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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

Hoping for some guidance. Read forums extensively and have seen a number of potential fixes.

I am from australia - bought the TMI sport R upgrade (with foams) for my 68 camaro. Unfortunately for me - I was not aware of the height issues many people have had. Clearly did not research anywhere near enough before buying these.

Anyway - had the professionally done - go to install them in my car and can barely fit under the steering wheel and my head touches the roof trim.

I am just under 6ft 1" and I am 180 pounds. I am what you what term slim/lean and get laughed at cause of my skinny legs. So my body shape ain't the issue.

I did replace the seat springs, no doubt that may be contributing to my problem.

I have read all over - seems like the following suggestions have been offered:

1. Cut seat springs. Apparently cut 2 outta the 5 front springs may help.
2. Cut the seat rails 3/4 inch. Lowering the seat rail too much can introduce clearance problems for seat hinge and track sliding mechanism.
3. Seat rail extension can help in some cases. A guy custom made a set with better results, posted the plans (very nice of him) but also mentions in later post having to massage floor pan to make it fit.
4. An upholsterer mentions making modification to the seat foam - like what a OEM 69 camaro seat foam had. Essentially putting some shallow holes in the bottom of the foam to make the foam compress easier (made bottom of foam look a bit like a beehive...if that makes sense). Not tested as far as I am aware.
5. Using old springs...not an option for me unfortunately
6. Fabricating new custom rails/seat bracket from scratch. Another member mentioned he did this with great results, although offered no further info. Not sure how this guy achieved the lowering outcome without running into the hinge clearance issues everyone else had though?

Has there been any solution to this problem come up that I have missed?

Any further contributions/potential solutions would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Is you install seat extenders it may do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had not done so yet. I do have a set and will install over the weekend. See how it goes.

I understand the extenders allow you to move seat further back - therefore gaining some clearance?

In my case - when my seat is in optimum position for leg and arm reach (which I achieve without extenders) - I have about 3-4" of space between the steering wheel and my seat.
The steering wheel is literally pushing on my legs. I am pretty confident I will need to deploy a few different measures to gain clearance make my car drive-able again.

Just quietly hoping someone has managed to figure out a better way.

At this point I am thinking - extenders, then modifying/cutting down the mounts 3/4, then cutting my brand new springs to accommodate what appears to be deficient testing or potential flaw in the design of TMI's product.

Then if those options don't work - take it back to upholsterer to remove the installed covers and go for the suggested "bee-hive" mod with the shallow holes in the seat foam.

TMI should be warning people of the potential issues on these upgrades. Really annoyed at them. Their website is not great either - needs to be cleaned up. Site is also missing images and details on products. I see that as a wasted opportunity. Could also be used as a tool to inform clients of potential install considerations. Would save everyone a lot of trouble if they updated it and offered some concise info.

Who would have thought simply adding a seat cover, with some new foam and new springs to the original frame would make my car un-driveable. And TMI do not think to warn people of the potential? Should only be installed on old springs and do not buy if you are over 6ft. Yep. Not happy.

Should have done my research though.....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I had read the tilt column was an option and I know other guys changed to grant steering wheels etc.

Tilt column is not so easy to come by in Australia, but even then - tilt won't stop my head hitting the roof lining.

AND I really do like the stock SS steering wheel I have. I bought the sport R covers as they retained some of the old skool look.

I should have mentioned - aside from the upholstery and some other much more subtle changes, wanted it to keep the camaro looking stock inside. I think changing the steering wheel takes away too much from the original look. Would rather pull the foam out of seats and get them re-made somehow. Crazy expensive getting upholstery work done is Australia though. It's a dying craft over here, so good shops command a decent rate.

Crazy as it sound, the Tilt column is the option I would entertain first before changing the steering wheel I think. Still hoping someone has invented a better way.....
 

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...and/or a TMI headliner. I hear you gain another inch (aprox) of headroom.

I think that about covers all the solutions, short of modifying the floor pans

The seat hinge clearance thing is only if you want to retain the stock plastic cover on the hinge arm. You can cut the slider legs down an inch at least (?) if not using the plastic covers. Also the stock seat belt retractors need to be taken into consideration.


This is 3/4" removed from the legs, everything else stock.
 

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A good upholstery shop should be able to contour the foam to fit you properly, or there is some issue with the spring installment. I just installed TMI foam and covers and foam on the bottom and kept the original back foam and they fit fine. . . .I am 6'ft and 175 and don't use a tilt or extenders on this car I am building. I have had the back new foam push you forward and higher, if that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Guys,

This is all very helpful - thanks.

Camaro Guy- I do have new back foam and new base springs, so maybe that is not helping things. Are you running the Sport R setup? If yours is ok, maybe something else is wrong on my setup. I'll investigate further.

Garth - That photo was also great. Very, very helpful to visualize what the seat mod will do and potential clearances.

Well - 3/4" drop is a start. I am looking for find a decent fabricator to do the mount modification right now. I can weld, but I do not trust my skill enough to risk doing the seat mount.

FYI - I have the morris concept 3 point seat belts - they look like they clear better than the older style belt retractors. So think I am all good there.

Would ideally prefer to retain the seat hinge cover as well. Uncovered hinge is not the best looking feature of the seat....so will keep the hinge covers.

I'll do the seat mounts, the extenders, then based on the outcome - will look at getting the seat base pulled apart again and have the foam shaped, check springs at same time. Shop will then need pick apart vinyl cover, cut to new size and re-make the seat base covers. A lot of money. : (

The shop I went to was a decent place - pretty sure they know what they are doing installing seat springs. Attaching the new spring assembly to the seat base - did not look like rocket science?
Is there something they could have done when adding the new springs that could be contributing to my issue? If someone has had experience with a spring fitment problem - would be grateful for further info. If I know more - I can then ask my shop what they did exactly.

Cheers.

This TMI upgrade is not coming cheap....
 

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I did the T M I and I went with the seat track extenders which really made a big difference , then I changed the steering wheel to a grant 13.5 diameter which still uses a nice SS horn button and last the tilt steering
 

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Here's a pic of a factory original seat back. Note the paper wrapped "listing" wire fastened to the springs around the perimeter. The TMI foams have a corresponding listing wire embedded in the foam. To do it properly, both listing wires (original on the springs & foam embedded from TMI) should be joined with hogrings. It's kinda difficult to do as the foam needs to be compressed. I suggest checking the listing wire on the springs. There should be hogrings there- evidence it was done properly. The bottom cushion has a listing wire as well.


Here's a pic showing the clearance I have between the steering wheel. Non tilt, original wheel, with 3/4" taken off the feet/legs. This was the main reason I modified the feet as it was kinda cramped getting my leg under the steering wheel when getting in & out. Not sure what the clearance measures now, but it's really not much of a problem anymore. I would prefer a slightly smaller steering, but like you, I prefer the original look. Wish the aftermarket would reproduce an N30 or N34, about 2" smaller diameter. ;)

BTW, this is the original (first) style "Sport Seat" from TMI. I'm not sure how much it differs from the "Sport R" ? Would appreciate a pic if you have one..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Question for you guys...

Is there any reason why I could not cut the feet and simply weld it to the seat rail extenders?

I am trying to think of why I would cut the mounts and weld new feet to them, when in the end - I will simply be bolting those new feet down onto another piece of metal (i,e rail extenders, and then that gets bolted to the floor).

Am I making sense?

Essentially wondering why I cannot make the seat rail extenders the new feet for my seats?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Also Garth - the sport R seat is this one:
https://www.tmiproducts.com/1968-camaro-sport-r-seat-deluxe-vinyl-upholstery.html

Thanks for your helpful images - much appreciated.

Would post my photo's up, but seems to have pretty severe limitation to what I images can upload to this site for some reason. Limited storage.

Anyway - they look great - will give TMI that much credit. Would be happy except for the height issue.

Went back to my supplier and we have had the following responses...

Currently TMI are pointing in the finger at my OER springs. They say they have no issues anymore and refer to the foam density issue being resolved 4+ years ago. I do notice a lot of more recent posts with the issue exist...so not sure their response is all that reasonable.

OER are saying they have had about 15 returns in the 1600+ sets of seat springs they have sold.

So yeah - I reckon it is probably a bit of both at fault, but TMI foam is definitely taller. They should warn people of the potential issue at least. Prob expecting too much from a manufacturer I suppose.
 

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Yes you can shorten up the feet a little and weld the the extenders.

The seats will settle a little in time after sitting in them for a while. Not much though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think I will do that then. Shorten feet and weld to the extenders, paint it all up.
Seems to make the most sense to me.

I'll see what that gives me for steering wheel clearances.

In looking at the extenders, I might be able to weld the seat feet a little further inwards (instead of dead center) - towards the tunnel (if that makes sense).

Would only be a little further inward, so should not effect driving position in relation to the pedals noticeably, but I think I can potentially gain further clearance for hinge and sliding mechanism by mounting the seat further inboard. Then I could maybe drop it a little more than 3/4".

Has anyone done anything like that?

Then I'll address the foam height and spring issues from there.
 

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".... but TMI foam is definitely taller."

I guess you've seen this pic ?:) The main difference I noticed was the increased firmness of the foam.


As far as posting pics here, one needs to pay the TC membership fees or else store them at a photo hosting site such as flikr or imgur, then link or copy & paste them in your post.

I didn't use seat extenders as I didn't have need. I'm 5' 10", around 165 ish on a good day. But anyway, it sounds like your plan should work....:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Garth,

I was reviewing your images.

I pulled apart my seats and I cannot see that my listings have been hog-ringed?

I still have the original paper wrapped listing and springs on the seat backs - they are not hog ringed to the foam like your image.
My upholsterer has put a protective foam material between the springs and my seat foams, so there is nothing anchoring the foam to the springs that I can see.
Same goes for the new seat springs in the base.

So to confirm - your seat foams had metal rods that needed to be hog-ringed to the seat spring listings also?

I wonder if my foams also had this requirement?

I emailed some images to TMI for clarification - see what they come back with.

Thanks again for your assistance and advice - much appreciated.
 

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Yes, exactly. Now I didn't have instruction doing this, but that's what I came up with.

The original GM foam didn't have listing wires. The seat covers (both GM & TMI) have material on the inside where the pleats (I don't know the proper upholstering terminology here) are. The original GM pleat material was hogringed to the listing wire on the springs, going through the foam. The pleat material was the same dimension (aprox 1.5" tall) on both seat covers (GM & TMI), so figured to keep the factory height, the listing wire in the TMI foam needed to be joined to the listing wire on the springs. Then when installing the seat cover, I hogringed the pleat material to the foam listing wire (which is previously hogringed to the spring listing wire), thereby maintaining the original height. Like I said, it wasn't easy doing this as the foam needed to be compressed while blindly hogringing the listing wires together.

I hope all that makes sense. I'm curious to hear what TMI has to say from your inquiry. Maybe I did it wrong (not as they intended), but I have no regrets !:)
 

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I'll being do this mod if it ever stops raining here in Northern California. I had local upholstery shop install a new complete interior last summer. I have the exact same issue. They will be cutting a couple of inches off the bottom of the bottom foam pad. Probably just cut 1" off first to see if thats enough.
 
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