95 XJS Front Seats rebuild

(John Plummer) #1

I want to rebuild the front seats in my XJS. Although the car had less than 37000 miles, the seat padding is breaking down and the covers Ned replacement.
I am striking out on finding pads. I can find several cover suppliers but none have pads.
(Am finding same issue on top.
Any help?

(Bernard Embden) #2

I remember Ed Sowell did some work on his seats years ago. He might be of some help

(John Plummer) #3

Ed refers to Paul’s Jag
Spoke to Jeremy there today. No seat pads. When he does a seat he repairs the old one.

(Ed Sowell) #4

First, could you clarify what you’r looking for? If it’s the foam cushions I imagine you could buy some closed-cell foam in various thicknesses and replicate the original shapes.If it’s the rubber diaphragm, that’s a harder problem. I recall Kirby fashioning something out of webbing.

Car dealership often send clean trade-ins for rebuilding broken down driver seats. Wander into one see if someone is willing to tell you where they send work like that. The go there and see what you can learn.

(John Plummer) #5

Thanks I will get in touch with some local guys

Jeremy made a good suggestion to rebuild cushions
Use the two good baffles (ones next to trans tunnel) which have little wear being supported by the tunnel.
Take them and swap with other side (use driver’s right baffle for passenger left, etc). This puts the OE part next to the doors; then fabricate the other two which will end up supported by the tunnel. He glues and duct tape in the fabrication.

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #6

I replaced the rubber diaphragm with curtain rod cord wrapped back and forth between the hog rings to form a webbing. With a bit of thought, you can easily vary the amount of “give” by wrapping more loops of the cord in the areas you want more stiffness.

I also rebuilt my seat cushions, but it’s been a while so my memory is hazy. IIRC, my leather was fine (!) but the foam underneath was rotten and falling out in crumbs. My first attempt was to just use some foam from a fabric store, but that stuff was far too weak and lightweight, it just collapsed to nothing when you sat on it. It also came in a rectangular block and wasn’t easy to fit to the cushion shape needed. Then I found someone to sell me a genuine Jaguar set of replacement foam pieces and did it right.

For another car, though, I found a scheme that worked remarkably well: Carpet padding. It’s available in different densities, and my choice would be the dense stuff (7 lb) because I weigh over 300 lb. You can even combine different thicknesses and densites to achieve a desired feel. Anyhow, it’s easy to pick up a whole sheet of the stuff, or perhaps scraps. Cut out shapes and stack them, bonding them together with headliner adhesive. By varying the outline of each layer, you can make pretty intricate shapes.

(Aristides Balanos) #7

Very neat idea Kirbert !
I need to rebuild my motorcycle seat, so this will be very handy.

An other idea for a the diaphragm would be Neoprane.
There are Neoprane Strips and Sheets in various thicknesses that one can fashion a diaphragm with.
Par example:


(John Plummer) #8

Interesting ideas.

On my TR6 the prior owner used canvas strapping but it stretched over time. Found AM diaphragms and corrected.

I have found diaphragms for the XJS on eBay. Will know if they are required after pulling seats.

(John Plummer) #9

Depending on the bike seat. Most of the older one are straightforward and industrial foam is good. If you have a lot of contour like a saddle, this layering may be quite effective

A lot of great ideas have come from this discussion.

Thanks everyone.

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #10

world upholstery has pads. they’re not the most responsive, so I’d recommend calling rather than sending an email.

(John Plummer) #11

They responded by email that they do not have for a 95

(Andrew Waugh) #12

Another tip: It’s quite difficult to get a smooth, precise cut on the curves. What I do is cut the curve, then flip the piece over and move it to the opposite side and glue the cut surface to the layer underneath. You may need to cut oversize, then cut "V"s into the material (and bond them together), but bonding the cut surfaces to the lower layers blends out the unevenness of your cuts, and yields a smooth top surface. Once you get the leather on it constrains the motion, so even if you don’t get a 100% surface join on the glued interfaces the foam won’t move around.

Even a small ridge in the foam will show up in the leather.

(John Plummer) #13

Good idea. I’ve exhausted every site looking for parts.
Unfortunately a 95 is to old for OE or NOS but not old enough for decent AM.

(Andrew Waugh) #14

I made front and side bolsters for the squabs of my S-Type from foam blocks. It took a bit of effort, but it wasn’t all that hard.

Another tip: to check if the foam block you are thinking of using is the same shore strength as what is already in the seat, I took a plain old building brick and laid it on the original squab, then measured how far it sunk (actually I took 3 measurements, one for each of the 3 different surface areas/sides of the brick). I then took that brick with me to the building center (which had a few varieties of foam), and did the same check there. They had a foam which was just slightly stiffer (about 10% less sink in of the brick), so I chose that.

(JimD in Alabama) #15

regarding the foam cutting, I was talking with my local furniture refinisher who also happens to work on auto seats and headliners. I was bemoaning trying to trim some foam and he showed the cutting tool they use. Basically an electric knife oscillating at very high rpm.

So I decided if i ever try to cut -n- shape foam again, and I am going to try to use my old electric carving knife. Has serrated blades and moves a lot faster than I do. Who knows----it may work. I have no idea if my idea is any good - - haven’t tried it.

(Paul M. Novak) #16

I have used an old electric carving knife to cut foam while restoring seats in my Jaguars and it worked out pretty well. I used it to shape headrest foam in my E-Type and for seats in my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible. Both efforts came out pretty good. I am certain that a professional could have done a better job, but I did them myself and learned a lot.


(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #17

I think the diaphragm is consistent through out the years of XJS’s and are very much available.

(DavetheLimey) #18

That must be where the saying “One brick shy of a load” comes from.??

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #19

Actually, I seem to recall hearing they changed once, probably around the same time the seats themselves changed and the mounting rails changed width. 1988 or so? Whatever, it might be possible to adapt the newer diaphragm to fit the older seats.

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #20

I like it!! I like it alot! I’ve been looking for years for the right foam and more importantly, trying to figure out how to determine the right foam density. That’s perfect!
I’ve got a bunch of Jags that all need to be redone. The Series II is so bad when you sit in the drivers seat, it’s like sitting on the toilet with the seat up. You don’t sit in the front seats you fall in.

Thanx for the tip!