Just like any used 10+ year-old vehicle, the seats start to lose their structure after a lot of constant use and they become less comfortable and even less aesthetically pleasing – the bottom seat bolsters and cushion lose their shape and sag over time. Our project, Y2K, had some pretty weathered seats, but that was only until we hit up our friends over at Corvette Central for their seat cover upgrade as well as their Seat Bottom Cushion Repair Kit.
The seat bottom repair kit is a really neat kit and can be done from the comfort of your own garage – there are no special skills or tools required to complete the repair, but you will need to purchase a can of spray glue or upholstery foam. The seat covers, however, were a little trickier, but with some common sense and elbow grease, the install went really smooth. Let’s get started, shall we?
C5 Interior Restoration
Aside to the awesome seat covers and seat bottom repair kit, Corvette Central has a plethora of interior restoration parts and upgrades for C5 Corvettes. Anything from the cargo mat you see above, seat adjuster switch panel covers, floor mats, center console covers, etc. – Corvette Central has you covered!
Their Seat Bottom Cushion Repair Kit is also a great little kit and can save you a lot of money as opposed to buying completely new seats. The kit includes everything you need to restore the bottom cushion and bolsters to their original shape and feel – upholstery-grade high-density foam for the bolsters, wear-resistant nylon fabric, zip ties to replace the hog rings, and an optional quarter-inch-thick high-density jute pad to add between the original seat foam and support wires, should you want your seat a little more firm. “Our repair kit adds a layer of new high-density foam to restore the bolsters to their original shape, as well as a tough, wear-resistant ballistic nylon fabric to stop the support wires from cutting into the seat foam,” Kohn added.
Removing The Seat
Installing the seat covers and the repair kit went really smooth, it was just a time consuming process to get the leather to fit right. “It would be best to not drink a six-pack while doing this.” – Paul Huizenga, Editor of LSXMAG. As you would imagine, the repair kit is installed in the process of installing the seat covers.
First of all, the seat covers and repair kit can’t be installed with the seats in the car, so we took out the passenger seat as an initial test subject for the operation. To get the seat out of the car, we ran it all the way forward on the seat rails to access the two 15 mm nuts in the back. The two 15 mm nuts at the front of the seat are covered by plastic trim pieces that are secured by push-rivet pins – to get the trim pieces off, we carefully pried out the center pin to release the rivet. After that, we slid the trim piece forward and it slid right off.
Once all four 15 mm nuts were off, we covered the sill plate with a towel to prevent any unwanted scratches because the seat has to be lifted off of the studs and propped on the sill to disconnect the power connector for the seat controls. With that out of the way, we were able to get the seat out of the car to start the disassembly of the seat (these seats are pretty heavy, so make sure you have a good grip on the seat and a comfortable lifting position).
The next challenge that we came across was getting the plastic side covers off the seat bottoms. For this, a very thin screwdriver or popsicle stick will be needed to push the clip that retains the seat recline lever back so it can be removed. The panel itself is held in with two screws and a plastic post, which has prongs that have to be pushed in from the side to release – this step takes patience. With the panel removed, we disconnected the electrical harness, which meant we were finally ready to start working on the upholstery.
Okay, so getting the seat out wasn’t too hard or time-consuming, but with the seat covers, you’re going to want to gather all of your patience because there are a lot of little steps that can’t be overlooked in order to get them on correctly.
Overall, installing the seat covers wasn’t the hardest task we’ve accomplished, but it was rather tedious, detail oriented, and time consuming. The seat covers are made with great quality and look as good as factory, if not better. We were also really pleased with the seat bottom repair kit and how it literally brought the seat bottom back to life.
If your C5’s interior is looking a little weathered, Corvette Central’s seat cover replacements and seat bottom repair kit are a great start to an interior restoration – with different materials and combinations to choose from, the seat cover replacements are even appealing to smaller budgets as well. For more information on their seat cover replacements, seat bottom repair kit, and many other interior and exterior Corvette accessories, head over to Corvette Central’s website to start enhancing the appearance and performance of your Corvette!