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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:38 PM   #1
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How-To: DIY Leather Seat Repair

Re-upholstering Leather Front Seats in a 7g Accord Coup

Hello, My name is Jeremiah and I have been the happy owner of a 7g accord coup for about a year and
a half. The reason I am writing this post is actually because I wanted to give something back
to this community. Since purchasing my AV6-6MT I have spent countless hours on this forum. Many of
you have inspired me with your customizations and mods. Most importantly, I reaped the benefit from
many DIYs available thanks to other members who so generously contributed in the past.

Last weekend I spent my Saturday re-upholstering the bottom half of my driver and passenger front
leather seats. I couldn't find any existing DIY on this for the 7th gen Accord so I figured it would
be a good opportunity to do my first write-up. I hope you enjoy!

As you can see by the pictures below, my seats are badly torn and the padding has started coming
out. This has been slowly developing since I purchased the car over a year ago. It started out as
small tears in the leather, but over time they grew wider and deeper and it finally got to the point
that I said "enough is enough" and decided to get up off my lazy @$$ and fix it.

Driver Side
<img src"http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt223/elementryder2/Accord%20Seats%20Fix/IMG_2133_zpsuxsruwdp.jpg[/IMG]

Passenger Side


I did some internet research to see what my options were. I found that most people reported spending
big bucks to have an upholstering shop re-do their car seats. Buying used seats (or parts of) would
prove to also be very expensive after shipping costs. It seemed that the most cost efficient solution
would be to simply buy the seat covers from Honda and do the work myself. So without further delay,
let's get started!
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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:39 PM   #2
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First I found the parts online through HondaCarPartsDirect.com (see below for part numbers)

1: Driver Side
81531-SDN-A51ZA
COVER, L. FR. CUSHION TRIM *NH167L* (LEA) (GRAPHITE BLACK)
$284.20

2: Passenger Side
81131-SDN-L51ZA
COVER, R. FR. CUSHION TRIM *NH167L* (LEA) (GRAPHITE BLACK)
$284.20

3: Hog Rings
04810-SB3-000
C-Clip Set, Trim Fastener (30 Pieces)**
$4.76

** I strongly recommend doubling up on these so that you have extra just in case of a screw up. Only one set is
required to do both seats but there is a good chance you will waste a few trying to get the hang of things when it
comes time to install the new rings. You don't want to be like me and run out half way through the job >_<

To do this job you will need the following tools:

Ratchet
Extension
14mm socket
Phillips screwdriver
Flat-head screwdriver, mini
Hook tool (optional)
Diagonal pliers or "dikes"
Hog ring pliers
Body panel prying tools
Zip-ties
A friend to help with the heavy lifting (optional)

Some of these pictured below.


Hog ring pliers are a specialty tool; I had to buy one from Harbor Freight just for this job.
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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:40 PM   #3
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Ok so the first step is to remove the seat(s) from the car. There are four 14mm bolts per seat that hold down
the rails that the seats slide back and forth on. Slide the driver's seat forward as far as it will go and remove
any floor mats from the back seat. You should see two plastic covers near the tip of the rails where they end.

Carefully remove the plastic covers to expose the bolts. These can be tricky to get off because they are held
fast by little tabs that "hook" under the metal part of the railing. Use a tiny flat-head screwdriver to help pry
them up.

Once removed you can access the bolts that hold down the rail.



Use your ratchet along with an extension and a 14mm socket to loosen the bolts. Mine were pretty tight.
Once you get those bolts out slide the seat back as far as it will go and remove any floor mats from the front
foot well. The two bolts on this end are exposed already so just crank them off with your ratchet and place the
bolts aside.



Now before we go any further, it's time to disconnect the battery. Since you will be fully removing the seats from
the car that means disconnecting the SRS components for the air bag sensors in the seat so it's very important
that the power is disconnected when you do that. I suggest wrapping the negative battery terminal in a cloth to
keep it protected.



OK now you can start disconnecting the electronic components underneath the driver's seat. The easiest way to do
this is to lean the whole seat back by lifting up on the bottom of the seat cushion. This should give you enough
room to look underneath and see what needs to be disconnected.



There are five connections that need to be undone. Four of them are off one wiring harness (the black one) and
there is a separate yellow wire that I believe has to do with the SRS system. Use a tiny flat-head screwdriver
to disconnect all the connectors. The black wiring harness is fastened to metal surface on the bottom of the seat
cushion by a plastic clip so you will need to get that off somehow. I accidentally broke mine trying to pull it
off but I believe you can actually get it off using a tiny flat-head screwdriver.

Once all the connectors have been safely removed you can fish the wiring harness around that little black box
thing so that the wiring harness does not get caught on anything when you pull the seat out. Double check to make
sure nothing is still connected to the seat and then lift the seat out of the car, preferably with the help of a
friend because they are kind of heavy.
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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:41 PM   #4
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With the seat ouf you can get a better look at the wiring harness and connectors I was talking about.



Place the seat in an open area where you will have room to take it apart.



Alright now the fun part begins

On the right side of the seat there is a plastic cover held on by a screw, remove with a phillips screwdriver.



Moving counter clockwise around the seat, look for another phillips screw holding on the front skirting.



Leave the front skirting on for now and move to the left side of the seat where the motor controls are. Carefully
pry the panel back starting with the front most portion (what would be near the front of the car). There is an
electrical connector going to the motor behind the panel so be very careful prying the panel off. Once you get it
loose you can disconnect the electrical connector for the seat motor controls.







As you can see from the pictures there are different types of clips holding the panel on... the ones in the middle
that look like a "hook" can be a pain to get off. Now back to the front skirt. The best way to get this off is to
turn the entire seat upside down so you can see underneath. This panel is held on by several plastic "fingers"
that hook underneath a metal panel.



Use your actual fingers to press down on these enough to clear the tip of the "hook" and pull them out.



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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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Alright now that all the plastic panels are off turn the entire seat upside down so we can work on the bottom.
Start by pulling back the fabric that is covering the seat springs. There should be a small slit on either
corner which slides down over one of the "humps" in the spring.



Once you pull that back you can see two familiar wiring harnesses, one black and one yellow, that are routed from
the bottom of seat back and underneath the fabric flap that you see covering the wavy looking springs. The wires
can be left alone since we are not going to separate the seat base from the seat back. When I did this first seat
I actually did separate the whole seat into two pieces but I realized later that it was unnecessary. The seat
cushion can be removed from the base piece without disconnecting the whole thing from the back rest half of the
chair.



Look for two white plastic clips holding onto the wavy springs. Unclip these and then look for similar white clips
on either side of the seat. These are much longer and they hold onto a black bar that runs along the side.



This is where your hook tool will really come in handy. If you don't have one just use a flat-head screwdriver to
pry the plastic hooks out. There are also several small white plastic hooks holding down the front part of the
seat cushion. Pry these out as well



Once you get those things unhooked you can actually lift up on the seat cushion to separate it from the base.
I didn't get a great picture of this on the driver's side but here are some pics showing the passenger side which
is very similar.





OK now that the plastic hooks are off you can remove the seat cushion along with the foam padding underneath.
Note that the back part of the seat cushion cover feeds through the crack between the seat back and the seat
cushion. The fabric wraps around and covers the wavy springs on the bottom. So to remove the seat cushion you
will need to feed that fabric through the crack between the two halves of the seat. That will allow you to pull
the entire cushion off of the base.



As you can see I did it the hard way and completely separated the two seat halves. I did NOT do this when I did
the passenger side, which saved me considerable time. Also in the above picture you may notice that the seat
cover (the leather) has been pulled back over the foam already. I would suggest waiting until the seat cushion
is completely separated from the base before you start pulling the cover off of the foam.

Also before you start pulling off the cover you will need to cut your first hog rings that are holding down two
small flaps of leather on the bottom of the cushion.



Use your diagonal pliers (dikes) to cut through the old hog rings. Personally I found that cutting through the
old hog rings was very difficult. I cheated in a way, using a large pair of channel locking pliers to squeeze
the handles of the diagonal pliers together. This gave me the leverage needed to cut through those metal rings.

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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:46 PM   #6
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Ok now there are a bunch more of these hog rings holding the seat cover to the foam underneath. Fold back the
seat cover over the foam padding starting near the front of the seat. You should see that the cover is being
held fast by four hog rings along the seam where the cover sinks down into the cushion.



Use your diagonal pliers to cut through the old rings, using either brute strength or the technique I used.
Continue this process of pulling back the seat cover over the front most part of the cushion where your legs
normally rest. There are hog rings holding down every seam of the seat cover, as demonstrated by the picture
below.



So essentially what you have to do is pull the seat cover back starting from the outside working towards the
center. Once you have cut through all of the old hog rings you can separate the cover from the foam padding.
Be sure to discard any pieces of the old hog rings that may be stuck in the crevices of the foam cushion. I
had to dig out plenty pieces that were partially buried in the foam.



Moving right along now it is time to put the new seat cover on. If you are doing both seats make sure you
grab the correct one for the driver's side. They may look the same but they are slightly different so you
wouldn't want to get them mixed up. Refer to the parts list in the beginning of this post.

Ok so to get the new cover on you will need to use your hog ring pliers and new hog rings to replace all
the ones you just cut through. Start with the rear-most horizontal seam of the seat. On the bottom of the
seat cover there are these gray plastic strips that follow each seam. Line this up with the seam in the seat
cushion foam piece, and prepare your first hog ring by separating it from the pack and then placing it in
the pliers like so.





Now this part is a little tricky. Look down in the crack where the old hog rings were. You should be able to
see what looks like a sort of bar or cable that is embedded in the foam. That is what the hog rings hook onto.
Now look at the grey strip of plastic on the bottom of the seat cover. There are small holes or gaps where you
will need to hook the new hog rings through.

Alright now take your hog ring-loaded pliers and line them up with the spot where the ring needs to go and jam
them down into the crack in the cushion foam, hooking the gray plastic strip on the way down. Once you jam the
pliers down as far as they can go, all the while making sure to keep them straight (perpendicular to the seam),
and when you can't jam them down any further squeeze the handles together to bend the hog ring effectively
closing the loop.





This takes some practice so don't worry if you screw up on the first few. The biggest challenge for me was
lining up everything and making sure I jammed the pliers down as far as it will go before clamping down. I
messed up on a few and closed the ring too soon, which meant it didn't hook onto the bar in the foam. If that
happens to you just cut through the ring and try again. This is why I strongly recommend buying extra hog rings
before you start.

There are 12 hog rings to install on the top part of the seat cushion. Refer to my earlier picture for
approximate locations where the new rings need to be installed. Remember to work from the center towards the
outside, so the vertical seams along each side of the seat cushion would be done last. Once you get them all in,
start folding the leather cover over the edges of the cushion. Use your hands to compress the foam so that you
can pull the new cover over and down around the sides. It should look something like this when done.

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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:47 PM   #7
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Place the newly covered seat cushion back onto the base of the seat. At this point we are working backwards to
re-assemble the seat. Start by re-clipping those white plastic hooks into the metal base. Do the same with the
long side clips. Feed the rear clips and fabric flap through the gap where the seat meets the seat back. Fold
it around the bottom of the seat and attach the clips that go underneath the flap.



Then pull the flap back over the wavy springs and find a good spring hump to hook each corner of fabric on. Try
to cover the black and yellow cables with the fabric flap so that they are concealed. There should not be very
much slack in the fabric so if necessary stretch it a bit to reach a far enough part of the spring. There are
also two small white plastic clips that should be hooked onto one of the closer springs.

Now that the seat cushion has been reattached to the base you can start putting the plastic skirting back on.
Start with the front skirt, carefully pushing each plastic finger into it's hole. The panel where the seat motor
controls are located can be pressed back onto the base of the seat after you reconnect the electrical connector.
The opposite side's small plastic cover can be pressed back on and then fastened with a phillips screw.

After you have all the panels back on you can lift the seat into the car and place it back in it's spot. Before
you think about bolting it down make sure you re-connect all the electrical components underneath the seat. Make
sure you route the black wiring harness so that it will not get caught on anything when you move the seat back
and forth. Feed it up behind the black box thing and then forward along the bottom of the seat towards the front
of the car where the various colored connectors are. If you don't feed the harness behind and over the black box
part then it will not have enough slack for you to slide the seat all the way forward without doing damage to the
wiring harness or connectors.

See the below picture for reference to the black box I am talking about. Feed the wiring harness behind that whole
thing.



Last step is to bolt the seat rails back in using your 14mm socket and ratchet. Replace the black plastic pieces
that cover the rear bolts and if necessary put your floor mats back in. Hook up your negative battery terminal
and then try moving the seat back and forth to ensure that the full range of motion is there. The finished product
should look something like this.



Congratulations, you are now one seat closer to happiness. Keep in mind that at first you may see excessive
wrinkles in the leather near the center, however over time it does start to smooth out.

Now I could stop here but I want to mention a few things about doing the passenger side seat. The overall process
is almost identical to the driver side so I won't go through it with nearly as much detail. However I will highlight
some of the key differences for you.
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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:50 PM   #8
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First of all if you are going to do the passenger side seat make sure you disconnect the negative battery terminal
again. Although the passenger seat does not have motorized controls but there are still a few electrical connectors
beneath the seat, including SRS system components and the seat heater.

After your battery is disconnected proceed to removing the four 14mm bolts holding down the rails that the seat
slides on. Once those are out, tilt the seat back to get a good look underneath and unplug all electrical components.
When you start lifting the seat out you will notice that there is a bolt connecting the seatbelt to the corner of the
seat base.



This is also a 14mm so crank it off and then you can get the seat out. Remember this when you put the seat back in the
car... you need to re-attach the seatbelt before bolting the rails down to the floor.

The plastic skirting around the base of this seat will be a little bit different than what you saw on the driver side.
On the back side of the chair there is a little foot pedal. Use a phillips screwdriver to remove a single screw (you
need to completely remove the screw, use a magnet or just hit the other side of it once its loose) and then pull the
pedal off of the metal piece protruding from the seat. Lastly there is a little plastic plug that you can pop out with
a mini flat-head screwdriver.





Now it's time for for what I considered to be the hardest part of the job. Just fair warning, getting this side skirt
off is a royal pain in the a$$. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the steps to remove this panel, but hopefully
my awesome (*cough*) skills with Microsoft Paint will give you enough of an idea how to do this. First here is a diagram
of the components of this side panel which are labeled for reference in the next steps.



A - This is the foot pedal you just took off.
B - This is the metal arm for the foot pedal.
C - This is the reclining handle.

Now here is the technique I used to get this thing off. I found it easier to do while sitting in the seat. First, with
the seat leaned back about 45 degrees use your hands to pry up the top corner of the panel near the hinge, as seen in
the picture below.



It kind of hooks over that metal piece near the cushion so you have to pry that up and then pull the top of the panel out,
away from the seat a little bit.



Now hold this top part of the panel away from the seat with one hand so that you can use your other hand to lean the
back rest forward about 15 degrees or as much as you can lean forward while still sitting in the chair. Keep the handle
held up so that you can slide the entire panel backwards about four inches to clear the metal arm (B) sticking out of the
back where the foot pedal was.



That arm has to be cleared so that you can rotate the entire panel (counter-clockwise if you are facing right side of
the chair) and then you can slide the entire panel up at an angle to where the reclining handle slides back through the
small hole in the panel where it sticks through.



The entire handle slides through the small hole in the panel; unfortunately the plastic piece of the handle does not come
off like the foot pedal in the back did so it can be a little tricky getting it through that little hole.

Again sorry for not being prepared with photos of this, hopefully you get the idea though. If you have a buddy helping you
this may be easier, as one of you can sit in the seat and operate the reclining handle and the other one can be pulling on
the panel.
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Old August 1st, 2015, 01:52 PM   #9
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Anyways once you get this pesky panel off the rest is fairly easy. Remove the other plastic skirting on the front and left
side of the seat. Once all the skirting is removed you can start unhooking the seat cover by its white plastic hooks. Once
again using a hook tool will prove very effective.

The rest is pretty much exactly like what you did with the driver side seat. Remove the seat cover from the cushion, cut
all the hog rings and install the new ones to fasten the new seat cover down on the cushion. The second time around it should
feel a bit easier. The only thing that doesn't get easier in my opinion was that stupid panel on the right side... getting it
back on isn't much easier than it was to get off. Just try to follow those steps in reverse.

Lastly when it comes time to put the chair back into the car, make sure you re-attach the seat belt to the base of the seat
before you bolt the seat down to the floor. This is impossible to do AFTER you bolt the seat down.

After completing this job you can rest easy (no pun intended) knowing that your seats will look brand new for years to come.
If anyone has questions feel free to ask, I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 06:19 AM   #10
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Great writeup, thanks for posting this. It came out pretty good.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 02:31 PM   #11
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Very helpful write up. I need to do this soon.
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