Much can be done to improve the appearance of Corvette seats without reupholstering them. C3 seats in particular are enhanced with a number of chrome parts that are easily replaced. Additionally there are functional parts that deteriorate over time and are equally easy to replace. The following shows how to refurbish Corvette seats by replacing the seat adjustment chrome knobs, seat release buttons and bezels, seat front trim moldings, seat upper and lower bumpers and more. Although the title says 1968-1978, much of this applies to other years. Let’s start with the easiest.
01: The Seat Adjustment Chrome Knobs corrode over time. New reproduction heavy metal Seat Adjustment Chrome Knobs are available for 1968-1978 Corvettes and they simply screw onto the seat track adjustment handle. Use channel lock pliers if necessary to get the old knobs off but install the new parts just hand tight. Zip Corvette sells these in pairs and they are made in the USA.
02: The upper seat back has rubber cushions on its lower end which deteriorate after years of use. Zip Corvette offers replacement Seat Back Upper Bumpers for 1970-1978 Corvettes. Use a #2 Phillips screwdriver to remove each. Peel away the old rubber if needed to insert the screwdriver. Apply a little grease to the threads on the new bumpers to assist future removal. These are sold in pairs to repair a single seat back and are made in the USA.
03: The metal seat back lower bumper can be removed with a #2 Phillips screwdriver although a #3 or larger screwdriver fits better. Zip Corvette sells the 1970-1978 Seat Back Lower Bumper individually. Each seat requires 2 bumpers.
04: Zip Corvette also offers the plastic washers that go between the upholstery and the lower end of the metal bumper. The 1970-1978 Corvette seat back lower bumper washers come in a set of 4, the right number for both seats.
05: It’s not uncommon for the nut that’s spot welded to the seat frame to break loose and be replaced with a regular 5/16-inch nut as in this seat. If that’s the case, reach under the seat to hold the nut. Also note that a 3/8-inch nut was used as a spacer to more securely set the seat back angle.
06: The upper rubber bumper or the lower metal bumper can be unscrewed or shimmed to provide the desired amount of clearance between the deck lid and the seat back when the seat is moved fully back.
07: The passenger seat is shown at a more upright position compared to the more laid back upper seat on the driver’s side. Screwing the bumpers out, or more securely by shimming them, will also reduce the seat back angle.
08: If the seat back release bezel’s chrome is corroded, they can be replaced with Zip Corvette’s new reproduction 1970-1978 Seat Back Release Button Bezel. Attached with only two screws, replacement is easy.
09: Zip Corvette also offer new chrome screws for the bezel. The seat back’s look is much improved when all these parts are replaced. The 1970-1978 Seat Back Button Bezel Screws come in a car set of 4 and are made in the USA.
10: 1968-1975 Corvette convertibles had a rubber bumper on the leading edge of the deck lid to protect the paint from the seat. The two nuts that attach the bumper are easily accessible with a 3/8 socket or wrench. Zip Corvette ’s new reproduction 1968-1975 Convertible Deck Lid Bumpers are sold individually. Tip: Apply a little protectant to the new rubber before installation to brighten and even its appearance.
11: When the seat backs get chipped and scratched, they can be repainted at home with aerosol cans. Zip Corvette offers correct factory colors to restore or change the color of Corvette interiors. Their 1968-1982 Interior Dye is formulated to adhere to fiberglass, plastic, metal, hard rubber and even carpet, door panels, seat covers and dash pads. The 12 oz. aerosol spray cans are made in the USA.
12: The seat back is attached with 2 Phillips screws at the lower corners. Tip: note the location if a larger diameter screw was needed to be used in an enlarged hole. After the screws are removed, lift the lower end out a little and push the seat back up and off. Zip Corvette also offers 1970-1978 Seat Backs (Heavy Duty ABS) with the original grain.
13: While the better half was out foraging, the seat backs were scrubbed with detergent in the kitchen sink, thoroughly rinsed and dried. Next Adhesion Promoter was applied per instructions, followed by applying the interior dye. Both sprayed out well. The dye dried to the touch remarkably quickly but, to be sure it was fully dried, installation waited until the next day.
14: Installing a Zip Corvette new reproduction 1970-1978 Seat Back Release Button takes a few more steps. Remove the seat back, the release button bezel and then separate the two halves of the upholstery.
15: Use pliers to bend open and remove the hog ring upholstery clips on the lower edge of the seat cover.
16: Pull the seat covers back to expose the 2 nuts holding the top of the seat release mechanism.
17: Two more screws attached the middle of the seat release mechanism to the seat’s upper frame, and 2 more screws are at the bottom. Note if any larger diameters screws were installed due to enlarged holes.
18: Pull the mechanism down and out from the seat. This enables access to the attachment screw on the rear of the seat release button. Zip Corvette’s reproduction buttons come with a new machine screw and star washer.
19: Note that the mechanism has a smaller hole to the right of the screw hole to receive the alignment pin on the button. Test to make sure that the release works before reinstalling the mechanism into the seat.
20: This seat back molding’s pot metal is corroded and unsightly after 50 years of use. Zip Corvette offers 1970-1975 Seat Back Front Trim (w/Shoulder) which is a reproduction of the original black molding with chrome trim. Specify LH or RH and with or without shoulder harness when ordering.
21: If the car is equipped with shoulder harnesses, remove the 2 screws that attach the harness bezel. If the screws are corroded, a car set of 4 1970-1975 Shoulder Harness Bezel Screws is available. Zip Corvette also offers a reproduction 1970-1975 Shoulder Harness Bezel in LH or RH sides. If the old bezel is in good condition but the finish is chipped, repaint while it’s removed.
22: Remove the shoulder harness from the seat. In this case, a piece of rubber tubing was inserted in the belt loop to keep the belt from going too far into the seat when retracted.
23: The molding’s center nut is easily visible with the seat back release mechanism removed but the seat cover and foam need to be pulled back to expose the two outer nuts.
24: Tip: When the new molding is installed, if it’s studs do not protrude far enough through the seat back to engage the speed nut, turn the nut around and grasp the outside with pliers to tighten it.
25: Zip Corvette also offer the 1970-1975 Seat Back Shoulder Harness Inner Guide if needed. Note that LH and RH sides are different when ordering.
26: After the molding and seat latch mechanism are installed, insert the hog ring upholstery clips. Note that a metal rod is inside the seat cover material here and the hog ring clips need to go over it to pull the cover down to the seat frame. Hog ring pliers crimp the rings faster but regular pliers will work with a few tries.
27: The new seat back trim molding is a big improvement over the old corroded part.
28: The appearance of the seat backs was restored with very little time and effort. Note the dye is a relatively flat finish which in this case goes well with the leather upholstery. Zip Corvette 1968-1977 Seat Back Screws finished the appearance. These come in a car set of 4 #10 screws and are made in the USA.
1968-1978 Corvette Seat Parts Replacement
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
Corvette Parts List Related to Article:
- 1964-1978 Door Opening/Seat Adjustment Chrome Knobs
- 1970-1978 Rubber Seat Back Upper Bumpers
- 1970-1978 Metal Seat Back Lower Bumper
- 1968-1982 Interior Dye
- 1970-1978 Seat Back Lower Bumper Washers
- 1970-1978 Seat Back Release Button Bezel
- 1970-1978 Seat Back Button Bezel Screws
- 1968-1975 Conv Deck Lid Bumper – Lid to Seat
- 1970-1978 Heavy Duty ABS Seat Back
- 1970-1978 Seat Back Release Button
- 1970-1975 Seat Back Front Trim with Shoulder
- 1970-1975 Seat Back Front Trim without Shoulder
- 1970-1975 Shoulder Harness Bezel Screws
- 1970-1975 Shoulder Harness Bezel
- 1970-1975 Seat Back Shoulder Harness Inner Guide
- 1968-1977 Seat Back Screws
- Shop & Service Manuals