.martrim.co.uk/
     
  17. Sorry I didn't spot your question sooner! Nicki experimented with a couple of different needles, including a leather one, but I think she settled for a heavy but normal needle.

    The vinyl is branded marine vinyl and is called Nautilex which we bought from CJ Marine in Chuchester. It's strong an doesn't have the same stretch as all of the crap you get on Fleabay as its a little thicker. It has a slightly mottled appearance too!

    The fabric was an end of roll find in the local fabric shop. It's backed upholstery material, heavy weave of some description... Sorry, can't be more specific!
     
  18. cheers for the link to this, shows me whats involved. great pics
     
  19. Thanks for the info guys. Mine are on the back burner till the van gets its MOT :-(
     

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