It needed a new battery so I got a new battery and new battery cables since the old ones were really crusty. Damn this thing moves down the road well.
Best posts made by Highlander
First snow drive in the Ridgeline
It’s an absolute unite in the snow, I would say right there with the Outback maybe better in some ways. The Honda still has the Michelin tires on it that were probably installed in 2017 and 1/2 worn down. I learned how to drive in Montana and have owned 4 different Subarus and have had several full size modern trucks at work, this thing is so damn easygoing in the snow it’s almost like cheating.
I think the combination of a primarily front wheel drive platform and the drive train sitting right over the front axle is the key here. A little bit of ground clearance is nice too.
I got caught out in a snow storm today
I really try to not drive my Datsun in rain but today was an all new low, snow.
It wasn’t sticking so I made it home fine and the heater works great so I didn’t get cold. When I got it back in the garage I towel dried it top to bottom. This is the cleanest car I’ve ever kept and all the hard work polishing and waxing means the water beads up in a very satisfying way.
Rebuilding the seats for a 1971 Datsun 240Z, novelized
1971 240Z Seat rebuild from scratch
When I got my car from my dad it came with a pillow on the drivers seat due to the seat being completely collapsed. The vinyl had completely disintegrated on the seat bottoms and the backs were starting to split along the seams. There are straps under the seat that support the seat bottom had permanently stretched and disintegrated due to age and a very large original owner.
After tackling the major mechanical issues in 2019 early 2020 I decided to rebuild the seats so I was no longer sitting on a folded towel. There are many options to do this but I’m a DIY on my car for pretty much 100% of the mechanical work. After some preliminary research I decided to go with the old reliable Motorsports auto as a supplier.
The items I ordered are as follows:
- Replacement Seat foam, for two seats
- Replacement seat covers in blue for a 1970-1971 Datsun 240Z
- Seat strap Kit
The total cost of this kit at MSA is currently $612 not including shipping or tax. It took about 3 weeks to ship as the vinyl kits are made to order.
Comments on the pattern and color:
The pattern on the vinyl is pretty close to OEM but doesn’t have quite as deep of creases or as random, otherwise you probably couldn’t tell unless they were side by side. The stitching, and overall cut and patterning of the stitching match OEM.
The color is spot on to OEM when compared to parts of the car that are not sun faded and died out. If feel like the OEM had a tint of green that the replacement doesn’t seem to have but I’m not complaining.
Rebuilding the seat bottoms was the first task I took on, first remove the seats, fairly easy just remove the large plastic threaded spacers, then use a 12 mm ratcheting end wrench on the nuts. Stock my seats had two spacers between the seat rail and the seat mounting bracket on the floor board.
The old seat material came off easily, there are little pointy metal tabs on the bottom of the seat frame that pierce the seat material and keep it in place. Simply bend the tabs 90 degrees and pull the old cover off. Since I was doing foam and strapping, I removed the foam at the same time.
To redo the strapping I first freed the hold down hooks from the old strapping and started with a new end. I used 4 hog rings per connection, two on each side, probably overkill, but I never want to redo these again. I set the straps fairly taught with no sag. The new straps are somewhat elastic and I didn’t really want to pull them too tight or leave them too loose.
I then set the new foam on the seat bottom and pulled the cover over the foam. There are two wire rods that get hog tied to a flap of seat that fits through a slot towards the front of the seat, you actually have to cut the foam for this slot, it is formed but not cut all the way through. This hog tie connection is really tight but doable.
Then I flipped the seat bottom upside down and kneeled on it to stretch the vinyl over the bottom bar and anchor the vinyl to the attachment points (little pointy metal tabs). I found this process rather easy, my own weight was able to compress the foam enough to make all the attachments by hand.
I am 6’ 4” tall and when I put the seats back in the car my head was brushing the roof. I removed the seats a second time and removed the two plastic spacers under the rails to regain some clearance.
With the seat bottoms done and me feeling like a regular upholstery pro with my recent success I started on the passenger seat back. I removed the old cover and foam then lightly glued down the new foam. The foam fit okay, but the bottom it really doesn’t contour at the edges quite as much as I’d have liked.
The next step is to invert the seat back and role it down. There is a hog tie anchor point just below the head rest, that was tight but I got it. I rolled the vinyl down and quickly came to the realization this was going to be very difficult to attach to the hooks. I started by working the vinyl down my had but was still around 2” away from this working. I then used channel locks to pull the vinyl down and promptly tore the fabric at a seam still well away from the bottom bar.
I got to thinking and started measuring with a fabric tape measure and quickly surmised that the seat backs were manufactured 2” too short compared to the OEM covers that I removed.
Thus began a 5 month process to get the correct seat back fabric. Step 1 was to email the guys at MSA, they requested photos, I provided photos and size by side measurements, after repeated calls and emails that lasted several weeks they requested I send the new seat covers back to them. This was mid September of 2020. More emails…. Yada yada yada from MSA, talking to their vendor etc… then I kind of forget the whole thing because it’s cold and winter and I’m not driving the Z.
Out of the blue one early January morning I get a call from MSA, “Is this still your address we are shipping out new covers” me, you bet your ass. According to MSA some cars have taller seat backs even if they are a 70/71 model? All I can say is I measured my dads car with a 5/71 build date and it was the same as mine with a 10/70 build date.
The new covers showed up and guess what? They were 2” longer than the last set!
I pulled the passenger seat, took the seat and vinyl into the house and sat down in front of the fire. About 1 hour later I had replaced the seat back vinyl. It was still tight but manageable. One thing I did was run a wire along the seam like the original seats had so the vinyl wouldn’t tear through due to the tension on the fabric. I ended up using 2 or 3 hog rings too to tidy up the corners where the fabric wouldn’t tuck in.
So now all I have to do is the drivers side seat back, but I know the process pretty well now and it should take too much more cussing and swearing to get it done.
- Measure your seat backs and confirm with vendor actual dimensions before ordering.
- If you are tall remove spacers under seat or cut the foam about 1” to 1.5”
- Re-use anchor wires in original seats for bottom seam on seat backs when anchoring so you don’t tear the fabric.
- Re-do the strapping supports with new material
- Hog rings are cool
This is what winter is really like in Montana
I took this photo 3 years ago in our yard. We currently have about 12" of snow in our yard. February of 2018 was an incredible month of relentless snow. There were several times that I was wondering if I would even make it home due to the snow depth and my not lifted Mazda3.
For reference those two people in the photo are around 5' 8" tall. The snow on the roof in the background is about 3-feet deep. It was so heavy the beam over the garage door was sagging. We ended up shoveling most of the garage roof off so the door would keep working.