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Thread: How To: Installing DMCH Leather Seat Covers ... some thoughts

  1. #1
    Senior Member nkemp's Avatar
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    How To: Installing DMCH Leather Seat Covers ... some thoughts

    There is a good write-up on installing the leather seats from a while back. That writeup assumes that you are going to reuse the ribs from the old seats. But times and some products have changed. The DMCH seat covers I got recently do not need the old ribs since they have ribs sewn in. The bottoms are different in that they have a plastic strips about 2" wide that is used to retain the seat bottoms snug into the grooves. You no longer need to pull the bottoms tight to the underside of the rubber pad. Instead the plastic sheets hold it tight. I did not take a picture of the seat bottom ribs before installing so if someone has one feel free to add it to the thread.

    Since pictures are better than words sometimes here are a couple from the seat bottom:

    IMG_6397.jpgIMG_6395.jpg

    I think, but don't know, that it is pretty easy to take the bottom pad off when the seat leathers are off/loose. Then reattaching the retainers would be easier than the way I ended up doing it. If I had the seat leathers loose, I think I would have removed them from the frame end (not the rubber end) which would have been simpler.

    But I goofed and fit the bottom plastic sheets after I hog-ringed the seat bottom. So I had to remove the rubber bottom by bending back the retainers near where the green zip tie shown in the photo. I suspect it would have been a LOT easier to take the bottom off before hog-ringing the bottom. To bend the metal I used a wire cutter as shown here:

    IMG_6396.jpg

    Do not remove the bottom two retainers (one each side) or any more retainers than needed. To get the bottom two retainer back into their holes if they comes out, work from the topside of the seat. Once the retainer is bent, the pad can be removed. When the pad is reinstalled, the wire can be bent back into shape ... sorta. I think the chance of the pad coming off the retainer if bent with a hook is somewhere between slim and none so I added the zip ties to make it slimmer and more-none ::-):

    Note that you may be able to get the retainers out of the hole in the frame. That is the easy part. Getting them back in by only being able to work from the bottom could be a PITA. You are trying to get it into a hole, you cannot see while under tension. I accidentally had one of the bottom retainers (the short ones) come out. It took quite a while to find the hole and get it back into the hole. It wasn't until I realized that I could get to it from the top even with the leathers on did it go easier. YMMV ... taking them out of the hole in the frame may or may not work better.

    The black plastic strips have six holes, three holes each side. I'm not sure what they are for. They are not for securing the rib like it used to be in the original design.

    More thoughts on replacing seat covers:
    • Wear gloves when removing old hog rings. I have a blister right hand ring finger that will take weeks to recover
    • If you are having trouble removing the old hog rings, try using a cutter like shown above. The old ones are easy to cut. The new SS ones are not easy to cut! Wear safety glasses because the do fly and fly far.
    • I used a plastic bag (the tissue thin ones from the supermarket in the produce section) over the headrest and then slid the headrest cover on. With the bag it is super simple to put the headrests on or take them off
    • Have some of the larger zip ties handy. Sometimes it is worth using them to snug the leather and then hog ring it on either side
    • You do not want to cut too much when cutting the slot for the plastic trim on the seatback lever. Use a pointy think to align one hole, then put the screw in the other. Then put the aligned hole's screw in. You may need to make a few more cuts. Remember cutting too short is preferred to too long! I found that the angle needed for the plastic trim was not intuitive. Also note that you can see how well your pointy thing is doing by looking from the inside of the seat.
    • Now, while the seats are out, is a good time to vacuum the car and to hide any wires.


    Would I do them myself again? Yes
    Do you hurt when done? Yes
    Would having more than your own two hands help? Yes But be kind and don't ruin a relationship while trying to get these on. BTW...if you can do this job with a friend without fighting, you can do wallpaper together. ::-):
    Nick
    - No matter how many people believe in a dumb idea ... it is still a dumb idea!
    - Some cars look fast. Some cars look faster than time!
    - The question is not "where did the time go" but rather "where to go in time".

  2. #2
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    Thank you for sharing your experience and for the pictures. Your conclusions are very helpful. Do you have pictures of the finished effort?

    Thanks,

    Rod
    10921

  3. #3
    Senior Member nkemp's Avatar
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    Here is the before (a bit out of focus). Note that the vinyl sides were badly burnt/scorched and a big chunk was missing. There was some black fabric covering the hole to distract from seeing the yellow foam. That is the way I got the car too many years ago and should have fixed it sooner.

    IMG_6384.jpgIMG_6385.jpg

    Here is the after:

    Attachment 27688

    More

    Attachment 27689

    Attachment 27692Attachment 27693
    Nick
    - No matter how many people believe in a dumb idea ... it is still a dumb idea!
    - Some cars look fast. Some cars look faster than time!
    - The question is not "where did the time go" but rather "where to go in time".

  4. #4
    Car Fanatic. Technical Novice. pezzonovante88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkemp View Post
    Here is the before (a bit out of focus). Note that the vinyl sides were badly burnt/scorched and a big chunk was missing. There was some black fabric covering the hole to distract from seeing the yellow foam. That is the way I got the car too many years ago and should have fixed it sooner.

    IMG_6384.jpgIMG_6385.jpg

    Here is the after:

    Attachment 27688

    More

    Attachment 27689

    Attachment 27692Attachment 27693
    Can't view the attachments.
    Previous Owner of 5875 - 1981/Grey/5-Speed/Grooved Hood

  5. #5
    Senior Member nkemp's Avatar
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    Hmmmm....

    Anyway, here are the before:
    IMG_6384.jpgIMG_6385.jpg

    Here are more after seat pictures:

    IMG_6399.jpgIMG_6400.jpgIMG_6401.jpg
    Nick
    - No matter how many people believe in a dumb idea ... it is still a dumb idea!
    - Some cars look fast. Some cars look faster than time!
    - The question is not "where did the time go" but rather "where to go in time".

  6. #6
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    Nice work, they look great.

    Rod
    10921

  7. #7
    Senior Member Domi's Avatar
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    Looking really good, nice job

  8. #8
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    Very nice looking.

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    I printed out the "slip me some skin" article; is that the article that is recommended? Also, what is the "plastic bag & zip-tie" method I saw a few guys refer to? (Is it: plastic bag on headrest, zip-ties somewhere else? Or: plastic bag & zip-ties on headrest?)

    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Senior Member nkemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich_NYS View Post
    I printed out the "slip me some skin" article; is that the article that is recommended?
    I'm not sure which article you are referring to. There is a reprint of a DeLorean magazine article that is OK as a general overview. Just disregard the parts referring to the wires in the old seat since you don't reuse them on the new DMCH leathers. Also, the new DMCH covers have built in plastic methods to use with the hog rings. And as mentioned above, the seat bottoms are not pulled with rings. You pull the plastic "T" throught the foam to form a retainer. See pictures. ALSO... I didn't take any pictures of the new covers before I installed the covers. If you could do so, especially the bottom insides, then others will have an easier time visualizing the new seat bottoms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich_NYS View Post
    Also, what is the "plastic bag & zip-tie" method I saw a few guys refer to? (Is it: plastic bag on headrest, zip-ties somewhere else? Or: plastic bag & zip-ties on headrest?)

    Thanks!
    First off, zip ties can be used in multiple locations. Anywhere you would use a hog ring a zip tie will work (how well/long is TBD). I used zip ties where I couldn't get the hog rings to work like I wanted or where I wanted an extra pull point.

    Getting the new leathers over the headrest can be difficult ... or so others have indicated. I used a supermarket produce bag (like found on the rolls) to put over the headrest before slipping the new covers on. The plastic helps them to slip right over with ease. The bag remains under the leather and you'll never know afterwards.

    When you remove the old covers you'll find the two rows of hog rings below the headrest in the narrow part. These pull the covers tight and give the seat the neat trim look just below the headrest. It is easier to use zip ties to install that portion than to get the hog rings in there. A pro can likely do hog rings with ease. But since this will be the first and likely last seat reupholstery job you'll be doing, zip ties will work much easier.

    Lastly, take your time and keep working it until it looks right. It takes some time but the covers can be massaged into place.
    Last edited by nkemp; 07-23-2014 at 09:17 AM.
    Nick
    - No matter how many people believe in a dumb idea ... it is still a dumb idea!
    - Some cars look fast. Some cars look faster than time!
    - The question is not "where did the time go" but rather "where to go in time".

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