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Old 09-11-2010, 12:51 PM   #1
Junkman2008
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DIY - Replacing the Leather on the C5 Sport Seat

With this DIY, there will be no need to reinvent the wheel. Vette Essentials has detailed instructions on how to do this. Their instruction are pretty thorough, however, I found a couple of areas that could use some clarification. I also have included steps that Vette Essentials did not include that will assist in making the job easier and ensuring that the seat doesn't eat through your leather again. The good thing about the information that I am going to provide is that it is photo driven ( as if my DIY worked any other way... ). With that said, lets rip that old stank and busted leather off those seats!

First off, you should again be following the instructions from Vette Essentials website to remove the seat covers. When you get to step 4a, it talks about removing the electrical connections that are plugged into the seat. They really don't have a good picture of how this plug is connected so I will provide a couple of pictures here that should help. Explaining it in words is even more confusing.



Here a close up of the connectors that show the seat clips in and out:





Everything should go smooth until you get to step 10a.

Explaining how to remove that handle is difficult. Again, pictures are worth a thousand words. The easiest way that I have found to remove the handle is to stick a flathead screwdriver down into the handle and to depress the spring. The handle will slip right off the shaft when you depress the spring. The spring is very similar to the spring that holds the window knobs on cars from the 70's (I've never taken a window knob off anything newer so they may still use the same spring). Here's a picture of the handle and the spring which must be depressed:





Now the next thing you have to figure out is exactly where and what angle to stick the screwdriver down into the handle. Never fear, "pic man" is here!

Here's a picture of the handle on the seat as you will see it, and then with everything removed for clarity.





Coming down like so with a flathead screwdriver will allow you to depress the spring and slip the handle off the shaft. You'll need to slip the screwdriver between the handle and cover first, and then give it a slight turn so that you can hit the top of the spring.



Now when you get to step 11c, you have to be careful so that you don't break any of the post on the back of the cover. The main one that you need to watch out for is the one at the front of the seat. Look at the picture below:



Here's a picture of the spring loaded post.



Okay, you should roll along until step 13b. I took the time to carefully remove the old hog rings as the instructions required. Turns out that I didn't need to because I have a buddy who does upholstery and he not only had some hog ring pliers, but he gave me a bag of hog rings to boot. If I were to do this again, I'd buy a pair of hog ring pliers and a bag of hog rings. That way, you can simply cut the old ones off with some really sturdy wire cutters and install new ones when you put the seat back together. By using new hog rings and the pliers, the installation of the covers was much easier. It also allowed me to reinforce areas which made the stretching the leather and securing it a lot easier. I'd buy a pair if I were you, but keep in mind that you'll find very little use for them unless you're doing upholstery.



The last area you may need help with is when you get to step 25b. I took my old leather seat bottom and cut out the side where the seat controls were away. Then I held that piece up to the new seat bottom so that I could get an idea as to where to cut my holes for the seat handle and cover plate post. I had already pulled my seat cover tight and tied it in the back so that it was pulled as tight as it could be. I did that so that my holes wouldn't be off when I went to tie the drawstring around back. See picture below:



From here on out, you're pretty much smooth sailing along. One piece of advice that I can offer you is to be careful when pulling the old leather away from the Velcro strips that hold the leather in place. As old as your foam probably is, one quick rip could pull the Velcro right out of the foam. If that happens, be prepared to break out your wallet caused you've just screwed up.

The only issue that you will encounter is as you go to put on the new leather, you'll see that those hog ring pliers would really come in handy. Again, If I didn't have a pair, I'd go out and buy some.

Once you have removed all of the old leather and replaced it with new, you want to take precautions that will ensure that your seat doesn't eat through your new leather. First off, look at the back of the fob that you use to arm/disable the car. You'll see a number 1 or 2. If you see a 1 for example, what you want to do is get in the car and run the seat all the way back. Get the seat as far away from the steering wheel as possible. Next, program preset #1 to remember this location (just hold the #1 button on the door down until the little light flashes twice). When you do this, every time you disarm the alarm, the seat will move all the way back out of your way. This will allow you the most amount of room to get into the car.

The next thing you do is fix the seat as you would like it while you're driving. Once you have the seat setup so, program that setting into preset #2. What will happen is when you get into the car, close the door and put the key into the ignition, the seat will automatically adjust to your driving position. This includes the mirrors, lumbar support and radio presets (for stock systems). Thus, you won't have to adjust anything. When you go to exit the car and remove the key from the ignition, the seat will automatically resort to preset #1 which will allow you the most amount of room for exiting the car.

If you are using fob #2, then the process is the same as above but you just switch the numbers around (#2 where you see #1 and vice versa). If your seat is all the way back and your butt is still rubbing on the bolster, well let's face it...you need to sell your Vette and buy an Escalade.

With that done, let's reinforce those seats. You most likely will only have to reinforce the outer bolster of each seat. Don't get lazy and forget to do the passenger side, it will wear through also although not as fast as it doesn't see as much action. Here's what I did. I bought some rubber hose and some Gorilla duct tape. I lined the edge of the seat with this rubber hose (I got it in the plumbing section of Lowe's), and then taped it down with the Gorilla duct tape. That hose was thick as all get out and that Gorilla tape held like cement. Check out the pictures:





I even taped up the bottom edge of the seat frame so that it would not wear through the new foam that I purchased.





One more thing that I did to help save the foam is to line the undercarriage of the seat with some real sturdy carpet. This is that stuff they use in a bus station or the front door of the unemployment office. You know, areas that get a whole bunch of traffic. The springs wont be cutting through this stuff.





Here's one more photo to help you identify what does what as far as the seat controls go. This may assist you in trouble-shooting a adjustment or seat power problem:



Well, there it is. Put the new leather on and you should end up with something that looks as cool as mine, if you bought it from a reputable source. Drop me a PM if you want to know where I got mine as it wasn't Vette Essentials. Their stuff is of superior quality but man, it's hard to fork over that much money for something that is gonna eventually just wear out again.









The Junkman

Last edited by Junkman2008; 10-11-2012 at 08:33 AM.
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