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Rusty Seat Frames

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  • Interior: Rusty Seat Frames

    Is there an accepted method for repairing, rebuilding, reconditioning rusty seat frames? On my '57 Hawk, the front seat frames are very good, the rear seat frames not so good. I am having a hard time finding suitable replacements, so I am thinking rebuild. Has anyone ever done this on rusty seat frames with any success? These are the split rear seats with center armrest/console. Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    I went with a soda blast on the spring assemblies for my '53. I would think a "rebuild" would mean your springs are rusted to the point they will not support the required upholstery or weight of a passenger.
    With some networking within the Studebaker Drivers Club, you will be able to find usable seat frames and/or replacement springs.
    If "not so good" means there is ugly surface rust, exorcise it.
    Brad Johnson,
    SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
    '56 Sky Hawk in process


    • #3
      They are about in between usable and not, leaning towards not. Some of the frames have rusted to the point of being brittle in areas; some springs similar. I thought about taking them to a radiator shop and having them vatted, or spraying with something like OsPho. Certainly finding a good replacement set of frames would be better for me.


      • #4
        I recently had my seats recovered. The rear seat back spring frame was very rusty. I reinforced the weak areas with 1/4" round stock, and repaired a broken spring with a piece of 3/16" brake line. After these pic.s were taken I had the frames bead blasted and painted.
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        Dwight 54 Commander hardtop


        • #5
          Great idea! I like it and will try it; 'just might save some money...


          • #6
            Clean 'em up and paint'em. They should serve rightfully. jimmijim
            sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member


            • #7
              Originally posted by jimmijim8 View Post
              Clean 'em up and paint'em. They should serve rightfully. jimmijim
              I am not trying to just get by, just trying do the job right. Since I have never dealt with rusted seat frames before, I have no experience in that area. If buying another set of rear frames is the answer, then I will buy replacement frames (if anyone has these for sale, please let me know and how much). If rebuilding the frames is the right way to go, then that's what I will do (if anyone is restoring these, please let me know and how much). If it's a toss-up, then I will go with the one that saves money while obtaining the desired result - a quality repair and restoration of the rear interior that must start with the rear seat frames. Thank you.


              • #8
                Have you checked with fellow Texan, Bob Helm? I know he has parts and I think he has advertised some parts Hawks in the past. It might be worth your time to look his number up in the Turning Wheels classified ads and give him a call.
                John Clary
                Greer, SC

                SDC member since 1975


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jclary View Post
                  Have you checked with fellow Texan, Bob Helm? I know he has parts and I think he has advertised some parts Hawks in the past. It might be worth your time to look his number up in the Turning Wheels classified ads and give him a call.
                  Thank you for the input. I have tracked down his e-mail and have sent a message inquiry.


                  • #10
                    Will stock rear seats & arm-rest/console "Tri-Y" from a 1953 Commander coupe "4H-C5" interchange with my stock 1957 Hawk rear seats, same configuration?


                    • #11
                      Have rebuilt/painted many seat frames. All the above are good suggestions. The easiest way to rebuild badly rotted/ weakened wire sections is to go to Ace hardware (others may have this too) and get some lengths of "music wire". Don't ask me where this name comes from. It is hardened and comes in many diameters. You'll prolly use 1/8. Form it to the areas that need replacement and hog ring the replacement sections in place. Hog ring it in place right over the weakened area if you wish. You may need to use propane to heat it if you have sharp bends. This is rugged wire/rod. I have made replacement carb linkage pieces from this stuff.

                      As far as painting is concerned, unless the rust is horrendous, I don't blast them. Restoration is expensive enough already. SEM is a company that makes high quality reasonably priced automotive paint products. Way more reasonable and better quality than POR 15 any day. They make a product called "Rust Shield" . It is made to go over light to medium rusted surfaces, as long as there is no flaking rust. If your local Dupont/PPG/ whatever paint store does not have it they can order it. Black is easiest to get. Avail QTS and Gallons. Do NOT use primer. Use 1-2 coats. It takes this stuff at least a day to cure fully. You'll need to reduce it, it is pretty thick, use any urethane reducer

                      Using brake tubing to repair a spring is a great idea! I'll be using that one. You could also get a smaller diam section of Music wire and form your own spring around a pipe. Use pipe smaller than you need that way when it springs out after you let go it will be the final diam you want.

                      I would paint first, then repair, and touch up the repair after
                      Last edited by tbirdtbird; 11-15-2011, 01:52 PM.
                      1947 M5 under restoration
                      a bunch of non-Stude stuff


                      • #12
                        Seat frames and springs in my '53 were pretty rusted and pitted in places. I had them blasted, but not by a commercial sandblaster like the chassis frame. Too delicate. They used some other media (beads, soda, shells, ?? dunno anymore). Then I had to fix/replace some broken coils and weld some areas the spring frame was rusted through.

                        As for '53 rear seats fitting in a '57 hawk... I thnk so. As long as both are the same body type Cs or Ks. Can't mix those due to a reinforcement channel in the K that is not in the C under the seat. '58 and later the floors are different due to the driveshaft tunnel.

                        Jeff in ND


                        • #13
                          I finally found a set of rear seat frames from fellow Texan Vic Collingham; very good cores for my new upholstery. Thanks for all the input!