DIY ReUpholster SC300/SC400 Front Seats - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion

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DIY ReUpholster SC300/SC400 Front Seats

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Old 09-29-15, 10:11 AM
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CelestialS
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Default DIY ReUpholster SC300/SC400 Front Seats

I consider myself quite adept at searching the internet. And while I found bits and pieces of how to's on installing a new leather kit, I could not very well find a comprehensive how to with photos or video on the Lexus SC300 or SC400 in installing a Pre-sewn Kit. So, here's my first DIY (and first time reupholstering) based on all the research I found.

Tools Needed:

Pliers, Rachet Set, Flathead Screwdriver, Phillips Screwdriver, Hog Ring Pliers and Rings, Clothes Steamer, Wire Cutters, Needle Nose Pliers, razor knife.






Step 1: Remove the seats from the Car. There are 5 bolts - 2 in front and 3 in back. You have to remove the plastic trim covers (which was the hardest part for me because I did not want to break them).

Step 2: Before you disconnect the electrical make sure the seat is in the correct position to remove a bolt by the seatbelt connection. If you have to tilt the seat to see it, do so. This is imperative to removing one of the 4 bolts holding the bottom seat cushion on and avoiding much cursing. This goes for both seats.







Step 3: Disconnect the electrical. In my 1995 SC400 I don't have any airbag electrical associated with the seat, but if you do, it's usually a yellow connector. If you have this, make sure to disconnect the battery and ground it first.

Last edited by CelestialS; 09-29-15 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 09-29-15, 10:22 AM
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Default Trim

Then, after you carefully remove the seats from your car, put them on a surface where you can maneuver them easily like a carpet scrap.

Now for the seat backs. Here's some instructions from an old thread:

Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
Fold the seat down all the way like you were getting in the back seat. At the bottom you will find two screws that are easy to take out. Now, the tricky part. The clips that hold onto the sides of the seats are mounted into composite board (like a thin clipboard). This means that you can't just pull out on these things or you will bust them up. You need to slide them up toward the dash all the way before pulling them out - do not pull out hard. This is really no big deal at all once you see what is going on, I'm just telling you to be cautious.

Once you get the seat backs off, you will see that the plastic trim piece the goes aorund the outside of the net is held in by a few screws - thus you just can't pull this piece off without taking off the seat backs. Once you remove these last screws, you can start to work with just that U-shaped plastic piece and the netting that threads into it. You will see that knots hold the ends in the slots. All you need to do is pull out one end of the elastic piece at the top that is sagging, take up the slack, and tie up a new knot. I suggest you stick it loosly back together to check your work. If it looks good, then cut off the excess elastic past your knot and put it all back together in the same way you took it off. This is a very easy fix.

The finished product:

The next step is removing the trim. There is an obvious screw on the side that takes off one of the panels. There are also about 3 screws at the front underside of the cushion.




There will also be screws on the inside of the back part of the trim and inside front part. The inside front is a bit difficult to get to, but if you push the cushion down a bit, you should be able to get to it. Here's a photo of the inside back which is not necessary to take off.



Then, carefully remove the power seat button. I was able to remove this with my fingers, but if you need a very tiny bit of torque, use a flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to break them. Then, remove the screws underneath the button.





After that, you'll need to remove the C-Clamp on the seat recliner handle. This is a little easier said than done. Here's a photo of it with the trim already removed so you can see what it looks like.





Once all the visible screws are removed, carefully remove the trim (fyi, it has one clip that holds it on near the joint.)

You'll also want to remove the headrest at this point. This is very simple: there is a button on the neck of the headrest- push it in and pull out the headrest. Set aside and we'll deal with it later.

Last edited by CelestialS; 10-02-15 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 09-29-15, 10:29 AM
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STRONG 4th and 5th post contribution! I'm guessing you're busy typing up the continuation...

In case you haven't concluded the project, I've got a bunch of photos of the process I went through to reupholster the driver's seat:

https://www.clublexus.com/forums/sc-...at-covers.html
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Old 09-29-15, 10:58 AM
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Default Hog Rings

Next, you are going to cut all the hog rings that you can see on the back of the existing upholstery. My suggestion is that you do not cut out the old upholstery because you'll want to be able to see where the hog ring attachments are and also how the tension of the existing upholstery makes everything smooth. You will also possible notice some rubber orange cords. Cut the hog ring next to them, but don't worry about them for right now, these are for tension of the top part of the leather.














On the underside of the seat, there are two clips holding on the cloth of the bottom. I wanted to save these clips, so I just tore the existing fabric. Later, after everything was removed, I got them out carefully with pliers from the other side.







Then, carefully disconnect the electrical and cut the electrical tape holding the cables.






Then, unbolt the electrical unit from the bottom of the seat.




The final step is to remove the 4 bolts holding the bottom seat cushion on. (See post#1 for photos of the back two bolts). After you remove these, you should be able to remove the seat cushion completely.

Last edited by CelestialS; 09-29-15 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 09-29-15, 04:21 PM
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Default Removing Pucker Points

Now, with the bottom cushion removed, you're going to find the pucker points, or rather the points in the center of the foam where the hog rings are attached to create a pucker look. In order to do this, you will have to peel back the old upholstery and it may be tight, but look for all the hog rings and remember where they're attached.










There will also be some plastic J-Clips that you will need to get off with a flathead screwdriver (not pictured).

After you get all the hog rings off, you can remove the old upholstery! (But don't throw it away just yet.)



Now, it's time to start on the top cushion.

Pull the old upholstery through to the front and carefully roll up the upholstery to find the hog rings. From the photo below, you can see roughly where the hog rings are.





Now, when you get to the top, you'll have to do 3 things. Use whatever order makes sense to you.

Get your flathead screwdriver out and slip it under the leather that is under the headrest push button. You will do the same thing with the rivets that the headrest posts in to. NOTE: You do not need to remove the headrest button or the rivets. Just get the old upholstery away from it.





You will also have to remove the orange dangly rubber ropes (the ones we mentioned above). This are used to keep tension on the shoulder area of the seats. As long as you have removed the hog rings, these should just unhook.




Finally, get a flathead screwdriver and carefully pry the plastic tabs up that are holding the last bit of upholstery in.



Voila! All the old upholstery should be off of the seats. Remember, don't throw it away just yet, you're probably going to need the metal pieces off of it.



Last edited by CelestialS; 09-29-15 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 09-29-15, 04:34 PM
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Default Steaming & Seat Heaters

Okay, now it's time to steam it! Why steam it? Because the foam gets compressed over the years and the steam will make it perk right back up, it's really fascinating to watch. I got a $40 clothes steamer from Walmart and it did the job just fine. To steam it, just follow the directions of the steam on how to get it running and then press it onto the foam, moving slowly until all the foam is done. Careful not to burn yourself.





Due to the money I saved doing this myself I decided to put in some Seat Heaters! I used the Dorman Universal Seat Heater that I found on Amazon for roughly $66. Note that it comes with hog ring pliers, but keep in mind that they're awful and you wouldn't want to use them to do your entire seat. They also have a tutorial on how to install them here:
, so I won't really go over any of that in this thread.

I will show you a bit of how they installed on my SC400 seats. The bottom cushion pad fits almost perfectly, whereas, the top I had to be slightly creative and bend it in to the creases so that it doesn't get in the way of the hog ring attachment points. I contacted the manufacturer and they said installing them this way should be fine. Note that the hog rings will be very difficult to get back in with the new seat heater pads, but have patience and be careful not to damage the seat heaters.









Now that you've gotten everything off, just reverse the process to get everything back on. This tutorial should help you and gives some good tips.

Last edited by CelestialS; 10-02-15 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 09-29-15, 07:11 PM
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Nice to see DIY's still being created.
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Old 04-10-16, 10:47 AM
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A huge props for taking the time to put this DIY together. There are some decent tutorials on the web for installing replacement seat covers, but nothing all that specific to the SC300/400. Thanks for saving me a few headaches on my reupholster job!
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Old 04-10-16, 11:41 AM
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Big thanks for this. I wanted to do heaters and messagers just a little lost on how to add messagers without them getting over heated by the heaters.
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Old 04-11-16, 12:29 PM
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Pictures of the final product? Thanks for the DIY. I will follow this if I attempt it. Locations of the rings is nice to know up front.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:46 PM
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i did this before just take your time to stretch the leather around the cushion should come out great.
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Old 05-13-16, 07:52 AM
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Your DIY post is really super. I can't find anything close to the level of detail you have provided. Thank you.
My SC300 seats have been apart for months while replacing the covers and changing colors on all the plastic trim panels and switch covers.
Now I can't recall where/how a very small plastic trim piece goes in. Sorry not to include picture - but the piece looks like a crescent moon and is very thin - about a 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide. This piece goes in the seat back joint.
Can you help or send me a picture?
If you need a picture of the part, I can send tonight when I get home.
I have searched everywhere looking for details of the seat trim installation without success. I have the SC300 service manual - but it doesn't cover any details of the seat trim pieces removal or assembly....
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Old 05-13-16, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by acerman View Post
Your DIY post is really super. I can't find anything close to the level of detail you have provided. Thank you.
My SC300 seats have been apart for months while replacing the covers and changing colors on all the plastic trim panels and switch covers.
Now I can't recall where/how a very small plastic trim piece goes in. Sorry not to include picture - but the piece looks like a crescent moon and is very thin - about a 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide. This piece goes in the seat back joint.
Can you help or send me a picture?
If you need a picture of the part, I can send tonight when I get home.
I have searched everywhere looking for details of the seat trim installation without success. I have the SC300 service manual - but it doesn't cover any details of the seat trim pieces removal or assembly....
I think the piece you are talking about goes on the outside of the hinge to the seat in the rear.
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Old 05-14-16, 07:30 AM
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great write up. thank you for the contribution!
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Old 05-14-16, 10:27 AM
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This is an excellent write up! Thanks for posting this!
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