Seat Cover Removal & Installing Leather
Updated March 22, 2009
Seat Cover Removal and Seat Heaters
Removing the arm rests is tricky. Screw in the turn knob all the way. DO NOT turn it out. If you do, you will have to order a new arm rest because you will loose the nut. Now, pull off the knob. You may need to pry on it a bit with a screw driver but, it is press fit on anyway so it comes off without too much problem. Undo the two screws at the bottom of the armrest and the plastic molding will come off. Be sure that you do not try to unscrew the arm rest knob too far otherwise the nut inside will fall off and there is no way to get that back on again.
1. Remove seat from truck.
2. Work in a clean area.
3. Remove the front arm rest (drive pin on shaft off) You need to drive the pin out with a roll pin punch. Push back the fabric between the bracket and the armrest to see that pin.
4. Remove head rest (pull up and out)
5. Fully recline front seats.
6. Remove seat bottom clips holding cover on bottom, remove cover.
7. Remove seat back clips (often called hog-rings) and remove seat back.
8. If the seat is heated, be careful not to damage the heaters.
9. Put new back on, then seat
10. Do arm rest, remove knob (above) and black plastic shield at the knob end. Work cover off, and put new one back on.
11. Do head rest. I think they zipper on, and get the trim pieces in the right spot/ position (they are not universal)
11. Install seat in truck.
Here is a tip that has worked very well for me, and I have installed a few of these in the past. Use a diagonal cutter to cut the hog rings and a needle nose pliers to pull all the remnants of the hog ring out of the foam. Work from the edges in, and fold the fabric towards the center as you go. If the upholstery has metal rails sewn in for the hog rings be careful not to bend them or you will have perm ant puckers in the fabric.
You may need to cut holes in the heater matrix to clear the positions for the rings. Follow the manufacturer's directions carefully. Now here is a tip: When you are ready to reassemble the upholstery get a bag of high quality industrial type zip ties, also called cable ties. Get them about six to eight inches long and in either white or black to suit your upholstery. Thread them through the places where the hog rings would go, doing one whole line at a time. Don't do more than just engage the tie until the whole row is in place. Once they are all in tighten them all up smoothing and stretching the fabric as needed until they are all tight. Then cut the tail off the ties and with your needle nose pliers, push the buckle of the cable ties into the foam and under the bars they anchor to. The idea is to bury the buckle so that you can't feel it through the fabric. Work from the center out and be sure that you get ALL the points where the hog rings were. This is much simpler than it sounds, and so much faster and easier to do than the hog rings!
Installing Leather Seat Covers
I was very impressed how tight the fit was. I ran into a few small problems along the way because I did not have the right tools. One thing I recommend is buying a electric staple gun. I purchased mine for about $50.00 and it was worth it. A ice pick, and razor blade will also come in handy to punch the holes in where the head rests and arm rests go.
I started first with the back seats, there are 4 small bolts in the floor which come out very easily, just remove those and pull the seat out, after the rear seat is removed, un-bolt the seat mounting bracket, again there is just 4 small bolts that need to be removed. It is a good idea to remove the head rest, and the plastic brackets that the head rest fits into, before you take the seat out because it is already bolted to the floor and will not move. After the head rest is off and the seat is removed use a screw driver and needle nose pliers to remove the hundreds of staples that are currently holding in the cloth upholstery. After all the staples are removed should be able to pull off the cloth without to many problems, I however did not waste the time to carefully take them out I just cut the cloth out with a razorblade because it was already in bad shape. In the middle of the seat backs there is a rod that goes through underneath that holds the upholstery to the seat back so it gives it a nice tight looking fit, this can be a little tricky to get back in when putting the new seat covers back in. To remove this metal rod you will need a pair of needle nose pliers. Once all the upholstery is removed you need to put the metal rod through the inside of the new upholstery their will be a fabric tunnel that it will fit through, once you get it through the inside of the new seat covers you will first need to put it back into the seat back, the seat covers will almost be inside out, once it is back into the seat back and holding the leather into place you will need to pull it over the seat back and pull it tight, then put the bottom seat cover back on and pull it tight and staple it down. After it is all stapled down take the ice pick and punch small holes where the head rest goes in at the top of the seat and use the razor to make the hole a little bigger, after the small holes are punched in put the plastic piece that the headrest fits into back into place.
(This is a picture of the back seat uncovered, notice the indent in the seat back, that is where the metal rod goes through to hold the upholstery to the seat back)
The head rests shouldn't be to hard, underneath the head rests where the fabric comes together you can just pry the old fabric off, there are two plastic fittings that fit into each other on the bottom of the head rest that holds the covers in place, once you remove it you will see how it works and the new seat covers should just fit over it pretty easily and snap together the same way the old covers did. Now just replace the brackets back onto the seat bottoms and put it back into the truck.
After the first back seat has been recovered do the other rear seat then move to the front. I found that the front seats can be a little tricky. The covers I ordered had zippers on the bottoms of the front seats therefore I didn’t have to remove the seat backs of the front seats, I left them in place and just fit the new cover right over it and zipped it at the bottom, The seat cushion however must be removed but that is no hassle. I removed the arm rest and you have to remove the adjusting knob fist turn the knob all the way in (not out!) and pry the knob off with a screw driver just make sure you do it carefully it might be hard to remove but it will come off, it is not threaded it is press fit.
Once I removed the adjusting knob and took the plastic cover off the arm rest I then took the old upholstery off of that and you must remove the mounting bracket from the arm rest. To do this you hit the pin out with a flat head screw driver. After the pin is removed and you pull the mounting bracket off simply pull the new cover over the arm rest, it might be tight fit and if you cannot pull it over the arm rest then use a hair dryer to heat it up a bit be careful not to get it to hot though and don’t focus in one space keep moving it over the surface, once it has warmed up a bit you should be able to pull it over. Staple it down under where the bracket will cover and then reassemble the arm rest.
Now the seat cushion covers use two different kinds of clips Hog Clips and a smaller upholstery clip, I had to get some extra upholstery clips I called my local dealer and they told me where I could buy the clips. After the seat back and cushion have been recovered put it back together and again you are going to have to find the holes from the head rest and the arm rests, I found finding the holes for the arm rest very difficult, when I did the second seat I measured how far up they are from the bottom of the seat and I found them much easier, just be very careful where you cut the holes. Enjoy your new seats.