Friday, 28 November 2008

Mazda MX5 Seat Repair

The driver's seat of Sal's baby needed some TLC.

The seam on the side of the leather seat had come apart and started to expose the foam underneath.
Also the integral loudspeakers in the headrest, sounded awful. Apparently on cloth seats there is a zip around the top to allow access to the speakers. But Sal's car is a japanese import with leather and there is no zip. The only way to access the top is to remove the whole cover.

So it was time to remove the seat into the comfort of the lounge and see what I could do.

Unbolting the seat was faily straight forward. Just four bolts at each end of the seat rails, moving the seat back and forth on the runners to gain access.

First the seat back had to be removed from the seat base. Several bolts around the sides, through the plastic trim had to be undone.

I had a problem with the handle for the recliner. The plastic handle would not come off and the plastic trim wouldn't pass over it. The trim was loose and I managed just to swing it out of the way to gain access to the bolts underneath but leave it attached by the handle.

The parted stitching was on the seat back, where it hugs your side, and you slide in and out of the car.

I removed the whole of the covering.

This required the metal rings (Hog rings), that secure the leather to the seat frame, to be prised open using a screw driver.
There are several attachment points. Once the front is released it exposes the attachments (more hog rings) which hold the middle of the fabric to the frame.

It was just a matter of working round until they were all released and trying to remember where they all went, for re-assembly.
The cover then slides off, like skinning a rabbit.

Using strong thread I re-stitched the parted seam, using an overhand blanket stitch, from the underside of the leather.
While the cover was off I turned my attention to the faulty speakers.

The cause of the bad sound was immediately evident.
The paper cone had become completley detached from the frame, this allowed the speech coil to scrape along the magnet as it was no longer located centrally.
I looked online to see if I could replace them. My usual supplier of MX5 spares
had some equivalent replacements but they were the wrong shape and required some cutting of the foam to make them fit.

The original speakers are oval and fit exactly into plastic housings. Originals were available but quite expensive.

I opted to try and repair them as they still worked electrically, all I needed to do was, to re-secure the cone to the frame and yet still allow the cone to move freely in and out. The original flexible scroll around the edge was the only bit that had perished.

I chose to use silicone sealant. This dries to a very tough, yet flexible, rubber.

I needed to apply a thin ribbon around the edge, thin enough to allow free movement but tough enough to secure the cone to the frame.
I used a small screw driver to spread it evenly.

It looked horrible, but no one was going to see it once covered. I cannot claim that it was Hi-Fi, but then again the orignal speakers weren't either.
Job done, I resecured the seat cover using the reclaimed hog rings, then bolted the seat back in the car and connected up the speaker wiring.

It looks and sounds a lot better.

1 comment:

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