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1990 SEC
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4,194 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I pair of rather tired Recaro Classic C's have found their way into my garage. :eek:

Hadn't really planned on it, but they were in sad shape and desperate need.





The switches are pretty well trashed, broken or missing:





Most of the knobs are missing their decorative caps:



The seats date back to about 1980. The seat back covers have 1978 and 1980 date stamps:





I know these are not good candidates for easy refurbishment, with no spare parts availability etc., but I'd appreciate some input and advice.

I am considering attempting to refurbish the mechanical and electrical parts myself, and then send them out for reupholstering, but if there is a specialist available who can do both the mechanical bits and the re-stuffing parts, I might consider outsourcing the whole job.
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe
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Axel, I had those switch panels reproduced in Aluminum and also made in L/R too. I had them made in AL because in order to have them veneered in wood, the company that does that (Madera Concepts) told me to have them made out of AL.

Also, RBYCC, I believe wrote in my thread on the switches and I used his sources to get replacement switches. If your air release valves are good still you are set. Read my thread on it. I started one on restoring my Recaro's, then my engine blew and I had to divert resources.

I also know where to get replacement Recaro seat badge inserts too.

So it comes down to getting a good leather gut to re-cover the seats. My guy quoted me $2400.00 for the whole job including the rears and door cards.

Here is my thread
 

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'91 560SEC, '98 SL500
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Depsneds on how much you want to spend. This is not a cheap effort, but certainly a worthy effort. I like the idea of making the switches in aluminum -cool!

I hope you stay with the cloth...I actually prefer cloth or Alcantara sides (like the AMG E63). I am having the seats in my 930 refinished soon and I will not get much back from $2500-$3000...alot of money but will transform the car's interior drastically.

Before:


After:


Yasin
 

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84 500SEL AMG, 90 560SEC AMG, 85 500SEC AMG Widebody
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Tribute 500SEC AMG Widebody
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Many of the OE BMW seats share parts with these Recaros. The usual ebay outlets are a the best source .co.uk and de. The badge is used on the Cosworths and a pair can be had for 15 quid new on ebay.co.uk. The switches are prone to breaking and DAV no longer makes replacements. There are a number of alternatives but I chose to go with OE MB switches as they slip in with only a slight enlarging of the switch hole needed.

Here's a little more info:

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s-se-sec-sel-sd/1442434-recaro-ideal-c-seat-restoration-6.html
 

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Euro 1985 500SEL
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These seats look so damn uncomfortable..I was even reading the new Caddy CTS V coupe has Recaros and all the reviewers lamented how bad the seats felt. Are they more comfy than they look?
 

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Tribute 500SEC AMG Widebody
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560SEC, 1988; 500SE, 1984; 500SL, 1983
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goodluck Axel; you can use MB switches as replacements, but the big cost will be the reupholstering. I came across these guys RECARO & other Replacement Seats and I think it was $2000 to reupholster, so basically more than a decent set you can buy of ebay.
 

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W126 500 SEL 9/85 W124 E320T Brabus
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I once read about a guy, that removed the panels completely before upholstery and used the OEM Mercedes wiring. Maybe thats a way... ;)
 

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Are you really in Arkansas? I thought you were in PA right near me??

I was going to suggest Willow Grove Auto Top, they do pretty good work and are reasonably price. But it might be a long drive from AR!

Or maybe you can email them pics, they can quote, and then if price is good might pay to crate and ship?
 

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84 500SEL AMG, 90 560SEC AMG, 85 500SEC AMG Widebody
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So does this mean these seats are comfortable..or nobody read my question? lol..
I love my Recaros! If you are a big (overweight) person, they may feel restrictive. I just drove my 84 AMG on a 600 mile trip and had no issues with the seats.

Al
 

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99-C43, 05-G55K, 71-280SL, 94-E320 CAB
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I once read about a guy, that removed the panels completely before upholstery and used the OEM Mercedes wiring. Maybe thats a way... ;)
I just had a set retrimmed this year...
$1200.00 for OEM solid Palomino leather on the bolsters and perforated on the inserts.
Rebuilt the switch panels, but decided to make them "dummies".
Using the stock Merc power seat base which will allow power front/back, up/down and wiring the Recaro back tilt to the Merc connector.
All power functions will operate from the Merc door switch.
Not using Recaro adapters as they raise the seat too high on the Merc base.
Making aluminum angle adapters which will only raise the seat 3/16"

 

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1981 300SD, 1976 300D
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So does this mean these seats are comfortable..or nobody read my question? lol..
No seat's worth $2000 to *me* but I can tell you that for a person of average size they are spectacularly comfortable, thoughtfully designed. I have a very similar set of seats in my Audi S4- comfortable for drives like Phx to SF, CA in one day. I've sat in 48hp's famed 500SEC; I can attest that the combo of the Recaro classic seat and the W126 steering/pedal relationship is a winner.
 

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1990 SEC
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4,194 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Axel, I had those switch panels reproduced in Aluminum and also made in L/R too. I had them made in AL because in order to have them veneered in wood, the company that does that (Madera Concepts) told me to have them made out of AL.

Also, RBYCC, I believe wrote in my thread on the switches and I used his sources to get replacement switches. If your air release valves are good still you are set. Read my thread on it. I started one on restoring my Recaro's, then my engine blew and I had to divert resources.

I also know where to get replacement Recaro seat badge inserts too.

So it comes down to getting a good leather gut to re-cover the seats. My guy quoted me $2400.00 for the whole job including the rears and door cards.

Here is my thread
Thanks Mike.

Yes, I read your thread and those CNC machined switch plates look pretty sweet.

Depsneds on how much you want to spend. This is not a cheap effort, but certainly a worthy effort. I like the idea of making the switches in aluminum -cool!

I hope you stay with the cloth...I actually prefer cloth or Alcantara sides (like the AMG E63). I am having the seats in my 930 refinished soon and I will not get much back from $2500-$3000...alot of money but will transform the car's interior drastically.
Yasin, those seats look awesome. Definitely an inspiration. I prefer cloth too, but here in the good ol'USofA leather rules and even alcantara is considered downmarket.

Are you really in Arkansas? I thought you were in PA right near me??

I was going to suggest Willow Grove Auto Top, they do pretty good work and are reasonably price. But it might be a long drive from AR!

Or maybe you can email them pics, they can quote, and then if price is good might pay to crate and ship?
Bruce, yes I relocated to Arkansas earlier this year. I was offered a job here that was too good to pass up. Is it really a year ago that Markus I came over to test drive your inventory? Time flies.

I just had a set retrimmed this year...
$1200.00 for OEM solid Palomino leather on the bolsters and perforated on the inserts.
Rebuilt the switch panels, but decided to make them "dummies".
Using the stock Merc power seat base which will allow power front/back, up/down and wiring the Recaro back tilt to the Merc connector.
All power functions will operate from the Merc door switch.
Not using Recaro adapters as they raise the seat too high on the Merc base.
Making aluminum angle adapters which will only raise the seat 3/16"
Al, that's a great idea. I'll definitely pursue this option. AMG had a new cover for the door switch which only included the forwards/backwards function.



Thanks to everyone else for your input and references.

I've shamelessly used the links provided to order replacement switches.

I'm definitely going to outsource the upholstery part and am considering gray leather (my interior color) and have them piped white (my exterior color) and redo the rear seats to match.

Something along these lines:




I'm still wondering whether I should attempt the mechanical restoration myself, fixing electrical motors, lube cogs, pinions and shafts, etc. - or simply outsource that part of the job as well. :dunno:
 

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2012 CL550 4MATIC Coupe
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I liked that white interior too and gave that pic to my guy for reference. He is also going to re-sculpt my rear seats to match the Recaros so it will look like mini Recaros in back.
 

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1989 560SEC
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2,056 Posts
Once I have a few other projects complete on the SEC, Recarro's will be next. Keep me posted if any Black Classic C's pop up.

Thanks,
Mike
 
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