I had seen this idea mentioned somewhere but never saw anyone try it. It works!
So the 50 year old hard and crunchy gummihaar seat pads in our cars just turn to brown dust and slowly disappear. While new FRONT seat backs and bottoms are available ($$$) we have not had rear seat ones forever. Working off the knowledge that other manufacturers also used the product opens up new possibilities. So the vintage VW folks have gummihaar pads available and at a reasonable cost — hummm…
Working on the WolfsburgWest.com site the best match by size are rear seat pads for a’56-’64 sedan. They were (April 2021) $44 each and shipping was $32. Here is what I got:
113885775B PAD/R BKRST, 56-64 SEDAN, VW Qty 1
113885375B PAD/R/BOT, 56-64 SEDAN, VW Qty 1
I never could get a measurement on the thickness but they are almost identical to our ’02 ones! The edges need to ‘wrap” around the metal seat frame and these do. So what isn’t perfect?
Let’s start with the seat bottom. And this is where the title for this article comes in. The VW part is an inch wider than we need and the depth is one inch shorter. Also the edge shape at the back corners is a little different.
How about keeping the back edge of the old part (it is under the seat back anyway) and we can get our missing inch of depth back. Then for the front section we take an inch out of the middle. I used very heavy scissors and cut the gummihaar along my marked lines - not fun. Re-assembling our “Frankenhaar” with upholstery thread or monofilament line stitching we get this new bottom cushion!
Halfway there. While the VW seat bottom is a good match, the seat back in the ’02 is a moulded marvel that is anything but straight or flat.
After puzzling over it a couple of days I just couldn’t put that crunchy seat back pad back in the car. So the idea is new padding is for where you sit, right? Bingo, I’ll just replace the contact area with new material and preserve the shaped area I have. The 15” square donor sections look like this:
Same exercise… use thread/line to make big loop stitches holding them together. Spongy and soft where two people can sit back there! My new covers came with a layer of foam stitched to the material so I didn’t add anything else over the gummihaar. Reattached the cover to the pointy tabs and then some additional hog ring work and done!
Given the front seats get more use and have more “shape” in them, I didn’t explore the VW donor route and just gave my German friends at WN some business. I hope this gives you some ideas and may answer an old question you may have had like me… “I wonder if those cheap VW pads could work?” Cheers!