Introduction: Removing Fabric From '03 Wrangler for Washing
Sometimes the fabric on the seats of your car are beyond cleaning using traditional upholstery cleaner. This Instructable will help you get your seats back to brand new condition, or at least close.
I'm doing this for the driver's seat of my 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. It should apply for all models with the same seat as well as for the passenger seat.
Step 1: Unhook Wiring From Below Seat
On the drivers seat there is a wire connected to the bottom of the seat. This needs to be unhooked before we can take the seat out. It is secured on the top of the piece connected to the seat. Use your finger to depress the security connection and slide the adapter out.
Step 2: Remove Bolts to Allow Removal of Seat
This will allow us to take out the seat. You will need a 1/2 inch and T50 star sockets. Remove all 4 bolts.
Step 3: Remove Seat
After removing all bolts, remove the seat from the vehile.
Step 4: Unhook J-hooks for the Seat Back
Starting with the seat back, unhook the j-hooks that meet at the base of the seat back. Pull the fabric from the front and back sides of the seat to allow the j-hooks to separate.
I don't know the proper name for these hooks and will refer to them as "j-hooks" throughout this guide.
Step 5: Pull Fabric Up
Pull the fabric up high enough to see metal rods on the front of seat back
Step 6: Release Metal Rods
Pull metal rods down 1.5 to 2 inches. This will release them from the their connection up top allowing you to get them out of the fabric.
Step 7: Pull Fabric Up
Pull fabric up as far as you can. It will not let you go farther than a couple inches below the head rest. This will reveal another metal rod going horizontal across the seat back.
Step 8: Remove the Horizontal Metal Rod
Use a needle nose pliers at one end to twist and pull appropriately to help navigate the rod out.
Step 9: Remove Screw on Lever
Remove the single screw holding on the lever used to lean the seat forward.
Step 10: Pull Up the Fabric
Pull the fabric off as far as you can. You'll get hung up on the lever used to lean the seat forward.
Step 11: Pull the Plastic Backed Fabric Over the Lever
Use a flat head screwdriver to get the leverage to get this off. When this is done you officially have the seat back fabric removed!!
Step 12: Setup Seat on a Table
It's much easier to work from this position from here on out.
Step 13: Unhook J-hooks Used to Fasten Front of Seat to the Frame
Squeeze the cushion and pull as much fabric forward as you can to get enough play to remove the j-hook.
Step 14: Unhook J-hooks Used to Fasten Rear of Seat to the Frame
Use a flathead screwdriver and slide it in under the frame from the back. Get the head of the screwdriver under the edge of the j-hook and push forward until it unhooks. This connection is more of a pressure fit on the j-hook so you don't need to produce play by pulling the fabric.
Step 15: Unhook J-hooks Used to Fasten Sides of Seats to the Frame
Use a flathead screwdriver and slide it under the j-hook. Twist and leverage the hook off the frame. This is also more of a pressure fit than tight fabric holding the hook in place. Do this on both sides.
Step 16: Unhook J-hooks Around the Back of the Seat
Pull the fabric on the back of the sat back and unhook the two small j-hooks connecting the side fabric to the back fabric. These are easy. Do both sides.
Step 17: Remove Bolts in Seat Frame
Remove the two bolts (one on each side) holding two pieces of the frame together on the front of the seat. This is the only way I could find to allow enough play in the frame to complete the next step.
Step 18: Unhook Last 2 J-hooks
This is probably the most difficult step. There are two more j-hooks connecting the fabric to the frame a couple inches further towards the back of the seat from the j-hooks removed in steps 15. The 2 j-hooks are opposite each other. Unhook both using a flathead screwdriver by driving the head as far under the j-hooks as possible. With your other hand reach under and work the j-hooks loose by turning the screwdriver and pulling with your other hand from the bottom. When the hook is loose pull the frame apart as much as you can (possible because we removed the screw in the previous step). This should give you enough room to get the j-hook out.I HAVE NOT FIGURED OUT HOW TO RE-HOOK THESE WHEN PUTTING THE FABRIC BACK ON. My seats still look tight so I'm OK with it. If you figure it out, please comment.
Step 19: Flip Seat and Pull Back Fabric
Flip the seat over and pull back the fabric from the front of the seat until you reveal the two metal rods running parallel down the middle of the seat.
Step 20: Remove Metal Rods Holding Fabric On
Use a needle nosed pliers to twist and pull metal rod out. When both sides are removed you have the seat fabric off!!!
Step 21: Wash the Fabrics
I washed the fabric with warm water and dried on the "Delicate" setting. Feel free to adjust as you see fit. Wash twice if necessary.
Step 22: Put the Seat Fabric Back On
Put the metal rods back through fabric, tying them to the seat. I folded a 16G wire in half and sent it through first so I could pull the rod back through. The wire is the best thing I could find to be stiff enough to be pushed and bendable enough to go through the fabric, then through the rings, then back through the fabric. The wire should be sent through from the back of the seat towards the front of the seat following the path the metal rod will take on the way back through. After the wire is run, connect the metal rod to the wire and pull it through using a needle nose pliers to twist and push the rod as it passes through. Do this for both sides...it goes faster the more times you do it.
Step 23: Pull Fabric Into Place and Flip Seat Over
Pull the fabric around the cushion and send the back of the fabric under the top of the seat towards the back. When done, flip seat over. I recommend you lay down a clean towel if you're not working on a clean surface. Sorry, no picture.
Step 24: Attach the J-hook on the Front of the Seat to the Frame
Pretty straight forward
Step 25: Pull the Seat Back Adjustment Handle Through Its Hole in the Fabric
Again, straight forward
Step 26: Attach the Two Main Side J-hooks to the Frame
One on each side. You'll have to route it back through to get it back to it's original placement.
Attach the j-hooks around the back to the hard plastic connectors on the back of the seat which wraps the fabric around the sides of the seat. Do both sides.
Step 28: Replace the Bolts
Put the bolts back attaching the two pieces of frame we removed earlier to create some play in the frame. Sorry, no picture.
Step 29: Tuck the Two Remaining J-hooks Down Their Path
I wasn't able to re-connect these.
Step 30: Attach the Rear J-hook to the Frame
Use a flathead screwdriver and put it in the j-hook from one side. Use this to get the hook past the connection point. Then use a small screwdriver and force the hook down over the connection through the holes in the frame. When this is in place you have the bottom of the seat finished!!
Step 31: Flip the Seat and Start on the Top
Grab the top and turn it inside out. Pull it down over the seat. Pull the fabric and plastic insert over the casing for the lever. Should be easier than taking it off.
Step 32: Get Metal Rod Pulled Back Through and Into Position
Pull the fabric down so that you can start working with the wire to slip the horizontal metal rod back in place. Follow the same method as in step 22 using the wire to pull the rod into place
Step 33: Recline the Seat Fully and Remove the Two Large Vertical Metal Rods.
Step 34: Put the Metal Rods Through the Fabric Loops
Don't worry about getting the rods through the metal rings on the seat just yet.
Step 35: Get Top of Metal Rod in Place
Using your hands up on the fabric, force the metal rods down the groves all the way to the top. If you've done it correctly, the top of the rod should be through a connecting hole on the seat securing the top to the seat.
Step 36: Attach Looped Ends of Rod to Rings on Seat
Loop the ring at the end of the metal rod through the metal ring attached to the seat. Use a needle nosed pliers to hold the ring in place while doing this. Once attached, spin the metal rod so the rod is now properly attached to the ring and slipped through the fabric into place.
Repeat for the other side.
Step 37: Attach the J-hook on the Bottom of the Seat to the Connector on the Back of the Seat
Pull the j-hooks under from the front to the back of the seat and attach to the connector on the back of the seat. I found it easiest to attach the two j-hooks on the side first, then the middle.
Step 38: Put the Single Screw Back in the for Lever That Folds the Seat Forward
Step 39: Put the Seat Back Into the Jeep
Remember to attach all 4 bolts.