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Mark's Corner: Seat Upholstery Clips

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 5:02 PM

Upholstery Clips in Your Seats


Sometimes when we make a new part it can be hard to see the usefulness of it until you are mid-restoration and need one. The seat upholstery clips are one of these parts.


If you have ever disassembled your seat you will notice that there are a bunch of single prong clips underneath the seat cushion.

These clips also run along the inner edges of the seat center section all the way up to the base of the headrest. These pointed clips are the basis of how the seat goes together and help the vinyl retain its shape.


There are 23 clips in total - 19 single prong clips along with 2 medium and 2 large double clips. These double clips do more than just secure the vinyl to the chair, they are actually mounting points that secure the seat rails to the seat bucket.


The Problem


Rust is one of the biggest problems that the 914 faces, and the seats are not immune to this. It is not uncommon for a bolt to break off while trying to remove the seat rails from the seat. This is a crucial step you must take in order to replace the seat back bolster vinyl, which is notorious for splitting from age and wear. If you want to avoid the headache of dealing with snapped bolts, look for the back side of the clip and soak it with parts blaster. This can be seen once you remove the inside edge of the vinyl and lift up the foam padding.


Also, if your clips have been reworked before they can easily fatigue which may lead to the prong snapping off. Prior to developing these I could not find these commercially available anywhere. I searched upholstery shops to see what they had to no avail. I did come across a few people that could MacGyver a clip out of carpet tack strip material but it was not the ideal solution.


Seat Disassembly


After removing the seat cushion/center section, if you stretch the inner edges of the vinyl down you can pull the bottom edge away from the clips. after freeing the inner surface, you will need to take the 2 screws on the back of the headrest out. This will allow the vinyl flap to come down and also reveal the 2 screws that hold the headrest to the fiberglass body of the seat.


Once the vinyl is off the seat you can get a better view of the clips. They attach to the seat using a pop rivet so removal and reattachment are pretty straight forward. Do note that sometimes the fiberglass attachment point may have some damage. Do not worry you find this on your seat, just use a small washer as a backer for the pop rivet so it has a stronger surface to attach the clips to.


The exact location of the clips is mostly relative to each seat with the exception of the double clips. You will want to use the seat rails as a guide to assure they all line up correctly.


About The Parts We Made


Currently, we are only selling these in kits per seat. We will be selling individual pieces in the future, so if you need just a single part they will be available soon. We have put the kits together with all the pop rivets you need to attach the kit. The kits will be significantly less expensive than buying individual parts, but if you just need one piece I get it. This option will become available in the next few weeks. We also have the new hardware kit with freshly plated bolts and washers that will be listed separately shortly, but is included in the kit too.

 

I have done a seat or two myself and they are not particularly difficult to complete, but do require time and patience as they are deceptively simple.


Our good friend Ian Karr has just done a video showing the disassembly side of it in part 1 of his seat reupholstery series. These will be an excellent primer for you if you choose to take this on. I would encourage all to check out his 914 repair adventures and allow him to be your Sherpa on the restoration journey.


I again want to thank everyone for their support during these troubling times as it allows us to continue making parts like these.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Whitesell

AKA Mikey914 on world

Mark's Corner: Interior & Resins Products

Monday, June 7, 2021 10:51 AM

I wanted to touch on 2 subjects for this newsletter to shed some light on what is really going on behind the scenes of our Interior program and the 914 Resins program.



Interiors



As many of you may or may not be aware, we started making door panels almost 7 years ago. We had backed off on production of these due to the amount of labor they took to construct and the need to harvest some of the existing hardware from the old door panels. I am pleased to announce this is no longer the case.


 

We now fabricate this hardware and it comes standard with all of our door panels, including the cage nuts. We have also included all 18 door panel clips needed to mount the new panels to the door frame.



Note that the holes necessary for mounting the door pockets and pull handles now come pre die-cut. These are also shipped with the door cups to make this ready to install out of the box. Our goal is to make installation as painless as possible. 







We are currently building up some back stock and will be relaunching these in the coming months. The new listing will also have a few “custom” options that will include plaid, houndstooth, and even GT door pulls. We had to slow down on production to get these back on line in a manner that yields a better product.



We have also just completed the upholstery mounting clip sets for the seats. These are critical for making the seat side bolsters and center sections stay in place. In most cases, many of these are completely rusted away or missing as they were never available directly from the factory for replacement.

These will be sold as a set per seat basis and will include the pop rivets necessary to mount the clips.



We are committed to providing you with what you need to make your car look good. We look forward to sharing more information about future items that will be available in this category soon.



Resins



We had the opportunity to mount the complete trunk assemblies for both the front and rear trunks lids. The front trunk springs really have more pressure than they need to open the hoods so we are actively sourcing a better option for use with the resin hoods.


 







Fitment is looking good currently but we are making some adjustments to the metal that gets embedded into the hoods to give them more strength.

 





The front hood with headlight delete should be ready this before August, the alignment is good and only needs some minor changes. A few of the molds have some imperfections in them that are minor, but keep them from being 100% perfect and ready to start using. There are some “hot spots” in the molds that will require glazing putty and some block sanding to remove. They are minor, but we believe in full disclosure. We are looking at the costs to finish them completely in house as an option.



Finally, we will also have replacement front valances available this month. The steel ones are hard to come by, so if yours is undamaged why risk it? 



Stay well and try to get in some quality 914 time, 'tis the season.




 Remembering Roxie

I’m sad to report that my faithful friend and frequent shop dog Roxie passed away this past Wednesday. She was with us for over 14 years, just last week we were commenting that she may have a few more years left with us because she seemed so healthy.



I'm glad she got to spend one last brisket filled holiday with the extended family this past 4th of July. We already miss you girl.

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Introducing 914RR - 914 Rubber Resins


We have been dabbling in fiberglass for over 10 years now. The LE front spoilers, door cards, and door pockets were where we first dipped our toes into the water.  


We have now taken on the commitment to manufacture many new products after Jim Sheridan decided to step away from the 914-fiberglass business. We had the opportunity to purchase his hood molds, door skin molds, fender flare molds and more. The Sheridan hoods were known to be very spartan, perfect for race-specific applications that only required a skin.


We plan to take these products to the next level, starting with the hoods first. The first modification will involve producing an internal structure that will allow them to mount just like a factory hood. We will then offer 2 different types of fiberglass; a standard E-fiberglass (think Economy), and a more robust fiberglass commonly referred to as S-fiberglass (think Strong).


The S-fiberglass looks and feels exactly the same as E-fiberglass. However, it is made from a higher-strength glass fabric which gives it approximately 40% higher tensile strength, and a 20% higher modulus. This fiberglass has a greater strength and abrasion resistance when used as a composite reinforcement. Additionally, all of our S-fiberglass cloth feature an aerospace grade Silane finish. This helps create the most durable fiberglass option without the added expense of going to carbon fiber.


For those who do want carbon fiber, we will soon have the capability to produce these in carbon and even Kevlar fiber. Kevlar fiber will give more abrasion resistance while maintaining high tensile strength. We will be offering the carbon fiber in a clear gel coat and our standard primer gray gel coat.


These are just a few of the items coming soon. Look forward to seeing more information on these exciting new products in future newsletters and don't forget to checkout our LE Front Spoiler and Rear Valance.

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Mark's Corner: The 914Rubber Main Targa Seal

Friday, June 4, 2021 2:37 PM

The 914Rubber Main Targa Seal was not always what you see today. In about 2012 the factory depleted their inventory on these and prices started going through the roof. When demand hit an all time high I remember seeing a N.O.S. part sell for over $1000. This month I will share some of the development history behind this crucial seal.



The Main Idea



The original part was anything but a simple extrusion. It consisted of the top section, 2 side sections, and 2 corner blocks which are all bonded together to make up the primary seal for the windscreen.



Initially, I offered only a replacement strip for the top section as I noticed it was the first failure point. You could cut the original seal at the corner blocks and glue the new strip in between them, then glue on a separate clip to make it fit snugly on the metal. It took some skill to install but was a reasonable alternative to a very expensive part.

 


Closeup of the early cut and glue repair seal.


For a few years this was the only option. I decided to take it to the next level and make the corner blocks and molded sides. This iteration was called the 3 Piece Main Targa Seal. I started making these by bonding each piece together after cutting to size by hand. It was a labor-intensive process but it allowed me to provide a complete seal at less than $200 per seal. The bonding process I was using at that time was adequate, but not as pretty as the factory part.

 
I eventually moved to a seal that I could mold together while still using a folded internal clip inside the seal. It allowed for a more factory looking part but it was very difficult to keep the internal clips at the right tolerance to properly hold the seal onto the body.

 
The second iteration of the 3 Piece Main targa seal with a separate metal clip channel.
 
While the previous version was fully functional, I am always looking to make improvements when I can. The folded metal clip was changed to an internal metal clip just like the factory. This is the version of the seal that I am currently producing. I am proud to say we still offer this seal for $179, which is a far cry from the $285 that the factory wanted when these were available in the mid 2000s.

 
The next logical step was to make the lower front targa seal. It’s the one you see from inside the car with the roof on. If you haven’t taken these out before you may think the 2 seals are actually one. Typically, the seal looks like it's still in one piece but it's actually riddled with small cracks that allow water to seep into the car and create rust. It is your interiors second line of defense and I highly recommend replacing both seals at the same time to keep you and your car dry.


Recently, I had a customer tell me he spent all day trying install this seal by pulling the side pieces down the tracks. This will not work and highlights how difficult this seal can be to install if you don’t know what to do. Click on the video below to watch Matt explain how to install the seal using his Bahia Red 1972 914.


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