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2002 SLK 230
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some advice on the seats in my 1973 280 sedan. Front seats are the priority, although I'll want to do the rear eventually.

Driver's seat

I have nothing to compare it to, but I can't imagine that there should be so little support. I'm not a small guy (about 210 lbs) but when I sit on the driver seat it goes WAY down. Seems like the springs are worn out or maybe broken. I'm not feeling any springs poking through, it just seems like this seat bottom should be stouter. Also seems like the padding (horsehair?) is worn out as well. On the seatback there is one area near the door pillar where the padding is worn out. Seems like where your elbow may push off when exiting the car. I'll cover the headrests below.

Passenger seat

Basically same as the drivers seat, just not quite as bad.

Headrests

Both passenger and drivers side are "crunchy" and have a brown dust constantly falling out of them. I assume that is the padding crumbling.

Vinyl seat coverings

Actually all are in really good shape. No tears or worn through areas. Seem perfectly serviceable.

Rear seat

Not as big a priority as the fronts, but also seems saggy and crunchy.


So, my question is, what are my options? If I want to DIY, are parts and how-to guides available? If not a DIY, how much is a shop going to rake me over the coals for?
 

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73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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2,280 Posts
My first Mercedes was a 114 with crunchy stuff all over the interior of the car, like yours. It's the horse hair pads that become brittle and literally crumble away. You sagging down is a result of the pads going to dust. I paid a couple thousand bucks for new seat covers, but didn't know enough to order the pads at the same time.

Thus, I went to the local Good Will store, and raided my stash of unused and unwanted blankets, and formed them into the shape of the pads. I used standard needle and thread to tie all the pieces together and then fastened them to the seat springs. After a day or so of seamstressing, I put the new skins on and had awesome support. I think I paid something like $10 for the blankets I bought, whereas the pads are a couple hundred each.

I'm sure there's a purist out there puking right now, but it worked and I didn't pay a lot.

You can also go to your local crafts store and buy fabric fill (fiber fill?) or bunting, and do the same thing. After the seat cover is on, no one sees the sewing job, and the only two to know better are you, and your ass.

A tip from experience: Do this with the seats out of the car. Removing them entails taking out four bolts (one per corner) and you're golden. A 15 min job, if that. To remove the seat skins is very very easy too - with the seats out, compress the springs (someone sits on the seat for you) and the skins slip off. I kept them compressed by tieing them with fishing line. Once the padding was done and the skins were on, I cut the line and released the tension on the springs.

In all, my whole interior/seat redo job took me an easy weekend, and that included beer and bragging about things I hadn't really done yet :) I wouldn't touch a shop for a job like this - it's something you can do literally in your living room, while the girlfriend busts your butt because she just vacuumed.

New seat covers will cost you about $4000 for the whole set. Try a google search for World Upholstery - I use them religiously. You also might look in the pick apart yards for workable seat covers. World UPH has dyes that'll match your old stuff, and those are easy to use too. I have experience in such matters as well if you want to go down that road :)
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
I think you could get a full set (front, back, armrest) - installed for less tan $4k - I have it done about 10 years ago at a very good place, dealer recommended (I'm in the SF bay area). They did all the work - sometimes the springs do break and they can be replaced or welded. I got new pads (the official horse hair pads) and new vinyl that matched the original exactly.

Bottom line shop around - both for cost and quality.
 

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2002 SLK 230
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies all. Just to be clear I'm only looking for the padding. Sounds like I may be getting creative on the pads. I was hoping some vendor out there sold kits for just the padding. My actual MB-Tex upholstery is just fine, no rips or tears.
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
These guys appear to be able to sell you the pad(s) you want.

Mercedes Benz W114, W115 Upholstery, Seats, Carpets, Interior Panels, Convertible Tops, Floor Mats, Headliners and Other Trim Accessories from World Upholstery and Trim

There are others too no doubt - Google might be your friend here. As for DIY pads or custom manufactured pads - I'd say depends on your skill and patients. DIY might be difficult to get right, store bought ought to just fit the first time. I do remember that with the new pads the vinyl will be quite tight and difficult to get on.
 

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2002 SLK 230
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Discussion Starter #6
Checked with World Upholstery today. Seat pads are available, but pricey!!

Seat cushion pads (each) $250
Seat back pads (each) $370
Headrest padding (each) $65

All of these are for the front seat, I'm not worried about the backseat for now.

I know I will be getting the headrest pads, but I may wait until I take the seats apart to see if I can home-brew some replacement pads for the seats themselves.

Good to know they are available I need them! :thumbsup:
 

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64' 220SEc, 72' 300SEL 6.3, lots of parts
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tight seat pads vs shredded wheat crunchys

Stuff them high and tight

Whew, those pad prices are scary, they were outrageous at $90 & 110 each about 10 years ago. I'll have to sell my adult children (with good college degrees) to afford these parts now, Oh wait, I have junkyard spares in the garage. and a fresh set of leather from World Upholstery

The nice tight seats and cinched up seat belts make the whole car ride better, they really are part of the feel of the MBZ. nothing like it.
 

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73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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2,280 Posts
Another option is the foam padding you see computer parts shipped in. We have it by the metric ton at work, but I'm sure you could find the same just about anywhere...
 

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sorry to revive a dead thread, but I just yanked my seats out of my 76 w114 coupe in hopes to retrofit some alternate form of padding in the seats but I cant figure out how to get the vinyl off for the life of me. I dont want to rip it off since its in really good condition so I would like to reuse it, but I followed grubeguys instruction to sit on it but lost on how it "slips off" Can someone elaborate on how to remove the leather from the frame?
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
No problem Rajah - while sitting on the seat simply pull the seat cover material straight down. The edge of the fabric (vinyl) has a 1" strip of cardboard like material sewn to it and this is folded over and inserted into a grove in the bottom of the seat. There should be nothing more holding it in.

Perhaps some previous owner put glue of some sort in there (if your seats are still in good shape they have probably been replaced at least once (I'm on my 3rd).

But with new / good stuffing should keep the seat taught enough to not come out without any glue or anything else.

Good Luck,
Frank
 

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Premium Member
1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
No problem Rajah - while sitting on the seat simply pull the seat cover material straight down. The edge of the fabric (vinyl) has a 1" strip of cardboard like material sewn to it and this is folded over and inserted into a grove in the bottom of the seat. There should be nothing more holding it in.

Perhaps some previous owner put glue of some sort in there (if your seats are still in good shape they have probably been replaced at least once (I'm on my 3rd).

But with new / good stuffing should keep the seat taught enough to not come out without any glue or anything else.

Good Luck,
Frank
 

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No problem Rajah - while sitting on the seat simply pull the seat cover material straight down. The edge of the fabric (vinyl) has a 1" strip of cardboard like material sewn to it and this is folded over and inserted into a grove in the bottom of the seat. There should be nothing more holding it in.

Perhaps some previous owner put glue of some sort in there (if your seats are still in good shape they have probably been replaced at least once (I'm on my 3rd).

But with new / good stuffing should keep the seat taught enough to not come out without any glue or anything else.

Good Luck,
Frank

straight down? like toward the center of the earth if im sitting on it? so does it break from the top of the seat or does it untuck from under the frame? I think it might be glue but it looks like factory seat covers. not sure.
 

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1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
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330 Posts
For any future readers - it was straight down towards the center of the earth (although not that far) it will untuck from the frame. On a worn seat is should come out easily - the harder part is once you replace the horsehair pad with a new one it will be VERY tight and more difficult to reassemble - although not impossible (I've done it).

Good Luck,
 

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73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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2,280 Posts
Something I'd recommend is after the seat cover is off and you have access to the springs, compress them and tie them down with something (I used fishing line). That way, decompressing springs won't hinder your progress. Once you have the new pads and covers back on, you just cut the string/line and allow the springs to open.
 

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Premium Member
1973 220D, 1988 300SEL, 1991 300TE
Joined
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330 Posts
Something I'd recommend is after the seat cover is off and you have access to the springs, compress them and tie them down with something (I used fishing line). That way, decompressing springs won't hinder your progress. Once you have the new pads and covers back on, you just cut the string/line and allow the springs to open.
Having done the job before - I must say this idea is brilliant!
 
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