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Finally spent $500 to have my 74 bench seat redone - now I'm TOO FAT

Cardinal Grammeter

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They did a beautiful job but now, I don't fit in my truck!


I'm at last 1" higher and my Wink mirror obstructs my view, and the back cushion is thicker so there is no steering wheel clearance - I basically cannot handle the wheel below the 3 and 9 o'clock positions.  This really sucks when taking advantage of the super small turning radius.


The shifter is now beside my leg - have to noticeably reach down for it.



For starters now I have to remove the Wink and drill the holes in the doors to install my new door mirrors and put the rearview back.


I just looked to see what is involved in lowering seat.  The rails are already laying on the floorboard in the rear.  I could slide the rails back and lower the front which would tilt the entire seat forward and it would also allow the seat to "slide back" more.    I don't have the sensation of "leaning forward" as things are, but I don't know what 1in at the front would do.


Also need to see if the lowering could be done in the seat brackets rather than floor board mods.  DO NOT want to hack the floor boards.



But not having the sight of that Rat's Nest of a seat is Exhilarating when I open the door and gaze upon it  (LOL)







Edited by Cardinal Grammeter
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I'm not so sure I should pass judgement so soon.


The condition of my seat was terrible, broken springs (I had to use a seat cushion to keep the springs from tearing up my shirts) and foam that was totally shot.  I weigh just under 300# and clearly that old seat gave way to my shape.


Given that starting point, sitting about 1in higher sounds like where the seat should be.  Again, this is no worse than that Xtreme I sat in.  Both the S10 and Rangers had virtually no steering wheel gap.


In a couple weeks, I may stop in at the shop and get their opinion on the seat height.  Maybe they can put a stiff "foundation layer" and then thinner/stiffer foam.  I would expect to pay since I don't think it is their fault.  They did a really good looking job and if I was only 100# over weight (argh!) I think there would be no problem at all.


Which is what I think will also happen - the seat will "wear in"  like shoes do.  (Don't underestimate the Terra Forming of  300# Meat Sack!   LOL


I had to make a few trips and when I would get in, I'd bounce up and down a few times to help it along and I think it has already relaxed a little.



Now I want to do more interior improvements:


Now when I open the door, the black seat, door panel, and kick panel on the red sheet metal is very sharp.  Makes me want to try to do something about the dash which has full transverse cracks every 4-6 inches. The other cosmetic issue is that I have bare metal floors since when it rains water is coming in somewhere.  Any kind of carpet or mat would just rust out the floor boards.


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I'll get some tomorrow.


I talked to the guy and asked if it would be feasible to instead of just make one cover for mine, make 10 of them - could you sell them at a substantial discount from just making one?


He quoted me $375, but told me I had broken springs and the foam was bad (I knew this and expected the all) - he told me $500-550 and it came in at $500.  I paid cash and no receipt and no tax so I saved $30.


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11 hours ago, FrankRizzo said:


In a speedo??




I was thinking the same thing the instant I read it!  LOL


DISTANCE from Steering Wheel Bottom to Seat is 5 inches - my Geo Metro is 7.

HELP:  Can any other 620 owners measure their distance and post?  






Edited by Cardinal Grammeter
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I'll measure mine tomorrow afternoon, was going to say you have a 73 seat not a 74 there is a divot missing in the shifter area on the 74 and later seats, unless I'm wrong about the year (but that never happens)

Looks great I like it

Edited by Ooph!
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On 10/15/2020 at 2:02 PM, Chopper Jim said:

Take it back to them and have a little foam or what ever they used removed. 


Chopper Jim

Upholstery shops will do whatever you tell them to, which is good and bad. There are different types of seat foam and you could shave it and keep the foam you have or swap in a stiffer foam but have them cut it thinner, thus lowering the seat. I like to have them cut in a bucket shape (in bench seats) to help keep from sliding around in the seat.

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Looks like I'm now dealing with TWO issues:


1) FOAM:  too much installed by upholsterers

2) SEAT:  Mine is solid and should be cutout.  Looks like cutout is a lower seat.









YES YOU ARE RIGHT.  I've been looking over internet photos of 620 bench seats and is it possible the cutout seat is lower???  Check out the mustard pickup - that looks like way more than 5" steering wheel clearance.  NOTE:  The cab sheet metal did not change until 7507 so the cutout was used in the 74 and 75 year 1st style cab shells.  So no floorboard change when seat changed to cutout. 




A lot of folks and I have thought reduce the amount of foam, etc.  However there is a problem in seat back hinge hole in the side panel.  If they cut a slit, they could sew it up, if they cut out a hole, well, that gets more problematic.




You can see my hinge in one of my pics and if you look closely, my hinge is about midway up the side panel.  The following pic shows the hinge high up on the side panel:   (I can't find it!!!!!)




Not rally feasible because the front bottom edge of seat is almost touching the tunnel, so even a 1in lower is not possible w/o modification of the front bottom edge.



Doesn't the bottom seat angle (below) look way too steep?  I wonder if this is a bench seat from a 520/1???  (The rail looks like it is where it should be so its angle is not in question)




Edited by Cardinal Grammeter
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Wow, yours is pretty close too.


I have a Wink mirror in mine and before the job, I would see the top of my forehead in the mirror - NOW I see my eyes looking right back at me and I have to tilt my head to the side to see under the mirror when driving down the road.


It looks like I'm sitting 2 inches higher now.


A fellow with an old OE cutout measured 17" horizontally from the wheel to the back - mine is 15.5"


ALSO, looking at the pic I just posted, it looks like my bottom seat top surface is angled pretty high in the front.  I'm wondering if I have a 521/520 seat.  (BECAUSE there was no floor board change in the 620 until 1976 model year - so I would expect the cutout seat would have the same "top angle" as the solid seat.  


IT IS IRRELEVANT what seat I actually have.  I've already blown $500 on it and if it takes more $$$, I'm going to have to spend it to get it right.  I'm taking it back to the shop tomorrow and ask them what can be done and then pose the question, "What could we do if we try to make both the bottom and back as thin as possible?


One guy said he has bench seats done so that they cut in a 1" recess where he sits so he doesn't go sliding all over the place.  That would eliminate ANY change in the stitched cover.  Maybe with that and removing 1" or foam everywhere, the 2" lowering could be achieved w/o any modification of the cover.  NOTE:  The big question is the back seat hinge which is a hole through the side of the bottom seat.

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THINKING:  about the pic I just posted of a Side View.


The front of the rail is very high and the rail is significantly angled upward.  Again, could I have a 520/1 seat?


I could loser the front attachment point w/o too much welding and level out the bottom rail - I might be able to remove nearly 2" off the front of the rail.


IF i did this the following would occur:

*)  There would now be about a 4" gap at the top of the back seat.   (2" over the rail length would be 4" over the rear seat height.

*)  I could then either A) recline the seat more (this would have to be a mod), OR B) slide the entire seat back 3"

*)  Normally when you slide the seat back, headroom increases.  But the seat is already all the way back and changing the rail angle rotating it around a rear point, there would be no change in headroom.

*) I would have to channel the floorboard vertical stiffener to drop the rail and then put washers under the rear rail bolt since the rail would pivot on the "pylon" floorboard surface just ahead of the rear bolt - you can see this if you look carefully in the side view pic.)


It might be a another solution.


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What about swapping the steering wheel?


With the stock wheel in my 620 with an old bench seat it was tight... brushed my legs getting in. Went to a smaller aftermarket wheel and gained some space that way. Don’t hit the wheel now.


Stock wheel was to thin for my liking anyway.



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I thought about the wheel but I run 205/75r14's and w/o power steering it requires more effort than I would like - if there was power steering I would be HAPPY!  NOTE:  If I did go smaller, I'd want to find a Datsun wheel (!)


PLUS I really want to keep mine 100% stock even though it is a darily driver/work truck.  Knowing every engine compartment clip is correct and the windshield washer hoses are routed correctly is, well, I guess I'm a little OCD.  And yet, I usually won't lift a finger to wash/wax any of my cars (I have to laugh, I wash out the bed if I haul some dirt or chip stone.)


DID YOU look at the "rake" of my seat bottom?  Does that seem excessive???

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I have my Dad's 1973 that he bought brand new, so I know it is the original seat. It was manufactured in July of 1973.  It doesn't have any cutout in the center of the seat. And, as you can see the metal slider appears to be the same as your 1974. I didn't take very much time to see how the seat frame was constructed, but maybe the seat frame could be lowered some without changes to the slider mechanism . If this could be done you might get anywhere from 1 to 2 inches. You might be able to modify the seat mounts slightly to gain another 1/2 to 1 inch in height. This might get you enough clearance to the steering wheel to be able to get into the pickup without touching the "new" seat (it looks too good to do anything to). While doing this you might be able to move the seat back just a little bit also. Moving the seat back would depend a lot on the distance between the gas pedal and the seat cushion, and the length of you leg.


The original seat cover is there, as is also some foam that my Dad added, and the aftermarket seat cover that he added on top of the foam. The original padding seems to be just "horsehair" padding, and the foam he added would reduce the height of the seat to steering wheel distance. However, the steering wheel and column is not in the pickup, otherwise I could measure that for you also.         





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Thanks for the info and the pic.  The pic looks like mine including the "steep" top of cushion angle.


NOTE:  I also found a pic of an old solid bench seat and took a pic of mine from the same perspective to see how things compared and mine looked maybe 1" higher at the front - nothing could be determined elsewhere.




Lowering the seat either by lowering the track mounting points OR cutting and lowering the seat frame cannot be done without putting a curved notch on the front bottom seat edge which is about 1/2" above the floorboard tunnel right now.


The Notch should be simple enough as would a simple "Z" bracket.


The aft has no simple solution,   And if not lowered while the reduced seat bottom angle may be OK, more "recline" would be needed in the back because I believe it would feel "too upright." 


The aft rail mounting cannot be lowered w/o "channeling" the floor board.





I'm simply going to say, "Hey you made it too high." and see what they suggest.  The original quote was $375, but they informed me I had broken springs and foam was shot (which I knew) and said $500-550.  So I said "whatever it needs."  They charged me $500 and with tax $530.  I offered to pay cash "out the door" for $500 w/o receipt which is customary around here.  I don't know how much income they're showing the IRS, but they probably saved over $100 in tax and SS payments - so there should be a "kitty" to work with me. 


Depending on what they say, I will ask what might be achievable if they make the seat cushions as thin as possible.



One might say, "Tomorrow's the Big Day"


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UPDATE:  Talked to shop.  The construction is as follows:


1) hard base over springs

2) 1" foam

3) 1" foam

4) jute

5) 1/2" foam

6) ? (sheet of something)

7) Cover which has 1/2" foam sewn into it.


They said they will try removing layers.  They said I was basically sitting on the springs - I told them that wasn't a problem.


I'm thinking removing 2) and 5)  and maybe replacing 3) with 1/2" foam.


But before I take it back I have a wiring problem in my 2nd daily driver I need to get fixed.  Keeps blowing fuses, looks like in the loom.

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Damn thats a nice bench. If you're interested, I would gladly swap benches with you + cash. Mine is original and year correct for your truck(center cutout) but needs reupholstered. My truck is a '73 so that'd be a perfect swap.

Edited by sebpv
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Hummm....  interesting, we both have wrong seat and swap makes things correct.


When you say yours needs upholstered, just how bad is it?


You are 14+ hours from me, but if we met half way that could be done as a long day trip.


When you said "...+ cash," were you thinking the $500 or something else?


I just might be looney enough to do the swap - I really like having stuff correct even though condition could be "barn found."  


EDIT:  Also have a ski buddy that might possibly plan a ski trip to Jay Peak Ski Resort at the northernmost tip of Vermont.



Edited by Cardinal Grammeter
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