Indy Project Sled - New Seat

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF
 

 

New Seat Cover

Cost: $150 (US)
Risks: It's possible to flumox up your seat pretty badly
Benefits: Cosmetic
Tools Required: Stapler, saw, bread knife
Parts Required: New seat cover, staples
Mechanical Skill Required: Upholstery experience would help a lot

The old Indy seat cover was in amazingly good condition for a 10 year old sled, but the older Indys have a pretty skimpy gas tank, 7.2 gallons so I wanted to put a new tank on the sled. I knew if I did that, I'd have to either get a new seat or modify the existing seat. Personally, I don't like the Polaris one-piece seat/tank, it's too big for my liking and it makes it harder to move around while riding. I saw an ad in a magazine for Klymax seat covers and thought they looked pretty cool, so I called Klymax. They don't normally sell directly to the public, but since there wasn't a Klymax dealer nearby, they were nice enough to send me one. It was somewhere around $150, but that was a year or so ago. The latest word is that they are discontinuing this item, so if you want one, get on the phone now. The good part is that they are closing them out at $50.

At the time, they only made them for a few selected models, one of which was the XCR with the "racer" seat, which helped me decide which tank I was going to switch to. I'll talk more about swapping the tank in the next section.

I explored a couple of options, including buying a whole new seat from Polaris and then putting on the new cover, but that was awfully expensive. Finding a used seat wasn't easy or cheap either, especially when you look at the stock seat and see how easy it would be to modify it to work. Which I did.

Basically you have to shorten the front of the '90 seat about 4 inches. The exact measurement depends on the rear of the XCR gas tank and where the bracket is moved to.

So, pull the seat off the sled by removing the nuts from the two bolts in the storage compartment, then pull the seat rearward slightly, just enough to get at the taillight connector. Disconnect that and pull the seat off.

Next, you have two options: put the seat in the trunk of your car and take it to the nearest upholstery shop or do it yourself. I didn't even consider option number one, now I wonder if it might have been a better idea. Whatever, if you chose to farm it out, you're almost done.

Otherwise, turn the seat over and remove the staples holding the cover to the base. Remove the taillight lense and remove the staples (if any are left) that hold the seat cover to the taillight fixture.

Now carefully measure the distance from the relocated gas tank/seat bracket on the front of the tunnel to the rear of the tunnel, then cut the base board of the seat to that length.

If the plastic bag around your seat foam is still intact, take it off carefully and use a bread knife to carve the seat foam. Take a look at the contour of the back side of the gas tank and try to make the foam conform to that. I screwed this up, I cut it off straight and now I have a small gap between the front edge of my seat and the gas tank. No big deal, but go to school on my mistake and do it right.

If your seat has never been apart, your probably going to find it is pretty ratty. I replaced the seat board with a thinner piece of treated hardwood plywood. Saved about a pound and and it should last a lot longer than the original, which lasted 9 seasons. My taillight was in bad shape, but I just glued everything that was broken and put it back in. I may have to replace it (maniacal grin).

Carefully wrap the foam back in the plastic, if it's not full of holes. If it is, replace it. I used duct tape to seal it up, which hopefully will help keep it dry.

Next, put the foam on the backer board and spread the cover out over it. There's a strap on the inside of the cover at the back that goes into the foam where the "seat back" comes up, stick that through the opening in the foam and pull the little "fob" on the end all the way through. Locate the cover in the proper spot and carefully flip it over.

Here is where being an upholsterer would come in handy. I started with the staples at the rear of the seat around the light. Once I got that fastened, I worked my way down the sides a few staples at a time, being sure that everything was tight and securely stapled. Once the sides are on, there really is not much option to where the front gets stapled and once it is fastened down, you're done, except for putting the seat back on.

The Klymax cover I bought has the side pads, so I bought a bag of snap fasteners and pop riveted them on the tunnel in the correct spots. It looks good, works great and wasn't that expensive. The top part of the seat cover is made of a rubbery material that is heavily textured. It works great to help keep you on the seat without being too "grabby" when you want to move around. I find the original foam from the '90 to be about right too, not too hard, not too soft, just right.

All in all, I like the seat, I think it looks good and it adds a nice color accent to the sled with the purple. Of course, if it was any color other than purple, it would clash with my sled, your mileage may vary on this issue.

 

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