05-14-2006, 12:46 PM #1
How-To Install your own seat cover
1 hour for the first one... 20 minutes after you get it down. The old staple removal takes more time than the install. You really should remove them, since you want to follow the same pattern as the stock cover. Leave the stock cover in place. It won't fall off. The seat cover install is much easier with the STOCK cover in place, since it allows your new cover to move around and stretch. Without it underneatch, the new cover tends to grab the foam. It's also more waterproof than your aftermarket stitched cover.
1 Stainless Steel 3/8" Crown x 1/4" (shortest staple) Staple @ $12.00 = $12.00
(The staple model you are looking for will Interchange with Empire #7, Senco C, Ben #71 and Fasco #EE7.)
I'm getting some more staples for other projects. Bear in mind you can't go down to Home Depot and find the staples. These are "wire staples", just like the one that your seat cover was originally put on with. They are very, very skinny, and very good at penetrating the plastic backing pieces.
1 EZE Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun @ $60 = 60
(obviously any gun that can shoot the wire staples will work...your home depot special ain't really cutting it)
Note for non-air users:
If you don't have air, but would like to try this, here is an electric version you could try and report back on. It doesn't have the right nose to get under the nose of the gpr seat, but it might work.
If you've never played with an industrial air stapler, then a word of caution... There is no gaurd, no safety, and nothing to keep me from shooting staples at you, the cat,...or into a leg or EYE. Wear safety glasses and jean-type cloths.
This thing staples so effortlessly, you have to check the seat to see if a staple actually left the gun. The air puff is all the power you feel... very similar to a AR-47. No kick! I started at 80psi, and lowered down to 65ish, to prevent over-penetration of the cover.
$70 plus shipping.
So basically for the cost of one or two cover installs, you can have a staple gun that works wonders around the house, upholstry repair, ski seat recover.
INSPECT, INSPECT, INSPECT... that is the key here.
-Warm the seat cover, and the seat, in the sun for a few minutes to warm it up and make it more stretchy. A hair dryer or LOW-level heat gun makes for a nice wrinkle-remover.
-I highly suggest you remove your original staples, unless you think you can work around them. At a MINIMUM, remove all of the staples under the front tongue. I use a craftsman upholstry tool from sears. I think it was a couple of bucks.
-Center your cover side to side, and front to back.
-Tack one staple on each side, near the lowest place on the seat pan. You will note a couple of things.
FIRST: you do not have to press the gun very hard like you do your Walmart special. Just lay it up evenly, and snugly to the material and plastic backing plate. The gun will do the rest. It's a cool feeling!
SECOND: Inspect your first couple of staples. If your air is too high, you will staple right THROUGH the material. If it is too low, you will have staple standing away from the material. My magic air pressure was 65psi.
-Tack a couple, on the back. Don't pull TOO tight, or you will rip out your locating staples (and the material) on the sides.
-Now STEP BACK and inspect it. Is it centered? Do you have overlap on all four sides? Redo, if you are not happy... Inspect twice, staple once.
-Carefully, flip the seat over, and keep the cover even. Pull the sides a little tighter and install down each side. Flipping the seat occasionally to inspect for wrinkles. Make your way toward the back where the seat "wing" ends and the back rounded part of the seat starts. Inspect it again for wrinkles.
-Work your way toward the front, but stop at the sloping ears on each side. Inspect it for wrinkles every 4" or so.
-Now that the sides are tight, pull the back GENTLY to remove all the wrinkles. Staple about 10-15 across the back when you are finished just to keep it even and provide the correct tension for the front. you might be pulling on the front, pretty hard, and don't want to pull the cover too far forward.
-The front is where the long-nose stapler earns it's money. The gap between the front latch and the bottom of the seat pan is tight. At this point, you need to pull the material toward this area, and staple 10 or so locating staples. You may need a second set of hands, just to make it perfect. Don't staple them hands. :P
-Time to step back and inspect your work. At this point, you should have something that resembles a nearly completed seat cover, but with the front ears hanging loose. You should NOT have very many large wrinkles left. If so, then inspect what the cover will look like when you pull the ears tight. If it still has wrinkles, then you may be looking to remove it, and start over.
-The front ears are the second hardest part to do, behind the tongue, and by FAR the most frustrating.
NOTE:Hydroturf is notorious for not leaving enough material at the ears. Almost all of the others have ample material, and usually a patterned, cut material. This is why upholsters HATE Hydroturf covers. It takes them forever to bend and heat the material under the front ears of the seat. All the others are easy.
-If you have a jettrim or Mline, treat the ears like wrapping a package. Bend the cut material under the edge and pull tight on one side of the ear. Tack it with one staple and do the same with the other side of the ear. Pay attention to the point, and how that material will wrap under. INSPECT IT NOW. Do the same thing on the other side.
-If you have Hydroturf, all I can tell you is get someone to hold the seat on it's side, while you put in NO LESS THAN 10 staples while holding the material against the seat. GENTLY Heating the material really helps to get it to stretch around those ears.
-INSPECT IT NOW. Does it look good? Wrinkles all gone? If not, readjust. Is so, then take it home. Start stapling off every 1/32" of an inch inbetween staples. Do NOT leave any gaps. Some staples may bend. Remove them and redo the area. Look for staples underneath that may be stopping your new staples.
Once you are done, take a box cutter, and cut away any material over one inch away from your staples. Don't get crazy here, or you could ruin all your work. Use your ski as a reference... if you can't see it installed, then a little extra material probably isn't hurting anything.
Last edited by Hydrotoys; 04-30-2009 at 10:51 AM.
05-14-2006, 12:56 PM #2
damn good info that will come in handy. make it a sticky
05-14-2006, 03:15 PM #3
Excellent How-To Mark.
I have never done a seat cover, but with this how-to, I will do my next one.
That came out nice.
05-14-2006, 06:18 PM #4
05-14-2006, 06:33 PM #5
05-25-2006, 01:16 PM #6
I had a question about using contact cement in order to keep the top cover from slipping over the stock slip 'n' slide surface underneath. I'm not thinking the contact cement would replace the staples, but maybe get used in addition to. Am I nutz? You also mentioned removing all of the original staples before stapling down the new cover. You're not actually removing the original seat cover are you? I've heard the original needs to stay because it's waterproof and the aftermarket's not. You remove all of the original staples so you don't foul any of the new ones going in? I want to make sure I get this right. Thanks for sharing the info, this community is makes jet skiing at least as much fun off of the water as we have on the water.
05-26-2006, 10:32 PM #7
Correct. Leave the old cover. Just remove the staples.
Once the new cover is on, I've never heard of one "slipping and sliding" anywhere. It's a pretty tight fit. If you put glue under there, you will be lucky to get the wrinkles out as you go.
07-12-2007, 12:25 AM #8
07-12-2007, 10:04 AM #9
Excellent post Mark. Thanks for taking the time to document and share.
07-20-2007, 05:36 PM #10
RX951 Seat Cover Install M-line Seat Cover
Thanks Mark for the install instructions. I aprpeciate you posting this.
I got my M-Line cover in today. My best friend helped me with it since he has done lots of MX covers and did Razzbo's XLT cover(s).
Here are the pics. I left my old Hydroturf on and covered over it.
Everything came out pefect. You can barely see two lines where a seam from the cover underneath shows thru a little. No biggie. I'm so happy to have a new cover now !
The center portion of the cover is "Padded" really well. The material used on the seating area has a good grip feel to it also. Feels sorta like glove leather , not sure what type of vinyl is used. Another area has a carbon fiber pattern.
* M-line also gives you a lot of material to pull and stretch to make sure you have enough to pull. I am more than pleased.
Air compressor was set at 60 psig for this gun.
* Total install time = est. 20 minutes
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