I have a Mercedes Benz E300 sedan, and needed new upholstery for it. With the recent "Cash For Clunkers" program, I was able to find seat upholstery at my local self serve parts yard for cheap. I also needed the seat in my Mitsu truck re-upholstered and I thought of using a rear seat from the MB sedan for the material. I purchased another gray rear leather seat from another car for $24.99. My brother has an upholstery machine and he did the sewing after I did the design and frame work. I found it to be a very easy project and the results were awesome! I now have a comfortable leather seat with center arm rest in my truck for only a couple hundred bucks! (I was going to give him $150.00 for his labor, but he gave it back because I helped him with the fuel valve on his truck).
You may just use this info as a guide and use upholstery from another vehicle. I tried to get the best photos to show each operation to make it easy to do with just basic skills. You may also need to take it to an upholstery shop to get the sewing done if you don’t have access to a machine.
So, here is how we did the job.
This is what the stock seat looked like:
This is what the finished seat looks like in the truck (to wet your appetite to read on)
I first stripped the old cover and foam from the truck seat and saved the frame, the rest was discarded. I removed the cover and foam from the MB seat bottom and discarded the metal base.
Working with the seat bottom first, I had to remove some of the height of the foam cushion using a saw. I made it just a bit thicker than the stock truck seat foam.
I trimmed the sides to the same shape as the stock seat. The cushion has a wire bar around the edge, so I had to use a cut-off saw to cut it. I saved the cut off part to attach to the front corners of the cushion (the truck seat front corners are squared, not curved like the MB seat)
I did a little more trimming, and glued the corners onto the cushion.
I had to use some leather from another cover to make the end panels for the seat bottom (truck seat being square, not curved thus needing more material in the front corners)
After removing the welt and front panel from the MB seat cover, the front was sewn to the cover (I decided to go “weltless”). I could have used the old leather front, but decided to make it out of a matching color vinyl so there would be no extra seams (the new front would be longer because of square corners).
The cover is now ready to attach to the foam and hog ring to the seat frame.
Now for the seat back.
I had to remove about 4” from each outboard edge of the seat back (using a hand saw). I then used 3M 90 (or 77, whatever is available) spray adhesive to attach the piece.
The next step was to remove the springs and mounts from the truck seat back frame leaving just a tubular hoop.
I attached the MB seat back frame to the truck frame with self tapping sheet metal screws. You could weld it, or use rivets, whatever works best for you.
I had to make the frame narrower, and shorter to fit inside the truck. I cut the spring bar and frame with a cut off saw.
I again screwed the parts together with self tapping screws.
The only way I could think to attach the hardened steel spring bar together, was to hog ring and then tape the hog rings in place. It worked great!
I had to cut the bottom part of the "S" from the springs and re-mount the ends in the tabs going the other direction.
This is what the naked frame looks like in the truck. I decided not to retain the shifter cut-out:
After sewing the edges on the MB seat back cover (again, no welt), it is now ready to have a vinyl panel sewn on to cover the back of the seat (not necessary, but added the finishing touch).
The cover is now ready to attach to the seat back and frame.
The armrest is bolted in.
Again, the finished product!
If I actually had to pay for labor, the total cost would have been around $225.00
I paid about $44.00 for 2 yards of vinyl, $25.00 for the MB seat at the wrecking yard, and about $6.00 for the spray adhesive. I had the screws and the hog rings and other materials to complete the job.
I hope this how-to will help you save some CA$H on your next seat upholstery job....Rich
All Diesel Fleet:
1985 Mitsubishi 2.3 Turbodiesel Pick-up, 1983 GMC Van- 6.2 Diesel.
Benzs: 1995 E300 diesel, 1980 300SD, 1982 300CD, 1983 300D, 1985 190D.
1980 AMC Eagle Limited Wagon powered by: 3.6 Litre I6 VM Turbo Diesel Engine (one of fewer than 10 made, only 2 known to still exist)