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MG MGB Technical - Fitting new seat covers

I have bought new vinyl covers but cannot decide whether to DIY or pay a professional to fit them. I am reasonably handy and do all mechanical jobs on the car myself, but don't want to destroy my investment. I wondered
1] if any novices out there have had a go and wished they hadn't, or conversely found it relatively easy to get a good finish. I don't want to end up with a loose fit. I have watched a chap on YouTube complete the job in about 15 minutes but some folks have a habit of making things look easy when they have done many before.
2] If taking the DIY approach, should the 'bum' and 'back' sections be glued down or should a tight finish be possible by just tensioning the clips? By the way, what are the rounded clips called as the MGOC don't do 7/8" diameter which I would need if old ones cannot be re-used.
3] I have had a quote of 72 per seat including headrest and don't know how that fairs as I can only find one local fitter. Sounds OK but if like above a pro can do the job in 15mins then it sounds expensive! Anyone had any quotes? Just wondered if it may be worth travelling to get a better price.
Many thanks folks.
Graham Moore

as with all these types of jobs it's dead easy until it's not (and it is easy) - when my wife and I tried on my BGT it ended in a big row so we vowed never to try again

I've had seats completely refurbished including frames and it was expensive but a neater good job

another time, last time, I had a pro upholster fit cushions and covers, etc., he was a friend of a friend and turned out to be expensive but only done a reasonable job - o(f fitting cushions and covers etc.)

one of the things I asked him to do was to give the frames a good visual check before he started the work and let me know of any issues on the frames

well six months after his work the driver's seat back broke one side, it was repaired and patched for a very reasonable price but you can cleanly see the new part panel

so thoroughly check your seat frames before recovering, the driver's side naturally usually gets most worn but the passenger side can also have issues
Nigel Atkins

I did mine myself. Some years ago but I don't recall any dreadful problems. I seem to recall using cling film to help the fabric "inside" of the covers slide over the foam more easily. And probably gaffer tape over protruding edges etc to prevent the material snagging. Hog clips I think is the name. They are a baszzzd! But work!
Michael Beswick

I also was told that were hog clips, but when you search seems they are a different type of upholstery clip. Then I was told moon rings, but that doesn't seem to be the case either. In fact, I have GooG'd every description I can think of and cannot find even an image...
Graham Moore

Lyndsay Porter describes it in the MGB Restoration Manual in some detail. However despite reading that, plus another set of instructions elsewhere, and the instructions that came with the covers, none of them said that the frames are asymmetric, and the covers handed. The seat frames taper in alongside the tunnel, and the covers ditto. Of course I didn't realise until I had the first one glued down, and it was on the wrong side. I opted to leave it rather than risk damaging it on removal, an it isn't really noticeable unless you really look for it.

The seat is relatively easy, the back a little more tricky, pulling it down over the foam. You need either a plastic bag over the 'shoulders' of the seat, or cling film wrapped round, then pulled out just before you glue the centre section down. The centre section of the seat needs gluing down as well, if you don't then with the shaped foams the centre sections will simply bridge the highest points of the sides, and be baggy to boot.

Hog rings (going by Google images) are used to attach the diaphragm or webbing to the base. The clips to attach the covers round the tubing are item 16 here Unless some ping off and get lost I can't imagine them being unusable, unless the interior has suffered badly from damp.

140 probably isn't too bad, if the alternative is botching your new covers. Reading up, and taking it step by step slowly, mine turned out fine - covers on the wrong sides notwithstanding. Quality of the covers is my biggest issue, the roadster replacements were poor, and have worn through in only 25 years and 50k. You may think I'm joking, but the V8 has OE covers that have done double that in mileage and at least 20 years if not 40 years in duration and whilst the brushed nylon has worn thin in places the underlying fabric is still sound. I've put off doing the roadster again for a couple of years, trying to get samples or see samples of decent covers.

Replacement foams are another bug bear, being denser than the originals, so giving a higher 'ride height' as well as harder.
Paul Hunt

Thanks Paul. I was wondering if the seats and back were supposed to be glued or just stretched correctly to hug the contours of the foams. I'll open my Lindsay Porter book. Forgot I had it.
Graham Moore

Hi guys,

Agree with Paul on the height thing.

The last set I did on a rubber bumper roadster, we left out the wooden packing pieces under the runners as the customer was over 6ft and felt he was sitting too high.

That was about 4 years ago and we've still not put them back as the foams haven't "given" much.

They are very comfy tho.

Regards Steve
SR Smith 1

I have just recovered my GT seats with leather covers,
I think the secret is do one seat at a time so that you can copy the tucking in bits.
I watched the Mark Evens DVD with the girls at PJM covering his seats,that was helpful.
As I said it is the tucking in at the bottom of the back that is the difficult bit, as far as the base is concerned I threaded thin strong cotton from the inside of the cover were it goes into the groove in the foam and pulled it tight through the foam and a strip of hardboard and tied it off, this gives you the profile without glueing. Make sure that the hessian is still on the bottom of the foam, if not put some on.

And it saves money.

GJ Barker

Bit the bullet and job done. Not quite as scary as I had imagined but tricky in parts to get neat 'tucking in'. very pleased with result although it's just as well the glue can be 'pulled apart' to redo an untidy attempt. Saved 180+VAT over the professional.

Got my vinyls from wrigtons in birmingham and they do look the part.
Graham Moore

Well I posted the above just over 3 weeks ago. I WAS very happy...

When I went to my car on Sunday morning, both backrest covers had come unstuck and the bases are starting to do the same.

After researching the cause (consulted a pro trim guy), it seems most likely due to our hot weather spell - AND the fact that the upholstery glue sprays generally available (which I used) are bog-standard stuff for sofas and chairs.

Car applications - especially for vinyl and leather should use high temperature upholstery glue (available on fleabay but unfortunately not from MGOC where I bought mine). I had never even heard of it.

A lesson learned the hard way, but hopefully someone else can benefit from my experience! Seats out and start again.
Graham Moore

Not heard of that either. AFAIK I used bog-standard spray adhesive on the seats and carpets where appropriate and they've been fine. Mind you, glue these days is probably as rubbish as parts.
Paul Hunt

This thread was discussed between 12/04/2014 and 21/05/2014

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