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Technical Question on "chopping" or lowering seat springs

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by RICH B, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Picked up a stock front bench seat for my '47 to replace some late model buckets I was using before I was told I should go with more traditional stuff on the interior.

    I already cut the height of tracks down as much as there was room to do; but I would still like to go another 1" or 1-1/2" lower. I think I could go about that much without having the backrest look too high above the bottom cushion, or be able to tune it up if it did.

    I have seen mention of "chopped" and "cut down" seats, to gain headroom, in articles on early chopped customs; but have not seen an explanation of how it was done.

    A long long time ago I had a Rod Tin rear seat I bought for my chopped '33, it was too tall; but it had a plywood base with springs stapled to the wood, I just
    cut the springs a little shorter and re-stapled them and it worked OK.

    Of course the stock '47 springs are on metal framework and can't be done that way.

    I was looking at tying down the seat springs as a possible way to achieve this;
    but am looking for some input on ways any of you guys had approached this

    Joined: Aug 2, 2013
    Posts: 60

    from canada

    Sorry, I don't have any info for ya. But I am very interested in this. I have a 1929 Chev that I would like to chop a fair bit. Being as I am 6-4" I will run into this as well.
  3. 5DeuceSled
    Joined: Aug 7, 2013
    Posts: 13


    I just did this to my 52 Fleetline. Im 6'2" and have a 4 inch chop on the roof, the 2 don't mix well. I removed the seat brackets from the sliders, sectioned an inch out of each and welded back together. Luckily that did the trick. Now the crossmember in the center of the seat is about a hairs thickness from the driveshaft tunnel. If I had to go further, my next thought was to cut out and "French" in the mounting holes on the floor so the seat brackets would be sunk below the floor; effectively lowering the seat. It would be a lot of work, and provided you had the room beneath the floor. Just a thought I had, figured I would share.
  4. V4F
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,895

    from middle ca.

    get rid of the springs & use high density foam !!!
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  5. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267


    Would it be easier to recess the floor where the seat bolts to.
  6. Bcometfx
    Joined: Oct 15, 2008
    Posts: 155

    from NC Indiana

    Wish I would have seen the a couple hours ago. Had my car in the air. Coulda snapped some pics. Recess the floor. It's way easier.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  7. That might be a possibility; but to me straight foam seats have always feel like sitting in a bobcat seat or office chair, nowhere near as comfortable as spring based seats.

    Don't think I have room to do that the way the '47 Ford is constructed. The seat tracks actually sit on top of and bolt thru the the frame rails and with the tracks cut down there is only a 1/4" over the hump at that the back of the seat frame and the top of the x-member is only about 1/4" below the floor in the center area.
  8. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,237


    I have a book at home written by some pro street rod upholsterers and they say they use heavy-duty zip ties to clamp down the springs up to 2" and swear it works well and lasts for years. I might be tempted to use hose clamps or something rather than plastic zip ties, but the idea is the same: don't cut, clamp.

    (I've never actually tried this so if someone has a reason why it sucks let me know.)
  9. The only thing I could think is like any other spring once you clamp it down the spring rate goes up so it would be a way less comfortable ride.

    As for all foam seats every modern car over the last 20 years is pretty much an all foam seat and I would hardy say they feel like a bobcat. It is a matter of using the right combinations (density and thickness) of foam to get the proper feel.
  10. 2Hep
    Joined: Mar 3, 2005
    Posts: 484


    I did this to my Olds when I cut the roof 5". The stock height of the seat meant I couldn't get in it. I removed the brackes off the bottom, Followed the angle of teh decline so the seat would sit in the proper location/position, went online found drag racing sliders that were 3/4" high. Mounted those on the bottom. all in all sunk the seat down 6" from stock height. I did have to rework the middle of the underside of the bench to get it to fit over the tunnel. With the upholestry back on you can not tell.
    Maybe this will get me to finally post a build thread of my '56 and get the piles of pictures off my desktop. :)
  11. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 990


    No reason to doubt that this would work. Upholsterer's have been tying springs with twine for a very long time. I have taken apart antique chairs that are very old and the original twine is still there and working. Heavy duty zip ties should last a long time. Most likely 2 per spring to keep the springs even.
  12. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,237


    "No reason to doubt that this would work. Upholsterer's have been tying springs with twine for a very long time. I have taken apart antique chairs that are very old and the original twine is still there and working. Heavy duty zip ties should last a long time. Most likely 2 per spring to keep the springs even."

    Well there you have it - all that money I spent on "How to..." books back before I found the HAMB is finally paying off!!
  13. its_a_nick
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 236

    from Sweden

    Can´t you just cut down the springs?
  14. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 990


    Yes you most certainly can. You may end up having to cut and weld some of the support framing as well. Depending on how the seat is constructed.
    This was most likely the way that it was usually done.
  15. Jim Bouchard
    Joined: Mar 2, 2011
    Posts: 542

    Jim Bouchard

    I have seen several "high end" upholstry shops work where they tie down the springs with tie wraps. The seats have always been comfortable and I am unaware of any long term problems. If i did not know the tie wraps were there I would think the seats were great!

    The only problem I have with it is it seems wanky to use tie wraps. I would have a hard time getting over knowing they were there.
  16. That was my original thought; but the seat spring assembly is kinda of a complicated one, it has lots of horizontal and diagonal braces and the springs themselves are not concentric shaped. Probably will have to rework the diagonal braces a little anyway when I tie the springs down as they look like they would shift the top framework forward.

    Was working on a '35 Ford today and looked at the springs in the seat cushions, wish my '47 seat was that simple.

    Got the rear seat backrest mounted and figured out the location for the bottom cushion. Finished shortening the seat tracks and the side bolsters on the front seat frame, had to cut, raise, and add U-joints to the jackshaft that synchronizes the tracks to get over the hump. A couple of the seat track rollers were really eaten up from rust so I gave them to friend to make a couple more.
    Hopefully it will move smooth when put back together.
  17. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    Are you forgetting that when you sit in the seat the cushion springs will deflect between 1-3 inches when you sit on them?
  18. No, I am trying to take that into account also. I want to come close to the seating position I felt comfortable with when I had the bucket seats mocked up.
    I remounted the drivers seat and took some measurements of the seat height and location. Then remounted the stock seat and compared measurements, I also found a dimensioned drawing on another post and looked at a couple of
    other cars to get a feel for the position. I gained about half of what I wanted
    by cutting down the track and I hope I get the rest tying down the springs.
    It is still hard sitting on pads on the bare springs to get a feel for the final position.
  19. Done the zip tie thing in my Deuce roadster, works like a charm and still way comfy !
  20. KustomKid9
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 762


    Take the material off seat and get 1/8 steel cabel put an end on it and screw it to ure seat frame at bottom ,then go up to top rail then down to bottom rail do this all around seat rail pull it to the desired height u want sew it like material it works great and this can be done in a couple of hrs
    .I did this on my 51 ford chopped 5"
  21. papasmurf240
    Joined: Nov 15, 2004
    Posts: 209


    Do you have any pictures of this? This sounds like a great idea.

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