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Old 06-11-2008, 11:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fix the saggy seat! some DIY from JPM

Ok, I know I've promised to do one of these so here goes. A how-to on fixing the problem with the saggy seat issue for the OEM leather on the kappas.

This walk through will help you take preventative measures to keep your leather seat from sagging in the bottom area. You can also do a fix if you already have the sag forming.

So, without further delay, let's jump forward to the part where we take stuff apart. Now remember, this is professional upholstery advice that I trust you will take to the grave with you. Can't have the average Joe eating in to my seat fixing monopoly in the Souteast

Things you need to do the fix:

- 14mm ratchet
- 15mm ratchet/wrench
- a flathead screwdriver
- razor blade
- Alan key set or torx bit set for ratchet
- some high heat upholstery spray glue
- 40 or 60 grit sand paper
- flat edge (like a paint stick)
- 1/4" closed cell foam

Now, I assume everybody knows where to get the basic tools. Here is where you can get some of the other items I mentioned...

Upholstery spray glue: DAP Weldwood High-Heat Spray Adhesive
It's important to have a high quality spray glue such as this or your glue will just fall apart the second it gets hot. 3m glue from home depot will not suffice.

closed cell foam: 1/4" Thick Volara Sculpting Foam
you just need 1yd (minimum qty order)

So far you've spend about $25 for these items with shipping, not including the sand paper which might be available locally. Now the take apart section.

Get your 14mm ratchet out with and remove the two nuts that hold your seat on in the front:



and the two in the back:



Make sure you remove any wire harnesses that might be attached to the seat:



Next, tilt the seat forward and remove the torx bolt that holds the seatbelt on. I can't remember the size off the top of my head. I think it was 43 or so. Anyway, if you don't have a torx bit to fit, a properly sized alan key can take the bolt out as well.



You can now remove the seat from the car and put it on a work table or clean area of the floor somewhere where you can tilt it back and not scuff the leather.

If you have a seat height adjustment, remove the switch by prying out on the left side of the switch:



Then, pull the switch out and disconnect it from the harness.

Tilt the seat back and remove the plastic clips from the front and rear:



The clips that hold the side on vary between models. Some have the same clips on the side that are on the front and back. Some are not so lucky and they have automotive push plugs that hold the sides in. If you take the push plugs off, YOU WILL BREAK THEM. There's a small chance you can get them off without breaking them but it's unlikely. Go ahead and buy some more: AUVECO Clip 11675
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ok, on to the next round. tilt the seat forward by lifting the side lever and remove the 15mm nuts on the outside of the hinge area:



The plastic inner peice needs to be removed as well...BUT! before you remove the plastic inner peice, mark down on the seat where the V-notch is located and make sure you don't mix them up from right to left. They are put on in a certain way.

After that's done, remove the bottom cushion from the seat frame. Then, slowly peel the leather off. it's held on with velcro:



Keep one finger on the hook side that is on the seat foam as it has a tendency to separate from the seat itself and stay stuck together. If one area should rip off, use the upholstery glue to put it back into place.

Ok, now the culprit. look at your seat bottom. The leather peice that goes on top is flat. However, your seat cushion is definitely not flat on the bottom:



This curve in the seat causes the leather to stretch down into it's concave shape and it doesn't have anything to fill it back up with when you get up. Effect: Saggy leather seat issue.

The cure is easy. You need to level out the concave area. Start by cutting a shape out of the foam that matches the seat. It just has to be close. Let it be larger than you need to so you can trim it down on the seat. Using the upholstery spray, cover the seat cushion and one side of the foam. Let it dry a bit and get tacky, then stick the two together:



Use the razor blade to trace around the actual seat foam cutting the new foam to its identical outline.

Next, grab your 60 grit sand paper and put it on a flat stick like a paint stick that is no longer than the section of cushion that you're working on.



Now, using back and forth motion with the sand paper, level off the new closed cell foam. Since it's a concave shape with the seat, only the sides will get flat and the center will still dip down:



When you've flattened the new foam so it's level with the front and back of teh concave seat (when you've reach yellow foam on the front and rear edge), start the process again filling the small concave area with a small peice of foam and start leveling off again with the sand paper:



After about three layers and lots of sanding you've got a perfectly flat seat cushion:



BTW, the yellow stripes between each section is the glue that was used.

So, if you have a new seat with minimal sag, you've done it. Put the leather back on pushing the corners down on the velcro and reinstalling the seat in the reverse order. If your seat has considerable sag, you might want to add additional foam to it. However, don't add anymore closed cell foam. This is high density foam and you want to be able to put your seat cover back on with no problems. The best thing to do is to get 1/4" headliner foam from your local fabric store such as this: Alpine Headliner Fabric Headliner Fabric from Hancock Fabrics Online Fabric Store.

Add one layer if your seat is not bad off yet or even two layers for 1/2" extra thickness if your seat is really sagging. This last layer of soft foam will let your seat feel comfortable and it will spring back up to keep the leather from sagging down once you get out of your car.

As a note, this can only be done on the driver's side. The passenger side is already flat b/c of the airbag weight sensor.

Ok, so that's it. You've all graduated JPM's upholstery clinic. Come back next week where I teach you how to make your own fuzzy dice.

Last edited by JPM; 06-11-2008 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow! Thanks! Its great that you were willing to share some secrets with us. I think after reading this, I might have enough confidence to try the preventative work. If not, JPM has a new customer.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for sharing now I got to try on my seats
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for this post. The dealer replaced my saggy seat and of course it just got saggy again. I'm going to do this and remove the towel that I put underneath the seat between the springs and foam.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This was great, Thanks
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Those are great instructions...perfectly detailed just like the great product you offer that we all love! Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Any one in the NY, NJ, PA, CT area fix their own seat, im willing to pay a member to do it for me.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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any chance of you postings any pics with the intructions for us upholstery rookies?
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Great info for the do it your self crowd. I took mine back to the dealer and had them fixed under warrenty. Instead of having the seats replaced (same problem I'm sure would occure with the replacements) the dealer called a local upholestry shop and made arrangements for repairs to be made at their facility. Car was taken in at 8AM and returned to me just before noon same day. That was six months ago-------nooooo saggggging.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Great post, I have a early model 2007 Redline, I have taken my seat apart and placed a lumbar roll on the back and pushed some foam between the springs and the foam on the bottom. This worked for awhile but I am now getting a pretty good sag in the bottom back. Enough that is causing some back pain on long trips. What would be you advise on adding the foam? I am not asking a medical question, just trying to figure out, once I get in there, how to distribute the foam. Should I just apply like you are indicating? I am not a big guy, 175lbs
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swieck View Post
Great info for the do it your self crowd. I took mine back to the dealer and had them fixed under warrenty. Instead of having the seats replaced (same problem I'm sure would occure with the replacements) the dealer called a local upholestry shop and made arrangements for repairs to be made at their facility. Car was taken in at 8AM and returned to me just before noon same day. That was six months ago-------nooooo saggggging.
How did you get your dealer to do it? I asked my dealer and he looked it up and said there are not bulletins therefore its not covered by warranty.
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swieck View Post
Great info for the do it your self crowd. I took mine back to the dealer and had them fixed under warrenty. Instead of having the seats replaced (same problem I'm sure would occure with the replacements) the dealer called a local upholestry shop and made arrangements for repairs to be made at their facility. Car was taken in at 8AM and returned to me just before noon same day. That was six months ago-------nooooo saggggging.
Yeah, I'm curious too. My dealer told me "That's normal", to which I replied "Well every other car I've owned with leather seats, including six GMs never had this problem, so what you're telling me is that this is normal for Saturn seats and not leather seats in general, is that right?" For some reason this pissed him off a little, but he agreed.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Red Line View Post
Great post, I have a early model 2007 Redline, I have taken my seat apart and placed a lumbar roll on the back and pushed some foam between the springs and the foam on the bottom. This worked for awhile but I am now getting a pretty good sag in the bottom back. Enough that is causing some back pain on long trips. What would be you advise on adding the foam? I am not asking a medical question, just trying to figure out, once I get in there, how to distribute the foam. Should I just apply like you are indicating? I am not a big guy, 175lbs
If you're not a big guy, I would apply it just as I described above. I sat in this seat afterwards and it felt comforatable. The overall change is not enough to dramatically change the way you sit. If you're over 200lbs or so, I would consider adding the extra 1/4 to 1/2" of softer foam.

Back pain and proper posture are hard items to deal with usually, especially in a car seat. You typically want to position yourself in a seat that does not let you slouch easily or put too much pressure on your lower back either. Incorrectly installed lumbar supports can hurt as much as proper ones can help.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I guess I coped an attitude about the saggy seats, and after a short discussion with the service adviser he agreed that for a new car this should'nt be happening. I don't know what they paid the upholster, but it had to cheaper than replacing them with seats that would have the same problem. Sometimes you just have to get a little demanding to protect your investment.
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