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Custom Dodge Ram Interior Modifications - Custom Audio / Video All custom mods on the interior of your Dodge Ram. Dodge Ram stereo mods, alarms, electronics, shift knobs, upholstery, etc.


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Old 11-29-2010, 09:19 PM
DoubleARS DoubleARS is offline
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Default Katzkins Leather Seat Upgrade Installation Write-Up Part 1

We've had our 2005 Ram Daytona edition since we bought it new in 2005. I recently began feeling like I wanted something a little more sporty. The truck is our second vehicle and it doesn't get driven much anymore. It only has 56K on it and since my wife and I commute together with our toddler, we usually drive our "family" vehicle. I was starting to drool about a new Challenger or Camaro but my wife said no She said, "Why don't you start doing things to the truck?"

I hadn't thought about it before. I put a new H/U in awhile ago but I left everything else factory. We started researching the mods we could do and we were suddenly hooked. I had an 05 Wrangler that I just sold to a friend so we had a little cash on hand. We decided to start with the interior. It became clear to me quickly that 3 of the things we wanted to do should be done at the same time. Since I was going to do a new audio install, I was going to have to pull the seats to do it right. Because I would have to remove them to install new leathers, we decided to do them together. Also, since I was going to run new speaker wires, I figured I would do the lambo doors at the same time. So that's 3 big things at once.

I should tell you a little bit about myself before I go too far. I work as a mechanical design engineer for large industrial equipment but I have very little experience working on car interiors. I do a lot of my own maintenance like oil changes, spark plug changes, and other general maintenance but I still really consider myself a newb when it comes to a lot of car things. I still wont even touch brakes. I searched and searched the internet to find write ups similar to this but always came up short. I hope this either helps someone do this type of stuff or at least gives someone the courage to give it a shot if they weren't otherwise inclined to attempt it.

I will start with the Katzkins in this post.

If you want to see video of installs in addition to my write up and pictures, YouTube has some good videos. Search for Motorz. I found one they did on an F-150 and another on a Mustang. Both are very good but if you've never done something like this he may scare you. I wasn't looking forward to doing the install. I had even contacted Katzkin to see if they had installers in my area in case I got stuck. I decided to start with the head rests, then center console, the back seats, and finally the front. I figured if I got stuck anywhere, I would bring it to someone to finish. My wife wanted it done and I was sweating it. The biggest worry was the installation of the hog clips. It looks like you have to get them just right or you will get misalignments or wrinkles. Guess what? NO HOG CLIPS on these seats. The down side is that I sprung for the Katzkin installation kit for around $80. I did not need to use anything in it except the Katzkin leather lotion which I'm sure I could have got at a fraction of the cost. Wanna buy some hog ring pliers?

I had fabric seats so this write up is based on my experience with fabric. I assume the factory leather is similar but couldn't say for sure. This is also applicable to my 2005 Quad Cab. If you have the same seats, you shouldn't have a problem.

Here are the tools you will need:

Ratchet and sockets of varying metric sizes up to 18mm
Screwdriver, philips
Some sort of blunt blade for pushing the piping down on part of the console. I bet a screen rolling tool would work great.
Razor blades and scissors
Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Wow did my hands and arms hurt from the pulling and such)
Bandaids, gloves, or both (Lots of sharp sheet metal)

Here are the skins being unboxed.



Removing the headrests

There is a little button on all of the headrests. Push it in and pull the headrests out.

Skinning and re-skinning the headresets

Everything I saw or read suggested that the headrests were among the most difficult things to do simply because the material is tight. I undid the clips on the fabric and pulled them off. The leather was tough to get on but I just kept turning the headrest and pulling down a little further. Push the clips together and you are done. It took me maybe 30 minutes to do all four. It wasn't really that tough. It was much easier than I expected.





Skinning and re-skinning the center console

This is a little out of order because I actually already had the seats out doing a audio install. See below for removal of front seats and console. I took the armrest/storage box off by removing the bolts on the sides. Remove the top of the armrest by removing the screws holding the hinge to the bottom part. Carefully pop off the plastic piece on the bottom of the top. I actually broke 3 of the clips. It is not easy to get off. The top of mine was leather or vinyl. It is attached to the top with staples. Remove and lay the new skin on it. The back edge fits into the edge but the other 3 sides need to be stapled done. You will need a pretty strong stapler. My staple gun was not strong enough to penetrate the plastic. I ended up using carpet tacks to hold the leather to the plastic. Once stapled, put it back together. The bottom of the armrest was my least favorite of the entire project. To remove the fabric, pull it out of the channel that runs all around the part. Now try to insert the piping of the leather into that same channel. Here is where a rolling screen tool would probably be helpful. Huge pain but not impossible.

Finally, the bottom 2 pieces. You will have to take them apart. I thought I could do it together but you need to remove the plastic shell in the bottom part and with the top still attached it is difficult to reach two of the screws. Strectch the leather around the bottom and attach all clips and reinsert the plastic part. Slide the leather over the top and zip up. Reattach all of the parts to be reinserted into the truck.





Removing and installing the back seats

The back seats, like much of the installation were not all that difficult. Mine is a 60/40 split bench and I do not have the metal extender under them like I have seen on some. There is little difference between the 60 or the 40. The seats themselves are held to the cab with 4 18mm bolts each. One bolt on each has the female seatbelt that comes right off when you remove the bolts holding it and the seat down.



On the 60 portion of the bench you will also have to remove one bolt on the seatbelt to pull the male portion of one of the belts through the seat. You can see this in the photo above. There are hooks on the back of each seat that hold them to the back of the cab and a stud on the bottom of one of the feet of the seats so you have to lift straight up once all the bolts are removed.



Just do everything in reverse to put them back in.

Skinning and re-skinning the rear seats

The bottoms fabric comes off easily when the seats are still attached to the seat brackets.



For the seat back, you will have to remove the bolts that attach them to the brackets with a T45 Torx bit. The fabric is sandwiched between the bracket and the seat. Once removed, you can easily peel of the fabric. I just peeled it off past the headrest inserts.



Once the fabric is removed, remove the headrest inserts by squeezing the tabs at the bottom and pull out.



Be carful. The tab come out easy but are real flimsy. I didn't break any but I don't think it would be difficult to do. The inserts will only fit in one way so pay attention to that when you pull them out. Now to put the new skins on. Take the bottom and slide it on the bottom cushion.



I pulled them on as far as could giving them a pretty good tug to get them tight. Be sure to get the child L.A.T.C.H. hooks to stick through their holes.
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