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Discussion Starter #1
Let me get this out in the open, my daily driver is a 1989 Nissan Sentra. I have owned it since 2002 and have done nearly everything on it myself. The car has been great to me and deserves better than I've given it recently, hence my new project.

I bought a second, matching 1989 Nissan Sentra for parts, but then decided to do some restoration work on both cars. When the project is done I'll have a much better daily driver, and I'll sell the extra one. This build will contain upholstery and interior work, body work and possibly mild exterior modifications, mechanical modifications, and of course plenty of audio.

First tier of attack: upholstery, my first attempt ever. I need to remake the upholstery for four bucket seats and two bench seats. I started the upholstery this weekend and did one passenger seat bottom. For the most part, I'll let the pictures tell the story.





 

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Discussion Starter #6








Yes I got a few wrinkles in the seat, I'm hoping those will work their way out with wear. I have another identical seat bottom to do for the other Nissan, I won't bore your with process pictures on that one but I will show the final product for comparison.
 

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Subscribed... about to start interior work on my 79 Corolla.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I thought it would be good to clarify where I'm going with this project, since I left it a bit open-ended in the title. Essentially, I'd like to take my old car and make it more livable. I need to reduce interior noise, redo practically everything in the interior including audio, remediate some undercarriage rust, and probably paint the vehicle. There will likely be a fair amount of mechanical work as well. I have two matching Nissan Sentras which are both going under the knife so to speak. When I'm done fixing both up I'll pick my favorite to keep, and sell the other one.

So here are some "before" pictures focusing on interior blemishes I hope to fix.

A busted-out door panel:



Extreme driver's seat damage:



Driver's seat damage on the other car:



General poor-condition interior:



Ubiquitous dashboard cracking:



So you can see I have my work cut out for me even on interior alone. I'm hoping to finish the entire project in 8 to 12 months, working between 4 and 20 hours per week. I think the interior work will naturally lead to stereo work when I get to the door panels.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here's where I'll try to be helpful to anyone following in my footsteps. I found it extremely useful when stitching a piece with multiple pleats to stretch the fabric tight and do main pleats spaced roughly 4 to 6 inches apart before filling in the in-between pleats. This helps ensure the backing won't gradually bunch up on you. It is also helpful to stitch at least one pleat the opposite direction for the same reason:



Filling in the other pleats:



Layout for side pieces:

 

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Discussion Starter #15


Attached the inside wire-holding piece:



You may have noticed on the seat bottom and also this seat back that I added a few pleats to the side pieces. This is for two reasons: first, I think it looks better continuing the visual line created by the center pleats all the way across the seat. Second, the original seat covers used open-cell foam backing and I am using polyfill. Polyfill in large areas tends to bunch up, which I want to avoid. Considering I am not sticking with a 100% OEM restoration the extra stitching makes sense.



That's all for tonight. Perhaps I'll get in a few more hours tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
For reference, the seat bottom took 18 hours including taking the old one apart. I've spent 6 hours so far on the seat back. Expect slow going if you've never done upholstery before!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I finished the first seat this weekend. The seat back came out a little loose compared to the bottom, so I may shorten up my pattern a bit for the next one. I forgot to take pictures of the side pieces, but here are some pics of the finished seat:







I haven't seen how it looks in the car yet, but I can tell you this - the seat is very comfortable with the new upholstery, it feels much more supple than the worn seat did. I spent 6 more hours on it this weekend, so 12 hours for the seat back and a running total of 30 hours. I'm hoping as I get better at upholstery the process will become faster.
 

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On the show "muscle car" on spike they do interior work every now and then. On project lime-light (A 70's camaro) they put new seat covers in. One trick that the host, Rick, showed for loose areas of upholstery was to stuff batting behind the cover.

Another trick to tighten up loose covers that I've seen before (leather one's at least) is to mist them with water then put them out in the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Installed the new seat in car #2.



I fully disassembled the next passenger seat, then started work on the seat bottom. I figure it's best to do the two passenger seats consecutively, then the two drivers' seats, then the rear benches so I can more easily learn from my mistakes.



Top area of seat bottom complete:



I also made most of the side pieces, but I promised fewer progress pics since the process is identical for each bucket seat. That's all I did for the seats this week, the car needed other attention.
 
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