We are pleased to provide for you our installation instructions for Vette Essentials' partial 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: 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 re-install them after some of the panels have been outfitted by Vette Essentials with custom colored leather. Alternatives may exist.
  2. Use these instructions at your own risk and be careful not to damage your new or existing parts. You will be sending part or all of your seat covers to Vette Essentials and various parts of those covers will be returned to you, so treat the covers accordingly.
  3. The seat cover removal process will likely take on the order of two to three hours. Re-installation 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.
  5. If you would like to see additional pictures on the installation process, then check out our full custom cover installation instructions at:

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.
Congratulations, you're now done with both seats. If you're having these covers modified by Vette Essentials, then get those babies shipped to Vette Essentials and smile with the thoughts of a wonderful upcoming feeling when your custom seat covers will be installed. In the meantime, you can reinstall your seats by re-connecting the electrical plugs and the switch panels on the sides of the seats and then by bolting the seats to the floor. Then you may use a protective covering like a towel or sheet on the seats until you have back and have time to install your new seat covers!! Alternatively, if you already have a separate set of custom covers from Vette Essentials, then jump to step 26a.

Optional -- halo removal and re-install

(for those folks that are also doing the seat halo)

Step 18a: 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 halo and you also can ship it to Vette Essentials for your desired modifications.

Steps 22 through 25, re-installing the halos: Reverse the acts taken in steps 18 through 21.

To reverse step 21, position the cover around the halo, and use the most outward edges of the foam (so-called "tangents") as a guide to align the extreme outward portion of the leather cover with those tangents. The double stitch ("French seam") on the outside of the cover should align with the tangent (see photo in step 20).

To reverse step 20, only replace the bottom two black plugs on each side, as the third one will be used to secure the seat insert discussed below.

To reverse step 19, the bezel simply snaps back into place.

See the photos for steps 18 through 21.

Reinstalling the seat covers and seats

Step 26a: We'll start by putting the seat insert cover on and this also will familiarize you with the goal of aligning the velcro hooks and loops so you can do the same thing with the seat bottom. The photo reminds you that the insert foam has velcro hooks and the insert cover has velcro loops. The goal when putting the cover on the foam is to align the hooks and loops.
Step 26b: Wrap the cover around the foam so that the velcro from step 26a is aligned. The photo illustrates the lower set of velcro hooks and loops. Note that the velcro is successfully aligned here, both horizontally and vertically. After this strip is in place, you then proceed to do the same for the upper velcro as shown below in step 26c.
Step 26c: The photo illustrates that the upper leather stripe (that says "CORVETTE") on the cover has on its backside the velcro hooks, so as you push on the stripe you should feel that the velcro behind it is attaching to the velcro hooks on the foam. Note in the photo that the right side of the strip is already down so the velcro is attached. Once the cover is down, you can move it slightly from side to side to ensure a good attachment between the velcro hooks and loops.
Step 27: Turn the cover over and re-attach the two sets of tongues and grooves. For each set, face the groove toward the outer edge of the insert and then pull the tongue past the groove and fold the tongue so that it is pointing toward the groove; then snap the tongue into the groove. Now set the covered insert aside until later.
Step 28: Turning now to the seat bottom, start by putting the cover around the front edge of the seat. Recall from step 16b, and as also shown in the present photo, the locations of the velcro, and as you work toward the back of the seat make sure each set of velcro hooks in the foam aligns with the velcro loops on the inside of the cover. Also, make sure the bottom edge of the cover, through which the draw string (see step 14) runs, is pulled down to the bottom of the seat. However, for now, do not re-tie the draw string.
Step 29: As you work your way to the back of the seat with the seat bottom cover, recall that the leather on the flaps that later are folded around the back of the seat are rolled downward, as shown in the photo.
Step 30: Lift the back flap of the leather upward as shown, and insert a zip tie on each tab through the hole where the hog ring was formerly located (see also, steps 13b, 15a, and 15b).
Step 31a: Pull the flap around the side and back of the seat; the photo illustrates this step for the right side of the seat. Thereafter, put the zip tie through the hole on the flap where the hog ring was formerly located and tighten the zip tie as shown.
Step 31b: Repeat the immediately preceding step 31a, but here as shown perform the step for the left side of the seat.
Step 32: Trim the ends of the zip ties attached in s