Gaming chairs are expensive, even entry-level chairs can cost several hundred dollars. The height control and tilt mechanism on these chairs are one of the fundamental features and one part that is most prone to failure. In this article, we shall have a look at how to replace the height control mechanism and the most common types of tilt mechanisms.
Although it is impossible to cover every brand and model in one set of instructions, most chair designs are similar enough that the simple instructions listed below will take you through the process of repairing the height/tilt mechanism on your gaming chair in a series of simple steps.
First, let have a look at the types of mechanisms most commonly found on gaming chairs.
Single Point Tilt Mechanism
As the name suggests this is a mechanism that tilts the seat pan and the backrest in tandem from a single point. This is the most common and basic of all the tilting mechanisms.
Synchronous Tilt Mechanism
In a synchronous tilt mechanism, the backrest and the seat incline separately, usually conforming to a ratio of 2:1. For example, if the rest is tilted at 20 degrees then the seat pan will tilt to 10%.
Although there are other types, including knee tilt and forward tilt, these two are the common ones found on most gaming chairs.
The tilt mechanism also works as a connecting part that connects the seat and backrest to the chair base. It accommodates also the height control mechanism that adjusts the height of the chair. If tilt or height control malfunctions, the part needs to be replaced.
Replacing a Gaming Chair Tilt Mechanism
But what happens when the tilt mechanism fails? Height control might not work anymore and the chair might not tilt as intended. Luckily although slight details may change from design to design, most seat designs are similar enough that replacing the mechanism can be done easily and simply by following a set of generic instructions.
Read on for a step-by-guide on how to repair the tilt mechanism.
What Tools you will need-
- Allen key or Screwdriver. Check underneath the chair to establish which of these you will need, there will be screws holding the base plate onto the seat pan. If they are Allen-headed bolts, then it is likely that the Allen key was supplied with the chair.
- Rubber mallet or a Hammer and Thick Cloth. These will be used to release the tilt mechanism from the cylinder of your chair. The cloth is used to protect the chair from any damage from the hammer.
- Pipe wrench and penetrating oil (eg WD40), only if the gas cylinder is really stuck in the bushing
Follow the steps below
- Turn the chair upside down or lie your chair on its side and locate the bolts that hold the mechanism onto the seat pan. There are usually at least four of these, remove them and keep them somewhere safe. The whole base mechanism and seat pan section should be separate now. It is wise to remove the casters from the base at this point, as they have been known to fly off in some instances.
- Get the rubber mallet or prepare your hammer by wrapping it in a thick cloth, this will stop any damage occurring to the cylinder in the next stage.
- Take the bottom half of the chair and with it held upside down and supported on a hard surface such as a table, begin to gently tap the cylinder with the hammer (wrapped in the cloth). This should be done in a circular motion around the whole circumference of the cylinder. The object of this exercise is to break the seal holding the mechanism onto the cylinder. Take care at this stage because the mechanism will separate from the cylinder and fall to the ground. Once this has been achieved move on to the next step.
- Using the bolts that you put aside, attach the new mechanism to the base of the seat pan. Make sure the bolts are fully tightened. Important – Some of the plates will attach to the chair either way. But there is a front and back of the mechanism, look for a sticker or arrow that tells you which is the front side of the mechanism, and make sure that you attach the mechanism accordingly.
- You should now have the mechanism attached to the chair and are just about ready to attach the base of the chair to the seat pan with the new mechanism installed. Before you do this, this is the best time to replace the casters, mostly they should just click into place but occasionally they may need a bit of gentle persuasion with the hammer. (Wrapped in its cloth of course) You are now ready to put the chair back together.
- With the base of the chair upright, you are now ready to re-assemble the chair. Lift the seat pan assembly and carefully line it up with the chair cylinder and gently work the seat pan onto the cylinder. Be careful not to use excessive force at this stage, if it doesn’t slip comfortably on then it probably isn’t aligned properly. Once this is achieved give yourself a pat on the back. You have replaced your chair mechanism.
Other Types of Mechanism
Most gaming chair tilt mechanisms can be replaced by following the simple set of instructions above. However, some of the more complex mechanisms may vary slightly and there are some that will not fall within the scope of the instructions at all.
If you are unsure or feel that your chair varies from the description and instructions given, then it is worth paying the manufacturers or suppliers’ website a visit to check for instructions pertaining to your particular model.
Gaming chairs are not cheap items, and the tilt mechanism is in many models their Achilles heel. Buying and replacing the tilt mechanism is a far more economical solution should it fail then buying a new gaming chair. With a bit of elbow grease and just by following the steps above it can usually be replaced in less than half an hour.
And there you have it, your old comfy gaming chair is as good as new and your pocket isn’t as light as it could have been!