Tech article by Bill Criss (MnkyBiz)

This Tech Article is written for those of us that just can't part with our stock seats. If you aren’t into the stock look or don't enjoy the supreme comfort afforded by these marvelous seats J then read no further! I will document the re-upholstery of the driver’s side front seat and the rear bench seat.To begin with you need to remove the seats from the bronco….OK I’ll get serious now! I purchased my covers from Upholsterman on Ebay. The front seats come as a set, and the rear another set. I won the auctions on the same day, so I saved on shipping. The front seats foam I purchased from in PA, and received the foam in one day (a benefit of living in VA)! The foam for the rear seat I purchased from a local upholstery shop, and it is two-inches thick, 60 weight, marine grade foam that comes with a lifetime guarantee! For cleaning & refinishing of all the white plastic parts (seat back panels & rear arm rests) I used the SEM products sold by Eastwood Co. (Figure A).

NOTE: I did not purchase the Hog Ring pliers and am still regretting it. If you value your finger tips, go and get the proper tool! I used a pair of adjustable pliers and needle nosed pliers and they worked fine, once my fingers go out of the way!
Front Seats:

Begin the process by separating the top from the bottom of the seat.

Remove the hinge covers (plastic elbows covering the seat hinge) by taking out the three Phillips head screws (two on outer edge, on inner). Set these parts aside for cleaning & reuse.
The seat halves are hinged together with two perforated flanges (extending from the bottom of the seat back) that ride on two rods that extend outward from the bottom of the seat. The flange that faces the door is slightly longer and can be pulled on to slide over the rod on that side of the seat bottom (Figure 1).
You will need to use a lot of elbow grease, so pull hard you can't hurt it!


Set aside the seat bottom for now. Take note of exactly how the seat back is assembled. Remove the seat back cover (plastic cover with clips) and set aside for cleaning, SEM painting & reuse. The seat back is relatively easy compared to the seat bottom as it uses integral channels to hold the cover to the frame. Take note as to how you skin the old cover off, as you will reverse this process to install the new cover (Figure 2).

First remove the channel that is closest to the bottom of the seat back
Undo the Hog Rings that hold the top flap on
Unhook the side channels.
Skin back the seat cover from the seat

Once the seat is "skinned" save the piece of rear foam bolstering that is on the top portion of the back of the seat back. Without this, your reassembly will never get that "full" look of a stock seat cover.

Take your wire cutters & cut out all the hog rings that are holding the old cover onto the seat, as well as the hog rings holding the foam to the seat frame. Take the old seat cover & remove the wire "U" from the cover. This wire resides in a channel sewn into the seat cover, and must be saved for the new cover install. There should also be a corresponding "U" shaped wire, between the foam and the frame, that was used to hold the seat foam to the seat frame (Figure 3).

With the old seat foam and cover off of the seat, examine the frame. If your frame springs have rusted off, or if there is any rust at all, now is the time to treat it. Examine your new foam. The foam should look exactly like the old foam, just fuller & cleaner!!!! Test fit the new seat back foam several times, to get a "feel" for how/where it should rest. Then mark the back of the seat foam at dead center (right/left) where the foam is grooved. This is where you will place your first hog ring (Figure 4)!

Take your new seat cover, and feed the old "U" wire through the sewn pocket for the wire. This will take a bit of time, or you will poke the wire right through the material. It can be done, so patience is the key! Now mark the back of the seat cover, at dead center, just above the pocket with the wire in it. This is the point you will marry to the seat foam, and place your first hog ring!
Start the process by pressing a hog ring through the back of the seat foam where your center mark is, and push the wire "U" at the marked portion of the cover into the foam's grove. Clamp down on the hog ring until it closes and examine your work. If the seat cover doesn't look centered on the foam NOW IS THE TIME TO FIX THAT! Continue hog ringing the seat cover to the foam, following a pattern of side to side (making sure you place one at approximately the same distance from center on both sides). I believe that I ended up with some 7 rings used at this stage (Figure 5).

With the seat cover connected to the foam you now need to hog ring the second "U" to the seat foam. I simply hog ringed to the hog rings used to connect the seat cover. Trust me, this foam is going no where!!(Figure 6)

Now place the foam on the seat frame and flip it over so you are looking through the seat frame at the back of the seat foam. Begin hog ringing the seat frame to the foam, going through the second "U" wire installed in step 7 (Figure 7).

With the cover connected to the foam, and the foam connected to the frame, you are now ready to begin pulling the cover over the back of the frame! I did my work in the evenings, so I utilized twin standing halogen lamps (300Watts) to heat up the vinyl. The vinyl will be more supple if you get it warm. I held the cover up to the lamps until the vinyl was Hot to the touch. Don't forget to reuse the seat foam back piece you saved from Step 2!!!. Begin on one side, and begin working the cover over the foam & frame. Take your time, and you can do it without ripping any seams
Once the seat cover is over the back, begin reassembling the seat in reverse order from what you did in Step 2. The final product should look like this (Figure 8). You will need to cut holes for the lever that controls the "flip-forward-ability" of the seat, but that should be self explanatory!

Set aside the now complete seat back (Figure 9), and begin on the seat bottom. The steps for the bottom are exactly the same as the top!

Here are the steps in photos! (Figures 10-12)

With the top & bottom reupholstered, reassemble the seat, again using the longer flange as the point to pull & slip over the seat bottom's pivot rod. Reinstall all the removed hardware & plastic components (Figure 13).


Rear Seat:

The bench seat is much much easier to reupholster! Unbolt the seat back & bottom from the frame. I chose to clean & paint my frame at this time (Figure 14).

Examine how your old seats were assembled. Yup not a lot here! 7 hogs rings closing the top & a lot of staples on the bottom (Figure 15).

Remove the old seat covers from the plywood & foam. The foam is glued to the plywood, so rip is off, then clean the plywood with a wire brush to remove most if not all the old glue/foam. Cut & glue new foam onto the plywood. I chose to cut my foam ½ inch wider on all dimensions for the top & bottom. This allowed for a little "wrap" of the foam over the wood.
I again used my stand lamps to warm the vinyl & then stretched it over the foam/wood. I used less staples than Ford, and more Hog rings, but that was personal choice (Figure 16)

Finally I cleaned & painted the old arm rests. I used the SEM products shown in Figure A, purchased from
. These products are fantastic, and easy to use;
Vinyl Coat Paint
, Vinyl Paint Sand Free Primer
, Vinylcoat Plastic Prep

Here is a side by side comparison of before/after photos (Figure 17)!

The paint is flexible and designed for applications like this, it gets a 100% satisfaction recommendation from me!

Here is the finished product:

Tech article by Bill Criss (MnkyBiz)