The front seats in our prospective RBRR 2020 entry were pretty shot, the foams were reduced pretty much to dust and the driver’s seat had several marks, but not too bad. The diaphragms were just about in one piece, but were starting to split around the securing clips.
With the RBRR in mind, we decided to replace them with something with a higher back and headrest and started looking around. Being a fairly early Mk2 2000, the standard seats were standard black plastic, with the perforation lines.
We considered the Alfa Romeo option mentioned elsewhere and for purely sentimental reasons decided that something from the later MG Rover stable, kinda keeping it in the family. The other factor being old MG & Rover parts are relatively cheap and this is above all a low budget project.
The obvious candidates were the the 25/45/ZR and 75/ZT ranges. We wanted something particularly supportive, so this narrowed the search to the MG options as they have bigger side bolsters. Aesthetically, it would be nice to have all leather, but we realised that a half leather seat might be better if it’s to be sat in for 48 hours straight.
Then the gods smiled on us, as a pair of black/grey ZT seats on Facebook Marketplace dropped their price from ‘reasonable’ to FREE! We picked them up and inspected them to be very pleasantly surprised, they were in very good condition and have height, tilt and lumber adjustment as well as fore and aft.
The first job was to remove the Triumph seats and work out how to mount the new seats. On removing the driver’s seat it was obvious that 48 years of driver’s bottoms dropping into the seat had taken their toll, with cracks all around rear of floorpan under the seat rails, where the rear captive nuts are welded in. The passenger side was fine though.
The cracked sections were cleaned up and plated with 2mm sheet steel.
We then dropped the new seats in to see how they fitted. With one team member 5’ 9”, one 6’ 2” and one 6’ 4”, we needed to find a position for the driver’s seat which allowed us all to get comfy. We were aided by the new seat runners as they are longer than the original ones, giving us some wiggle room.
It was apparent that the new runner centre lines were further apart by 1.75” (44mm), there was no extra room in the centre of the car around the transmission tunnel, so the extra width would have to be accommodated by mounting the outer runner further out, fortunately the space was available but it does move the shoulder of the backrest very close to the B door pillar, but do-able.
The next challenge was to make the ZT runners suitable for fitting into the car, there are half inch bosses on the bottom of the runners that needed the touch of the angle grinder. We also looked at the seat belt catch mounts on the side of the seats, the catches wouldn’t work with our Securon belt tags, and removing these also gave a touch more space by the transmission tunnel - it is possible to demount them from the seat chassis, but it was quicker to wield the angle grinder on them.
With the newly plated sections and the need for new captive nuts To cater for the wider seat base, we drilled where necessary and set M8 x 1.0 steel Rivnuts in the floor pan.
We fixed the seats with button head Allen screws, to maintain clearance with the underside of the seat runner. Due to the floor pan being pressed in longitudinal ribs, it was necessary to pack the underside of the inner rails with washers, so the seats didn’t lean at all, we only found this problem after initial fitting, you can see the slight tilt in the picture below.
Finally, we all had a go at finding comfortable seat adjustments and going, brmm, brmm (no head on the engine).
All in all a simple and highly cost effective way of upgrading the seats, improving our comfort for our prospective 48 hour office.
Postscript - the old seats were passed to another club-member looking to use them to rebuild his seats, so nothing got wasted.
Bodywork, interior and exterior trim and glass, bumpers, etc.
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