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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New leather seats in my 1987 560SL is my next project. I am posting a few pictures shot on my cell phone for anyone considering the job, meaning saving money by not using an upholstery shop. I had estimates at $1500 and I spent half of that on this project. It helps a great deal by having suppliers who use the original MB patterns to cut the leather. Advice here on BenzWorld points to several good suppliers:
GAHH Seats - Interiors
Tops Online topsonline.com
http://www.topsonline.com/blog/uncategorized/diy-tips-replacing-seat-covers/
World Upholstery Mercedes-Benz Upholstery, Seats, Carpets, Interior Panels, Convertible Tops, Floor Mats, Headliners and Other Trim Accessories from World Upholstery and Trim
You can find other sites and buy seat covers on EBay, but I favor those vendors with excellent reviews by other MB owners here.

I decided to go with Tops Online who had the lowest price and quickly implemented my order for brazil piping with saffron leather and no perforations. It was delivered in a week. As said before, Vic at TopsOnline is very accommodating and knowledgeable. I'm not discussing MB TEX vinyl here, but the same procedures apply. I did order one yard of Tex Saffron for $30 to do some finals and trim in the matching color.

There are 48 sequentially numbered pictures here. View the video if you are seeking detailed procedures. https://youtu.be/7BHO8W2qh-U

I have not figured out how to caption each picture upload so I just number them for ease of reference:
1. Worn and cracked brazil leather from sun exposure is a liability of MB convertibles.
2. Headrests are easy as the foam comes off the metal support. No need to pull a vacuum as recommended in online videos.
3. Center arm is also easy, a zipper pouch.
4. Cut hole for cover plate >1cm smaller than the plate all around
5. Plate pops in for a finished look.
6. Rather than cut a giant hole for this MB ring, I removed the ring and left the leather.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Remove seat back. I continue to drive the car so I start with the passenger seat back only.
7. Remove back cover.
8. The dreaded blue thread lock on phillips head screws? Need to use heat.
9. Passenger seat back is out.
10. Interesting seat clips, there are no hog rings here.
11. Cloth seat retainers to match upper back curvature.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
12. Verify new seat matches the old.
13. Use a j-awl to pull cloth retainers onto the MB plastic retaining strip.
14. Same awl to pull the side bolsters and lock them in place with white MB plastic retainers.
15. Cardboard strips sewn onto leather edges fit exactly into J-channels on seat frame. Tapping them in with a clean rawhide hammer.
16. Cut hole 1cm smaller, press chrome lever channel in place.
17. Same thing for the cutout for the L&R seatback lock cables.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
18. Added extra white padding between horsehair pad and springs corresponding to lumbar support (lower back).
19. All six locking clips must be secured.
20. Nice even line where new leather tucks into existing J-channel.
21. Added extra padding to seat bottoms.
22. Use contact cement to replicate prior glue points.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
23. Hog rings are needed at the rear edge of the lower cushion.
24. I mistakenly removed the seat height adjuster. Reinstalling the seat spring was easy with a bottle jack. It was difficult without.
25. Relube all the rails and motion points with white lithium grease. I purchased a few new white sliders from MB.
26. In my overzealous support of MB I purchased the M8 25mm 1.25 pitch phillips screws from dealer for $1.50 each. You can get a bag of 25 for $10.
27. Assemble entire seat on benchtop for easy access. Keep leather covered especially when applying grease.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
28. Passenger seat reinstalled and secured with six 10mm nuts. Note exposed metal is painted black, personal preference.
29. Driver side view of passenger seat and showing off bike.
30. When doing the driver seat bottom I figured out it was much easier by tying the springs with rope, allowing J-channel to be inserted with no need to stretch and pull the leather cover.
31. Double sided stickies in case your plastic chrome trim tends to fall off.
32. These two 10mm bolts plus one at the front pivot point is all you need to remove each seat. Once out, just pull back the seat and lift.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
33. Important note: Not all the white plastic guides are the same. On mine two were black, wider, and L-shaped if viewed from the end. These wider black guides go on the bottom edge of the inner, seat belt side of the seat, and face inward, with the L pointing in toward the seat. Other orientations will make the seat much more difficult to move fore and aft.
34. Removed rear wall carpet that was faded.
35. Irregular surface covered with upholstery batt and glued with spray adhesive.
36. New MB Tex saffron glued with spray adhesive to the batt.
37. Driver view of completed seats and center console.

All for now, I got to get ready for the rolling legends tour tomorrow AM.
https://arthglr.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/AutoShow2016/RollingLegendsTour/tabid/755410/Default.aspx
 

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Registered
1983 380SL (us), Former owner: 1965 190Dc
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1,326 Posts
Good write up. This is something I am planning for the Red Fox in a couple of years. I hope this will be added to the The Encyclopaedia Germanica so I can find it again.
 

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73 and 75 450SL,81 380SL,80 500SL, 85 500SEC and 81 500SEL.
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381 Posts
Great project, perfect timing.

I really like all the photos PanzerPuff and easy to follow instructions. I started the project of removing the blue leather seats out of my parts car for a recolour to black. The seats in my 046 were patched with gaffer tape and just as bad as your old seats. I was umming and arring about reconditioning the seat frames as well but with your (as usual) awesome write up I'll now give it my best shot. Love your attention to detail PP,thank you again.

John
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,697 Posts
Nice job Ken. And, I like your creative choice of colors.
Never seen anyone deal with the carpet on the back panel like that - like that too.
BTW, what you did on the carpeted back panel -- is that a padded piece
with vinyl covering????
 

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1988 560SL (California Model)
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5,087 Posts
I have not figured out how to caption each picture upload so I just number them for ease of reference:
PP to caption each pic they need to be hosted off-site (not on Benzworld). Just Google image hosting and you'll find a ton of them...most for free.
 

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Premium Member
1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Nice job Ken. And, I like your creative choice of colors. Never seen anyone deal with the carpet on the back panel like that - like that too. BTW, what you did on the carpeted back panel -- is that a padded piece with vinyl covering????
Carl, yes that is polyester fiberfill (any fabric store or upholstery shop) spray glued to the metal, then MB Tex vinyl spray glued to the fiberfill. I used fiberfill as the bodywork was not flat and gluing the Tex vinyl directly to it would show it. I drove on the Rolling Legends Tour today 180 miles at 90 degrees F, and the top edge of the vinyl started to separate, so I put a 1/2 glue strip of contact cement along the top edge that should hold it better than spray adhesive.

38. The center console was looking grim.
39. Soaked all burl wood in pure acetone for 48 hours. Need to seal it good so the volatile acetone does not evaporate.
40. Shot of remaining scale after acetone evaporates. The resulting clean burl veneer needs no scraping (dangerous!) and minimal sanding with 350 grit or finer paper.
41. Using prep-all to remove all traces of dust. One coat of sanding sealer is followed by five coats of outdoor grade gloss polyurethane. I prefer solvent over water base as it works better.
42. Refinished console installed with MB shift knob from my prior 450SL that coincidentally matches the woodwork.
 

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Premium Member
1987 560SL
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2,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Miscellaneous:
43. Cleaned out the climate control unit and replaced four of those tiny incandescent light bulbs.
44. Painted the exposed metal pieces black for a more finished look.
45. Top handle now matches the seat color.
46. IMHO quality of leather from Tops Online is excellent. No special deal from Vic to say that, others may post experiences with other vendors.
 

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Registered
1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,697 Posts
I really like the contrasting colors. My 380SL is all Brazil Brown and I
too have thought about doing something like you did.
Very creative how you installed that padded panel at the parcel shelf.
And, looks like you color matched the carpeted part on the Center Console.
 

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1987 560SL
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Discussion Starter #20

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