Tag Archives: VW Bus

Driver Seat Rebuild + Heated Seat

KK-Louise’s front seats have been in need of some help for quite some time. I had some nice seat covers I purchased probably when I first came into possession of KK, some fifteen years ago helping me ignore the need. However, as my daily driver the seat I sat in really needed some attention as I could no longer get comfortable. I ordered a set of horsehair pads from Wolfsburg West and some new oatmeal seat covering as the originals lasted nearly fifty years. I have heard the injected mold pads might be a bit more comfortable but were hard to get the covers over. As I was at this project I figured I would try to add some heated seat elements to the back and bottom as well. I found a set on ebay that sound good and installed those as well.

A '71 VW Van seat with a torn corner and pretty much no more padding on the seat.
This is my original driver seat with the back laying on a pair of sawhorses.

Since so much of the seat was gone it was easy to deconstruct. The hog rings that held the cover to the frame were few and far between and came apart with some pliers. The pads went into the garbage but I hung onto the original covers. I am thinking of making some sort of center console and covering it with these remnants. Something will need to hold the heated seat switches.

The frame was in good order. I thought something would be broken as it had been so uncomfortable the past several months but it was just that the pads were mostly gone. I put some seat felt over the bottom (also ordered from Wolfsburg West), the new pad, and then some more felt which I sprayed with adhesive to stick to the pad. I wrapped it with a few bungees to secure it and let it dry. While that was happening I cut the bottom seat heater to size and placed it making sure the wire would run under the seat and out towards the passenger seat as I plan to run the wires up the center of the floor.

The bottom pad in place with felt over it. Bungee cords strung around the outside to hold it all in place.
The bottom pad with felt over it ready for the seat heater element.
The seat heater in place within the middle of the seat. It is white ceramic.
Seat heater pad in place.

The new seat cover itself went on pretty easily. There was a little tugging and pulling but I was able to secure it with some new hog rings and make it feel tight. I had set the seat out on the roof of the bus in the sun to soften up a bit while I was working on the pad. I was worried that the felt would get rolled up while putting the cover on but the glue did what it was supposed to do and kept it all in place.

The back of the seat was much the same as the bottom. The driver side seat has a back covering the frame, the passenger side does not. Getting the cover to go over the frame squarely was the most challenging task. Once I get to the passenger side, it doesn’t have a a cover on the back so I expect it to be easier.

Back pad installed with felt over it and heater pad positioned.
The back pad, felt, and heater pad in place.
Newly reupholstered seat installed back in the van, looking at it from the side.
Installed back in KK-Louise.
The seat in the bus looking at it through the front windshield. Mostly square.

The seat reupholster project went really well. The seat in once again comfortable and warm. I will write-up the heated seat wiring soon. I look forward to completing the passenger seat as currently it pitches passengers forward making longer rides a bit uncomfortable.