Saturday, November 8, 2014

Disastrously Saggy Driver's Seat

In the previous post 'Pitifully Sad Passenger Seat', I went into great detail about how I took the covers off the passenger seat, cleaned and refitted them. In this post I will be looking at the driver's seat. Being the driver's seat, you would imagine that it would be used more, and as a consequence be much more knackered. Guess what, it was!!


I always knew that the drivers seat was suffering a little sag and looking underneath revealed exactly why. Some of the springs were missing and they had been replaced with string and a zip tie. It looks like some of the Mini's previous owners were have a go hooligans also!!

Taking the covers off this seat was much the same as the passenger side, The material on this seat however was generally cleaner and less stained any thankfully wasn't hiding and filthy secrets as before. In fact quite the opposite as £1.21 in coins fell out during the removal process!! Bonus!!

With the diaphragm damaged, it obviously needed to be taken out and fixed, but there was a snag as it wasn't possible to remove it from underneath. Turning the seat over though revealed that it wasn't accessible from the top either as the foam part of the seat was in the way and glued into place.

Removing the foam though was the only way to get to the springs holding the diaphragm, so I had to face the fact that I might accidentally rip the foam as I remove it. But as I carefully started prising the foam away from the frame, mercifully the glue wasn't too strong and I was able to tease the whole thing away with no damage. Phew!



Now I could get to the damaged diaphragm in order to remove it from the frame. I found that the springs were really quite strong and pulling them by hand was useless, so I used the tip of my long nose pliers to hook the spring loop and lever them off the diaphragm frame. Then using scissors, I chopped off the string and zip tie.



With the diaphragm out, I had a look at the cost of a replacement from Mini spares and it was about £31 (with new springs) plus delivery on top, so guessing it would be knocking on for £35. Although that won't break the bank, I wanted to fix the one I had rather than buy a new one, but there was a slight problem. Two of the springs were missing and they seemed to be impossible to buy individually. If I couldn't find the two missing springs, I would have little choice but to but the replacement part.

Eventually I gave up looking for the exact springs and started looking for springs in general. Turns out these are called tension springs and measuring the one I had, I eventually found some on eBay that were an almost exact match and for less than a fiver for the pair, I was pretty chuffed with my find.



So I bought them and here they are in all their shiny glory...



This of course means that I now have to fix the diaphragm, but looking at it, it looks to be made out of string wrapped with paper. It may sound made up, but it really is. So I got some string and wove it into the broken parts and used gaffer tape to secure it in place.



Alas my gaffer tape was silver and stuck out like a sore thumb and even though absolutely no other person would ever see it, I sprayed it matt black to blend it in.



Using my trusty long nose pliers again to lever the springs back on, the repaired diaphragm was reattached to the seat. I decided to put the new springs at the front as that seemed to be the place where the least tension was being created when the seat was in use.



Already it was looking greatly improved, but if you read the previous post on the passenger seat, there was a problem where the wire was cutting into the foam of the seat. I sorted this with some left over carpet underlay, cut to size put on top of the diaphragm before the seat foam was re-glued back in place.

Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it, so here'e the passenger one to enjoy.



As the covers were not too bad they were just put through the washing machine on a delicate setting at 30 degrees C. Once dry, as with the passenger side, the covers just found their natural place on the seat without too much fuss.

The last thing to address on this side that was worse than the passenger was the headrest. I wasn't too sure about soaking it in water, so used some upholstery cleaner at first.



When that proved ineffective, it ended up in a bowl of water anyway with a scrubbing brush!



Although it took days to dry, it was worth it as it looked like new. Once it was pushed back into place on the seat, both this and the passenger seat were ready to be put back into the car. That can't happen until the carpets and Mini floor have been tarted up, so guess what's coming next...



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