Seat reclining mechanism advice needed

Burgstall

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I took my driver's seat out to give it a thorough cleaning and a maintenance of the mechanisms. The reclining mechanism wasn't returning to upright position by itself, and the rails were a bit sticky. I managed to cure both of those, and also install a new bulb for lumbar support. Only after reinstalling I noticed that there was actually another problem with the seat reclining mechanism... It doesn't hold the position, meaning that if I set it upright, it only needs a push and it leans back.

I found very little information on the problem, and can't seem to find a source for a new mechanism either. But first and foremost I would like to take this one apart and understand how it works, and see if I could fix and rebuild it. I am a bit that way inclined. :D

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So, first question: Do I need to take the seatback apart completely to be able to remove the hinge and then push the front pin of the mechanism out? Or is there an easier/smarter way?

Second question, if anyone knows, would be how to take the mechanism itself apart, and any advice on how to fix it (or how it should actually hold its position, is it friction-based or?) would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Forgot to mention the obvious; in the picture the bolt in the back has been detached and the mechanism turned frontwards to see if I could make any sense of it, but I would rather get it out completely and take it apart to see how it could be fixed. The mechanism pictured is from my passenger seat, the drivers seat I had already put back together and installed. :(
 
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steel snake

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Without having the seat in front of me I couldn't tell you much either. I'm pretty confident the seat adjustment is not a friction assembly. I would guess it would have to be holes or slots something falls into and is lifted out by the adjuster. That mechanism is not allowing the 2 parts to fall in place and lock to keep he seat where you want it. Good luck. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in. SS
 

Burgstall

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Thanks SS. I will need to pull the passenger seat out of the car tomorrow anyway, so I'll see if I can get a better look at the mechanism. Maybe bolt off the whole seatback to get the mechanisms front pin off and see whats what there.
 

MoparMap

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I haven't fully disassembled one myself either, but by just looking at it and knowing what you do to make it work, I would assume it probably has some kind of spring loaded pawl that drops down into grooves on the shaft. I don't recall the seat being infinitely adjustable, but I could be wrong. If you have one that works see if you can feel distinct notches as you move the seat back. Judging from your picture it looks a little bit rusty. I'm wondering if maybe the mechanism is getting stuck and not returning when you release the adjustment lever? Does the lever feel like it's pulling against a spring at all or is it fairly loose? Just spitballing some ideas at this point.
 

Burgstall

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Thanks MoparMap. The lever seems to work fine, it locks and releases the mechanism, but there is somewhat little force needed to fully recline the seat without operating the lever, no need for full throttle for it to do that. Unfortunately the both seats have the same problem, so I guess the best way forward is to try and get the mechanism in hand to be able to find the root cause.
 

MoparMap

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Hmm, interesting. I have a set of gen 1 seats that I got with my 67 Dart and have one out of the car at the moment. I've seen the inside plenty of times, but only from taking the bottom cushion out a bunch of times. I might have to see about taking the recline apart to compare against yours if you don't see any obvious problems.
 

Burgstall

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Took a further look at the mechanism yesterday, and while I didnt take it completely apart, I think I might have found out the problem. Or at least part of it. The little lever seen in this pic, the one that the cable operates, didnt seem to return all the way that easily. It was leaving a gap of maybe 2mm to resting fully against the mechanism end stop. I tried adding a spring there, but it would have been impeding the disengage, so I settled with just as thorough cleaning as possible without taking it apart, and plenty of "lock cylinder oil". Gotta check how that works, and if it wont, this will be another little project for winter.

Now I gotta get the rest of interior cleaning done for a carshow on saturday. :)
 

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Blue Vert

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Hi Burgstall,

Mopar Map is right, it should be a springloaded pawl and cam that locks into grooves on the long shaft. Normally the issue with older recliners of this type is the spring pushing the pawl in place can get gummed up by the grease getting old, and also just not functioning it very often. Worst case, the spring coils rust together reducing the spring force used to engage the pawl into the slots on the rod. In this case, your idea of cleaning it thoroughly is the first thing to try. Use brake cleaner to spray our and clean out all of the old grease and oil. Then, use a light lubricant to coat all the parts again. Something like bike chain silicon spray would be good. The point is to coat the parts so the rust or whatever is binding the spring doesn't return. If this doesn't work, and the spring is actually rusted together or broken (doesn't sound like it, since it still returns a bit), then you will have to replace the small spring on the inside. I have not looked at one of these in years, so I am not sure if you can replace the spring without taking it apart. Also, these recliners are normally welded together, or clinched in some way. It's really not safe to take it apart and try to re-use it, I'm not sure you'd be able to get it back together anyway.

The other potential problem could be the cable itself. It can also get rusty or if galvanized will oxidize. Same approach to cleaning and lubing the cable while cycling should help. If this doesn't work, post back.

I happen to be an engineer that works at the company that made these seats originally for the OEM, and will check out the design on Monday to see what the issue might be if not the above, and will also check for any warranty returns with the same issue.

Best regards!
 

bigfatguy

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Hi Burgstall,

Mopar Map is right, it should be a springloaded pawl and cam that locks into grooves on the long shaft. Normally the issue with older recliners of this type is the spring pushing the pawl in place can get gummed up by the grease getting old, and also just not functioning it very often. Worst case, the spring coils rust together reducing the spring force used to engage the pawl into the slots on the rod. In this case, your idea of cleaning it thoroughly is the first thing to try. Use brake cleaner to spray our and clean out all of the old grease and oil. Then, use a light lubricant to coat all the parts again. Something like bike chain silicon spray would be good. The point is to coat the parts so the rust or whatever is binding the spring doesn't return. If this doesn't work, and the spring is actually rusted together or broken (doesn't sound like it, since it still returns a bit), then you will have to replace the small spring on the inside. I have not looked at one of these in years, so I am not sure if you can replace the spring without taking it apart. Also, these recliners are normally welded together, or clinched in some way. It's really not safe to take it apart and try to re-use it, I'm not sure you'd be able to get it back together anyway.

The other potential problem could be the cable itself. It can also get rusty or if galvanized will oxidize. Same approach to cleaning and lubing the cable while cycling should help. If this doesn't work, post back.

I happen to be an engineer that works at the company that made these seats originally for the OEM, and will check out the design on Monday to see what the issue might be if not the above, and will also check for any warranty returns with the same issue.

Best regards!
Is a parts break down with part numbers available as my passenger side cable is bad and the hinge is bad so I have it locked in the straight up position. I would like to get parts to fix it rite.
 

Blue Vert

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So, it turns out we didn't make this mechanism or frame. I thought I may be able to load an exploded view here for you. Still, I am curious to know if your cleaning method worked on the plastic release lever mechanism. It would have the same type of issue, potentially, the recliner.
 

Burgstall

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Thanks Blue Vert. It turned out the previous analysis of the problem was correct, and the core of it was that the springloaded pawl was not returning fully to its "locked" position. With the cleaning and oiling exercise, I managed to get the passenger seat's mechanism working. The driver's seat needs the same more thorough cleaning and oiling (getting the mechanism upside down by disconnecting the bolt from the seatback seemed to be essential for this on my passenger seat), I will do that in the winter. For the time being, I seem to be able to get the driver's seatback to lock into its position by "shooting" the lever back from its disengaging position with the spring, that apparently launches the pawl a bit further in its track.
 

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