Jim Smart
July 1, 1998
Contributers: Matt Hardesty Photos By: Matt Hardesty

Step By Step

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Ford didn’t invest much in the way of engineering dollars on the stock Mustang GT seats. Ford provides the basics; however, we need more.
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The stock GT buckets lack adequate side bolstering.
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These obviously went soft right away in this low-mileage ’91 LX. The Recaro SE bucket seats will change all of that.
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Seat removal is simple. You need a 15mm box-end wrench to remove the rear bolts and front retaining nuts.
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Remove the escutcheons to get at the bolts and nuts.
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Before you lift out the seat, disconnect the power plugs as shown.
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Lift out the seat as shown, remembering to lift with your knees—not your lower back—to avoid injury.
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The Recaro bucket seats use the stock Ford seat tracks. A deep-well socket removes the retaining nuts.
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Here are the Ford seat tracks laid out on the floor.
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The Recaro seat-track adapters fasten to the Ford seat tracks as shown.
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Two self-locking nuts on each side get the job done.
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These Allen-head screws attach the modified seat-track assembly to the seat.
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Six Allen-head screws attach the modified seat-track assembly to the seat base as shown.
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Reinstall the seat-track adjustment spring like this. Be careful, and use eye protection.
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The installed seat-track assembly should look like this.
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Install the Recaro headrest, slipping the shafts into the seatback.
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Protect the new fabric with Fabric-guard or a similar fabric protectant. This will help your upholstery last longer.
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Installation of the new Recaro seat is straightforward. Position the seat, and tighten the retaining nuts and bolts. Install the escutcheons.
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The new Recaro bucket seats are cool and comfortable. When strapped in snugly, they offer security and excellent lumbar support.
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As we often suggest to vintage-Mustang buffs when modifications are made, save the old parts. Wrap the stock bucket seats in plastic, and store them in a safe location.

Two of the best interior upgrades you can give yourself and your Mustang are super comfortable, super sporty aftermarket bucket seats from Recaro. They add value and comfort to any late-model Mustang, along with a twist of cool. And we're going to show you how to do it.

The factory Mustang seats are disgraceful at best. The Mustang is a sporty car and quite capable on a canyon road. Unfortunately, with the factory seats strapped to your behind, you'll be spending more time keeping your body in the seat than you will shifting, steering, and enjoying the ride. The factory seats are not only detrimental to comfort but to safety in "spirited" driving situations.

What makes the factory seats so bad? Before we give the impression that they're going to kill you, let us tell you that for standard driving situations, the stock seats are just OK. If you don't do the corners, weekend road racing, or parking lot autocrosses, perhaps the stock seats are fine. However, there are undeniable problems with these seats that can arise even in mundane driving conditions.

First, back support is minimal; so is the foam quality. Comfort can be compromised by the factory to keep costs down, but the frames, tracks, and mounts can't (due to liability). Still, factory seatbacks on Mustangs have been known to fail, so even the integrity of the seat itself remains in question. You end up with a seat with little support, failing foam, and suspect reliability.

Aftermarket seats are the obvious answer, but unlike many bolt-on components for the engine, a good set of performance seats isn't cheap. It is difficult for many of us to justify spending the money for good seats. The benefits aren't as exciting as adding 15 or 20 hp for less money. So here's the justification: Performance seats provide you with an always comfortable seating position that makes all types of driving more enjoyable, especially high-performance driving, during which staying in your seat is, well, critical. Besides, nothing makes your interior look more trick than a pair of nice seats.

We recently went through this whole scenario with a '91 Mustang. The stock seats were in good shape, but the foam in all the critical support areas had failed, making it impossible to stay in the seat during cornering. Also, the lumbar support would no longer hold air, leaving an important area of back support without any.

We swapped the stockers with a pair of Recaro SE seats. The SE is Recaro's budget-minded seat that provides the same Recaro quality at a lower cost. The SE's foam is designed to last for years without collapsing, and the side bolsters are strong and provide that measure of side-to-side support not found in factory seats. In addition, the SE seatback is specifically designed to support the natural, gentle curve of the spine, preventing positions that can cause the vertebrae to compress, which can cause discomfort.

The SE frames consist of a steel shell around which the seat is built for obvious high strength. The recliners feature a twist-handle adjustment that keeps the seat locked at all times, unlike stock seats that can flop back and forth once the back is released. The seating cushions are designed with a tilt in them to prevent body submarining in a collision. (Submarining is when the body lunges downward during an impact and actually slips beneath the upper and lower portion of the seatbelt.)

Removing the stock seats and replacing them with the Recaro SEs turned out to be fairly easy. The new seats are remarkably better than stock. We can corner without fighting to stay in the seat, and long drives in Los Angeles are noticeably more comfortable.