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September 2006: Labor of Love- my Labor Day seat install

As much as I enjoy driving the Talon, there has been one thing that's been nagging me. I've never seen a leather driver's seat that looked good after 200k miles, and this one is no exception. The previous owner did a good job of keeping it stitched together, but there's only so much you can do when the cheap material starts wearing thin. It has gotten much worse over the course of a year, so bad that I was embarrassed to drive people around in it.

I looked everywhere for some good factory dsm seats, but I'm pretty picky, and everything I saw was worn out looking in my opinion. I considered some cheap seat covers, but I just couldn't force myself to do that. On a related note, who in the hell are buying these seat covers emblazoned with "Tweety" or "NOS"? Somebody must, because they are easy to find. I also considered an upholstery shop, but they wanted an arm and a leg, and who knows how that would've turned out.

Lastly, I thought about some good racing-style sport seats, but why would I pay more for seats than I paid for the entire car?

Recently, while browsing a local car forum, a guy posted some Neon SRT-4 seats for sale. I did some searching and found that they looked pretty damn good! They were styled after the Viper seats and looked to have big old side bolsters, which would be a huge improvement over the skinny, slippery dsm leather seats. I called the guy and by the next day I was hauling them home.

Here's a little old vs. new. A bit of an improvement, no?

After I pulled the stock seats I was greeted with some under the seat sputum. It tasted like coffee. Here's a rule to live by: folks, don't ever, under any circumstance, taste your carpet. Trust me on this.

There was a french fry under there too. It could've used more salt.

I ran out of welding wire mid-project, so I ran to the store and picked up a new spool. I ripped into it and this little gem of an instruction manual fell out. I call this "How to weld: A pictorial adventure"

Once I got them home I pulled out the stock seats. Shortly after I was lulled into a false sense of hope by the way the seats just kinda sat right in the car, as if they belonged in there!

However, my buzz was quickly killed while I spent the next few hours measuring and test fitting the seats. The stock Neon floor is fairly different than the Talon's, so I had to remove the floor mounting brackets (which were bolted and welded, mind you,) and develop something new. I wanted a perfect fit, complete functionality/adjustability and 100% peace of mind that they wouldn't fail me in an accident. Those three requirements made for a long labor day weekend.

A few hours after getting some more steel, the passenger seat was in! I fabricated some heavy-duty brackets that utilized the factory mounting positions.

Here's a shot of the final install!

The driver's seat was a formidable opponent. It was more difficult than the passenger due to the driveline tunnel encroaching on the seat mounting area. This issue required moving the right side slider inward about an inch. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but trust me, it was a ton of work due to other components in the seat adjuster that had to be modified also.

In conclusion, I am extremely happy with the end result and glad that I saved a bunch of money over some brand-name sport seats. The seats fit like a glove (remind me of my Evo Recaros) and look 100 times better than what was previously there.

For anyone seriously considering doing this, be prepared for some copious amounts of welding and fabricating. Lots of cursing will be involved too. It really has to be a labor of love.

Thanks for reading and see y'all next time!