5 series seat overhaul

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5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimjim » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:17 pm

If your SE5 seats looked anything like mine, a full restoration is on the cards. There are basically two choices - pay an upholsterer, or do it yourself - and I’ve always been the type to learn new things whenever I can (especially if it will save money). These are essentially later Sunbeam Alpine/Tiger seats so there's quite a bit of info online but I'm also lucky enough to know Andy (AJL electronics) who was happy to show me the pitfalls.

Despite being very comfortable, the leather on my seats was dried out and torn and there was always a few bits of foam under the seats when I tilted them forwards so Mrs K gave me a list of "improvements" required before we go to the Classic Le Mans in July (which included the seats, carpet and heater). Here are a few of the "before" shots taken last weekend:

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Disassembly

The first step is to remove the trims (normally plastic but one of the seats kindly donated by Luke as spares, had metal covers) covering the side plates, by removing two small self tappers from each – one front, one back

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to reveal the large seat back hinge bolt and smaller lever hinge bolts.

Separate the seat base from the back by removing the two large flat head screws (one each side). Be careful as these are easy to damage and of the eight I tried removing, two were seized solid and another two took a lot of effort to free off.

Once the seat back is removed, you can access the brackets, springs, and hardware from the seat halves keeping track of where everything goes. I took lots of photos to aid reassembly.

This spring and arm (on the inboard side of the seat) try to pull the seat back in one direction when you pull the tilt handle on the opposite side. Mine never worked, so until I put them back together I can't confirm whether they pull the seat back upright or try to force it forward into the folded position?

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And the tilt handle on the outboard side, engages with the toothed cog on the seat back to lock in your preferred angle

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Assisted by this small spring (shown outside but fits inside the end plate using the hole shown)

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Drill out the rivets that hold the small spring bracket onto the frame

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Once all of the hardware is removed you can strip the old covers and foam, etc. from the frames. The covers are held onto the base with clips which can be pried off with a sharp bladed screwdriver.

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Next, remove the foam cushion from the seat base which may range from a single piece, to a pile of foam dust. Mine were really well glued to the leather, metal frame and rubber diaphragm!

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note the piece of cardboard glued to the corner to stop the leather rubbing on a sharp bit

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more to follow over the next few weekends of work.
Last edited by scimjim on Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Jim King

Current: SE5 (8Ball), TI SS1 (snotty), 1600 SS1 (G97), 1600 SS1 (C686CCR), 2.5TD SE5a (diesel 5a), 6 x random other SS1s.
Previous: SE5, 3 x SE5a, 2 x SE6a, 3 x SE6b, GTC, 2.9i GTC, 3 x 1600 SS1, 1300 SS1, Mk1 Ti Sabre, Mk1.5 CVH Sabre
Chief mechanic for: 1400 K series SS1 (Megan3), 1400 CVH EFi SS1 (Grawpy), Sabre/MX5 auto (The Flying Broomstick),
1300 SS1 (Number One) & Sarah's coupe.
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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimmy_man » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:42 am

good plan, people avoid taking seats apart usually,


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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by Roger Pennington » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:12 pm

Jim, Thread changed to a sticky, as it's something worth having on record for posterity, I think :)


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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by MarkHawkins » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:35 pm

Are 5a seats essentially the same in construction (dismantling wise)?


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ex 1984/85 SS1 number 0007 (1300)

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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimmy_man » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:59 pm

yes just the coverings were moulded rather than stitched.


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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimjim » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:01 pm

just realised that was my 30,000th post - which is very apt as we wanted this forum to be a long term repository of information hand in hand with the "fleeting discussions" FB is so good for :-)

Thanks for stickying Roger and as Mike said, the basic seat is identical underneath but the coverings are different, which also means that the seat back foam is different. The later seat backs (and the vinyl covers I'll be fitting) have a single piece of foam but the stitched seats have three pieces. Apologies for the lack of pictures here but taking them apart is the easy bit :-)

At the base of the seat back is a trim strip that is nailed to a strip of wood (which I failed to take a photo of and had to destroy to remove!)

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once the trim and wood are removed, you can peel the leather centre section back like this:

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to reveal the card backing (in surprisingly good condition) and some huge bits of metal holding the side bolsters down

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and the third small piece of foam at the top. You can also see the white "net curtain wire" running across to tension the covering under

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note the plastic on the edges - more on that when we come to refitting.

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Jim King

Current: SE5 (8Ball), TI SS1 (snotty), 1600 SS1 (G97), 1600 SS1 (C686CCR), 2.5TD SE5a (diesel 5a), 6 x random other SS1s.
Previous: SE5, 3 x SE5a, 2 x SE6a, 3 x SE6b, GTC, 2.9i GTC, 3 x 1600 SS1, 1300 SS1, Mk1 Ti Sabre, Mk1.5 CVH Sabre
Chief mechanic for: 1400 K series SS1 (Megan3), 1400 CVH EFi SS1 (Grawpy), Sabre/MX5 auto (The Flying Broomstick),
1300 SS1 (Number One) & Sarah's coupe.
CURE THE FAULT - NOT THE SYMPTOMS

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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimjim » Fri May 27, 2016 9:12 pm

Some info I posted in an eBay thread:
scimjim wrote:From this site

AWOODY wrote:
Hi Guys , my name is Grant from Sydney I have been registered on this forum for some time and look in regularly but as yet have not posted . I have owned minis since 1974 including 3 cooper s , gt , 850, etc etc I presently have a cooper s replica where I get the benifits of an S but not the expense and worry of wrecking a genuine one. Ever since owning both a Sunbeam Tiger and Alpine , both since long gone when kids came along, I have liked the Microcell seats , I have now just installed a set in the mini, love them, I no longer slide into the passenger seat when cornering with enthusiasm!! What I would like is some more information on them eg: where they were available from as an after market accessory in the 60's , the years they were available (63 to 68?) how much they cost , etc etc you get the picture . Also how many of you have them in your cars , I tried to find some at the IMM last year in Kent but didn't see any. Thanks.


Hi,
No ,they were not initially sold as an aftermarket product,only produced for 'Sunbeam Alpines'(Pic1) and 'Tigers' (pics2+3),therefore the reason you will find virtually no advertisments/prices for this era and primarily none by 'Microcell' themselves. I say "virtually" as I have a record (pic4)of them being offered for sale both in Nov '1965 .I guess 'Motortune' put their name to these seats just the same as 'Les Leston' did his,I am totally unsure though about the circumstances surrounding the production of the 'Southern' seat .
The "Sunbeam pattern" seats were later re incarnated for the 'Reliant Scimitar GTE'(pic5).These seats also provided the skeleton for the leather trimmed 'Radford De Ville' seats(pic6).
However ,'Microcell Contour Seats Ltd' did bring out an aftermarket recliner(circa 67') ,known as the 'Traveller'(pic7) ,
although the back section was similar to the '"Sunbeam" seat,it is slightly wider and has provisions for a slot in headrest.The base though is entirely different ,as it does not have the offset rails ,they are made universally, so as take a specific subframe for each marque.They also have detachable base cover.
The 'Traveller' was the forerunner this seat(pic 8) ,extensively used/supplied by 'Ford' 68'-75'.

Nick W wrote:
slightly off topic ,but I was told the microcell seats in the sunbeam alpine were of such good quality, as microcell prior to making car seats, made seats for the air craft industry?


Yes,'Microcell Contour Seats'Ltd was actually an offshot of their avitation buisness and continued in parrallel

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Jim King

Current: SE5 (8Ball), TI SS1 (snotty), 1600 SS1 (G97), 1600 SS1 (C686CCR), 2.5TD SE5a (diesel 5a), 6 x random other SS1s.
Previous: SE5, 3 x SE5a, 2 x SE6a, 3 x SE6b, GTC, 2.9i GTC, 3 x 1600 SS1, 1300 SS1, Mk1 Ti Sabre, Mk1.5 CVH Sabre
Chief mechanic for: 1400 K series SS1 (Megan3), 1400 CVH EFi SS1 (Grawpy), Sabre/MX5 auto (The Flying Broomstick),
1300 SS1 (Number One) & Sarah's coupe.
CURE THE FAULT - NOT THE SYMPTOMS

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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimjim » Fri May 27, 2016 9:14 pm

I now have foams and covers - just need to fit the headrest metalwork and refurb the frames etc before I put it all back together :-)


Jim King

Current: SE5 (8Ball), TI SS1 (snotty), 1600 SS1 (G97), 1600 SS1 (C686CCR), 2.5TD SE5a (diesel 5a), 6 x random other SS1s.
Previous: SE5, 3 x SE5a, 2 x SE6a, 3 x SE6b, GTC, 2.9i GTC, 3 x 1600 SS1, 1300 SS1, Mk1 Ti Sabre, Mk1.5 CVH Sabre
Chief mechanic for: 1400 K series SS1 (Megan3), 1400 CVH EFi SS1 (Grawpy), Sabre/MX5 auto (The Flying Broomstick),
1300 SS1 (Number One) & Sarah's coupe.
CURE THE FAULT - NOT THE SYMPTOMS

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Re: 5 series seat overhaul

Post by Scimher » Sat May 28, 2016 2:00 pm

Fascinating stuff, Jim - thanks for posting...



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5 series seat overhaul

Post by Pepe » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:04 pm

I have saw this post again and thought it maybe worth adding that if you want to add Headrests it is obviously a good idea to add them while they are apart.

There are VW Golf 3/Polo 6N1 Headrests retrofit kits available to existing seats and they come with the guides as a bolt on parts. Sometimes seen on fleebay.
Those holder/mounting brackets can be modified to fit the Scimitar seats, welded (as I did in my case) to the frame and headrests can be mounted then.
If you are tall the seats upper edge may end just under you shoulders. The headrests are more Neckrests in my case but they add some security and a bit of comfort.

This looks like that on original seats (once the ugly VW Fabric is removed and foam covered with black vinyl/leatherette)
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1975 SE5a restoration link
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5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimjim » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:12 pm

I haven't managed to do much on the seats but I did manage to clean and paint the frames as well as welding on the headrest brackets from an SS1 and making new back-boards from modern materials rather than the original cardboard type stuff.
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Jim King

Current: SE5 (8Ball), TI SS1 (snotty), 1600 SS1 (G97), 1600 SS1 (C686CCR), 2.5TD SE5a (diesel 5a), 6 x random other SS1s.
Previous: SE5, 3 x SE5a, 2 x SE6a, 3 x SE6b, GTC, 2.9i GTC, 3 x 1600 SS1, 1300 SS1, Mk1 Ti Sabre, Mk1.5 CVH Sabre
Chief mechanic for: 1400 K series SS1 (Megan3), 1400 CVH EFi SS1 (Grawpy), Sabre/MX5 auto (The Flying Broomstick),
1300 SS1 (Number One) & Sarah's coupe.
CURE THE FAULT - NOT THE SYMPTOMS

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5 series seat overhaul

Post by RockerPhill » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:46 pm

Loving this thread. Heavily interested to see future progress as I'm looking at doing the same job myself! thank you Jim :)


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5 series seat overhaul

Post by Pepe » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:52 pm

scimjim wrote:
Fri May 27, 2016 9:12 pm
Some info I posted in an eBay thread:

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This version of the seat looks interesting. That headrest, does anybody know where this was used? Not really pretty, but period...


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5 series seat overhaul

Post by scimjim » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:16 pm

I don’t think they were fitted as OEM to any car

From the text in my quote:

However ,'Microcell Contour Seats Ltd' did bring out an aftermarket recliner(circa 67') ,known as the 'Traveller'(pic7) ,
although the back section was similar to the '"Sunbeam" seat,it is slightly wider and has provisions for a slot in headrest.The base though is entirely different ,as it does not have the offset rails ,they are made universally, so as take a specific subframe for each marque.They also have detachable base cover.
The 'Traveller' was the forerunner this seat(pic 8) ,extensively used/supplied by 'Ford' 68'-75'.

I don’t appear to have copied pic 8 over?


Jim King

Current: SE5 (8Ball), TI SS1 (snotty), 1600 SS1 (G97), 1600 SS1 (C686CCR), 2.5TD SE5a (diesel 5a), 6 x random other SS1s.
Previous: SE5, 3 x SE5a, 2 x SE6a, 3 x SE6b, GTC, 2.9i GTC, 3 x 1600 SS1, 1300 SS1, Mk1 Ti Sabre, Mk1.5 CVH Sabre
Chief mechanic for: 1400 K series SS1 (Megan3), 1400 CVH EFi SS1 (Grawpy), Sabre/MX5 auto (The Flying Broomstick),
1300 SS1 (Number One) & Sarah's coupe.
CURE THE FAULT - NOT THE SYMPTOMS

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