Ok, we’re back! After doing these, I learned that it is best to attach the covers to the wire stays running across the cushion, and then attach to the stays on the sides.
Because I was using 4” cable ties, I found it useful to pre-position the ties under the wire stays. Orient the ties so that the retainer ends are accessible once the loop is made. In the close working quarters found here, I found it useful to use forceps to dress the small end of tie into the hole cut in the cover stay.
Start all of the ties for each wire stay before you pull them tight. This will make it easier to manipulate the cover during this step. Once the ties are all started, pull them tight a bit at a time (so that the “bar” enters the slot in the foam evenly, not at an angle). You’ll want to “work” the bar down into the slot, and once the zipties are tight, trim the end with a nail clipper.
Also, you’ll want to compress the foam when snugging down the zipties. This maintains tension on the stay bar, which keeps the upholstery taut and smooth. If you are using hog rings and pliers in this section, you may find it difficult to engage both the stay in the cushion and the stay in the cover before squeezing.
Once the inner attachments have been made, fold the covers into position around the cushions. Zip up the zippers and attach the U-channels at the bottom of the back cushion. Allow the leather to relax and conform to the cushion profiles. A heat gun set on low can be useful here. Just don’t heat the covers enough to damage anything… better still, take them outside to bake in the sun for a while.
At this point, use the old cover as a template to mark the cutout for the auxiliary release lever on the back of the passenger panel. When you cut out the access, I suggest you cut it undersize and make final trimming once the cushion is fitted to the frame.
Attaching the covers to the framework: At this point it may be a good time to refer to your photographs to see where the hog rings attach, and bring your helper in – this can be anyone, since they’re just going to provide weight.
Start with the seat bottoms and place them face down on the work bench. Attach the front of the cover first followed by the rear flap attaching to the springs. This is followed by the sides working from front to back. Before making your final attachments, have your helper compress the seat by placing weight on it – this will allow you to get the cover snug. Since you will have to significantly compress the side bolsters to make the attachments, I suggest you insert the hog ring into the leather first and then use a Phillips screwdriver to lever the other end of the ring on to the metal frame, while your helper presses down on the underside of the seat frame. Then use the pliers to squeeze the ring.
Set the bottom cushion assembly aside until the back cushion is in place.
Now on to the seat back cushion. Un-zip the zippers and slide the cushion back over the frame. Pay attention to ensure the foam wraps around the bar at the bottom of the frame. Make sure the cover is seating properly around the side bolsters, as you slide it on. A little pro-trick is to turn the seat cover partially inside-out, place the top over the top of the seat, and then “unroll” or unfold it down the seat gradually… Like putting on a condom! Zip up the zippers and again allow the leather to relax, using heat as necessary.
When we return, we’ll cover the only real challenge of this installation, and I’ll show you how it can be overcome!