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We are pleased to provide for you our installation instructions for Vette Essentials' full custom seat cover install. We also invite you to review the many other products offered by Vette Essentials, including other custom leather products, as shown on our website: www.vetteessentials.com. Enjoy!


Disclaimers, etc.


  1. Due to your investment and in an effort to obtain the best possible results, Vette Essentials recommends you consider having a professional interior shop install your custom seat covers. However, should you choose to attempt this process on your own, then the following are one set of steps that you may use to remove your seat covers and then install a new full custom set of Vette Essentials' seat covers. Alternatives may exist.
  2. Use these instructions at your own risk and be careful not to damage your new or existing parts.
  3. The seat cover removal process will likely take on the order of two to three hours. Installation of the new fully custom covers should go quicker assuming you did the removal and are therefore more familiar with the seat cover process.
  4. Neither Vette Essentials nor anyone affiliated with it or the formation of these instructions takes any responsibility for the results or effects achieved by following these instructions.

Printing these instructions


You might find it might helpful to print these instructions so that you can take them out to work on your 'Vette. For most folks, these instructions should print out in a readable form simply by choosing "File" and then "Print" on your web browser. Alternatively, you may save some office supplies and some stress if you print these directions in landscape orientation. For those not familiar with that, at the top of your browser choose "File", then choose "Print." A window opens up with print options, and one option should say "Properties." Choose that "Properties" option, and there now will be several tabs to choose from -- select the one that says "Paper." This will bring up several options about the paper, one of which that is "Orientation." Click on "landscape," click "okay" once which will take you back to the print window, and then hit "okay" again. This should start the printing process.

Viewing larger pictures


If you want to see any of the pictures below in enlarged form, then just single click on the picture. When you're finished looking at an enlarged picture, hit the "Back" button on your browser.

Let's get started on the seat and seat cover removal

Here's our tools, from left to right:
  1. one work piece to prop up the seat once it is unbolted from the floor but still remaining in the car; I used a tennis ball can, but any other sturdy object of about 6 to 12 inches in height will be helpful. If you have a second person helping you, this item is not necessary
  2. two sets of needle nose pliers (they can be the same size); alternatively and not shown, you may use a set of hog ring pliers
  3. Phillips screwdriver
  4. tiny flat blade screwdriver
  5. medium size flat blade screwdriver
  6. socket wrench, of same size to go with socket mentioned below
  7. helpful, but not necessary -- socket extension, of same size to go with socket mentioned below
  8. 15mm socket, preferably deep
  9. one crochet needle, size E or very close to size E. That's right for you folks not into hand-stitching, this is the hook that you might've seen your Grandma use to crochet sweaters and the like when you were young. Don't worry, you won't be doing any yarn or stitching work in this project, but just obtaining a crochet needle might put you more in touch with your feminine side. This needle is available at a hobby shop or borrowed from the right person if you're so lucky. You might get away with using a fishing hook, but that would be very dangerous and not as likely to be successful. As an alternative to using a crochet needle, you will likely be able to use a long flat blade screwdriver
  10. not shown, but helpful -- good size towel for protecting door sill during seat removal and also protecting seat once it is removed
Introduction to terms: Here's the seat already out of the car. Don't worry, you'll be to this step soon enough. But, hopefully to avoid too much confusion below, let's establish the terms "halo," "insert," and "seat bottom," as shown in the photo. The labels are smaller in the photo, but remember as described above, if you click on the photo you will see an enlarged version in which the labels are also larger. Once you're done, just hit the "Back" button on your browser.
Seat removal -- Step 1a: Move the seat all the way back, exposing and giving good access to the plastic "shoes" on the front of the two seat rails.
Step 1b: There is a brad-like pin at the front of the shoe, where the photo illustrates the head of the pin. Gently pry the head of the pin away from the shoe with the tiny flat blade screwdriver. Once the pin starts to come out, you also can use needle nose pliers to remove the pin. Also, once the pin is fully removed (or most of the way removed), you will see that it fits within a plug that also should be pulled out in the same direction as the pin. Since at this point you have pulled the pin out, then the plug will easily pull out also. The plug is shown in the step 1c photo, below, with the pin protruding slightly from it.
Step 1c: Slide the shoe against the carpet and toward the front of the car. This is to pull it away from a groove in the seat rail, where the groove is shown in the photo. Once the parts are removed, store them in a safe place.
Step 2a: Each seat rail has a 15mm nut at the front, and which is now exposed since the shoes have been removed. Use the 15mm socket and wrench (and extension for comfort) to remove these two nuts. This photo shows the nut closest to the door.
Step 2b: Removal of the second 15mm nut. This photo shows the nut closest to the console.
Step 3: Move the seat all the way forward, revealing that each seat rail also has a 15mm nut at its rear, and which is now exposed since the seat has been moved forward. For more room to reach them, you also can adjust the seat back into its forward position as also shown in the photo. Again, use the 15mm socket and wrench (and extension for comfort) to remove these two nuts, where the photo illustrates this step once the nuts already have been removed.
Step 4a: There is one electrical plug (on passenger side, two on driver's side) still connected underneath the bottom of the seat. To get to it, it's easier if you gently lift the seat off the four floor bolts and move the entire seat rearward a few more inches. This will give you more room to work from the front. Next, lift the front of the seat bottom upward and wedge your work piece underneath, thereby propping the seat into the position shown in the photo and exposing the plug(s) underneath the seat. In the photo, you cannot see the work piece, but notice that the seat bottom is at an upward angle, thereby giving better access to the electrical plug.
Step 4b: This is the one plug under the passenger seat. Use the tiny flat blade screwdriver to press inward on the plug tab, and at the same time pull the plug forward on the plug male, which includes the blue portion shown in the photo.
Step 4c: The plug female remains attached to the bottom of the seat, so this needs to be detached so that the seat can be removed. The cleanest way to do this is NOT to yank hard on the female. Instead, rotate the female 180 degrees as shown in the photo, and you will see a light gray guide that has a track that slides on the plug and which is retained in place by a square opened end shown here. Lift this end upward with the tiny flat blade screwdriver while at the same time pulling the female toward the rear of the car, and the female plug should separate, leaving the gray guide attached to the inside of the seat rail.
Step 5: You are now ready to remove the seat. Place the towel on the door sill plastic so you don't scratch the plastic during seat removal. If you have a coupe or convertible, and you haven't done so earlier, now is a good time to remove the roof/put down the top (if you have a fixed roof, look at the bright side, you're more unique than others, but now you get to work your arms a little more). Lift the seat upward and it should come right out of the car. No photo is really needed for this. Just grab the seat in a way that's comfortable and lift upward. You might try one hand in the open area below the top of the halo and the other hand under the front side of the seat bottom. No photo is shown for this step.
Step 6a:With the seat now outside of your Vette, we start with removing the "insert" located below the "halo." Just under the open area between the halo and the insert, you'll see a zipper. The ends of the zipper are tucked inside the seat, and you can locate them by simply following the zipper with your fingers toward the edges of the insert as it touches the halo.
Step 6b: Here's one end of the zipper, including the zipper slide. Note that the slide, unlike a common zipper on a coat, pants, or the like, does not have a pull attached to the slide.
Step 6c: Here's the other end of the zipper, including the zipper male and female.
Step 6d: Grab the zipper slide which is a little tough to hold since it does not have a pull on it, and unzip the zipper all the way to where you can separate the male and female at the opposing end. If you have difficulty using your fingers to unzip the zipper, you might use needle nose pliers to pull the zipper slide. Vette Essentials recommends that you do not use a screwdriver for this purpose because if you slip and the screwdriver releases, it may scratch or puncture the leather. The photo illustrates the foam inside the leather cover that is viewable once the zipper is unzipped.
Step 7a: The top few inches of the insert should now move freely forward. The next step is to remove one black plastic plug on each of the left and right side of the insert between it and the adjacent side of the halo; therefore, there are a total of two plugs that you need to remove (there are additional comparable plugs below the top ones, but you do not have to remove them). Here is a photo of the top of the plug on the right side of the insert and, thus, there is also one at the same vertical position on the left side of the insert.
Step 7a, continued: Just for context, here's what the black plug looks like once it's out. The plug is sometimes referred to as a Christmas tree due to the tapered look as seen in this photo.
Step 7a, still continued: Pry under the top of the black plug, where by way of example the photo shows a prying technique used for the top left black plug using the medium sized flat blade screwdriver (you also may just your fingers). It's somewhat tough, but eventually it will pull away from the hard back plastic of the seat. You only need to remove the top plug from each of the two sides of the insert. See also the next photo if it helps illustrate your goal.
Step 7a, finished: A photo of the insert once the two black plugs are removed, and the insert can freely fall forward. Note on each side of the insert near the top there is a plastic square piece with an oval-shaped hole in it; each hole is where a black plastic plug was previously located.
Step 8a: The only thing now retaining the insert is along its bottom -- in some cases, this attachment may not even be complete and the insert may simply pull out at this point. If not, look at the back of the seat near the bottom, and you'll see a length of black plastic as shown here next to the tip of my thumb.
Step 8b: The length of black plastic is a type of tongue and groove structure, where the groove is attached to the bottom of the seat insert and extends the entire rear width of the seat bottom, while the bottom of the back of the seat has two tongue pieces that together are roughly the same length as the groove. When attached to the groove, the leather at the bottom of the back of the seat is folded so that the tongue is pointing upward. You can't see this in this photo because I have separated the tongue from the groove, but notice the groove is oriented downward because the upward-directed tongue has just been removed. The fit snaps together and should pull apart with only moderate force. The key is to grab the groove portion that is attached to the insert and lift it upward, while at the same time pulling downward on the tongue portion attached to the seat back.
Step 8c, finished: Here, both tongues have been separated from the single groove. Congratulations, if you return to the front of the seat, the seat insert should now pull freely forward and away from the rest of the seat.
Step 9a: Remove the leather cover from the insert. First, on the back of the insert, there are two sets of tongue and groove fittings, similar to those in steps 8a through 8c. These will separate very easily, and you can slide them vertically with respect to one another to separate the tongue from the groove. They are shown in the photo, where one set is already separated.
Step 9b: The leather cover remains held in place relative to the insert foam using four strips of velcro. If you've never looked closely at velcro, it consists of one set of hooks and one set of loops. In the seats, the velcro hooks are attached to the foam, and the velcro loops are attached inside the leather. Work your hands around the inside of the cover and you'll find the various velcro locations. Each time you locate one, keep one finger on the edge of the velcro hooks on the foam and pull the leather away gently. You can see this technique in the photo where I have my thumb on the edge of the velcro hooks so they don't tear away from the foam while I am pulling with my other hand (not shown) on the velcro loops. Don't pull too fast or hard or you risk tearing the velcro hooks away from the foam. See also the next photo to appreciate in advance the locations of the velcro hooks on the foam (i.e., once the leather cover is removed).
Step 9b, complete: The leather cover is removed from the foam. Note also that when you later repeat this process for the driver's side insert and get it uncovered, the driver and passenger seat inserts are the same dimension so you need not worry about confusing the two.
Step 10a: It's time to turn your attention to the seat bottom, and two alternatives are shown here, first in step 10a followed by step 10a.1. Both have to do with the clip shown in the photo, and it relates to the fact that you must remove the recline handle on the side of the seat bottom. Be excited, it's time to use the crochet needle! The photo here shows, from a top view, the pivot portion of the recline handle (i.e., opposite the end of the lever that you normally grab to recline the seat). If you look closely, you'll barely see what looks like a chrome wire between the seat side and the black handle and parallel to the side of the seat (i.e., horizontal in the sense of the photo). This wire, which actually is a C-shaped clip, is what you're now going to snag with the hooked end of the crochet needle. Look to the next photo for more comment and instruction.
Step 10a, continued: Here I have the crochet needle in the area of the chrome C-shaped pin, where the hooked end of the crochet needle is facing the side of the seat. You simply have to fish around until you get the hooked end of the needle on the pin. Once you snag it, lift directly upward and the pin will release. See the next photo to understand further what you're trying to accomplish.
Step 10a, continued: You'll know you removed the C-shaped clip once you hear it snap loose. At that point, simply pull the recline lever away from the seat. The photo shows the inside of the lever and the C-shaped clip where the clip has been pulled up to release one of its ends from a detent or slot in the handle. Once the recline handle is off, go ahead and push the clip back in place inside the handle detent. To do so, if not clear from the preceding, look at the handle and you will see the two detents in it, one for each of the two triangular ends of the C-shaped clip. By pushing the clip back in place, this will prevent losing it, and later when it comes to time to re-install the seat covers, etc., the recline handle just snaps back in place so long as the C-shaped clip has been pushed inside the handle.
Step 10a.1: Alternative to step 10a. The photo illustrates that I am putting a long flat blade screwdriver between the side of the seat bottom and the recline lever. The goal is to put the tip of the screwdriver on top of the C-shaped clip and push the clip downward. If you are able to do this, you will hear a slight click. You will know that you have succeeded if the lever then easily pulls away from the seat.
Step 10a.1, continued: The photo illustrates the effect once the C-shaped clip has been pushed downward by a screwdriver as described in step 10a.1.
Step 10a.1, complete: As shown in the photo, lift the C-shaped clip so that its tips are still within each of the detents in the lever, but note that the clip is no longer in contact with the flat portion of the lever as was the case in the immediately preceding photo.
Step 11a: There are two Phillips screws attaching the plastic side switch panel to the side of the seat bottom. The photo shows removal of one of these two screws, where this screw is located on the side and it is only about 1/2 inch long.
Step 11b: The second screw is at the front corner of the seat bottom and is being removed in the photo. This screw is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, and due to the pressure created by the plastic panel this screw might feel like it's still in when, in fact, you have completely unscrewed it.
Step 11c: Once the two Phillips screws are out, pull the plastic panel straight away from the side of the seat. It might resist a little bit because the panel also has a post, a few inches from the front screw, that has a mild force fit into the seat bottom, as shown in the photo.
Step 12a: Now it is time to unplug the wire harness from the inside of the plastic side switch panel. To make this easier, first remove the switch assembly from the panel. Here I am prying with the tiny flat blade screwdriver in order to remove the switch assembly.
Step 12b: The clear colored male plug has a tab on it, as pointed to in this photo with the tiny screwdriver. Push the tab down toward the wiring with your finger, as it is fairly flexible, and at the same time pull the male away from the switch assembly.
Step 12c: Snap the switch panel back into the plastic panel, or you can keep them apart for re-installation later.
Step 13a: Using the towel for protection, lay the seat on its side and locate yourself to have access to the underside of the seat bottom. Locate the two "hog rings" shown in the photo. I think these are named as such because they're a pig to remove.
Step 13a, continued: Here's a photo of your goal, namely, the hog ring after it is removed. Hopefully, the photo familiarizes you with what you are now attacking. Basically, it's a short piece of wire with pointed ends and bent in the shape of a ring.
Step 13b: Remove the two hog rings. One option is to cut the rings if you have something capable of getting in close enough to the rings and cutting them. An alternative is to use the two sets of needle nose pliers (or hog ring pliers if you have them). Rotate the ring so that you can see both pointed ends. Then grab each end with a different set of pliers and pull the ends slightly apart from one another. You also may make this easier by grabbing one end with one set of pliers while at the same time using a flat blade screwdriver to pry between the two ends of the hog ring. The photo illustrates the two pliers approach (although as shown this is actually a different hog ring than those in step 13a, where the illustrated one is further discussed below). Lastly, rotate the ring until it "unscrews" from the fabric tab.
Step 13c, continued: In order to remember the location where these hog rings were originally affixed, you might want to re-attach them in their original position to the metal bar under the seat as shown in the photo. Just thread them around the bar and then crimp the tips together with pliers. If you cut them, then you can mark these locations with tape or the like so that when you do the re-install you have a general reference of where the rings formerly were located.
Step 14: Now that the hog rings are removed, the leather flap to which they were attached can be moved, revealing a draw string also attaching the seat bottom cover; I am pointing to this draw string in the photo, and you can see the draw string is located toward the rear of the underside of the seat bottom. The loose end is likely tucked into the seat cushion, but it will simply pull away; indeed, the photo illustrates the draw string once the loose end has been untucked from the seat. Loosen the knot at the end of the draw string, leaving the remaining loop in place for re-attachment later.
Step 15a: There is also at least one hog ring at each top rear corner of the seat bottom. Indeed, in some cases, the rings are in pairs, as shown in the photo here which illustrates a pair of hog rings at the top left rear corner of the seat bottom. Remove these two hog rings in the same manner as discussed above in steps 13a through 13c. In the photo, you can see that I'm first using the flat blade screwdriver to separate the tips of the hog ring so that they are easier to grab and rotate with one of the needle nose pliers.
Step 15a, continued: The photo illustrates the result once the pair of rings from step 15a are removed. You need to keep in mind for later re-attachment the manner in which the hog ring(s) retained the two fabric tabs shown, or hopefully you can return to this photo to refresh your memory when the time comes.
Step 15b: Here I am pointing to the two hog rings at the top right rear corner of the seat bottom. Remove these two hog rings in the same manner as discussed above in steps 13a through 13c.
Step 15b, continued: The photo illustrates the result once the pair of hog rings from step 15b are removed.
Step 16a: Lift the seat back to its upright position. The only thing now holding the leather on the seat bottom is velcro, in a manner similar to the seat insert. Gently begin pulling the leather up starting in the area where the insert was, as shown in the photo. You may have to use a little force to get the leather by the seat belt female that is still attached to one side of the seat and it may help to gently pull the seat belt female away from the seat, and eventually the leather will slip by that location.
Step 16b: Separate the leather from the different pieces of velcro, in the same manner as you did earlier for the insert in step 9b. Again, feel around until you locate the velcro, then use one hand to hold the edge of the velcro hooks down in the foam while using the other hand to gently lift upward on the leather. The photo illustrates the completed process once the leather is removed, and it also gives you an idea of the locations of the eight different strips of velcro on the seat bottom foam.
Congratulations, you're now done with the passenger seat. The driver's seat is virtually the same, with the exception that there are two electrical plugs under the seat bottom as opposed to one for the passenger side. So, follow the same steps as described above, with the addition of dealing with the extra electrical plug as shown below. Also, since you're now familiar with the process, removal of the leather covers from the driver's seat should go much faster.
Driver seat electrical plugs, step 17a: Assuming you've already got the driver's seat propped, here's a photo of the two connectors located under the seat -- one is black and one is blue.
Step 17b: Here I am disengaging the black plug in the same manner as with the passenger seat plug shown in step 4b, above. There is also a gray guide holding the male in place and it should be disengaged in the same manner as described earlier in step 4c.
Step 17c: The blue plug also disengages in the same manner as in step 4b (i.e., by pushing the tab and pulling the male and female apart). Thereafter, the female slides off a black plastic guide on the seat rail, but this guide does not have a tab like the one in steps 4b and 17b. Thus, in the photo, I am pulling the plug along this guide and toward the front of the car, thereby separating the plug from the seat.
Step 17c, complete: The photo illustrates the two guides corresponding to the black and blue plugs of steps 17b and 17c.
Step 18a, halo removal: Similar to steps 6a and 6b, above, we start with removing the "halo" leather by locating another zipper, which again is just under the open area between the halo and the insert. Again, the ends of the zipper are tucked inside the seat, and you can locate them by simply following the zipper with your fingers toward the edges of the insert as it touches the halo.
Step 18b: Unzip the zipper from step 18a. This zipper may be a bit more difficult to maneuver, so in the photo I am using needle nose pliers to assist me. Vette Essentials recommends that you do not use a screwdriver for this purpose because if you slip and the screwdriver releases, it may scratch or puncture the leather.
Step 19a: Access the back of the seat at the top where you see the "dump mechanism," that is, the device for tilting the seat back forward. The lever is surrounded by a bezel, and it is now your goal to remove the bezel. Before you attack this with a screwdriver, beware, it is easy to break so let's look at a few more photos in steps 19b and 19c to reduce the chance of breakage.
Step 19b, just an illustration: The photo shows the back of the bezel. It has two hooks, and each hook faces inward to pressure fit within a corresponding groove shown in the following step 19c.
Step 19c: The photo shows the result once the bezel is removed, and in it one of the grooves can be seen that mates with one of the hooks shown in step 19b. Now that you've seen both the hook and the groove, take the flat blade screwdriver and pry from the top outer edges of the bezel. While prying, push the bezel against the seat and to one side, while also prying toward that side. For example, push the bezel against the seat and to the left, while also prying between the top left side of the bezel and the back of the seat. As you begin to pry, you should be able to see between the seat back and the bezel which hopefully will aid you in avoiding any breakage of the bezel. Once the hooks in the bezel release from their corresponding grooves, rotate the bezel 90 degrees and remove it from the lever.
Step 20: There are now four black plastic plugs that should be removed in the same manner as in step 7a, above. The photo shows six of these plugs because we had left the two from step 7a lightly in place so as not to lose them. Remove all of these plugs.
Step 21: The photo illustrates that once the black plugs from step 20 are removed, the leather opens outward much like taking a jacket off of a person. Then it simply lifts upward and off the seat back foam.
Step 21, completed: The photo illustrates the foam and leather halo once separated from one another.
Congratulations, you're now done with the removal of the stock leather. If you don't need a break, then move on to the table below as it's time to get your Vette Essentials full custom leather seat covers into your Vette!


Installing the full custom seat covers and seats


The following describes the process for installing your new Vette Essentials' full custom seat covers. Two introductory comments might be helpful:
  1. Prior to beginning, put the new leather inside a plastic garbage bag and let the bag sit in sunlight for at least 30 minutes. This will soften the leather, making it more pliable and supple to ease the installation process.
  2. During all of the following steps, as leather is positioned in place, continue to pull the leather tight in each direction so as to avoid wrinkles in the final product.

Step 22a: The photo illustrates a common crease that may exist in the bolster foam in your factory seat, or you may see other or additional creases due to the foam being compressed by the factory seat cover. These creases may be removed by exposing the foam to steam, as further shown below.
Step 22b: Using a steamer, apply steam to the entirety of the foam. The photo illustrates the steamer nozzle very close to the foam, and you may touch the nozzle to the foam. By comparing this photo with the photo of step 22a, you can see that the crease virtually disappears as the steam contacts the foam. Apply steam to all of the exposed foam in this manner.
Step 22c: The photo illustrates a common crease that may exist in the seat bottom foam, and this foam also may be treated as described above in steps 22a and 22b.
Step 22d: The photo illustrates the steamer nozzle applying steam to the seat bottom foam, again causing the creases to virtually disappear.
Step 23a: Locate the two felt "ears" provided by Vette Essentials with your new custom seat covers; they are shown in the photo.
Step 23b: Gently pull the bolster foam outward and away from the seat. When you do this, you will uncover an inflatable support, and behind that is a bolster support. The bolster support is roughly the same shape as one of the felt ears.
Step 23c: Slide the felt ear over the bolster support, as shown in the photo. Then position the inflatable support in front of the felt, and re-attach the foam over the combination of the felt and the inflatable support. Repeat steps 23b and 23c for the other felt ear and with respect to the other side of the seat.
Step 24a: The photo illustrates the foam for the seat bottom. The installation of the leather is made easier by removing the foam from the seat frame. Gently pull it upward and it will pull away from the frame. Also, by way of introduction, note that there are eight (8) black strips of velcro on the foam, and they are shown here so as to familiarize you with the locations for attaching the custom leather cover, as described below.
Step 24b: Grab one of the two seat bottom leather covers; they are identical at this point, so you may use either one for either seat. Turn it inside-out, as shown in the photo. The photo also labels various pieces of velcro on the inside of the felt cover, as your goal will be to align these pieces of velcro with the black strips of velcro shown in step 24a.
Step 24c: Turn the leather cover over so that its velcro aligns with the black strips, and begin pushing down in the locations that are highlighted in the photo. Go slowly, and try to pull the leather as tight as possible in all directions You may need to pull up the cover and attempt this a few times to get a desirable fit.
Step 24d: Lift the front flap of the leather up and inspect to be sure that you are properly aligning the velcro on the underside of the leather with the black strip velcro on the foam. If you are satisfied with a good stretch in the leather, continue; otherwise, pull up on the velcro and attempt to attach it until you are pleased with the result.
Step 24e: Lift each side flap of the leather up and inspect to be sure that you are properly aligning the velcro on the underside of the leather with the black strip velcro on the foam. If you are satisfied with a good stretch in the leather, continue; otherwise, pull up on the velcro and attempt to attach it until you are pleased with the result.
Step 24f: The photo illustrates the leather cover in place once all velcro has been attached.
Step 24g: Fold the rest of the leather downward, leaving the result shown in the photo.
Step 24h: Re-attach the foam, now covered with the custom leather, to the seat frame. Make sure that the front lip of the foam, as labeled in the photo, comes fully down in front of the seat frame, as also shown. Also make sure that the draw string envelope (i.e., the piece that holds the draw string) is pulled downward around the sides of the seat and along the front as well. At this point, however, do not tie the draw string back into its originally-knotted form.
Step 25a: By way of background, the photo shows the [b]stock[/b] leather cover, to demonstrate the location of three (3) holes that you will now cut into the custom leather cover. Note also the crease in the stock leather cover, which gives you an idea of what will be covered by the plastic switch trim piece from step 11, above. The good news is once that trim piece is back in place, as shown by the creases in the photo, it will cover the holes you are getting ready to cut. So, you have some slight room for margin in making your cuts.
Step 25b: For further background, the photo shows the actual seat, with the custom leather in place and before the cutting of holes, and the stock cover is held immediately next to the custom cover so as to compare the location of the holes to be cut.
Step 25c: Grab the draw string envelope and pull downward so as to pull the leather tight. When you do this, the leather will bulge in the area of the lever pin. At the location of the bulge is where you will make your first cut.
Step 25d: The photo illustrates a cut being made with an exacto knife at the location of the leather bulge described in step 25c. The leather may prove a bit difficult to cut, and after you start with an exacto you may find it easier to follow up with a pair of sharp scissors. The size of the cut is shown further in step 25e, below.
Step 25e: Here is the first cut hole, with the lever pin now protruding through the hole. If you look closely at the photo, you also will see that the hole should be cut large enough in the upward direction from the lever pin so as to also expose the screw hole in the metal seat side, just above the lever pin.
Step 25f: The photo illustrates the location of another screw hole that will need to be accessible through the leather. Locate the screw hole and then pull the leather downward. Next, cut a hole in the leather so that the screw hole can be accessed through the hole. You may have to use your fingers or a tape measure to provide an estimate of where to cut this hole. You also may refer back to the photos in steps 25c and 25d to provide an idea of where this hole will be located. See also step 25h for the end result.
Step 25g: The photo illustrates the location of a peg hole that also will need to be accessible through the leather, and recall from step 11c that this peg hole is to accommodate the post that protrudes from the side of the switch panel. Locate the peg hole and then pull the leather downward. Next, cut a hole in the leather so that the peg hole can be accessed through the hole. Again you may have to use your fingers or a tape measure to provide an estimate of where to cut this hole and again you may refer back to the photos in steps 25c and 25d to provide an idea of where this hole will be located. See also step 25h for the end result.
Step 25h: The photo illustrates the side of the custom leather cover once all three (3) holes have been cut in it.
Step 26a: For each side of the seat bottom cushion leather, make sure the leather is folded downward as shown in the photo, and wrap the folded leather around toward the back of the seat.
Step 26b: Toward the back of the top surface of the seat bottom leather, push the edge of the leather through the gap as shown in the photo.
Step 27a: Pull the draw string from step 14 tight at the back of the seat; prior to knotting the draw string, inspect the seat belt side to ensure that the draw string envelope is tight along the bottom of the seat as shown in the photo.
Step 27b: Also while holding the draw string tight but before knotting it, inspect the recline lever side of the seat to ensure that the draw string envelope is tight along the bottom of the seat as shown in the photo.
Step 27c: Knot the draw string tightly and tuck the end into the seat in a convenient location, such as between a portion of the foam and the seat frame.
Step 28a: Along the back of the seat bottom and at one side, locate the tab that has a dowel rod sewn into it as shown in the photo, and using the exacto knife cut a small slice or hole below the dowel.
Step 28b: For the piece of the seat bottom leather that wraps around from the side to the back of the seat, locate another tab that also has a dowel rod sewn into it as shown in the photo. This second tab should be fairly close the first tab when the leather is pulled tight, but with new leather they may not necessarily align perfectly. Using the exacto knife cut a small slice or hole below the dowel.
Step 28c: Hold the lower tab from step 28a and thread a zip tie through its hole, as shown in the photo.
Step 28d: Pull the upper tab next to the tab from step 28c and thread the zip tie through the hole in the upper tab, as shown in the photo.
Step 28e: Complete the zip tie connection and pull it tight. As you do this, it will pull the leather tabs toward one another. Then, use the exacto or some other cutting tool to trim the extra end off of the zip tie.
Step 28f: This step is the same as step 28a, above, but is now shown with respect to the other rear side of the seat bottom leather. So, locate the tab that has a dowel rod sewn into it as shown in the photo, and using the exacto knife cut a small slice or hole below the dowel.
Step 28g: For the piece of the seat bottom leather that wraps around from the side to the back of the seat, locate another tab that also has a dowel rod sewn into it as shown in the photo. This second tab should be fairly close the first tab when the leather is pulled tight, but with new leather they may not necessarily align perfectly. Using the exacto knife cut a small slice or hole below the dowel.
Step 28h: Hold the lower tab from step 28f and thread a zip tie through its hole, as shown in the photo.
Step 28i: Pull the upper tab next to the tab from step 28c and thread the zip tie through the hole in the upper tab, as shown in the photo. Complete the zip tie connection and pull it tight. As you do this, it will pull the leather tabs toward one another. Then, use the exacto or some other cutting tool to trim the extra end off of the zip tie.
Step 29a: Using the exacto knife cut a small slice or hole in the two locations shown in the photo to have zip ties through the black material. Then insert open zip ties through those holes, as shown in the photo.
Step 29b: Position each zip tie so that it encircles the bar identified in the photo, and then complete each zip tie connection and pull it tight. As you do this, it will pull the flap downward and tight relative to the bar. Then, use the exacto or some other cutting tool to trim the extra end off of each zip tie.
Step 29c: No action is taken here other than standing the seat upright and admiring your efforts so far!
Step 30a: Time to install the bolster leather. Turn the leather inside out as you did with the seat cushion bottom, and then start from the top of the seat foam and fold it downward as shown in the photo.
Step 30b: As shown in the photo, make sure that the small square hole in the back of the leather near the top aligns around the seat tile mechanism, as shown. Also pull downward on the leather so it is tight around the top of the seat foam.
Step 30d: One side at a time, or you can do both sides if you have a helper, take a side that covers the bolster and pull it around so that it covers the foam. As demonstrated in the photo, it will help if you put your hand on top of the foam and then pull the leather around so that it slides against the back of your hand. There will be less friction this way and it will allow you to pull the leather nice and tight. Work both sides of the bolster leather in this manner until you feel like you have a symmetric and tight fit around the sides of the seat.
Step 31a: Insert the four (4) new black plugs in the locations shown, thereby reversing the action in step 7a when you removed the old black plugs. Note that at this point you do not insert the top plug on both the left and right side.
Step 31b: Pull the zipper corner from the upper back side of the leather bolster cover through the gap toward the font. Align the zipper corners in the same way as if you were zipping a jacket or the like. Then tighten the zipper. As with the removal of the zipper, such as in step 18b, you might want to use needle nose pliers to pull the zipper along its teeth. Of course, be very careful not to slip and damage your new leather!
Step 32: Here is a side view of your progress so far; although not shown, you may also at this time re-attach the new bezel, that surrounds the tilt mechanism, in place of the one that was removed in steps 19a-19c. The bezel, once fitted into the square, simply snaps in place.
Step 33a: If you haven't already done so, using the steamer, apply steam to the insert foam as shown in the photo.
Step 33b: The photo illustrates the locations of the velcro on both the insert foam (black velcro) as well as on the underside of the insert leather (white velcro). Again, your goal will be to align this velcro on both pieces, ensuring that the leather is stretched tight between each velcro connection.
Step 34: Start at the top of the insert foam and apply the leather over that top. Next, work your way downward, attaching the velcro strips and pulling the leather both downward and to the sides as you go. The photo illustrates the lower row of velcro connections.
Step 35a: Attach the tongue and groove portions of both of the back flaps around the back of the foam insert as shown in the photo. Recall that the groove should be folded so that its opening is toward the flap that it is connected to; similarly, then point the tongue from the other flap toward the opening of the groove and snap them together.
Step 35b: Position the seat insert in place toward the cavity in the seat where the insert belongs, and tuck the groove along the bottom of the insert leather through the gap toward the rear of the seat, that is, so that the groove can be reached from the back of the seat.
Step 36: The photo illustrates the groove from step 35a, after pulling it toward the back of the seat and then connecting it with the tongue. Note that the groove should be positioned so that its opening faces downward. Then pull the tongue over it and bend the tongue so it points upward toward the groove. Next, snap the tongue and groove together.
Step 37a: Pull the zipper from the lower back side of the seat through toward the front of the seat and align its zipper corner with the zipper corner of the insert. In the same manner as step 31a, move the zipper along the zipper teeth, such as with the assistance of a set of needle nose pliers.
Step 37b: In the location shown in the photo toward the upper left of the insert, move the leather insert toward the middle and insert the left uppermost black plug.
Step 37c: In the location shown in the photo toward the upper right of the insert, move the leather insert toward the middle and insert the right uppermost black plug.
Step 37d: For reference if it helps you, here is a photo of the seat as nearly complete.
Step 38: Re-install the switch panel. If you earlier clamped the switch panel into the outer plastic panel, you may need to remove it so that you can get the electrical plug first attached to the switch panel. Then snap the switch panel back into the outer plastic panel, and re-attach the assembly by reversing steps 11a through 12c. See the photos from steps 11a through 12c.
Step 39a: Re-install the recline lever. Make sure the C-clip on the recline lever is positioned as shown in the photo. Then simply place the lever back in position against the post in the side of the seat bottom and snap it into place by pushing the handle in the direction of the post and toward the seat bottom. Your seat should now be fully assembled and ready to install back into the car. So, repeat the preceding steps for the other seat and you're almost there!
Step 39b: Stop and inspect your seats; if all is well, it's time to re-install them!!
Step 40 through 43: Reverse the actions taken in steps 1 through 4. When you get to the re-insertion of the brad-like pin of step 1b, only put the pin partially into the plug, as shown in the photo. Then install the entire assembly into the end of the seat rail, followed by pushing fully inward on the head of the pin.
Step 44: Stop and admire your work. Next, ask yourself what else you need from Vette Essentials to further enhance your Vette!!

That's all folks. Peace.



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