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Bolens HT-23 Seat Recover Project

seat cover ht-23 seat lawn tractor seat recover large frame seat repair

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#1 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 19, 2015 - 07:05 PM

After some thought I have decided to try and recover the seat that came with my Bolens HT-23 as the cover is getting brittle and has cracked at the sides exposing the foam underneath.  The seat appears to be made by Michigan Seat Company and has "Cub Cadet by MTD" embossed in it which just doesn't look right on a Bolens so I am hoping to make up a new cover with "Bolens" sewn on it - while the pattern won't be correct it should make the seat look like it belongs on the HT-23.  I have never sewn a cover for this style of seat before - the seat has a black trim around the outside edge of the pan and two drain holes at the rear of the lower part - not sure how this one will turn out but the only way to find out is give it a try.  Today I took the seat off the tractor and started to take it apart - here are some pictures of what it looks like and one of what I hope it will say when I am done.  Someone had installed two bolts with large washers in the drain holes at some point in it's life - I assume they were put in to try and hold the material in place??  I removed the bolts, the two clips at the front of the edge trim and then the edge trim.     

Attached Thumbnails

  • .75 Front View.jpg
  • 1 Side View.jpg
  • 1.5 Michigan Seat Company Sticker.jpg
  • 2 Bolts In Drain Holes Bottom.jpg
  • 3 Bolts Top View (with snow).jpg
  • 4 Bolts Removed From Drain Holes.jpg
  • 4.5 Bolts From Holes.jpg
  • 5 Cub Cadet By MTD.jpg
  • 6 Left Crack.jpg
  • 7 Right Crack.jpg
  • 8 Removing Trim Clip.jpg
  • 9 Clip Removed.jpg
  • 10 Second Clip.jpg
  • 11 Clips And Filler Trim Removed.jpg
  • 12 Ends Of Edge Trim Revealed.jpg
  • 13 Removing The Trim.jpg
  • 14 Trim Removed To Reveal Material.jpg
  • 15 Trim.jpg
  • My Hope.jpg

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#2 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 19, 2015 - 07:18 PM

After removing the trim I removed the vinyl around the outside edge and found some unwanted "guests" so I took the seat outside and continued removing the foam from the seat pan and returned the "guests" to mother nature.  Once I got the foam separated I brought the seat pan and the foam back inside.  

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Found Some Unwanted Guests.jpg
  • 2 Foam Removed From Seat Pan.jpg
  • 3 Foam Bottom.jpg
  • 4 Foam Back.jpg
  • 5 Seat Pan.jpg
  • 6 Seat Pan Bottom Close Up.jpg
  • 7 Seat Pan Bottom Close Up.jpg
  • 8 Seat Pan Back.jpg

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#3 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 19, 2015 - 07:23 PM

Then I separated the cover from the foam - it was still stuck to the foam very well so it was slow going but I finally got it apart with minimal damage to the foam which still appears to be in good shape.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Starting To Remove Cover From Foam.jpg
  • 2 Starting To Remove Cover From Foam.jpg
  • 3 Starting To Remove Cover From Foam.jpg
  • 4 Coming Off SLowly.jpg
  • 5 Front Rolled Up.jpg
  • 6 Cover Off.jpg
  • 7 Cover Off.jpg
  • 8 Foam Front View.jpg
  • 9 Foam SIde View.jpg

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#4 blackjackjakexxix OFFLINE  

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Posted December 19, 2015 - 09:40 PM

I'm sure we are going to see another very nice seat when your done,I'll be watching this one for sure


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#5 fonz3482 ONLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 12:01 AM

perfect! I can't wait!
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#6 WrenchinOnIt OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 08:09 AM

It will be another high quality piece, hey Stew, I have HT20's and 23's that had FMC embossed in the back of the seat instead of Bolens, at some point they switched over to Bolens on the later model 23's. Rick Show has 20 with a pretty decent FMC seat on it down at his place maybe he'll shoot us a pic , be VERY interested (ie like to own) one like it for my restored 20.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with on this one... very cool
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#7 Chubien OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 08:52 AM

Didn't realize you had also owned a large frame.

I'm also sure it will turn out nice, looks like the mild weather will be upon us for a while longer which should extend your work time in the shop.
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#8 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 10:34 AM

" I have HT20's and 23's that had FMC embossed in the back of the seat instead of Bolens, at some point they switched over to Bolens on the later model 23's. Rick Show has 20 with a pretty decent FMC seat on it down at his place maybe he'll shoot us a pic"

 

Thanks for the kind words and votes of confidence. I believe for my HT-23 it probably would have had Bolens on it as it is a 2389S model - attached a picture of the Serial Number if someone happens to know when they switched over.  Would be interested in seeing the FMC version of the seat if someone would post a few pictures.  While I have nothing against Cub Cadets a Bolens or FMC name on the seat will look more appropriate on the HT-23.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 10 Model and Serial Number.jpg


#9 WrenchinOnIt OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 10:44 AM

Forgot the HT20D has one

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_20151220_104208_hdr.jpg
  • IMG_20151220_104201_hdr.jpg

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#10 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 10:48 AM

I am looking forward to watching this thread.

I have a Wheel Horse seat that had the vinyl trim like yours and it came off the seat and the vinyl cover came off. I don't know how to stretch and hold the vinyl cover to get the trim back on!


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#11 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2015 - 12:03 PM

I am looking forward to watching this thread.

I have a Wheel Horse seat that had the vinyl trim like yours and it came off the seat and the vinyl cover came off. I don't know how to stretch and hold the vinyl cover to get the trim back on!

 

If your cover and foam are still in good shape you can probably just clean them and glue the vinyl cover back on to the foam with some spray adhesive, glue the vinyl to the seat pan edge and then put the vinyl trim back around the edge and reclamp it.  I imagine that I will probably have to add a few seams to the vinyl cover I make to get the new cover to fit the padding - I think this method will work better than trying to stretch the new vinyl.  I have seen people use a heat gun or put the vinyl in the drier and warm it up first to make it stretch but my thoughts are this weakens the material where it is stretched and eventually it cracks at that point first in my opinion.  I believe that is why the cover on mine cracked at the sides. 


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#12 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2015 - 04:37 PM

Got the seat pan cleaned up and gave it a quick paint job - if it turns out OK I will resand the back and do a better job on it once it is back together.  Ran a 5/16" UNC tap through all the bolt holes to clean them out - all the nuts seemed to be solid with no cracking - it appears someone repaired the two front holes at one time.  Got the rust flakes off of the foam and am slowly getting it dry - did not think there would be much water in it but there are still a couple of damp spots at the front corners.  When I took it off on the weekend it must have been froze because I set it on top of my work area on a piece of masking paper and on Monday morning there was water sitting on top of the paper after it thawed out - been squeezing the foam periodically with a towel wrapped around it and then warming the damp areas up with a heat gun to dry the foam.  It is almost dry enough that I can glue it on to the pan and start on the cover.  I have emailed Milsco (they bought out Michigan Seat in 2006 according to their website)  to see it is still possible to purchase the Michigan Seat safety decal - doubt if I will get a response but time will tell. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Seat Pan Bottom.jpg
  • 2 Seat Pan Back.jpg
  • 3 Seat Pan Top.jpg
  • 3.5 Seat Pan Angle.jpg
  • 4 Foam Bottom.jpg
  • 5 Foam Top.jpg
  • 6 Foam Drain Hole Area.jpg

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#13 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 23, 2015 - 07:13 PM

Got the foam dried out and glued it back on to the seat pan.  Then I cut out a bottom and back piece for the cover and sewed them together while trying to form the drain well out of the lower piece by folding the rear of the lower piece.  I kept the seam on the back side of the join so that it will be reasonably water tight.  The cover pieces did not seem to fit too bad so I sewed some side pieces on and put some tension on the cover by clamping it at the sides.  Put a couple of holes in the vinyl so I could draw it down into the drain well and ended up with a bunch of puckers and wrinkles so I removed the bolts again.  I am thinking I am going to have to form the pocket separately out of pieces sewn together and try and keep any seams so they will not be where water would sit and all overlaps so the water will run over rather than into the seam.  I am not planning on leaving the seat exposed to rain or snow but still want it to be as water tight as possible just in case.  Will probably think on it a bit and see what else I come up with for ideas 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Glue Applied To Seat Pan.jpg
  • 2 Glue Applied To Foam.jpg
  • 3 Foam Clamped At Back To Hold In Place.jpg
  • 4 Cover Started.jpg
  • 5 Material Folded For Drain Well.jpg
  • 6 Edge Pieces Sewn On.jpg
  • 7 Corner View.jpg
  • 7.5 Material Pulled Down By Bolts.jpg
  • 8 Material Pulled Down By Botls.jpg
  • 9 Lots Of Puckers And Wrinkles.jpg
  • 10 Well With Bolts In.jpg
  • 11 Corner View.jpg
  • 12 Bolts Back Out.jpg

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#14 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted December 23, 2015 - 07:47 PM

Looking good ! Have you used a seam sealer HH-66 for waterproofing seams ?
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#15 29 Chev OFFLINE  

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Posted December 23, 2015 - 08:04 PM

Looking good ! Have you used a seam sealer HH-66 for waterproofing seams ?

Thanks - I hope it will look a lot better before I am done - time will tell.  I have not used the HH-66 seam sealer - may have to check into that product.


Edited by 29 Chev, December 23, 2015 - 08:15 PM.





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