Seat Repair

Seatback Technote

This technote covers fixing broken wires in the seatback to make the seat feel like new again!
If you sit down and feel the pop of a breaking support wire – this technote is for you.

Originally posted at http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3969521 by JonnyPhenomenon, reposted to Vintagewatercooleds.com with permission.

First of all, I must apologize for the lack of proper photography on this post. I thought I would have more time for pics, but my pregnant wife is nesting now and she was rushing me to help her get stuff done in the nursery…

so the other day I was settling into my seat and heared a pop. then all of a sudden my seat went from ‘not-so-comfortable’ to ‘REally UNconfortable’. I have had a feeling this was coming for a while now, but I have been putting off the repairs until it got ‘really bad’.

anyway. these seats have quite the little skeleton of wires and springs inside of them and they can break in all sorts of different places.

here is a pic with some areas colored for refence:

<picture>

Seatback Image, Click to Enlarge

the pink horizontal lines are very thin wires crossing the width of the seat connecting together the two heavy gauge spring steel ‘wires’ that I marked in green. these two wires are held tight by 3 springs on each side. (blue arrows)

so when I first got the rocco, the drivers side seat was a bit sloppy. some of the ‘pink’ wires had broken and were actually poking out of the back of the seat. I repaired it by taking it all apart and sourcing some used wires from a donor seat. the problem was that they werent all the same length and my seat was still quite uncomfortable.

up until now, I have just been dealing with the lumpy uncomfortable seat, when it broke again I knew it was time to do something about it.

in the picture the red circle is drawn around the spring that gets the most abuse. it is a much heavier gauge than the other two, and what happens with this spring is that it slowly wears a notch in the ‘green’ wire and creates a weak point. when I squeazed into the seat the other day, I finally caused that spring to actually break the ‘green’ wire at the wear point, and all support from the seat back was lost.

the solution:
I took the seat back out of the car and took it all apart. I seperated all of the hogs ring staples with a pair of needle nose plyers. I didnt have to remove the head rest, but I did have to peel back all of the vynil covering the seat to properly get at all of the innards.

I picked up some heavy gauge metal rod from the shop. the original wire is very hard to bend. the replacement part was a much heavier gauge, but still easier to bend than the stock part. you might be able to get away with using two or three lengths of coat hanger wire to get the firmness of the OEM part. just stay away from brass as it will get brittle far sooner than steel.

next I had to remove the old wire, and unfasten every one of the ‘pink’ wires attached to it, as well as the springs, a clip and so on.

the old wire is covered with a paper wrapping twisted all around it. this keeps the springs and ‘pink’ wires from moving around on it. I wrapped my new wire with rubber stretch tape.

then I started reassembling it and took extra special care to make all of the “pink” wires to have the same tention on them. I had to do some fine tuning, but once the majority of these wires were on, I attached all of the springs and could easily tell which ones of these wires was too loose. Hint: if you can wiggle the wire, its too loose.

with all my wires correctly tightend and all the rest of the parts in place, I pulled the skin back in place and clamped the 20 or so hogs rings(staples) in place to keep the skin where it belongs.

So then I reinstalled it back in the car and smiled as sat down to the most comfortable scirocco seat I have ever been in.

Seatback Frame
Seatback Frame

my pictures are really out of focus, but if you look hard you can se that there are three different places where you can attach that spring. this set of springs was not broken yet but they were working on it. so I moved the springs up to the top spring as a preventative measure.

Wear Point
Wear Point

Release cable issues.
I would say that the number one issue with the rocco seat release is due to streching cables. the next would probably be breakage of the plastic routing guides followed by actual breakage of the cables.
I got this set of seats used from a friend, and they were very stubborn when told to tip forward. I could fight with it for a while and get them to release, but most of the time I had to reach down and lift the lock to get them to go. the problem was that the long release cable had stretched over time, and the short one was hitting the stopper before the other one had a chance to open up enough to unlock.

here are some pics to explain wheat Im talking about.
this one shows the short side. I have the release lever lifted all the way up to show that this side is fully opened.

Cable
Cable

on the other side, the lock was not fully open, in fact it had another quarter of an inch to go before it would release. I dont have pics of that. anyway, I drilled a new hole to fit the cable through that would take up that extra quarter of an inch needed to open it all the way.

notice the old hole just to the left of the one the cables in.

Cable with new hole
Cable with new hole

now when I lift the release lever both sides hit the stopper and are fully opened.

Solved

A word about seat disassembly:
the head rest is mounted to the seat by these two plastic tubesand held in with pins. taking the pins out is easy enough, but getting the skin off the seat to do major repairs requires removing these plastic tubes, and that can be a real pain. Ive taken some pics of my secret to getting those plastic tubes out of the seats.

My pics are of a seat thats already apart, so you can better see the part you will be fighting with. with the skin and the cushion stuff on the frame you will not be able to see what you are doing in there, so you will need toknow what you are feeling for.

First. the offending beast.

Annoying Clips
Annoying Clips

and out of order, removing the pin that holds the headrest in place.

Remove Pin
Remove Pin

my secret weapon is a 10mm socket on an extention for leverage.

Socket

you need to get all the tips of the plastic thing inside the 10mm socket.

Surround tips in Socket
Surround tips in Socket

now push like hell and wiggle that back and forth. if you stick a finger in there to assist you might get stung. so be careful the edges can be sharp.

Push and Fight!

eventually you will be rewarded with a satisfying POP! 😀

Pop!
Pop!

now repeat this for the other side and get yourself a beer.

Clips!

Doe your seat rock about? You’ll need the plastic guides that keep the seat base from jiggling round in the base…

in which case, you need two, one for each side of the seat. the outers are 171881213b

the inners are 191881213909

you will notice there isn’t a heck of a lot of difference between these two parts. the only noticeable difference is the little tab sticking out of the gray one. the white ones are about 5 times as much as the gray ones. being cheap, I took a couple gray ones and shaved the tab off and used them as whites

Inner Clips
Inner Clips
Outer Clips
Outer Clips

Here’s some pictures of Jonny’s re-upholstered seats!