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Old 11-13-2022, 03:23 PM   #1
spock345
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Default Early vs late 240 seats and seat covers, help with fitment.

So I bought some blue 240 seat covers for my '80 wagon from Swedish Car parts (seat needed a rebuild, decided might as well go for new upholstery. Decent enough covers but I've noticed a good amount of extra material at the top of the seat.

I recall some differences between the seat backs on the early vs late seats. Although Swedish Car Parts says the seat covers will fit '75-93 cars.

Any thoughts on just gluing a sheet of 1" foam I have lying around to the seat back and put the cover on to take up the extra fabric?
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Old 11-13-2022, 05:34 PM   #2
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I think the newer seat back is a bit wider and more foam is used at the top. I would do exactly what you are thinking. Just be sure it's high density foam so it will last and not flatten with seat use.
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Old 11-13-2022, 06:33 PM   #3
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Those covers are for 86 and up. You need the seat frame cushion to fill the seat cover.
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Old 11-13-2022, 06:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by white855T View Post
Those covers are for 86 and up. You need the seat frame cushion to fill the seat cover.
So am I just out of luck with these covers or is there a way to get it to fit. I tried adding some foam with mediocre results. Made the covers not fit in a different way.
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Old 11-13-2022, 07:07 PM   #5
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Junkyard run wherever you can find a 240. $50-60 for a pair of seat backs. Just unbolt them from the seat bottom and take them with you. As long as the seat backs have decent foam, you can reinforce foam so that your seats will be plush. When you compare the foam, there is a big difference. The early foam is flatter. While the newer foam comes out more.
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Old 11-13-2022, 07:54 PM   #6
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Well that is annoying. I saw seats in a 240 at yard a decent distance away while I was grabbing brake parts. Not sure if they will still be there next time I can justify the drive out. The closest yard has a 240, but it is picked clean.

Also going to have to find some new blue headrests.

Last edited by spock345; 11-13-2022 at 08:19 PM..
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Old 11-13-2022, 09:16 PM   #7
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Or I could just say "**** it" and send a set of the old covers over to L-seat and see what they can do. They at least seem to recognize that the covers they list on their website are for '86-93 seat backs.
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Old 11-13-2022, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by white855T View Post
Junkyard run wherever you can find a 240. $50-60 for a pair of seat backs. Just unbolt them from the seat bottom and take them with you. As long as the seat backs have decent foam, you can reinforce foam so that your seats will be plush. When you compare the foam, there is a big difference. The early foam is flatter. While the newer foam comes out more.
Out of curiosity, is the difference the foam or the seat frame?
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Old 11-13-2022, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Out of curiosity, is the difference the foam or the seat frame?
Both cushion and frame are different. I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Last edited by white855T; 11-13-2022 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 11-13-2022, 11:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by white855T View Post
Both cushion and frame are different. I'll post a picture tomorrow.
Thanks, I think I may have some leads on options to rectify the situation. Luckily the car is on jack stands as I await brake pads and some vented front rotors. So nothing pressing.
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Old 11-17-2022, 02:32 PM   #11
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The earlier foam is not a frame but I'll try to get better pictures. Just didn't have a lot of time today.





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Old 11-17-2022, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
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The earlier foam is not a frame but I'll try to get better pictures. Just didn't have a lot of time today.





Yeah, the difference is apparent. Mostly at the top of the seat.
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Old 11-17-2022, 10:32 PM   #13
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I have an 83 and an 89, I think the difference in the feel of the seats is noticeable (especially on long trips). Personally, I would take this as an opportunity to upgrade to the taller seat frame.
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Old 11-17-2022, 11:40 PM   #14
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I did the same thing as you did, I bought those same seat covers for my 1980 242 and was disappointed when I saw that there was a difference after 86'. I wanted to return them after but couldn't. So I just decided to buy two front 86' plus seats from a nice 92' wagon in the junkyard and modified it to fit the 80' 242 seat frames. There was a lot of cutting and glueing to make it work and just wished I went to an upholstery shop. But I ended up using the newer seat foam and using all the springs and other hardware from the new seats, welded the side bolsters onto the the 242 seat frames and added some heated seat pads. As well as cleaning the seat rails, 2 door seat fold mechanism, lumbar support, and lubricated them. Also cut up an old t-shirt and put it in between the seat grid and the foam under the seat to prevent the "cheese grater" wire grid from leaving bits of foam under the seat.

This is the difference in seat back frames, the frame is about 2 inches taller and you can see where they added the extra height on the newer seat. The headrest mount plastic things are different, there are side bolsters added on the newer seats, and the bottom of the 86' plus seat has more space for the thicker foam.



The foam is around 2 inches taller and it can fit the side bolsters. Seat grids are the same. The holes for the headrests on the top loosely fit either year. The width appears to be thicker on the newer foam but could just be less compressed.




But since I couldn't return them I just decided to put them on anyway. They have to be stretched a lot and still they don't look perfect. The part above the seam on the seat back kind of feels inflated. And there are some wrinkles at the bottom of the seat back and some on the seat bottom. Personally I prefer the look of the older seats because they are shorter and have the earlier headrest, but when I sat in them at the junkyard they felt more supportive because of the added height, like someone bigger was giving you a hug from behind, but I rather have the shorter earlier style.



And here is what they would look like if you just slapped them on without any custom fitting. I couldn't live with my self I left them like that lol.


Last edited by stev; 11-18-2022 at 12:19 AM..
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Old 11-19-2022, 05:25 AM   #15
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Default Thoughts on the differences in the 240 front seats

Another perspective: My preference are for the 1980-1985 seats as I feel they are better designed for long-term use. While I appreciate the taller 1986-93 seat backs, I do not think those versions have the longevity as the earlier seats (for reference, I'm 6'2".) As stev pointed out in his post, the 1986-93 seats feature a side bolster as part of the seat frame. This image (post car fire) shows this design feature:



The design of this seat back foam incorporated a channel for the metal bolster tubes. IIRC, the later 240 seat foam were made more environmentally-friendly thus would start to degrade faster. The design of the side bolster with the thinness due to the recessed channel results in the bolster punching through foam on the sides of the seat. This can be seen in white855T's pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by white855T View Post
The earlier foam is not a frame but I'll try to get better pictures. Just didn't have a lot of time today.







In the 1985 and older seats, the side bolster is designed into foam. The 1975-85 headrests have a different spacing than the 1986-93 ones and cannot be interchanged between the seat types. Additionally the 1986-93 seats seem to be susceptible to weld failures at the base of the seat back causing it to torque inward creating a one-sided lean. In the last 20 years I have rebuilt 25-30 240 seats. The seat foam is symmetrical, so if needing to find a donor at a junkyard, I usually will go for a passenger seat as they are usually in better condition. For the seat bottoms, I reinforce the foam with a USPS Priority Mail medium-sized box between the foam and the springs/metal grid. The seat bottoms/foam is interchangeable between the seat types/years, it pretty much stayed the same unlike the seat back. One of the first things I did when I picked up my 1993 245 was replacing the original blue vinyl seats with a set of blue velour front seats originally out of a 1984 240 Diesel.

(reinforcing the seat back/lumbar area in the seat for my 242)




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Old 11-19-2022, 11:08 AM   #16
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Interesting. For me right now it is mostly a question of parts availability. The '86-93 seats and specifically the seat covers, are much easier to find in decent shape. In my car I have two problems with the seat covers, one has a blown bottom cover and the other has a split back. Along with the bottom foam of one being shot. If I could find one more early style seat with blue vinyl I'd be set. Luckily James has got some blue vinyl seats from a later car.

I can get good back foam for the earlier cars via VP and bottom cushions from a junkyard, but not covers

I have done a similar thing that you do in the past with the boxes. But I use canvas drop cloth glued to the inside of the foam and usually some thin aluminum on the bottom and plastic signboard on the backs.
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Old 11-19-2022, 03:35 PM   #17
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And I now have three later seats in blue vinyl sitting in my garage. Let's see if I can cobble together some functional seats. If I could find covers for the early style in decent shape I'd rather stick with those.

Last edited by spock345; 11-19-2022 at 03:41 PM..
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