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Options For Seat Restoration

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by kenb, Oct 16, 2021.

  1. Oct 16, 2021
    kenb

    kenb Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

    Detroit
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
    Messages:
    542
    Hello,
    I'm starting to think about what to do for front seats on my '67 rebuild. The seats I have apppear to be original spring seats. They are very comfortable as Jeep seats go. The covers are shot and the foam is really starting to fall apart. I have seen many posts in the past and people normally suggest to just buy reproduction seats as it's cheapest. The issue I have though is my front passenger seat is of the double fold variety. If it's possible I would like to keep this functionality. The eventual plan is to get a soft top and I actually use the back seat.
    Has anyone managed to fit a reproduction seat back and bottom to the hinge mechanism? I don't know if this is an option.
    The other route of course is getting the originals recovered. I live in an area with a lot of recreational boating so companies exist. I'm sure the price would make me cry though. IMG-20211014-WA0005.jpg
     
  2. Oct 16, 2021
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Aug 10, 2003
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    23,413
    There is no way to keep the fold-and-tumble feature with aftermarket seats, AFAIK. You're right, the factory bucket seats are very comfortable as long as you are of average adult height and build. I would have the original seats rebuilt/recovered.
     
    dozerjim likes this.
  3. Oct 16, 2021
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Apr 28, 2011
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    I second the choice of getting seats reupholstering done
    last set I've seen done was 300-350 each
    the guy that owns the business says . to most the recovering seats is a luxury
     
  4. Oct 16, 2021
    kenb

    kenb Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

    Detroit
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
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    542
    Thanks for the replies. I'll have to get a couple estimates for recovering the seats and compare that to the cost of repros. I sure would like to go the recovering route.
     
  5. Oct 16, 2021
    Oldpappy

    Oldpappy A.C. Fults - Curmudgeon at large 2021 Sponsor

    East Tennessee
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2021
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    791
    Went through this myself. The original seats in my 67 were not terrible but the covers were brittle from age and cracked a little more each time they were sat in. Mine did not have the fold and tumble passenger seat. The cost of having them recovered was more than I wanted to spend on seats.

    I ended up selling the original seats for most of what a pair of Smittybuilt seats cost. I mounted the Smittybuilt seats to a set of original frames and find that due to the bottoms being thicker it is a tight squeeze for me under the steering wheel. So, I plan to fabricate new frames to lower the seats. So, more trouble than I expected, but the seats look good, are well made, and are comfortable.

    Original seat frames in decent condition are worth some money to people doing restorations of these Jeeps, and the fold and tumble passenger seat is worth a premium. So, if you do decide to go for reproduction seats you could probably pay for them by selling what you have.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2021
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2021 Sponsor

    Grand Mesa, CO
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    753
    FinoCJ had his recovered and added seat warmers. I saw them during the Moab trip...very nicely done!
     
    FinoCJ likes this.
  7. Oct 16, 2021
    FinoCJ

    FinoCJ 1970 CJ5 Staff Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Denver, CO
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
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    4,469
    For the exact reasons the OP mentioned, I had mine re-bolstered and recovered - it was $350/seat using a pretty decent all weather marine type fabric and some extra pleating to extend the life. I find them really comfortable as I am a pretty small build (5'8" 160lbs). While I was at it, I asked for some seat heaters ($50 each) to be installed under the fabric which as been great. Now, with two separate cab heaters and seat heaters, Jen is sometimes not cold (so nice to have some heat on cool days with the top off still). The only real downside to keeping the low backs would be concern of safety and limited options with more than just a lap belt. There are times wheeling when high backs with a 4pt harness seems like a more safe choice.
    Fino's 1970 Mini Build Thread

    FWIW- I thought the smittybilt lowback replacements were pretty nice...I ordered a set but Jen really did not like them. She said the lower back bolster was odd, and the fabric cover seemed a bit thin and maybe easily ripped or torn or just not that durable? Overall, for the price of usually around $120 per seat, they are a good option if you want more original style low back, but no fold and tumble option on the passenger side. When I was researching, a number of members using aftermarket low backs showed pics of their passenger seat tipping forward as a solid unit, and giving some access to the rear. There are quite a few old posts about it.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2021
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs

    At the foot of...
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    Apr 4, 2010
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    5,783
    Pretty much my experience too. I paid about 800 for all 3 seats.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2021
    Fireball

    Fireball Well-Known Member 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Pullman, WA
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    I put the Smitty Bilts in mine and like them. The driver's side is a bolt in but the passenger side sits way too high on the original brackets. I fabbed my own for that. Even without a folding back it flips forward far enough to access the tool box. The passenger side sits at a slightly different angle than the driver's side but the tops are at the same hieght and it's not noticeable if you don't already know it.

    [​IMG]

    Here' some photos of the custom brackets on the passenger side.

    Latched:
    [​IMG]

    Flipped forward:
    [​IMG]

    The rear bracket is some angle iron and 1"x2" tubing:
    [​IMG]

    The front brackets are angle iron with flattened pegs welded in. It fits the factory lower bracket:
    [​IMG]

    All that said, I still have the originals and plan to recover them some day. These were much cheaper and quicker for me in the short term.
     
    dnb5853 and Welderr like this.
  10. Oct 21, 2021
    Welderr

    Welderr Member

    NW New Jersey
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    May 29, 2015
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    78
    Fireball as a fabricator I can appreciate the job you did on your seat mechanism, very well done and a nice attention to detail !
     
    William Lucas and Fireball like this.
  11. Nov 17, 2021
    teletech

    teletech Member

    Santa Cruz, CA
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Messages:
    235
    I really appreciate the fold and tumble passenger seat and would much rather keep the stock seats.
    Mine have replacement covers hog-ringed on over the original. Pretty sure they came from JcWhitney back in the day. They are thick fabric and have lasted well, but it is interesting that the original seat patterns are wearing through.
    I expect to have them re-covered by a shop at some point. I have found that sometimes you can find a furniture upholstery shop that can do the job for vastly less money than a custom auto/marine outfit.
     
  12. Nov 17, 2021
    1947cj2a

    1947cj2a Member

    PNW
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2017
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    159
    I had mine re done by www.jeepsterguru.com I bought the fabric from SMS Auto Interiors out of Oregon.

    I recommend the jeepsterguru guys price was very fair and cheaper then anyone could do locally even with the shipping.

    1970 Cj5 Seat Re-done
    A link to my thread about it.
     
  13. Nov 18, 2021
    Rick Whitson

    Rick Whitson Detroit Area 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    I live South of...
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    Ken, I had mine done at Pete's Seats on Allen road in Taylor between North Line and Goddard Road, they do good work on Antique Seats. I have the Split Bench Tuxedo Park seats, they put all new everything in them. Good Luck, Rick
     
  14. Nov 18, 2021
    kenb

    kenb Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

    Detroit
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    Jan 22, 2019
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    Rick, thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely call them once it's time to get the work done. Would much prefer to keep it local if i can.
     
  15. Nov 18, 2021
    Oldpappy

    Oldpappy A.C. Fults - Curmudgeon at large 2021 Sponsor

    East Tennessee
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    Feb 8, 2021
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    If you can afford it, having the original seats redone is the best way to go, especially with that fold and tumble passenger seat frame.

    I went the other way on mine and installed Smittybuilt seats. These are nice seats and they are comfortable, but they do require some fabrication for the frames. The driver seat will bolt up to the original frame but it is thicker than an original seat and that reduces room between driver and steering wheel. I am going to make new frames which will sit a little lower. I am wishing I had not sold the original seats.
     
  16. Nov 18, 2021
    maurywhurt

    maurywhurt Member 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Western North...
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    I agree 100% with Oldpappy's assessment. I likewise went with Smittybilt seats initially, but found them to be a bit too high / thick. Luckily I'd saved my original seats, and eventually had them reupholstered. The seat panel of the originals probably sits about 1-1/2" lower than that of the Smittybilt seats.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  17. Nov 20, 2021
    termin8ed

    termin8ed I didn't do it Staff Member

    Mason, MI
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
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    4,004
    Luna's here in mason does seats too. One of these days I'm going to drop them off to get redone. 3 seats, 3 colors currently:D
     
  18. Nov 20, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Messages:
    465
    I rebuilt my original seats on my 1969 CJ5 build. It was a lot less work than you might have expected. My brother does it for a living and I share everything he told me. I did have access to his industrial sewing machine.

    The seat work starts deep into page 15 of the following post:

    MD Juan Tub Kit 1969 CJ5 4CLY (7/2016)

    Good luck!
     
    Twin2 likes this.
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