Replacing Cloth seats with Takeoff Parts R/T Leather Skins - Dodge Challenger Forum: Challenger & SRT8 Forums
Interior Discussion / Modifications If you are interested in modifying your Dodge Challenger's interior, this is the place to talk about it.

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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Replacing Cloth seats with Takeoff Parts R/T Leather Skins

Installed my R/T leather seat skins I purchased from Takeoffparts. First off, let me say that the skins were exactly as advertised and very good condition. There is one “issue” (I use the word issue for the lack of a better one) with the arm rest in the back. The only way these arm rests can come off is to separate the seam in the back. So, when you remove your old one, and replace it with the leather one, you are going to have to have someone stitch it closed. I was going to have my wife sew Velcro on to close it, but instead she will just hand stitch it closed. Also, you are going to need hog ring pliers and a box of hog rings. Get the smallest ones you can buy. Got mine at Ace Hardware. Pliers were $10 or so and the rings were $2.50. I couldn’t imagine doing this without the pliers and new rings.

Now, as far as the installation is concerned, I have never replaced seat covers before. I can tell you that it can be done by novices with patience and assistance. In my opinion, you will need at least four hands (two people) to get this done in any reasonable amount of time. It took a friend and I about 4-5 hours to replace all the seat covers. I took some pictures, but most did not turn out for some reason.

Removing seats: Removing the seats is pretty straight forward. The drivers and passenger front seats bolt down differently but are easy to remove. For the passenger seat, remove the large bolts at the very end of the track. There is a hole in the front of the front seat risers where the front bolts go into. 13MM bolt for the fron and 15MM for the rear if memory serves me correctly. The drivers seat bolts are a star shaped bolt, but a 3/8” 12 point does just fine. 6pt would probably work as well.



After you unbolt the seats lean them back and unplug the electrical connections. That’s it.

As far as the back seats are concerned, the seat bottom simply lifts out. Pull from the back to get it out from under the seat back, pull up from the front and it will pop out. There are two rubber grommets in the front that the seat frame fits into. That’s. it. To remove the rear seat backs, fold them down. Pull back the Velcro attached fabric at the bottom of the seat back to expose the 5x18MM nuts. Remove the nuts and the seats will come out. They actually are two parts, and the small passenger side, connects to the driver side using a pin. Nothing bolts them together, the pin just holds them together.



Removing old cloth seats: Start on whichever seat piece you want. I started with the rear seat bottom. The cloth seats (and the replacement leather ones) clip onto the frame using plastic clips (see pic below).Undo all the plastic clips. You may need to use a screwdriver to help. Put the screw driver in the U portion of the clip and push it off the frame. Once you get it started, you can pull them off with your fingers.

Once you have all the clips off, roll the cloth seat covers over the foam to the top of the seat. The portions of the seats that you sit on, and your back rests on, are secured to the seats with the hog rings. Just fold the seat covers back until you see the hog rings. The rings connect to a thin metal rod that is molded into the foam. You will need a good heavy set of tin snips to cut these. By the end of this exercise, your hands will be sore from cutting the rings.






Here's a picture showing the typical hog ring connection points on the seat covers



Once you have all hog rings exposed and cut off, remove the cloth seat cover. Go back and inspect the hog ring locations and make SURE you remove ALL of the cut ring parts. Some remain embedded in the foam. You don’t want these working loose over time and punching through your leather seat covers.

Grab the replacement leather piece and make sure you line it up first with all the hog ring locations. Secure the seat backs/bottoms to the seat using the hog rings. Put the ring in the pliers, opening facing out. Insert the seat connection in the top of the ring, hook the bottom of the ring over the metal rod and squeeze it shut. That’s all there is too it. Make sure everything is lined up properly before you start. After you make all the hog ring connections, roll the seat covers over the foam and connect the plastic clips to the frame in the same manner as the cloth seats. Work the seats and the foam as necessary to get everything lined up etc.. Overall these covers were pretty easy to install, I believe because they had already been installed before. I was working in 37 degree temperatures (garage) and didn’t need to heat them up or anything.

Each seat of course will have it’s differences. For example, the rear seat backs did not have the plastic clips, but had a zipper. Undo the zipper, roll the seat covers back, to expose the hog rings, reconnect via new rings, fold back over, tuck in all the foam, zip it back up.

Front Seats: Front seats for me, were a bit more complicated, but still easy to do once you figure out the system. Remove headrests and set them aside. Start off by removing the seat back. Remove the two screws at the bottom. About half way up each side is a clip (see pic below). Pop these clips out (pull out by hand). Then pull the seat back DOWN to clear the big white clip in the pic below. Disconnect the LED light connection and set it aside. Remove the lumbar lever, and for the passenger seat, the seat back lever. Be careful with the seat back lever. I broke one of the six plastic connectors on it. For the lumbar lever, several folks have had difficulties finding a socket that works. I double checked, and I used a 7/32" deep well 1/4" drive socket. The socket is tapered so it fits into the hole. Pull off the plastic cover on the lever, and then carefully work the rest of it off. Should just pop off with a little effort.


Undo the plastic clips. Pop out the two button push pins on the lower part of the seat. Sorry I don’t have pics of those, but you’ll see them connected to the cloth seats. Push the bottom clips to the front of the seat. Before you can remove the seat back, you have to remove the two black plastic rings for the headrests. These are actually about 2” shafts that the headrest slides into. To remove, I used a socket the same size as the diameter of the shaft. Set the socket on the shaft (deep well, perhaps with extension) and used a hammer to tap them out. A couple of sharp raps and they pop right out




Once these shafts are removed, and all clips are removed, lumbar lever and seat back lever are removed, the seat back will just slide right up. Pull it off and set it aside

The seat bottoms are pretty straight forward to remove. There are two bolts holding the front of the seat bottom down. Drivers side is held with a clip and a bolt. Remove these two bolts, remove the clips. Remove the power connectors that are connected to the bottom of the seat. They should just pop out. Be careful though.. I broke one of the clips. Not a big deal and it won’t affect anything if you break a clip or two. Also remove the one button clip in the center of the front of the seat bottom. Once all the power connectors, bolts and clips are removed, the seat bottom just lifts up.

Same as all the other seats pieces, just roll back the cloth to expose the hog rings, clip the hog rings, secure with new hog rings, reinstall the seat pieces, put plastic clips, pins etc in same locations and you’re done!


Rear arm rest and Headrests: My biggest fight was with the headrests. My friend and I were laughing because we struggled with those pieces the most. Seems they should have been the easiest, but either we were tired or something. They are on quite tight, so you will struggle with them. Pretty straightforward as well though. Remove the C clips, remove the seat belt holder. The bottom of the headrest has plastic clips just like the other seats. However, these plastic clips clip together to secure. We fought for awhile to get them undone, and then to pull off the old covers. The rear arm rest, as pointed out above, has to be sewn together to complete. To remove the old one, pull out the cup holder. You’ll see two buttons at the bottom of the cupholder. Don’t let them distract you like we did. We thought those buttons had to come out. They don’t. The cup holder just pulls out. It’s a little tough, but “be a man” and just pull it out. Everything else should be straight forward.
Summary: As I mentioned up front, this took about 4-5 hours max to do it all. Everything was pretty straight forward, once you stopped and looked at things. Don’t be in a hurry, take your time, and everything will work out fine. If I can do it, you can do it. But, be advised, that you will need a partner to assist, unless you’re really good and experienced doing this. Plus, if you’re an old fart like me, by the time you’re done, you’ll be sore and tired, but happy that you did it yourself and got it done.



Hope this helps at least one person…. If anyone has any questions I will be glad to answer them. Good luck!

Mike

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Last edited by Walaby; 03-27-2010 at 07:16 AM.
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 09:43 AM
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What a great post and nice pics.Hope you passed that on to the guy replacing his on another thread it should help allot!

Last edited by williams rt; 02-04-2011 at 05:55 PM.
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 10:59 AM
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You are dead right there, extremely helpfull. I was 90% through taking the cloth skins off mine when i read this post. The only thing so far is trying to get the lumber lever off, the hex head screw seems to be about 6.5mm but try as I might I cannot seem to get a small enough socket in there as it binds on the inside of the lever. The old cloth skin stretched enough to get it off without taking the lever off but the new leather may not be as pliable....we shall see next week when I put the leather skins on.
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 11:56 AM
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Extremely well written post. Thanks for the write-up.
One tip for everyone doing this change...remove all your plastic trim pieces on the hottest day you can. It is much more forgiving and less prone to SNAP.

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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublerkid View Post
You are dead right there, extremely helpfull. I was 90% through taking the cloth skins off mine when i read this post. The only thing so far is trying to get the lumber lever off, the hex head screw seems to be about 6.5mm but try as I might I cannot seem to get a small enough socket in there as it binds on the inside of the lever. The old cloth skin stretched enough to get it off without taking the lever off but the new leather may not be as pliable....we shall see next week when I put the leather skins on.
I replied to your PM as well.. I don't recall the size, but I used a 1/4 drive deep well socket and it worked okay. It bound slightly in one of the levers, but still worked fine.

Mike
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 70stroker View Post
Extremely well written post. Thanks for the write-up.
One tip for everyone doing this change...remove all your plastic trim pieces on the hottest day you can. It is much more forgiving and less prone to SNAP.
That's a very good point. I did snap one of the tabs when removing the seat back lever. Im sure the cold weather (30's) direclty contributed to it.

Thanks for the comments guys.. I wanted to take other pics but got so caught up into getting it done, that I skipped right over it.

Mike

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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublerkid View Post
You are dead right there, extremely helpfull. I was 90% through taking the cloth skins off mine when i read this post. The only thing so far is trying to get the lumber lever off, the hex head screw seems to be about 6.5mm but try as I might I cannot seem to get a small enough socket in there as it binds on the inside of the lever. The old cloth skin stretched enough to get it off without taking the lever off but the new leather may not be as pliable....we shall see next week when I put the leather skins on.
I ran into that same problem I don't think that lever comes off. So you will need to pull cloth over and it will tear a little bit but the leather streaches and goes back to shape. I tried several times and figured it is a weld not a bolt.

Just a car junkie
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 09ChallengerSRT8Dude View Post
I ran into that same problem I don't think that lever comes off. So you will need to pull cloth over and it will tear a little bit but the leather streaches and goes back to shape. I tried several times and figured it is a weld not a bolt.
It's a bolt and does come out. 1/4 inch drive, 5 or 6 mm.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 07:02 PM
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How did you new skins lay down? The upright portion on my SRT8 driver seat was replaced and it has wrinkles that I'm not too keen on. The dealer says it will tighten up over time.

Nice write-up by the way.

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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any wrinkles that I can see. Couple spots puckered up, but I just kept squeezing the foam to fill it in and it seemed to work out just fine.

I've heard the same thing, about wrinkles tightening up over time.
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