1974 Dart Sport New Seat Cover Installation

By chgr1, Mar 2, 2017 | Updated: Mar 15, 2017 | |
  1. chgr1
    Hi all, thought I would share with you the installation of my new seat covers. I purchased them from Legendary.

    I took the old covers off but kept them for reference later. The foam seemed in good shape considering how old they are but smelled a little musty so I used Lysol and sprayed them and let them air out for a few days. Sat them out in the sun also to air out. All smells were gone and I stuck my nose in them and they smelled fresh before I installed my new covers.

    The first few pics are of me removing the old bucket seat bottom covers and then separating the bottom foam from the seat pan. Also I had removed the bottom seat pan adjusters. I media blasted the pan and the adjusters and painted them.

    For the bottom seat foam you will need to remove the side bolster rods that are hog ringed to the internal foam springs. You are going to have to cut slits in the foam so you can get at the rods and remove the hog rings. You can see the pic where my fingers are holding the seat foam apart showing the bolster rod. This gives you an idea where they are at and where you need to cut the slits in the foam.
    You will need to get at this area anyway when you install the new covers so you can hog tie the side bolster rods to the foam springs

    You can either clean up the old rods or make new ones. If you need new ones trot on down to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy some new lengths of rod and make new ones. In one pic you can see I have purchased new rod stock from Lowe's, it's 1/8 stock in 3 foot lengths and cost $2.19 each.

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    Installing the new covers is relatively easy. I sat the foam into the new cover and stretched the new cover around it. The bucket seat bottom foam has some of the springs integrated into the foam, the rest is in the bottom pan. There was no burlap covering the springs on my seats. You could add some if you want.

    Your new covers should come with sleeves for the side bolsters and you need to side the bolster rods into these sleeves pull them down into the foam and hog tie them to the internal springs incorporated into the foam. You can see in the picture.

    Next I sat the bottom seat pan into the cover, stretched the cover over the pan. I started securing the new cover to the pan at the sides first, then the back and front. To finish it up I reinstalled the seat adjusters. Took me about an hour to do the seat bottom.

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    For the front bucket seat backs you'll need to retain the side bolster rods and the bottom cover flap tie rods.
    To install the new cover, I started with turning the cover inside out and slipped it over the very top of the head rest getting the pleats centered and then pulled the new cover down over itself and stretched it down. I could slip my hand and arm up inside the cover to get the internal sewed edge flat against the foam.
    I slipped my hand up inside the cover and pulled the side bolsters sleeves down into the foam. Inserted the side bolster rods into the sleeves and hooked them into the top internal frame. Pulled the rods down and hooked them into the bottom of the frame and hog tied them.

    The final thing was to insert the bottom fold rods into the pockets and hog tie them together closing up the bottom of the cover. Everything was pretty tight at the bottom and I had a little difficult time keeping the bottom rods together so I could hog tie them. What I used to help get this done was use some safety wire inserted through the covers and around the rods to hold them together, then hog tied them. Then cut the safety wire and pulled them out. Took about an hour to install the new seat back covers.

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    This was the passengers side. I'll start on the drivers side, get it done and then start on the rear fold down seat.

    Securing the top of the bucket seat to the bottom part, use your finger along the side of the seat bottom to find the threaded hole for the bolt. Cut a very small X in the new cover right in the middle of the hole. Remember to put the round washer back on against the cover when you bolt the seat back to the bottom. Then put your hinge covers back on to hide the pivot point. My hinge covers are not in that good of shape but I cleaned them up and painted them so they don't look so bad. Take it back they do look bad, Ill probably just leave them off.

    Its a good idea on the seat back bottom folds to turn the hog rings once you get them clamped to the flat side like I've got them, so the hog ring ends wont slice through or catch on the seat bottom as you move the head rest part of the seat back and forth.

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    When I removed the old cover from my front drivers side seat back, I found a little different installation from the factory from the passengers side seat back.
    For the seat back they added a middle rod across the seat just below the head rest. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the old cover off the seat back until I found the hidden rod. You can see in the pics where this rod is. The new covers from Legendary do not have a sleeve across the top so you don't have to reinstall this rod.
    You can see the pic where I have turned the new seat back cover inside out and across the cover just below the head rest there is a sewed reinforcement but there is no sleeve for the rod.

    In one of the pics you can see all the rods I removed from the drivers side seat covers.
    Starting from the top down #1 & 2 are the seat back side bolster rods. These hook into the seat back frame and lock in place and held with a hog ring.
    #3 is the seat back middle rod just below the head rest. This one is not going back in because the new covers do not have a sleeve for it.
    #4 & 5 are the seat back bottom flap rods. You can see that #4 is shorter than its counter part 5 and this caused a gap in the bottom flaps on the ends. I'll make new ones.
    #6 & 7 are the seat bottom cushion side bolster rods. I'll make new ones, these are pretty rusty.

    Also from the factory when they were working on the bottom cushion side bolster rods, they missed ringing one of the rods and this caused a lop sided fit of the cover.

    In one of the pics you can see the tag I found inside the seat cover.


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    Thanks all, Before I really get ahead of myself getting the seats done, I had installed the floor carpet which I purchased from Rock Auto who resells ACC (Auto Custom Carpets). Since my Dart has the floor shifter (automatic) I ordered the carpet for an automatic. The carpet for a standard floor shifter seemed not correct. Anyway it worked out fine.

    I also installed a new headliner also purchased from Rock Auto. Its the ABS plastic one with the foam backed tier grain vinyl. It fit ok, the place where the dome light was placed was a little off but the dome light cover is big enough to cover up my adjustment to the hole. Turned out pretty good but its a pain to install and you will definitely need two people to install it. I also purchased new headliner side retaining clips from Legendary when I ordered the seat covers and door panels.

    Believe it or not the new head liner came rolled up in a box. The headliner was also inside a huge thick plastic bag. I sat the headliner out on the floor, flat for a couple days so it could relax. I kept the huge thick plastic bag the new head liner came in and will use it to make new plastic door covers before I put the new door panels on. I gotta say its much better than the old original cardboard headliner that had a paper black covering. I only hope the material stays glued to the backing.

    Steve

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    Moving on to the rear seat and fold down back.
    You can see in the pics that I took the old rear seat bottom apart. The main springs were kinda rusty so I cleaned them up and repainted them. You can also see the mesh wire enforced netting that goes on top of the springs. I though it needed a little reinforcement so I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some tough heavy burlap and installed a double thickness on top of the springs and mesh netting then hog tied everything to the base springs. Now I've got the seat foundation done.

    I also went to a local auto upholstery supply house and bought some hog rings, new vinyl (which you'll see what I'm going to use this for later) and some new "U" shaped trim for the fold down back.

    Started installing the new cover and stretched it over the springs. This was a little bit of a tussle to get it right but I won out. Hog tied the new cover and Walla a new rear seat bottom seat done!! Took me about 3 hours to get the seat bottom done.

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    Now I'm working on the rear seat fold down back. took everything apart then cleaned up the back pan (that's what I'm calling it) and repainted it. You can see the old backer board that the foam cushion and new seat cover staples to. This backer board fits into the back seat pan. I hope yours is in good shape because this a specifically shaped board not easily remade. The biggest problem with remaking this would be the concave pressed shape that fits up against the release latch rods that goes across the back pan.

    Instead of using carpet to cover the back of the fold down seat pan I'm going to fabricate a padded vinyl covered backer board that will attach to the back. I went down to Lowe's hardware and bought a 1/8 inch thick or so thin composite (I'm not sure what they officially call it) board 4x8 sheet. Its the same kind of stuff you can make new door panels out of. Anyway I traced the outline of the back seat pan and cut out a piece. I also will trace and cut out another piece that will match the shape of the trunk divider floor pan that is between the trunk and the rear seat. I'll also cover this with a foam padded vinyl covering and attach it to the trunk divider floor pan.

    I'll post a couple more pics once I get it further along.

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    Got the rear fold down seat back done. We ended up taking the 1 inch thick foam out and attached the new vinyl right to the backer board we made, it looked better without the padding. In the last pic you can see the trunk divider floor board. i'll clean it up and repaint it then attach the new vinyl covered board we made. usually this also has carpet attached like the back of the fold down seat but we thought it looked better with vinyl.

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