Saturday, 28 May 2016

Seat box refurbish - stage one!

Just before Christmas, I won a second hand seat box in an eBay auction. I managed to secure it at a reasonable price and, for the money I paid, I got a bargain. The box has a few cosmetic problems, many of which were rectified after a quick wash and polish. One thing that was bothering me was the shoulder strap that was looped onto the side carrying handles and just hung down the side of the box, getting in the way.  As I never use this, I wanted to remove it. Well, nothing is ever that simple. I don't know if they come like this or if it had been modified, but the strap handles have to be released from the box to remove the shoulder strap.

This shows how the straps were held on to the box.
For some reason the straps are attached to the box using a machine screw and nut through one hole and a pop rivet through the other - Why? I am sure I don't know. All four fixing were the same. I started by attempting to undo the machine screw and discovered that the nut was not captivated in any way. a spanner would hold the nut but it was almost impossible to get a firm enough hold on the machine screw to loosen the nuts that were badly corroded.

The back-plate and nut were somewhat rusty!
This was now becoming a pain. As the other fixing, a pop rivet, was going to have to be drilled out, enough was enough and it would be much quicker to simply drill out the the head of the machine screw until it fell off. 

If all else fails - drill it out!
The pop rivets are removed in the same way and the backing plate can then be prised off the inside of the box and any remaining rivet/machine screw can easily be knocked out.

After removing the strap, cosmetic cover and backing plate.
Once the plates and strap had been removed I was left with the recess and the fixing holes now was time to consider how it was going to be reassembled. I could see no point in using new machine screws and nuts and opted to use pop rivets throughout. but first I had to sort out the plates.

Ready for reassembly
The rusty backplates were soaked in rust remover for a couple of hours and then cleaned off using paper towel and water to rinse the remaining chemical. They were then oiled and dried off in a piece of rag. Now they looked a bit better! The cosmetic plates were flattened and reshaped using a small panel hammer and a 'lump' of steel as an anvil. The plates had been misshapen as there were no spacers fitted to the original in order to prevent the fixings crushing them. You can see how distorted they were in the top picture. Half an hour spent with chrome cleaner brought them up a treat.

Ready to reattach the strap-handle
Washers were added between the strap and the box to prevent the cosmetic cover being distorted as the rivets are fitted. Where the back-plate holes have been enlarged by the drilling out/flattening process Washers are also fitted to prevent pull-through.
The lower hole of this plate had become enlarged, a washer prevents the rivet pulling through

After fitting the straps the job is done, I have not refitted the shoulder strap but I will keep it in case I decide to sell the box on I will offer to refit it if required. The finished fixings not only look better but I have confidence in them and will be able to lift the box without worrying if they will hold.

That looks a bit better!
There are a few other jobs that need looking at but this will do for now. As I get around to dealing with them I will post the results.