Miata Seat Installation - Sept '09





Installing New Leather Covers

Seat Bottoms

Normally I'd have a ton of pictures showing the whole installation process but I forgot to bring my camera when I went to my friends upholstery shop! As it turns out, they are pretty easy to install and the pictures showing how I took them apart are what I referred to when putting the new covers on. And in the best Haynes or Bentley manual tradition..........Assembly is the reverse of disassembly! All you need are Hog Ring pliers, hog rings, 3M Super #77 spray adhesive and some coat hanger or thicker wire.

There are excellent instructions included with the seats and I also used this terrific guide from the Miata.net web site. I STRONGLY recommend you read the Miata.net guide a few times to understand the removal and installation process.

NOTE: The covers from the eBAY auction are what is called a loose fit i.e. a gathered or wrinkled look. It IS NOT a tight smooth fit..........which is actually better for us amateurs.

The only bad foam on my seats was the driver bolster where you get in and out of the car. This actually wasn't too bad compared to others that I've seen and felt. That wire sticking up is very important as that is what the hog rings will attach to, to hold the bolster leather nice and tight. I put a few pieces of flexible wire (black lines) over the wire and pushed the pieces through the foam until it came out the bottom.
Then I took a stiff piece of wire and laid it across the bottom of the cushion, pulled the other wires down and wrapped them around the stiff wire. This brought the hog ring wire down into place and gave it support and strength.

The cracked bolster was filled with some foam and glued together.

Some fabric was glued over the bolster and the seat was good to go.

Now turn the seat cover sides inside out attach the 3 hog rings at the back of the seat. Then starting at the rear of the side bolsters attach 3 or 4 working from the rear to the front and alternate sides i.e. do right rear and then left rear, do next right rear and next left rear. It's obvious where they go as there are holes in the foam from the old hog rings that you removed. At this point the bottom and sides are hog ringed to the foam so pull the bolster covers back over the foam sides and over the hinge.

This is the hinge side of the seat.

They give you a nicely stitched slot for the hinge to go through.

Now you can pull the cover over the bottom of the seat pan and attach at all the blue arrow points. The pink arrows refer to the place where we inserted a steel rod.
The instructions say that this is optional, but we had some rod and decided to use it. You could even use a coat hanger. Most of the hog ring attachment points are those punched out slots you see by the bottom arrow.

I had one problem with a broken attachment point so I added some reinforcement.

I wrapped a wire tie around the seat pan and through the hog ring to make sure it didn't pull loose.

Remember this from removing the old covers?

Here's what it looks like when the cover is finished. It basically gives the cover some shape in that area.

Here's what the finished corner looks like.

The driver and passenger side are different as to how many of the seat rail holes are covered and need to be cut out.
These are for the tilt mechanism. The left cut is already on the cover so you only have to do the right hole. Make sure you cut enough material so you don't have to worry about catching the bolt on the leather and tear it or cross thread the bolt.

The seat bottoms are done........let's do the seat backs.........