By John Lauer
I got my recliner mechanisms back from the plater yesterday, and I have a few tips on reassembly. Page 238 of the Registry Restoration & Repair Guide describes how to build a tool to install that strong spring.
Regardless of what you use for a tool, start by screwing the mechanism down to some sort of wood work bench. I used two wood screws with large washers through the holes that attach the recliner to the seat back. Then I drilled a hole in the work bench where the hinge point attaches to the seat bottom cushion. I did this with a cardboard cushion between the chrome and the work bench to aviod scratching. Now you have the whole thing held securely so you can concentrate on the powerful spring which has the potential to make you bleed.
As to the tool, if you make one be sure to use some very hard metal for the pegs described in the manual. I wound up using a blade screw driver in the spring windings, and an appropriate size allen wrench in the little curl of the spring. Both of these inserted through holes drilled for them in a bar about 18 inches long. You will still have a few failures before you get the nack of it.
The next tip is on the lovely stainless screws (from Stoddard) for attaching the recliner to the finished seat. With new chrome they look pretty dull. I used a buffer wheel with Dico SCR. It is made to polish Stainless steel, and the result is the screw head almost looks like chrome.