Vespa Grande seat cover kit from Northwest Classic Seat Covers
Seem like every Vespa Grande bike I buy for restoration is of course plagued with a dried, cracked and ripped up vinyl seat. In the past I would shop on Buy Sell for a better looking option that when I got it in my hands can tell that the 40 year old seats vinyl was just a few ass plants away from also being split and cracked.
I had seen a vinyl kit advertised by for a while by Northwest Classic Seat Covers and finally decided to try one on my own personal bike.
It turned out so good and has held up so far for 6 months.
Here is a link to where you can get this same kit from Northwest Classic Seat Covers
Now here is the seat of the latest bike I scored and is going to be the precipitant of the new vinyl kit.
Most of the tools that I needed to install this seat cover kit are pictured below
Quality contact cement is an absolute must. I use this brand for all my heavy duty bonding.
I get this stuff in the paint section of Home Despot.
To completely remove the old vinyl it is necessary to remove the aluminum decoration strip. It is held on by three rather fragile threaded clips secured by 1/4 inch nuts. If you just start twisting the nuts of with your 1/4" nut driver the could break off. Pre spray the threads with some lube.
The passenges hold strap is held with m11 nuts and some fat washers. This one came apart nice because of the spray lube
This next step is important as it will make probing for the for the molding holes through the new vinyl easy. Using your eye, line up a sharp tool so you can scratch a reference mark in the seat pan that will align with the location of the moldings holes.
Since you pre soaked the threads with lube, your 1/4" nut driver will easily remove the fragile nuts
Gently remove moldings.
You will want to try to preserve the seat pans rubber edge welting. This will protect your new vinyl from the sharp edges of the pan.
Unpacking the vinyl seat kit I can see that it comes with a sheet of instructions, A new passenger hold strap and I can see the vinyl is premarked with some white calk reference lines.
I then lay the vinyl upside down and slide the seat in.
flip the seat and kit all around so that you can check for squareness and that the stitched seams are falling straight onto the edges of the foam pad.
Next using two of your clamps, anchor the rear edge of the vinyl so it will stay in place as you manipulate and glue the front edge.
Once again check that the side overhand is even and that the chalk reference marks are going to fall along the top edge of the pan.
Give the front edge vinyl as slight stretch then fold and clamp so it wont move as you jump back to the rear edge.
Back at the rear edge, remove the clamps and then using scissors or a blade split the vinyl along the stitched seam stopping just at the edge of the seat pan.
It is at this point the gluing begins. Smear a good amount of contact cement on both the vinyl flap and the seat pan where the flap will be pressed. It is important that you let the glue dry for about two minuets so that the bonding will occur immediately when you press the flap over the edge.
Now fold the flap over taking special care to tuck the vinyl under the pointed grip cleat. You can throw on a couple of clamps if you like but this contact cement holds "In god we trust"
Next jump back over to the front edge and apply the contact glue to both surfaces.
On this edge before the final fold and press, give the vinyl a good stretch back to front so that it is tight.
Couple of clamps if you like.
Before I begin to glue and tuck the side edges, I like to split the lengths into four equal length flaps so that I don't have to worry about getting a bunch of wrinkles in the sides by trying to glue too much area.
I also trim down the two rear flaps shorter because I have to work around the seat bumper stanchions. If the vinyl is too long it is difficult and messy to get the vinyl to lay down flat in this area.
Starting at the rear stanchion area, glue, stretch and tuck the flaps, first one side then the other.
Using these erected clamps makes me feel like a pro upholsterer.
Mine that you probe for the little metal cleats and try to tuck the vinyl under.
Yes you will be amazed at how great your seat is turning out.
Coming to the end of the project it is time to re install the decorative trim. Using your reference marks use a small pointed tool to probe the glued vinyl for the holes the trim bolts pass through.
Once you have found the inside of the hole, poke till you dimple the outer vinyl ans then stab from the outside in. I grabbed this test light to poke the holes .
Slide on the trim.
Install the 1/4" nuts and washers. This step the small nuts don't have to be monster tight. Just enough to secure the trim.
This last piece of trim really sets off the look of the finished set. It is the passenger hold strap. First look it seems to be just a decorative bit of folded vinyl but as you cut your bolt hole you will see that it is actually a nylon braided strap.
Get one side wrenched down tight .
On the opposite side you might want to leave just a tiny bit of slack so that when you do the final wrenching it does not get pulled too tight causing unsightly wrinkles in the seat side.
Yes looks fantastic and my labors should add a hundred dollars to the value of this build.
I am now finished with this Wiki page. If you have any questions about the tips I suggested, or are having trouble with the process or can suggest how I can correct a mistake or to make the page better, contact Cheetahchrome