It might be a good time to point out that the stock "hog rings" are very small, copper looking, and round. They didn't actually use hog rings like we are using, because they have big robots to put these rings on. Just don;t freak out because their rings are small, and ours are much bigger and angled (triangle). The leather will still pull tight and be fine. The bigger hog rings are much easier to work with as well.
Continuing to cut the hog rings
After unwrapping the leather from the backside you can get at the front side hog rings. Some of the hog rings are pretty easy to see, and of course there is a pattern to where they are placed. You'll get a feel for how many inches they are apart. You'll feel tension in some places and know one is there, and dig down to get at it. All the while, keep in mind that you'll need to put hog rings back in these spots, so don't forget where it is.
Peeling back the old leather
You can see 4 spots where the hog rings where in the center. Those 4 spots were the place that brought in the leather at the seams. You might be able to tell that there is still one hog ring up there in the corner.
Leather pulled taught underneath the seat
As you pull away the leather you'll see all the different ways that the leather is attached. Keep all of this in mind, as there will be a test.. when you put the new leather on!
Snub Nose Pliers cutting a hog ring off a metal framework piece.
here's a good shot of a hog ring on the metal framework. This framework is where all of your hog rings will end up for the leather. The metal runs through and back out of the foam that makes up the cushion of the seats. Take care not to pull so hard on it that you tear the foam.
Plastic Clip on base of seat. Your foot may look different.
To the left here you can see a plastic tab piece that wraps the front leather down and pulls it taught. It's one of the few places that hog rings aren't what's holding the leather, but it is still easy to detach.
Seat with the base off
I found it easier to just remove the seat base to do it. You'll see as you work how to get at the leather and attach the hog rings easiest. This is also a good opportunity to clean your chair.. I took some soap, water, and then armor all to the plastic recliner lever and surrounding plastic. It's almost impossible to get to all of this in the car, so why not take a few minutes to get it looking perfect?
Here we got the headrest piece out. You push the base together & it comes right out. Note where the hole is, because once the leather is wrapped, you'll need to poke a hole so you can shove that piece right back in.
Shoot to the future.. the headrest position piece goes back in.
This is out of order, but here's how we put the headrest piece back in. Just a relatively small hole is good to push the piece through, and the leather will stretch. If it is too small, just cut it a little more. remember you can cut more, but you can't cut less, so go slow and watch the leather stretch as it goes in.
Starting to put on the new leather!
Laying out the new leather to see what goes where.
Now that you've stripped the old leather off, it's time to put the new leather on. You have to keep in mind that you have to do the innermost hog rings first. The inner rows of the seams we mentioned before need to be done first. Then work your way out, until you get to the edges. I took one row at a time, and as you work it's obvious how this should go. If you end up missing something, you can always cut the hog ring and go back and get the one you missed.
There is allot of room for error and if you do mess up it's not the end of the world.
Take care to massage the leather into place. It's not plastic.. it stretches and bends. It also sticks, so sometimes you may need to lift up and pull over a corner and get it into the right place. Make sure that you get the leather fitted on the part you are working on carefully. It is easier to go slowly and look at corners, making sure the peaks/corners of the leather are on the peaks/corners of the foam.
Leather base reattached
here we are with the leather reattached at the base. The back is done at this point. Lets take a look.
Back done without the base attached.
here you can see the back on and done. You'll notice some creases in the leather. These can be massaged out for the most part, and of course after a few weeks the leather relaxes and these creases pretty much go away completely. You can see the plastic clean too... the seat is looking better than new!
Seat ready to go back in.
Here's the finished seat, ready to go back in! The power seat is heavy and unwieldy, so if it seems like you can;t get it back in get someone to help guide it. Those wrinkles will relax in time as the leather stretches slightly to fit the seat. You can see the backseats are already done and installed as well!
Let's see how it looks in our 3000Gt Spyder!
Looking brand new and better than ever
Close up and blinging
Your initial reaction to new leather seats, besides the obvious complete updating of the look of the car, is how they FEEL. What you don;t realize is that the old broken down stretched leather over the years lost all of it's comfort. I used to think the foam did all of the cushioning, but it really is the leather seats that makes all of the difference. The seats felt brand new, and I couldn't believe that they were my old seats. If I hadn't done it myself I'd think the foam had been replaced.
So what are you waiting for.. this is THEE mod to do to your ride, and nothing else changes a car so entirely than new leather. You feel it, you see it, and you'll love it!
Do you have questions? Want to know specifics about colors available, stitching, shipping, etc? Call the guys at leatherseats.com. They were extremely knowledgeable with my car, and have several hundred different patterns for all sorts of cars, not just the 3000GT.
Their toll free # is 1-866-639-7328.
You can also email at [email protected]