Yesterday I had a go at the seat, and as promised, took some pics to show what I've done and how. The whole job took some good 5 hours, but I need to say that I just moved to a new apartment, and I have no proper tools and no proper space where I can work comfortably.
In terms of tools, I have managed to do everything with the following:
- Torx T40 key
- Torx T20 key
- Phillips screwdriver (not sure about the size, not too big)
- Adjustable spanner
- Socket/handle to help turning Torx keys when needed
Step 1: Remove seat
Unfortunately, no pics of this stage of the work. I had to do it in the garage of my building, short on light, and assisted by the wonderful Torch app I have installed in my phone.
As others previously mentioned, prior to pulling the seat off the car, one has to make sure the battery has been disconnected for at least 30 minutes. After that, the two cables that run underneath the seat have to be disconnected. Like that we will prevent the airbag light from coming up.
Regarding the seat, it took me a while to figure out how to remove it. Meaning that I didn't know whether I should leave in the car the rails where it sits, or I should remove the whole thing altogether. Finally I settled with the latter (not sure the former is even feasible).
It's quite straightforward once you do it for the first time... there are four bolts (two for each rail) holding the rails in place. They are a bit of a b***h to get to, but with the right combination of moving the seat back and forth/up and down, they end up coming out. You just need patience
Step 2: Define strategy
At this stage, my goal was to remove all the structures from underneath the seat, and separate the back from the seat, so that I could peel the leather off the seat to see what was going on inside.
The existing structures were:
- Base metal structure
- Seat itself
Here's how the front bottom half looks (sorry for the pics, they are not the best in the world)
Step 3: Remove rails
The first thing I did was to remove the rails from the base metal structure. They were held by two Torx bolts each. In order to access all four bolts, moving the rails back and forth is needed, and once they are unbolted, they come easily off, together with the lever. There's a little tensor in the left hand side (where the belt fastener is) that needs to be disconnected from the rails too.
This is how it looked like with the rails already removed:
Step 4: Remove base structure bolts
After that, I went to remove the main bolts holding the seat against the base metal structure. They were four Torx in total (two of them hiding under the rails, hence why I had to take them off first).
This is one easy to access (butt area):
And this is one that was under the rails (thigh area):
Step 5: Remove side plastic trim panels
Once the four bolts were removed, I was hoping everything would come off miraculously... well, that wasn't the case, unfortunately. So the next step was to remove the side plastic trim. They are held by three Torx screws each, two on the side, and one in the back.
In the left hand panel, one of the screws is hidden by the belt fastener, so this needs to be loosened and moved, in order to access the screw.
In the right hand panel, we find the lever that lifts the seat and the back regulator. These need to be removed first.
The lift lever has a cover that can be removed easily by prying it off. This will reveal two Phillips screws... take these two off and the lever will come off too.
The back regulator has another cover that comes off by prying off as well. Then you can access the clips that hold the regulator in place. Once removed, it looks like this:
Once these two are removed, you can take the right hand trim panel off, being careful to disconnect first the heating seats switch.
Step 6: Separate back from seat
By removing the trim panels, I gained access to the bolts that kept together the bottom seating part of the seat and the back part. So I went to remove them too. They are four Torx in total.
In the left hand side, we need to remove first the upper part of the tensor that is attached to the upper structure, so that it won't interfere when taking both parts apart.
In the right hand structure, a black cable (which I'm still trying to figure out what was for) needs to be disconnected, as it runs from the bottom up the back of the seat.
Once done all that, we will see how both pieces detach when we remove the last of the four bolts. It will look a bit like this:
Step 7: Remove base structure and cables
Removing the four bolts mentioned in the step above will enable us as well to get rid of the base metal structure too. We just need to undo the braces keeping all cables together, so that we gain a bit of maneuverability to move the seat around. The end result should be something like this:
Step 8: Pry (and pray)
At this point, I wasn't even sure whether the leather was glued to the seat or not. Examining the bottom of the seat revealed that its own structure had a series of indents, seemingly meant to keep the leather in place. Here's a pic of it:
So little by little, I tried to pry off the whole front (again, for better maneuverability), little by little, with patience. Surprisingly (and luckily), when I tried to peel the leather off the seat, it came out with no apparent issue! (phew)
Step 9: Hack the seat
After peeling the leather, I found the guilty suspect! Here's a pic of it:
Apparently, this is some sort of spoke, that runs from left to right inside of some kind of sleeve, probably done to keep the leather in place. Since I had no idea of what was its original position, I went to reveal the other side of the spoke. Here's a pic of it:
We can see that while in this side, the spoke still remains inside of the white "sleeve", in the other side, the sleeve has an open ending (not sure if that's its original condition), causing the spoke to slide sideways and causing the effect we saw. So what I did to prevent further occurrences of the issue was to bend it down, so that it would face the seat foam instead. Not sure this is the best solution for this problem, but given the tools I had, the space where I was working, and the time (around midnight), I settled for it. This is the result:
Offtopic Step 9B: Beautiful italian (P)leather
Step 10: Get it all back together
Once everything was done, the only thing I had to do was to follow all the previous steps backwards, and it all came out beautifully. Here's the proof!
It was a pain to do, I won't deny it. But it was even more painful to look at the seat and see this thing about to do a perforation. This is the indent mark that was left:
If your case is not too severe and it doesn't bother you, I guess you can save the work of going through all of this. Otherwise, I recommend you do it yourself. You will definitely save some bucks with it!
I am happy it came out kind of nicely. Hope my experience is of help to some of you that are experiencing the same problem!