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SEAT AND WINCH - 2005 POLARIS RANGER

SEAT INSULATION

The engine is located under the seat. It's noisy and they say the seat can get uncomfortably warm on long trips. Most trips on our property are too short to worry about the seat getting too hot. Even so, the original insulation on the bottom of the seat was in bad shape and the vinyl seat cover needed to be replaced. The first attempt at new insulation was provided by two 24" square sheets of peel and stick space age thermal heat/sound barrier material.

Seat Insulation and Cover
Seat Insulation and Cover

First Whack

The new insulation didn't seem to do much. Further research turned up a thicker 80 mil product by Noico. This is a much thicker sound-deadening material with much better adhesive. In addition to the engine area under the seat, the new material was also used to replace insulation on the back of the vertical surface at the front of the engine bay. This made a noticable improvement, but the engine noise still seemed louder than it should be. Then I noticed the seat cushion did not sit flush to the frame around the edges. There was a gap all the way around the seat!

Second Whack: A "D" shaped weatherstrip 14mm x 4 meters long was just about perfect to go all around the edge. Starting about half-way on the back edge, peel and stick all the way around, then trim-off about 12" excess length.

Seat Insulation and Cover
Seat Insulation and Cover

Second Whack

Adding the weatherstrip made a world of difference!

SEAT UPHOLSTERY

Fitted seat covers are available, but it is much less expensive to buy the reinforced vinyl seat fabric by the yard at a fabric or craft store. The reinforced fabric-backed vinyl material comes 4 feet wide and only costs about 8 bucks a yard! Aftermarket seat covers never fit tight enough and always look cheap to me. It's not that hard to replace the seat fabric. It is much easier to replace the fabric before the holes get so bad the foam padding is ruined. Before removing the old cover, look at how the original fabric was pulled and stapled, especially at the corners. The fabric may have been pulled and stapled so all creases are past the edge. The vinyl material has quite a bit of stretch in it. Since the vinyl is only 4 feet wide, it takes two yards to get a piece long enough to cover this seat. The four foot width is enough to do both the seat and the back. My seat back looks fine, so the extra piece will be rolled up and saved for a future repair.

In nearly every case, the final result will be better if the original cover material is removed and the foam pad is replaced with new. Putting a new cover over repaired foam or an original cover with holes will cause defects to telegraph thru and be visible on the new cover. This is a case where I don't pay attention to my own advice. It's much quicker to just do a patch job and put the new cover on top. Sometimes I prefer to just git-er-dun and live with less than perfect results.

QUICK REUPHOLSTERY STEP-BY-STEP
01Note spacing and type of original staples. The intent is to copy the original pattern.
02Pull staples and remove original cover material. Plan where new cover will be stapled to frame.
03New staples can go slightly inboard or outboard of original rows to get a good grip.
04The old cover can be used as a pattern, but leave at least 4" extra material on all sides.
05Replace or repair foam padding. All imperfections will show thru the new fabric cover.
06Carefully sweep the entire work area clean. Old staples and dirt will ruin the new cover.
07Spray adhesive can be applied to the back of the fabric to make it sticky.
08Lay the new fabric over the padding. Make sure it is square and straight.
09Pull and staple the fabric in the middle of one short side with 2 staples 1" apart.
10Go to the opposite short side. Pull the fabric just tight enough to remove wrinkles and secure with 2 staples.
11Check the top side. Make sure the fabric is unwrinkled but loose enough it can be pushed into any low spots.
12Go to the middle of a long side. Pull fabric and put 2 staples 1" apart.
13Go to the opposite side. Pull fabric tight and put 2 staples 1" apart.
14Continue to pull and staple opposite sides from the middle to the ends one staple at a time about 1" apart.
15Check progress often. Pull and redo staples to adjust fabric as necessary.
16Stop about 6" away from each corner.
17The goal is to make each corner as smooth as possible. Copy or improve how original cover was done.
18Start at the mid-point of each corner. Pull and staple.
19Pull and staple either side. Try to pull all folding to the bottom.
20Tight radius corners will have some folds. Make folds uniform in size and spacing.
21Once all corners are done, flip seat over and inspect the work.
22Pull staples and redo where necessary.
23Go back and add staples between all other staples, matching how original cover was done.
24Trim excess cover material about 1/4" past the staples.
This was how to cover a bench seat in a Polaris Ranger. Most other upholstery recovering is similar. Less than $20 for materials is a lot better than buying a loose-fitting $50 seatcover.
Seat Cover

Here's graphic proof that some things don't turn out quite as good as I'd like. The corners of my seat cover didn't turn out as nice as the original. The corners have a few wrinkles where the fabric folds under the edge. I am ok with this for now. It's better than having the stuffing coming out.

SEAT BELTS

Original lap belts were replaced with 3-point lap/shoulder belts. Various 4 and 5-point off-road racing harnesses are available. Those would all be inconvenient, expensive, and excessive. Automotive type 3-point belts seemed like a sufficient upgrade for the way this vehicle will be used. A rigid bolt-on coupling was added to the vertical bar on each side to provide solid mounts at the proper height for the shoulder belt brackets. A hole was drilled and tapped to receive the bolt for the shoulder belt bracket. After a test-fit the new mounts were powder-coated black to match the roll bars. Small parts like this can easily be powder-coated at home. Buy a new toaster oven for the house and the old one can become a powder-coat oven for the shop.

Shoulder Belt Mount SHOULDER BELT MOUNT

WINCH

Winch

A winch is such a standard accessory on these machines there should be no mystery to mounting one. BIG TIP - The front bumper easily swings forward on the two upper mounts once the lower mounting bolts and bolts for wheel well liner are removed. It's a lot easier to slide the bracket and winch in from the back than working thru the radiator grille opening. If that isn't accessible enough, remove the two top bolts and the bumper comes completely off.

My winch is from Harbor Freight of course. Catch a sale price at HF and their 2500 pound winch is half as much as the nearest competitor. OK, if this was for off-road competition use or trail riding far from home, a name brand winch might be a better choice. For occasional use on my own property, this should be fine. It even came with a keyless remote that I tossed in the glove box with some spare batteries. Rather than buy an aftermarket replacement grille, I simply cut out a section of the original grille to clear the roller fairlead. This winch came with a steel cable. Many people are recommending using stronger synthetic rope that also allows packing more length on the winch. The steel cable on my other 8000 pound winch is over 20 years old and still going. It should be a long time before I need to think about replacing this cable.

Light Bars

The four 9 watt cube lights in the previous photo were hard to keep aimed right and the wiring looked like a problem just waiting to happen. I decided to use the cube lights for another project and found two small 9 watt light bars. These look a lot better to me, get knocked out of adjustment a lot less, and simplified the wiring with half as many connections.

NEXT = Gearshift Service

POLARIS RANGER - TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTERDESCRIPTION
1Research and Purchase
2Soft Cab and Bed Rails
3Lighting Upgrade and Wiring
4Cranking Problem Fixed
5AWD Switch Upgrade Problem
6Seat Cover and Winch
7Gearshift Service
8Exhaust Tip and Trail Rides

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Content and Web Design by K. LaRue — This Site Was Last Updated 22 JLY 2020.
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