Have been fortunate enough to participate in more than a handful of autox events over the past 6 or 8 years. Each year a new mod to help get the car around a course a little quicker and if lucky 8 runs for that year to try not to look to silly sliding around the course. Never enough seat time to ever have a handle on getting around an autox course in that car. One thing I did learn was as the car got better the need for better seat grip was starting to show up.
While we all got an unexpected year for most everything we liked to do in 2020 the opportunity to make more autox improving mods were done. Rear suspension got a lot of attention, front suspension was blueprinted and the ability to get 10 degrees caster was done. And the commitment to being better at the autox now included a set of 17x9 wheels and a set of sticky 200 tires. The results of all that last year was managing to make two autox events and 30 runs total between my son and I. The car was lots better, quicker, way more fun and just made the chasing the tail more obvious. But the seat grip was even a bigger issue, I knew I had to do something, but, as we do procrastinated on that issue.
Last Sat it was back to an autox, another 16 runs on the car between Jason and I. A Winter project to make the car quicker at the autox was now in testing mode that day, huge front sway bar upgrade. The car's handling has been changed again, much better and the stick is much better. And to top it off I'm much slower. HUH?
Have owned this car for 30+ years now, to many mods to list, but refuse to ever have the need to cage or roll bar it. I like the gray factory seats and near original looking interior. I know the stock buckets aren't even close to being good race seats, but.
So for years now knowing something needs to be done to hold the butt and trunk in place at an autox and not very compromising on any interior changes that has been a dilemma. At the last event i found my hands and arms in a death grip on the steering wheel. Driving the car around the course was secondary to keeping my body in place, more tire grip from more modes made that more of a problem. And, need to add the inner core strength of this 71 year old ain't what was 2 years ago. SO I GOTTA DO SOMETHING.
So far: Talked to my chassis/TIG guy and possible we can make a removable harness bar from side to side behind the seat. Not crazy about having to put an opening in the interior quarter trim at the jamb B pillar but open to that idea. Waiting on a friend to send me pics of that area with no trim on it. Need to see the sheetmetal structure there before i commit to that on my car. Adding just a harness bar is acceptable for autox. Many different companies sell a removable and or permanent harness bar for a multitude of cars, Vettes included. i know I can make a strong, suitable, removable harness bar, without the need to do rollbar. That's an option.
Seats changes: One option is buy a race seat with shoulder strap opening specifically for the use of a harness. i have a couple sets of stock bucket seat tracks that i could use to mount that seat directly to the original floor mount holes. The plan would be to remove the seat to floor bolts and swap in the race seat for the day. The PITA is now you have a race seat laying around for 363 days a year. That is very doable, just not practical.
Need to get a 12" long piece of 1" metal banding strap, ( spring steel ) this is used to make the tool to remove the stock headrests from the seats. When running over the shoulder/seat straps there needs to be some method of holding the straps in the correct position on each side of the neck. The slots in a race seat take care of that. On a stock seat the headrest has a 1/4"x1" steel mount to the seat. Some stock headrests use two 3/8-1/2 round stock to attach and move up and down on. I've seen several over the shoulder straps are being used on a stock headrest with two rods to separate the belts. I feel i can produce a "guide" that would afix to the top of the seat using the stock headrest. Still running that idea through the safety mill. So trying to maintain the stock seat, and headrest as part of the harness install.
Belts: When at UMI KOTM saw a few cars running Schroth 4 point harnesses. The Silent Assassin, a white Tesla, had a Schroth belt setup. No harness bar and the shoulder belts tied into the factory rear seat belt floor points. Did a lot of reading about that setup and how I could adapt that to my car. For an autox car that doesn't see very high mph, accepted by autox as being permissible and the Schroth even says they are antisubmarine with their unique belt setup on the 4 point system. At this point very interested in this approach. Stock seat, depending on which Schroth setup I'd choose could do it with or without a harness bar.
At this point Schroth is looking like a viable choice for a harness, the only time it would be in the car would be for autox. Removing the Schroth harness and or a harness bar wouldn't be a big deal. Setup properly it should do what i need done, hold the body core so i can relax the arms and drive course lines instead of trying to miss cones. While their seems to be availability of Schroth harnessed right now i will get either a rear seatbelt or harness bar harness type on order before they disappear very soon. https://www.schrothracing.com/item/rallye-4-asm/tuning-Harnesses
In this day and age getting stuff when you see it is necessary, He who waits is left out in the cold, got that one from my fortune cookie at diner today. Bob
I can add my 2 cents from quite a bit of experience racing aftermarket harnesses in street cars. Frankly, if your lap belt doesn't have an attachment point holding it down around your hips, I wouldn't bother adding shoulder harnesses. Without the 5th point holding the lap belt in place, all the shoulder harnesses do when pulled tight is pull the lap belt up into your abdomen. They will not secure your shoulders to the seat back nor does the lap belt hold your butt secure in the seat. Period...
I'd rather have a VERY secure lap belt vs a loose goosey 4 point harness every single time.
And don't even bother trying to run the 5th belt up around the front of the seat and back, when push comes to shove...the front of the bottom seat cushion will collapse letting the lap belt ride up anyway. Been there, drove that many times.
A race seat with only a strong lap belt will hold the driver in place WAY better than ANY 4 point harness without a sub belt attached to the lap belt.
So I should order a big piece of velcro, have the seat bottom and back done in velcro, get velcro stitched into the back of my shorts and a shirt and be better off than a 4 point. Another option would be to add a second belt under the arm pits behind the seat back and make it about 6" wide. Exhale as much as you can and pull the belt tight.
All just in fun.
Just hate the idea of having a race seat laying around for those couple times i get a little serious about being acceptable at the autox. If you do one permanent race seat you need to do the twin, I know the wife would take one look at it and, well you can guess the rest.
A removable harness bar across the B pillar I'm OK with. I can hide the mounting brackets easily, and be strong enough to have any harness wrapped to. This is only for autox and intent is NEVER anymore than that. Very few 4,5,6 point harness are street legal, DOT approved. You can get a fine if they wanted to with a 6 point harness.
One of the reasons to ask about Schroth 4 point is because they say it's DOT approved because of it's anti subing design.
Soon after i bought this car and found out about Mike's Monte. I bought the last piece of OEM gray velour seat material he had for that time in the future when the factory seats needed refreshed. It's been safely stored away for that day I thought I may need to restore the front seats. There is enough material to do two seats.
We have two excellent interior guys in the area now. Is this the time that i bite the bullet and remove the factory seat and make one of two choices.
Take the original front seat out and have the cushions remade to fit me, add bolster to the seat and back sides to help hold me in place. Then do a little welding on the seat frame to incorporate a place to run a sub belt to the seat's frame. Add the slot for the sub in the seat bottom. All sounds like a lot of work, a lot of thinking , and something that would be another Winter project. Sure would be nice to have a used SS bucket seat to do that with. With the harnesses removed no one would know it was anything but stock. And it would add that sub to hold the lap in place.
Another choice would be to find a race seat with convenient sub belt location and doesn't ridiculously looking like a race seat. Then have a covering made for it from the gray velour in the closet. My neighbor stitches for one of the seat shops so i know i can get in the back door there. Gotta put that on this weeks list, talk to that upholstery shop owner about my seat options.
Neither option is just cut and dry and would be lots of thinking and doing to make me happy. Getting kinda burned out on the car thinking stuff. Just want to drive it hard and stay in the seat.
Last event thinking about it my car was the only CAM car there without race seats and harnesses. They should make that a rule, CAM cars must have race seats and 5 points harnesses. That would put an end to this silliness, I wouldn't race autox anymore. Then pull the T56 and install a 6 spd automatic and drag race, run an 11.4 so you get kicked off the track because you don't have a roll bar. Roll bars and seats, two pet peeves of mine for a street touring car.
Still got time to think about what to do. Goal is two autox minimum this year, one in the books already. But would like to make 48 run, three Saturdays for my son and I, on the car if possible. Only way to get an idea if this car is any good at autox. Would need to register for the July event very soon, Aug, Sept and Oct is all that's left for the year. Time and things getting in the way always has a way of eliminating car things i like to do. So need to find a quick fix to the seat issue if I want to go from almost the slowest guy out there to just another guy that is pretty fast out there. My goals aren't unrealistic. Bob
Just thinking out loud (and showing my ignorance), but how feasible would it be to get some good seat foam, which can be relatively tacky by my memory, and cutting it down thinner in the center, with good "bolsters" on the sides, and instead of installing it INTO the factory seats, set it ON TOP when you are at the AutoX (like those old wooden bead seat covers taxi drivers use). Cinching the belt tight and something like Lance's chest strap would hold you to the seat, and the foam would hold you centered in the seat. Surely not the cleanest solution, but it might be actionable to get you racing better this season. Then you have some literal seat of the pants feedback, and you can make a decision after the season on tricked out stock buckets vs dedicated race seats.
All that said, I like your thinking on the sock seats refoamed/recovered with harness points added. In my mind, you should be able to stitch a nice little flap that would cover the hold for the sub belt when not in use, keeping the factory look even more. Maybe pick up a used racing seat for not much, put it on the spare brackets, and do some swapping for this season until you can rework the gray seats for next year? Sell it at the end of the season and regain your storage space.
'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
I drilled a hole in the floor and bolted my sub strap directly to the floor under my seat using large washers and grade 8 bolts. It rides under the seat most of the time and I just stick it up through the seat bottom when I'm going to be using the shoulder harnesses. Doing something similar with a stock seat would be a way to go for sure.
I've also raced many times using just my factory 3 point belt with the race seat. I especially do this if I'm co-driving with someone not my size. It's easier to just slide the seat back and forth and the OEM belt accommodates rather than trying to readjust the lap belts every time we switch drivers. The factory 3 point belt with a race seat is TONS better than with the OEM seat or a 4 point harness with any seat, race or OEM.
After thinking about what Lance said about a sub belt and how it effects the lap belt position to keep the shoulder belts in place, that all makes sense. The key is to keep the entire trunk from the crotch to the neck glued to the seat. That's why the Velcro joke.
Have spend time chasing harness installs on all the different forums looking for opinion on what works for autox. Lots of "upgrades" to butt planting done by a zillion guys in most ever car you can imagine and I find good, bad and ugly evaluations of benefits and primarily the safety aspects. My intent is ONLY autox use for improving belts as with most guys doing 4 point harnesses. If I was to road course the only way is to do a true race seat and 6 point harness. In autox the chance of a harness needed to protect from injury is rare, to say the least.
There are many installs with 4 points, no sub, and those guys say, "so much better". My take on that is the car seats they are putting the harness on are already well bolstered and provides lots of lateral support initially. Adding shoulder and a non slipping lap belt just improves on something that is already good. I can see how Lance mentioned not using a harness when multiple drivers are using the seat. You already have very good lateral and the stock 3 point is very effective.
Back to a Monte seat that doesn't have much lateral, and about zero upper torso restraint. Made the tool to remove the stock headrest from the seat and removed the pass headrest just so i know how that is done. That in case there is something that needs to be done to the top of stock seat to provide a 'guide" for the harness over the shoulder belts.
Corbeau makes a plastic pocket to be installed in the seat bottom to allow a 2" sub belt to pass through the seat bottom. Not sure if it's that easy to find one for sell but here's a video of how to install it. I looked under the stock seat bottom to see what, where, and if that plastic part could be used on a stock seat, maybe is the answer. But it would be the easiest way to sub belt stock seat. Being the stock seat cushion really is nothing more than a foam pad on springs keeping a sub pass through in place would require a lot of design effort. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5MWkmrZs9I
There is plenty of room under the seat for an eye bolt and it doesn't appear to be a big deal to make and install an steel plate on the underside of the floor to reinforce the eye bolt location.
Well thank you Lance!!!!!! The mailman dropped a CG lock at my front door yesterday. We talked about the CG last year and I never got around to ordering one. Now they are gone from production and if you can find one they are pricey. Again thanks Lance. I do need to say Lance sent me a 2" orange belt and at first I thought it was a joke due to my reference about a 3"armpit belt wrapped around the back of the seat, crank it tight. Didn't realize that idea had already been done. Bob
You are most welcome Bob...Hope it works out well for you to give you an idea of what being planted in the seat feels like. The CG lock doesn't attach to the belt clip like the instructions show, I just clamped it on the belt above the latch and slid it down forcing the latch down once belted in.
I road race/hpde a bunch and aftermarket harness on a stock seat is a major no-no,any sanctioning body that you'd want to run with wouldn't let it past tech, and if they did and you were my student I wouldn't get in the car. Basically if you could get it tight enough it'll likely break the seat back in an impact if you didn't fray the crap out of the belt trying to get to route correctly or you didn't pass through the belts all together ...
The Schroth ASM stuff is decent for a stock seat solution, all it is is a loop of belt sewn lightly on one side so in an impact if gives way and you flop to that side, nothing fancy but effective. The annoying part is you're always playing a game of whack a mole with the lap and shoulder belts you never get the shoulders tight enough and keep the lap belt over your hips. if you have a power seat you can play lean the seat back a little andgetit all snug on you lap and snug enough on the shoulders then tilt the seat back up but that only helps so much.
For autox you really want to just keep your butt in the seat, if CG lok's still exist I'd look at those as they'll pin you down the best, I recall we used to a product for kid's car seat (mighty-tite comes to mind) because its was super cheap and didn't chafe the belt like the cglok could if you weren't careful, basically it winds up the factory 3 pt lap belt to pin you down... EIther of those would be a solid solution...
going seats and belts gets expensive quickly (don't buy cheap ones, spend some money on a decent fiberglass FIA shell) plus you have to figure out how to mount them which can quickly end up with holes in your floor board and the like to get it in there, not ideal stuff for something that is primarly a street car
Thanks for the input Greg. I agree with everything you mentioned. The lap belt riding up as Lance mentioned because there is no sub belt to hold it in place. Adding a sub to a stock seat, not a good idea. I've seen the 4 link Schroth on some very fast track/autox cars. I can say the driver's were 1/2 my age, that's a factor, not in my favor. Another reason why even a Schroth isn't my answer.
Lance sent me his CG. It's not designed to work with the Monte stock seat belt. When you connect the shoulder strap to the female between the seat and console the buckle is close to a 30 degree angle from the lap belt. When you just clamp the CG above that buckle to prevent belt from loosening it sits at an angle and doesn't clamp properly. Unacceptable.
To remedy that I turned the CG upside down and modified how it touches the buckle. A piece of black urethane, thank you Lakewood, air bags come with two 1" think 5" diameter black urethane "cushions". A piece was sized, cut at an angle and screwed to CG. Then a piece of .037" steel is TIGed to the CG and both the urethane and the steel now are the mating surfaces to align the CG correctly to the stock buckle, and not scratch it (urethane). Have tested it and it works great. But because my son and I co-drive the car how easy the CG can be reset as we switch drivers 8 times in a kinda short period of time. It needs to be tested in battle. CGs are not for sale anymore, don't know why, Occasionally Ebay will have one.
For the street use, drag racing my slow car, and even autox just about any belting will do as long as it's stock. My problem is the only reason for better belts is autox to keep me planted. Current setup is not ample. I don't need to cut up the car for 30 minutes a year of fun at the autox. Will use the CG the next event.
My son has run several hill climbs in his Saab 900, all the safety equipment and clothing needed. He took Oh xxxx at Pagoda at a hair over 100 and missed his braking zone due to correcting for to much drift, tagged the guardrail at 70 in the next corner. All that good safety stuff and he limped it back to the pits and I "adjusted" the crushed corner, he drove the car home. The good thing about that was the tech guy that oversaw the harness install, harness bar, race seat mounting, and roll cage install did him right. He just walked away unhurt, just a lot thinner in his wallet.
I have until this time next year to figure out what i will do. Bob
no prob, I've seen alot of autox guys also just install a lap belt (I recall that's what strano used to do) basically you just use the lap belt off a latch/link set and pin yourself in that way, less work then a full belt setup and should be minimal mods as you can probably piggy back the OE seatbelt hardware, link below to what I'm talking about...
but yeah a full race shell, belts and the like get pricey, on my E36 M3 racecar, I probably have about 1500-2000 worth of seat/belt/mounts/window and center nets in the car and I have to replace it all every 5 (2 on the widow nets) years so fun stuff when you have to meet proper saftey standard, all for a car that puts like 230hp to the rear wheels, lol... I def wouldn't do that on a street car that's used in a fun event like 5-10x a year at best, that said 80's GM do suck and I'm seeing what else can fit in there for my car, the germans do a much better job of buidling actual structure in their oe seats, GM didn't figure that out until the last 10-15yrs or so...
After my last autox a few weeks ago it's time to revisit, rethink, the approach to making an improvement in seat stick.Lance sent me a CG lock he used early in his autox days. He's since gone the full race treatment for seats and harness.
The stock Monte lap and shoulder belt and the CG Lock I felt wasn't a good marriage. Spend some time riding around with the CG installed. The angle of the CG clamped to the belt and the mismatched angle on the buckle, just wasn't happening. So spent sometime modifying the CG so it mated to the angled buckle and it works OK, But what I find is playing with the CG it's time consuming and with two drivers adjusting the lap belt the CG is constantly getting moved around. Does it really help on my particular lap belt I think not, more an inconvenience in the grid.
Next.In the coming week will make a trip to the local upholsterer. Kinda have an in there, my neighbor has worked for him off and on, my son pulled a few seats out of new cars for him. Yep, when buying new trucks sometimes you can change the seat covering when what you wanted became available. My plan is to take the car over to that shop so the owner can see the stock seats. Retaining the stock seat frames, mounts and appearance the driver seat will get more bolstering in both the seat and the back. 20 years ago i bought the last of Mike's OEM 1986 gray velour seat material and stashed it away for that day when you needed to fix a seat. A decade ago at the U-Pull pulled a cherry 1986 gray seat back full covering. That was stashed in a plastic bag for, now. It will be in the truck of the car also.So I have some stuff to recover the seat. I'm told matching the gray vinyl on the seat should be possible. I have enough material to do two buckets. My pass bucket seat is very nice and will not get anything done to it. The plane is to add bolstering to the seat and back hoping to my size. Will it help, maybe. My car is a 175K miles on a teenagers body. The velour seat material shows it's wear, not really dirty, so having the exact replacement material makes sense to just reupholster the driver' seat and see if I can make it fit better. Carol, my neighbor, says he turns thing over quickly. 4 weeks until next event, hmmm.
Saw a couple different belt setup is CAM cars at the last event, some 4s, serious guys 5 or 6 point. No verdict yet on the 4 or 5 or 6 point. I understand the negative side of the 4 point, the difficulty of doing 5 or 6, the legality and common sense use of any other than stock belts.
Got some pics from a friend's G body without the interior panels on the B pillar. Will be making the trip to Frank's garage soon, need to kick him in the butt to move his frame off along, it's stalled again. Will take physical measurements, a print, from his car. Much easier that taking my car apart to do that. From what I see a removable harness bar can be made to attach to the B pillar. Note, removable, I have grandkids that are getting bigger. . Will need to do the exact location, height, fore/aft. My son when he build his hillclimb car found that harness bar the inspectors are a little particular about. I get it.
So, investigating what my seat choice is currently, and still how to safely incorporate a good belt system that hold me in the seat at an event, ets only used at autox, is easily removed when not needed, because it is illegal for the street here in Pa.
Today was a good day. Made a trip to see the owner of the local car upholstery shop. With me I took a large bolt of original 1986 gray valor seat material i bought from Mike in 1999. More than enough to recover both front buckets That material I bought for that "just in case" time in the future. That is now. Also several years ago at the U-pull pulled a cherry 86 gray pass seat back cover. It's a 95 on 100 scale.
With the gray valor in hand, a cherry used cover in the other hand, the car parked just outside their front door, Chris the owner had the time to satisfy my need to discuss and plan a seat 'fitting" and all new seat covering, that will look 100% original.
I left the used pass seat back in his possession so he can search for a close match to the gray vinyl used on the 86 seat side and back,
I'm not in a big hurry to get this done and he said it was a 'winter" project. I do know in the end I'll more than likely need a lot of rolls of dimes again to get the seat done. And after it's done and all pretty and comfy, molded to my body the pass seat will need just a recovering so it doesn't look out of place. More dimes.
Stopped at my local tire/inspection station with the car to schedule my annual State inspections. Yep two. The stickering doesn't take to long, it's all the bench racing you need to do with the shop guys so you can get out the door. Oh, I asked about his car scales, he said i could take them with me. I will pick them up next Thurs after the formal state stickering is done.
Next over to see Tim at his fab shop. He welded my new sway bar arms, and a few dozen other small TIG jobs. He wanted a ride in the 86 for a while now, perfect weather today, took him for a 20 mile trip around the block. I know better than push the car to hard with him, he's old, almost 70 now. Wait, I'm older. He unlike my wife likes a firm, very tight suspended car with snappy accel and unfortunately had to show how good the brakes are. He did enjoy the cruising i took him on today. Oh, we discussed how a removable harness bar was going to fit and be TIGed to the B pillars. Oh, Frank with a fresh paint rotisserie restored SS went to the local car show with me last weekend. I will be at his house soon taking pics of his naked B pillars, no interior in that car yet.
Back in the shop at 4ish and pulled the plug on the oil pan while the engine was totally up to operating temp. I seldom change oil on this truck engine, last time was two years ago, 4000 miles on Mobil 1 10-30. From the time this engine was switched to Mobil at about 500 miles it's been a Mobil drinker, a qt maybe every 800 miles depending on how many time the throttle is held open for extended periods of time. So being it's a drinker and you add a 1/3 qt often, and, I change the Wix oil filter about every 1000 miles and cut it open looking for any problems. In the end the engine has always been healthy, oil never stinks. This drained oil is a much darker black this time. Mobil 1 has been playing around with blends they sell and hype. Good old Mobil "green" logo 10-30 i ran in all my cars is gone. Now going to try a 5-30 Mobil. We'll see right a way what the new cold oil pressure is tomorrow morning. As mentioned oil doesn't stink of blowby and no water in the pan, another good thing. Head gaskets need to be done, 15 years and the AFRs haven't been off yet. But I fear that is nearing an end. But no sign of coolant in the drained oil.
Classic Automall car show Sat, may drive out there, doubt I will wash the car, to much work.
Stopped to see Chis last Thurs at the upholstery shop. Needed to insure we were both still on 1st base concerning getting matching gray vinyl for the upgrading, reupholstering of the driver's seat. Other parts of the interior also use that same gray vinyl, the rear seat's front,, and the grain and color also matches both front and rear arm rests. So looking for something that was made near 40 years ago, the vinyl, is going to be a comprise it looks. The factory velour gray material I have a 4'x5' piece of the OEM bought from Mike's 20 + years ago. So no problem on the velour. The headrest on the seats are not cherry, just very near cherry, degree of difficulty and the labor cost to do a perfect recovering as this point says they will be left alone.
We discusses adding a slot for a 5th belt in the driver's seat. Once the seat covering is off the seat we can discuss that viability I told Chris we are now looking at doing two seats, the pass seat will be done, duplicated, just new coverings. That is a shame to trash that seat's covering, it is near cherry also. But gotta have two seats that match.The other, the driver seat, new cushions, more bolstering in all four locations and sculpted to my needs..
Will make a decision on which vinyl he will order when i stop back to see him before the end of the year. His time line is Feb to do the seats. I mentioned in the 30+ years and dozens of down times for projects at no time is forever acceptable when doing any project. One month to do the seats and most likely throw in a new carpet while the seats are out. Oh, can't forget fabricating and installing a removable harness bar is part of that seat project. That bar may be done before the seats are done. Not a lot of TIG welding to do for that bar, but interior in the rear seat area will need to be removed to do that install. Already have a good idea how the harness shoulder straps and seat back will interact. won't dwell on that now.
Tonight saw some stuff they call snow fall to ground. One Winter project on the drawing board and looking like it will get done. Bob
Bob, if the guy finds a good match, please let me know what brand it is and where I can get it. I'd really appreciate it. I need to order some for my driver's side, side bolster (small wear hole from rubbing against it getting in the car). I used 3M ScotchGard on the fabric parts of the seats when I got the car and they still look dang near new - that stuff is amazing (or least it was 37 years ago). Anyway, I'd sure like to get that worn bolster fixed, since it's basically the first thing you see when you open the door - lol.
Kevin my car is an 86, your's an 85? I believe the seat materials are different. I can say the seat faces are gray velour for 86, the 85 gray was more a clothe, courser, if I may. I think they wore better than the 86 up material. Regardless, seat face materials were different.
On the 86 up gray vinyl is used on the back center, both sides of the seat back, and then the front and sides of the seat bottom. It is that gray vinyl amount needs to be replaced, with something that in color and grain is closest to the 35 year old stuff. Because the front edge of the rear seat, and the vinyl in the headrests is NOT going to be touched we try to match that old stuff. Armrests, the console pad, the cup holder kinda all matched the old gray.
Sorry, I wasn't clear. Yes, the cloth on the 85 is different, a little "courser" as you pointed out. I'm interested in the brand and where I can buy the vinyl. All I need to replace is the vinyl on the driver's side, front seat, side bolster due to the wear from getting in the car. I'm pretty sure the vinyl is the same for all the gray interiors.
When my project is done there will, should be, enough gray vinyl left over to send you a remnant of either the old or new vinyl. Don't hold your breathe in anticipation, just keep me in mind as my seats get done. I won't forget ya. bob
Have been working on collecting the materials necessary to get a drivers seat reupholstered. Finding a gray vinyl to match the texture and color of my original 86 gray vinyl my seat guy had a swatch sent to him and today we ordered 5 yds of gray material. It should take maybe 3 to do two seats, 5 is plenty.for any mistakes. And should be some left over Kevin.
Initially the plan is do just the drivers seat first with extra bolstering added in four places. I will be test fitting the refoam to my contours. Today at that shop be talked about the old foam still being still ok. And now pretty sure I have a source and part number to buy both seat foams new. I only want to do this seat one time, buying new foam will most likely happen. My seat guy say he has bought many time before from that foam supplier.
Will be first doing a total new seat covers on just the driver's seat initially. Once the driver's seat is done will compare the new driver's against the old pass seat and then decide whether to spend the time and money to do the pass seat. My pass seat is VERY nice, the only reason to recover would be sun damage which is minimal. Rear seat is perfect and definitely have no desire to recover it. The real purpose of this driver's seat project is better stick, not trophies.
When the seat cover and foam is off the seat spring/frame assemble will be looking seriously to see whether a hole could be put in the seat bottom to accommodate a 5th belt though the seat. I have seen this done on several other sporty imports. I have seen plastic inserts that are a two piece male, female and would go into the hole permanently. May now try to find those inserts just to have them to a entertain that 5th belt location. Oh, boy.
Also have began the search for new, quality gray carpet for the car. A dozen places show products, show different qualities, and what seems the real problem is is it in stock and can i have it in a week or two. My seat guy uses and has had good luck with ACC. I bought floor mats from them 15 years ago and they were junk. Mike doesn't list a Mass Backed on his site right now. Several other places i go show long delays on shipping. Carpet is not a necessity but both seats will be out. And it would be nice to take a couple pics of the floor boards all nice and pretty with no rust. My thinking is owning this car for 32 years they never got wet.
Hoping in the next week or so my upholstery shop will call and tell me to drop the driver's seat off. I stopped last week and the vinyl was still not in house yet. Today I did call https://rpui.com/ to check on availability of new foam for the seats. Salesman told me the foam cushions that PUI was manufacturing are in process of being moved to new and better injection molding machines and will not be available for 2 to 3 months. So buying seat cushions ain't going to happen. We will need to work with the originals and repair and build up the original bolstering.
Here's a good video of a guy doing seats, replacing cushions on a G bucket seat. I use it to see what exactly the steel in the seats looks like in case I need to weld more steel to the seat back to increase the bolstering.
Today,Tues, dropped off the driver's seat at the upholstery shop and we had our discussion about what I need the end product to be. So he will remove the seat coverings and then repair and add some bolstering on all four location using my body as the test dummy. The seat back ashtray my disappear and I may add a piece of steel across the back of the seat at armpit height for a future part of the seat upgrade program. Also when the seat bottom is stripped of coverings it will be easier to see if a 5th belt can be done. Another piece of the pie.
A little more than a month ago the 5 yards of gray vinyl for the seat arrived and tentative was me dropping the seat off more than a week ago. But to many thing on my part delayed the drop off. He's not swamped with work right now, goal is back in the car by the 1st of MAY.
Tomorrow may have a little time to spare. Car will now go on jackstands and the 8 1/2 removed for a R&P change back to the 3.73s. All the parts and tools for that have been sitting for a few months now. Goal is both the seat and rear back in the car by the end of the month. Bob
Well we are into May, the car season in the NE is starting, now.
Did have a good day today, my seat guy called and I made a visit to his shop to test fit my body into the new bolstering he has added to the seat. Yes it's going to be a little snug initially but that's what i wanted, better fit around the chest and a butt. Original bucket seats have ashtrays in the back, eliminating the one in the back of this seat. They are actually a bolt in, two small sheetmetal screws secure it to the back of the seat.
My seat guy thinks i may have the seat back early next week. Next step before install will be to make a seat cover type sleeve that goes over the top 1/3 of the seat back to hold a third belt horizontally, only for autox purposes.
Over the past couple weeks I had little time for toy car stuff but yesterday stopped at the upholstery shop, my seat is done. And it looks great. Will not pick it up until Mon, gotta rob a bank first. But i knew that going in, if you want quality and you want to add bolstering, and when you want the seats covers made, in house, with the material you supplied you pay the man. The driver's seat reupholstering was a back burner Winter project for years.
Next piece of the seat project is to make a sleeve that will slide down over the seat back after the head rest is removed, about the top 1/2 of the seat back will be covered by the sleeve. When the sleeve is installed the head rest goes back on the seat. Once you make the proper tool to remove the headrests they come off quickly, just snap back in.
This sleeve's purpose is to hold a seatbelt horizontal across the seat's back buckle across the chest, under the arms. the sleeve will hold the belt at that height and not allow it to drop down. And this sleeves ONLY intent is to be used at ONLY autox to help keep this old man's torso from moving to much in the seat. The seat belt is from my 86's rear seat, the middle belt which was an excellent donor and will work exactly like any lap belt. And three people in my rear seat has never happened. Already have done some testing on this setup using that belt and can say when the sleeve is done and the belt is channeled through the bottom edge of the sleeve it releases easier and quicker than the stock belts. And being the latch will be located about the right pocket area, the driver or anyone can release the belt easily. And the sleeve will hold the ends of the belt, it's buckles, so the end just hang down out the way to not interfere will getting in or out of the seat. My son and I both co drive the car now and there isn't a lot of time between his and my runs so there is no time to play with a silly belt arrangement. It will be stupid easy to use this belt.
Is this the intelligent, safe, way to hopefully not need to add a 5 point harness and throw in a race seat for 30 minutes of autox run possible this year. Do i need it for the street, for the 1/2 dozen 1/4 mile passes made a year, NO. Just hoping to eliminate the death grip I had on the steering wheel to hold me tight in the seat. As the corner stick in the car has gotten so much better over the past 10 years the Gs throw you around in the seat more. Autox it's can be 20+ times in 50 seconds. My just turned 72 core just ain't what it used to be.
I do know the time and money spent on the stock driver's seat with fresh bolstering and original gray material will make my 37 year old, 175K mile seat a little more enjoyable. DONE. Bob