Repairing the Driver's Seat

Every few years I am getting out of the car when it is icy and my foot slips and down I go. On the way down I seem to always tag the seat cover with my butt. This breaks the cover so it just hangs off the back. The plastic cover breaks where the screw holds it up in the front. For the most part the cover is still intact. Everything still works, but it looks like hell just hanging there. There is nothing worse than opening the car and being greeted by a broken seat. I usually buy a new side cover but this gets old and expensive. This time I decided to fix it myself.

This is what it looks like when it is broken.

Here is the part that you would buy from SAAB.

This is the front section that is broken where the screw goes through.

This is the back section where a metal tab goes through an oval slot in the plastic. The plastic is broken and the tab won't hold up the cover any more.

I made the fix with aluminum sheet, pop rivets and epoxy. Typical epoxy just pops off plastic when it bends. The epoxy I used is special epoxy for plastic. I think what makes this special is the plastic has stuff to promote adhesion to plastic and it is quite flexible when cured. The aluminum is 0.020" thick. I used scraps from work, but I think the repair would also work with bits of a tin can.

I fitted the aluminium into the cover by bending the plate to fit the crease in the cover. I made an oval hole to copy the original screw slot in the aluminum. The little copper colored things are called Cleco Fasteners. They allow me to hold the parts together while I drill attitional holes.

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Here are the repair plates all ready to go. Note the left hand aluminum plate has an oval hole to accept the tab on the seat.

Here is the repair while the epoxy is setting up. I roughed up the plastic with a file where I wanted the epoxy to stick. I first applied the epoxy to the cover, then I used the Cleco fasteners to hold the parts in place. Then I removed a Cleco one at a time, then installed a pop rivet. In the end the pop rivets are holding everything tight while the epoxy sets.

Here is the completed repair. You can't tell the difference with a new part as the pop rivets are out of sight. I saved over 35 bucks. With any luck my repair will be tougher the next time I fall on the ice.


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