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How to make your own seat.
Amphibious ATVs Ė How to make your own seat!
This article will walk you through the steps necessary to recover/restore a Max II seat. While some parts of this article are specific to a Max II, it will also apply to most other machines as well. Note: All pictures can be clicked to see the larger view!
Just a quick note before we start. I replaced every part of my seat but you can of course reuse as much or as little of your original seat that you want. Also, the materials that I chose to use vary from the factory application but I thought they would be better suited for my needs.
∑ Vinyl Fabric for the seat cover. This is really your personal preference but try to keep durability in mind.
∑ Foam Padding Ė I used a dense foam padding that is often found in gun carrying cases. It is two inches thick.
∑ 7 each of the following: tee nuts, bolts, and lock washers (4 for the bottom and 3 for the back)
∑ 1/2 sheet of plywood
∑ 1 can of 3M Spray Adhesive
To start with, remove the seat and floorboard from the machine. Flip it over and remove the four bolts on the bottom shown in the picture below.
TIP: If your machine is older, you may not be able to back the bolts out with a wrench. The wood will sometimes be rotten allowing the tee nut to spin. I had this happen on mine so I just pulled the bolts away from the plastic with a pair of pliers and then I cut the head of the bolt off with a sawzall.
Once the seat is removed from the floorboard, flip it over and remove the staples being careful not to ruin the material. I found it helpful to first use a screwdriver to pull a few of the staples up. Then a good pair of wire cutters could grip the staples and pull them right out. Once you get going the screwdriver is no longer necessary. Iím sure there is a staple remover that would work better but I didnít have access to one. Note: Be sure to keep all of the old materials because we will be using them later.
When all of the staples are removed, pull the material off the foam and turn it inside out. Remove the threads with scissors (or a seam ripper if you have one) so that you have three separate pieces of material. (Note my beautiful nails)
Now lay out your new material face down on the floor. Lay your old material on top of that and use it as a template to trace around. Cut the new material out.
Take the material and pin the ends together inside out. This is going to keep it together while you sew it.
Sew from one end to the next and then repeat this again so that you have a double stitch. Do this on both ends
Congratulations, you have now completed your new seat cover and it is ready to be installed!
[BREAK=Making the seat base]
Now we will move on to making the actual base of the seat out ofplywood. I just took my old base and laid it on top of the plywood to trace the dimensions. For my Max II, that measured out to be 35Ē x 12Ē for the bottom of the seat and 35Ē x 8.5Ē for the seat back. Then I cut both pieces out on the table saw being careful to keep most of my fingers in tact.
Now take the seat bottom that you just cut out and lay the old one back on top of it to trace the bolt holes.
Drill out the holes and hammer in the tee nuts. Some people prefer to countersink the tee nuts but there will be foam on top of them so that was just an unnecessary step for me. Now the base of the seat is complete. Note: Depending on the type of material you are using to cover your seat you may wish to drill two large holes in the seat base to allow air to escape when you sit down. I neglected this step just because I wondered if they were necessary. It is easy to go back later and drill the holes if they are needed. I found out that with the type of foam that I am using, I really didnít need the holes. The original Max seat did have these holes though so it is up to you.
[BREAK=Cutting and Attaching the foam]
Take the new foam piece that you purchased and again use the old material as a template. Since the foam is hard to write on just use a Sharpie to rough in the dimensions. Now cut the foam to the correct size. I found that the foam cut very well with a razor knife while on the concrete floor. I have also seen several people use kitchen knives or electric knives. That is really up to you and you could probably even use scissors if you had to.
Note: The foam hasnít been cut yet in this picture.
Now that all of the pieces are cut we are ready to start assembling the seat. We will be using 3M spray adhesive to get the foam to stick:
Take the foam and place it bottom side up next to the seat base which needs to be right side up. Spray the adhesive liberally to get a good coverage. Wait about 3 minutes and then stick the two pieces together. Be careful to get the foam lined up well with the edges though.
Note: This picture is just showing the coverage of the spray adhesive on the foam.
[BREAK=Attaching the seat cover]
Once the glue on the foam has dried, place the newly sewn seat cover over the foam and work the foam into the corners until you get a tight and uniform fit. Flip it upside down and gently pull the top of the fabric over the base board. You want to take out all of the slack/wrinkles but you donít want to pull it so tight that it distorts the material. Now take your staple gun and place your first staple in the center of the fabric.
Note: You can start on the ends or the middle but either way leave room for folding the corners shown in the next step.
Then move towards the end and place two more staples along the way. (You donít want a bunch of staples yet until you see how the rest of the material is going to conform. Just enough to hold the material in place.) When you get to the end fold the corners over each other and make sure that the seam on the end is straight. Note: You can fold either way but try to think about which edges will be seen when it is mounted. If the material is bulky, you will want to fold it away from the prominent edge (the front).
Once you get a few staples in, start putting more staples in between the previous ones until you have a staple about every inch or more. I usually go a little overboard with the staples and I also try to turn them different ways so that they are not all pulling the material the same way.
Keep working the wrinkles out and gently tightening the material as you go. Just realize that on the back of the seat where you are stapling, the material will have to wrinkle there, that is not a bad thing. Wrinkles on the front = bad ; Wrinkles on the back = Good. The cover will eventually be completely attached to the base and it should look like this:
Note all of the wrinkles, staples, and basically a mess that I have on the back of the seat. Donít worry how that looks though!
Finally, bolt the seat back to the floorboard and install it in your Amphibious ATV!
If you have a back to your seat then you will need to repeat this procedure for that one too but the steps are exactly the same. Congratulations! You now have a new seat.
[BREAK=Customizing your seat]
When I did my seat I actually doubled the amount of foam on the bottom. With the old material I was always bottoming out on hard bumps and it would jar my spine. I figured that the double foam would keep that from happening in the future.
Just keep in mind if you do this, you have to add more fabric for the seat cover. Something else to consider, after I was done and the seat was back in the car, I was sitting up an inch or so higher than before and it felt very unstable. I really thought that I would be redoing everything again with a smaller piece of foam but after about an hour in the new seat it has started to settle back down to the same height as before and I love it now. I canít wait to get some trail time on it.
Here is how I doubled up on the foam:
Finally, since you are replacing your seat anyway you might as well get a little creative. Different colors, designs, or even embroidering the URL of your favorite 6x6 ATV website!
Now you can hit the trails in comfort and style!
Last edited by Mike; 09-13-2007 at 03:15 PM.