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Old 07-27-2007, 11:27 AM
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Modifying bench seat frame

Hey All,

I've got a '79 Chevy K10 pickup truck that I am currently fixing up, and one of the planned upgrades is to replace the factory unadjustable bench seat. I've managed to snag the front bench out of a 1968 Olds Toronado (6-way power adjustable with separate, fold-down backs) in my local u-pull salvage yard, but the big problem is it's not wide enough - about 7 or 8 inches too short. To make this seat fit, is it as easy as stripping it down, cut the frame and weld in extensions, build new adjuster cables, add new springs, cut new foam and make new seat covers (I know, I know - I just glossed over a huge amount of work)?

I'm hoping that I can just add metal to the center of the seat - that way I don't have to modify the D/P seat backs, only the fold-down arm rest/console. I've also acquired some of the s-type seat springs for the bottom, so is there a set spacing necessary, or just whatever gives the right amount of support? I noticed in Dan's upholstery tutorial (this will come in *real* handy, BTW) that he cut new springs for the bench, so is there any trick to measuring how long they need to be, or is it just cut a bit long, straighten 'em out, then measure and cut again?

I am also planning on attempting my own upholstery on this - it'll give me some practice at least (besides, the [currently] baby-blue and white seat will kinda clash with a black & grey interior ) when I tackle my other projects. I'm sure I'll have some more questions when I get to that point, so fair warning y'all.

Thanks,
Mike

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Old 07-27-2007, 01:39 PM
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There's really no way to know what's involved until you take the seat covers and foam off the frame. You're also going to have to make the seat backs wider. You will also have to change the foam, either by gluing pieces in, or starting over and fabricating your own foam. As far as adding springs, after extending the seat frame, I would not just throw in an extra spring, I would take all the springs out and come up with my own spacing pattern. If you can weld, you can fabricate clips to hold the springs and weld them onto the frame. Sinuous wire springs (also called zig-zag or ziggers) come in a large roll. You cut off the length you need and "D" end the spring on both ends so the springs don't slip out of the clips. They should have to be stretched somewhat as you put them in so they don't sit too soft. (see pictures: the first is a cut spring, the second is the same spring "D"ended) Use at least a 9 gauge spring. You also need to put a tie wire down the middle of the springs so they don't spread apart when you sit on the seat. You are asking for a huge amount of work to change all that. This is probably not the project you should do as your first attempt at upholstery. BTW, I did not cut any new springs for the truck seat tutorial, they were all fine.
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Old 07-27-2007, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brimstone
Hey All,

I've got a '79 Chevy K10 pickup truck that I am currently fixing up, and one of the planned upgrades is to replace the factory unadjustable bench seat.
While I appreciate the fact that you want to do things yourself, the 73-87 Chevy trucks are very, very common. Why not just get buckets from a Blazer or the split bench from a Suburban? This would be nearly a bolt-in. The Toro seat is a little hard to come by and would probably better serve a Toro restorer than be cut up and possibly never used in the end.
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:26 PM
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That is some very good advice. I was thinking the same thing. Thanks, Joe.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
Why not just get buckets from a Blazer or the split bench from a Suburban?
Because I choose too . . . if you want to really get down to the nitty-gritty. This is only one modification in a list that gets longer almost everytime I hit the salvage yard and find something that piques my interest, plus the standard buckets/bench/third-row seats are, well, standard. I mainly asked about this since I am charting new territory and am always up for some hints / pointers from those who know more than I do .

To give you an idea of plans for this truck:
- New wood bed. I can lay up the sides out of maple veneer so that they follow the body lines, and inlay a stripe of walnut to match the current paint idea.
- Tail-lights from a '68 Chrysler Newport - mount 'em vertically in the bed sides instead of horizontally like normal. Wire up some LED arrays instead of the single 1157 bulb.
- Customize the gauge cluster. I pulled the cluster from the Toro as well, so I can use some of that (the drum speedometer can be unscrewed as a unit - this is definitely being used).
- Overhead HVAC controls from a '00 Tahoe with some temperature control actuators to get rid of the cable-operated setup.
- Floor-mount TH350 shifter, change t-case shifter to a twin-stick setup.
- Hood hinge from a late-80's Buick - will flip forward instead of stock rear-ward.
- Ford mirrors from something - pulled one off of a '65 Olds F82, haven't located replacements, yet.
- Keep the current 35" tires, but loose the previous owner's 3" body lift. Trim fenders to fit if necessary.
- Semi-custom paint (Emerald or Hunter green with a black chevron on the sides - start at the front wheel well and taper to a point at the back of the bed)

That's probably more than you wanted to know, but then again up till this point these planned mods were only known to me (Hope I'm not sounding overly defensive ). One of the reasons why I am doing these mods is because the truck is so common - can't (well, won't) do the same stuff to my other projects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
This is probably not the project you should do as your first attempt at upholstery.
Heh, that's not the first time I've heard that same sentiment. Most likely won't be the last, either . I've also learned that you can't be afraid of something. If you're afraid of doing something, then you'll always be messing with it cause you will probably miss something - however checking the project out beforehand and working through the problems has always worked for me (examples would be redoing the ignition, or rebuilding the transmission in my 1978 Trans Am).

At any rate, I don't have a set deadline for this, so I've got plenty of time to get some practice in, as well as muck things up a bit . I've been meaning to build a "backpack toolkit" to take to the salvage yard - that'll give me a bit of time to learn and familiarize myself with the various stitches and construction, too.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:33 PM
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I like your adventurous spirit. Go for it! I don't generally use these smilie things, but I think this is the perfect place. Good luck!
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:42 PM
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I applaud your spirit. I have to admit that as an Oldsmobile fan it hurts a little to see relatively rare parts get cut up when others in the community are looking for them, though I will admit that chances are good that this seat would have eventually gone to a crusher had you not pulled it.

One hint is that the seatbacks on that Strato Bench should be the same as those in 68-72 GM A-body cars.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 07-27-2007, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brimstone
Because I choose too . . . if you want to really get down to the nitty-gritty. This is only one modification in a list that gets longer almost everytime I hit the salvage yard and find something that piques my interest, plus the standard buckets/bench/third-row seats are, well, standard. I mainly asked about this since I am charting new territory and am always up for some hints / pointers from those who know more than I do .

To give you an idea of plans for this truck:
- New wood bed. I can lay up the sides out of maple veneer so that they follow the body lines, and inlay a stripe of walnut to match the current paint idea.
- Tail-lights from a '68 Chrysler Newport - mount 'em vertically in the bed sides instead of horizontally like normal. Wire up some LED arrays instead of the single 1157 bulb.
- Customize the gauge cluster. I pulled the cluster from the Toro as well, so I can use some of that (the drum speedometer can be unscrewed as a unit - this is definitely being used).
- Overhead HVAC controls from a '00 Tahoe with some temperature control actuators to get rid of the cable-operated setup.
- Floor-mount TH350 shifter, change t-case shifter to a twin-stick setup.
- Hood hinge from a late-80's Buick - will flip forward instead of stock rear-ward.
- Ford mirrors from something - pulled one off of a '65 Olds F82, haven't located replacements, yet.
- Keep the current 35" tires, but loose the previous owner's 3" body lift. Trim fenders to fit if necessary.
- Semi-custom paint (Emerald or Hunter green with a black chevron on the sides - start at the front wheel well and taper to a point at the back of the bed)

That's probably more than you wanted to know, but then again up till this point these planned mods were only known to me (Hope I'm not sounding overly defensive ). One of the reasons why I am doing these mods is because the truck is so common - can't (well, won't) do the same stuff to my other projects.



Heh, that's not the first time I've heard that same sentiment. Most likely won't be the last, either . I've also learned that you can't be afraid of something. If you're afraid of doing something, then you'll always be messing with it cause you will probably miss something - however checking the project out beforehand and working through the problems has always worked for me (examples would be redoing the ignition, or rebuilding the transmission in my 1978 Trans Am).

At any rate, I don't have a set deadline for this, so I've got plenty of time to get some practice in, as well as muck things up a bit . I've been meaning to build a "backpack toolkit" to take to the salvage yard - that'll give me a bit of time to learn and familiarize myself with the various stitches and construction, too.

more power to you
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brimstone
Because I choose too . . . if you want to really get down to the nitty-gritty. This is only one modification in a list that gets longer almost everytime I hit the salvage yard and find something that piques my interest, plus the standard buckets/bench/third-row seats are, well, standard. I mainly asked about this since I am charting new territory and am always up for some hints / pointers from those who know more than I do .

To give you an idea of plans for this truck:
- New wood bed. I can lay up the sides out of maple veneer so that they follow the body lines, and inlay a stripe of walnut to match the current paint idea.
- Tail-lights from a '68 Chrysler Newport - mount 'em vertically in the bed sides instead of horizontally like normal. Wire up some LED arrays instead of the single 1157 bulb.
- Customize the gauge cluster. I pulled the cluster from the Toro as well, so I can use some of that (the drum speedometer can be unscrewed as a unit - this is definitely being used).
- Overhead HVAC controls from a '00 Tahoe with some temperature control actuators to get rid of the cable-operated setup.
- Floor-mount TH350 shifter, change t-case shifter to a twin-stick setup.
- Hood hinge from a late-80's Buick - will flip forward instead of stock rear-ward.
- Ford mirrors from something - pulled one off of a '65 Olds F82, haven't located replacements, yet.
- Keep the current 35" tires, but loose the previous owner's 3" body lift. Trim fenders to fit if necessary.
- Semi-custom paint (Emerald or Hunter green with a black chevron on the sides - start at the front wheel well and taper to a point at the back of the bed)

That's probably more than you wanted to know, but then again up till this point these planned mods were only known to me (Hope I'm not sounding overly defensive ). One of the reasons why I am doing these mods is because the truck is so common - can't (well, won't) do the same stuff to my other projects.



Heh, that's not the first time I've heard that same sentiment. Most likely won't be the last, either . I've also learned that you can't be afraid of something. If you're afraid of doing something, then you'll always be messing with it cause you will probably miss something - however checking the project out beforehand and working through the problems has always worked for me (examples would be redoing the ignition, or rebuilding the transmission in my 1978 Trans Am).

At any rate, I don't have a set deadline for this, so I've got plenty of time to get some practice in, as well as muck things up a bit . I've been meaning to build a "backpack toolkit" to take to the salvage yard - that'll give me a bit of time to learn and familiarize myself with the various stitches and construction, too.
How about some pics of the truck.... Wouldnt cut the fenders though (just my $0.02)why not use some add a leafs which give you about 2 inches of lift(which may clear the tires 33s will fit with no lift and have seen trucks advertised with 35s and 2 inch lift)and if that wont clear the tires use some hockey pucks at the body mounts to add a little more lift.sounds like a nice project get me started on these old chevys and i go on and on and on...
Shane
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:57 AM
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Sounds like a great project that should keep you busy and out of the bars for quite a while..When you take that seat apart I think you will find a place to cut that will make the job a whole lot easier than may be thought..I have cut down a couple of frames for guys who needed something narrowed to fit an early model....

Sam
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:22 AM
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Well, I must say that those were not the responses I was expecting! The pic shows what it looked like when I brought it home last year, and it's still gonna look like that for a while, yet - hopeful daily driver/winter vehicle and all that. The flat-bed that is on there is starting to deteriorate, which is one reason why I want to replace it eventually (Construction is decent, the truck's just seen better days). Maybe I oughta start a thread in Basics or General Tech, since we're getting farther away from the interior . . .

Guess I'll also have to look into starting up a journal . . . seems like people might be interested to see the eventual outcome (good or bad ). I've got so many other projects going on that I won't be able to get cracking on this for a little while now, I'm sure.

Well, thanks for the good wishes - they're much appreciated
- Mike
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