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How To Remove headrest, seat, upholstery from Front Seats and Installed Heaters

19561 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jimreddog
I’m not responsible for any damage to you or your Cruze if you attempt this. This is the way I’ve done it, and I’m not a mechanic, but I did reference the service manuals.
I’m in the process of adding heated seats, and while I guess maybe this could be done in the car, the seat comes out so easy, you’re crazy not to remove it and bring it inside.

Full pictures can be found at Shutterfly I will try to link them to the steps as I develop this thread. Pics have been sorted on this site based on order in which they were taken as the seat came apart. Is there weren't file size limits here I would have directly uploaded

  • Either disconnect the negative battery cable, or remove BOTH airbag fuses from the engine fuse box, and the Instrument panel fuse box. You can drive the car with the seat removed, but service airbag does come on the DIC, and the airbag lite is lit. From what I’ve researched the Inflatable restraint control and diagnostic module is still in the car, but with the seat removed you removed a significant number of circuits, side air bag, and pretensioner assembly, along with the occupancy presence sensor, and the occupancy presence module. I’m still limiting driving with it this way, but it appears that the diagnostic module controls all the inputs and outputs for the airbag system. This includes, 10 airbags, 4 seat belt pretensioner assemblies, the occupancy presence equipment in the passenger seat, and the multitude of Airbag sensors. I believe drivers airbags would still blow in a crash, but that’s my understanding of reviewing the circuits, so be careful.
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  • Actually the occupancy presence sensor is a cloth material on the top of the seat cushion. No one recommends heating this pad. I will not be putting a heater over it. I’ll be either installing the pad on the front bottom edge of the seat, or putting the bottom element in the seatback, and heating it all the way to the headrest.

  • Remove the headrest. Using a cut coat hanger install it in the small hole on the left post of the headrest. While pushing in on the wire, and the other button on the other post push in with both, and pull up on the headrest. Gives more clearance to get the seat out.
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  • Now go over to the connection of the seat belts on the outboard side of the cushion, where the threaded webbing is attached to the seat pretensioner assembly.

  • Using a thin metal blade access the hidden connection, start at the top, and move around the sides. You need something really thin, as this isn’t meant to ever come apart. I used a set of flat feeler gauges for a thin piece of metal that could be used as a pry tool. Yea I have trim removal tools, but it won’t help you, as the clearance here is less than 0.010 inches! The plug stays attached, don’t break the bottom. See pic

  • Now you can remove the 10 mm bolt..
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  • Now the belt can be removed from the ABS pretensioner assembly. The assembly will come out with the seat.
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  • Move the seat all the way forward. Remove the two T-50 bolts. These are coated in blue Loctite, and while they come apart, they take a big tug with a 3/8”ratchet. I was working in the car with the doors closed. Winter and it’s cold outside! I actually used a ½” breaker bar to break the Loctite. I think this could be done with a 3/8” with better leverage, with the rear door open.
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  • Find the big round bar that goes across the bottom of the seat, this will be the lift point for everything you do.

  • With the bolts removed, backrest all the way forward to dash, tip the seat forward from the rear. Careful, wires are still attached.
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  • Open the little door in the floor carpet. Look at the main electrical harness connector. Don’t pull out. Grasp the end of the connector closest to the dash and push forward to dash assembly with finger pressure. The connector will literally back out of the connection. If you’re pulling straight out you’re doing it wrong.

  • Tie the connector to the bottom of the seat out of the way protected so as the seat is rocked around, it doesn’t break.

  • Now tip the seat backward with the back of the headrest against the back seat. Look at what’s under there.
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  • I actually rotated the seat 90 degrees in the car, while the seat was balanced on the back legs of the seat.

  • Holding with the bar under the seat with one hand, and the other around the back of the seat get it out.
  • At this stage you can remove the seat, both the seat bottom ratchet assembly handle, and the backrest adjuster handle have similar hidden screws to what you dealt with on the seat belt connection assembly. Find a feeler gauge thickness that works, and go all the way around the connector. There will be an optimal point where the feeler gauge slips in deeper, this works a little better for prying, but it’s still a little touchy. I tried every screwdriver I have, including jewelry screwdrivers. There is no slot to remove these, it’s designed for a very flush clean appearance.
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  • The backrest adjuster does pull off. Pull slowly evenly from both sides. It will come off, allowing you to remove the plastic from the outboard side of the seat. Not sure you’d have to do this, but I think it will be easier, when you drill a hole for the heated seat switch.
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  • Remove plastic from both sides of the seat.
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  • Looking at the bottom of the cushion start removing clips that are attached to the springs of the seat bottom.
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  • Now disassembly of the seat cushion. I tried to start with the back of the seat cushion. I ended up nearly removing all of the cover. I started with the side clips on the frame of the bottom of the seat. These are stitched into the fabric. Using your hands, grab the fabric and the clip and roll it back removing the clip from the metal seat material.
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  • Do this on the front left and right of the seat.

  • Now do the front edge of the seat
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  • Now you have to release the clear plastic upholstery piping rod from the black clips.
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  • Don’t clip anything. Contrary to what you see on the Sonic Forums, the Cruze seats don’t contain Hog Rings, or zip ties.

  • Carefully pull straight upwards to remove the clear plastic rod from the black clips. The clear rod does have some flexibility, which is good here. Be careful, this is something you don’t want to break. Put your fingers under the clear plastic bar, on both sides of each clip and pull upwards. I’ve posted some pictures at the link above of the clips.

  • Start on the side of the cushion so you can see both sides of the black clip and how it works. Work from left to right.

  • The seat back is the same construction, but has zippers on both sides of the back of the seat. Open the zippers, remove the upholstery piping from the clips, and lift up on the fabric.
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  • This covers most of any maintenance or repair to any part of the seat, except for removing the headrest mounts that are part of the seat. The service manual says “Use flat blade tool to depress and remove, The mysterious flat blade tools! , but I can’t figure out where! If you were going to completely remove and replace the covers, you’ll have to figure this out.


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Just an update.

The passenger seat has been done and installed for about a week. The seat get's warm in less than 60 seconds. Definately a nice modification for those wishing for more cabin heat, or potentially increased MPG, while keeping the engine from running richer to provide more heat lost at the heater core.

The drivers seat is up next after Christmas.
How did you control the heated seats. With an aftermarket switch?
The components that I ended up using were an aftermarket kit that came with a 10mm round switch that could be mounted in the plastic surround on the side of the seat.

The switch was part of the kit. I've had good luck with the Dorman Universal Cut to fit seat heater. I was hoping to use original GM factory parts, and I researched this. Unless you have access to an entire donor car it's really cost prohibitive. There's a minimum of 2 control modules required, in addition to the factory seat cushions with heaters.

I powered mine from the interior fuse box. Essentially an add a line from the cigarette lighter. No cutting or slicing that way. I think original equipment in a non heated seat car also has different wiring harnesses from the dash to the seat connectors.

I'm surprised this how to hasn't gotten much response. I really like how it turned out. It takes time, it's not an hour job, but the results are very nice in cold Midwestern climates!

There's low, high, and off. There's no integral timer circuit. If you don't shut them off they go off with the cigarette lighter when opening the door.

The cigarette lighter circuits are not powered on upon remote start. So that's kind of sad. However, this product on high, will get the seat HOT in 1-2 minutes with an ambient temperature outside of around 0F.

I wish the seat pad went a little higher up the back of the seat. There's some products on Amazon and flebay that appear to be larger pads, but I've heard mixed reviews of success if you start cutting them.

And I paid a little much for the Dorman kits, all this stuff is made overseas, I just hope with the Dorman name these pads last longer than a fly by night seller on "the bay".

Good Luck-
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I just picked up a set of heated leather seats from salvage and am game planning my install. Plan to use the stock GM heater units with a universal switch.
Yep-- I did it.. I think the pictures are still posted on the shutterfly link.

I used an "Bussman" add a circuit to get positive power from the fuse box. And grounded them to a factory ground under the console. The heaters I purchased had their own switches and controls.

I placed the switch in the side panel of the seats on the outside edge. Drilled a hole the appropriate size with the plastic side plate removed. I had both of the seats stripped down to the springs. Doing the drivers seat first, then the passenger, so I could still drive the car!

The only thing I couldn't figure out is how to remove the fabric fully from the seat backs of the front seats. You have to remove the post supports for the head rest, and I couldn't figure that out. It's not required if you already have the seat covers on the seats that you want. However, if you were to swap just the leather covers for the cloth that would have to be done..

I have hot heat in 30 seconds in -5F temps. Much faster than GM OEM design. However, their heating pad covers more of the seat than mine does.
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There's 41 or 42 high quality images posted to shutterfly. I'm not a shutterfly expert but I know they don't charge for hosting and they keep files forever.

The album that I have put them in is located directly at Yes this is a shortened link provided by them.

This album has been made public, but I'm not sure you can download files until you create a shutterfly account for yourself.

Emailing all of this could be an issue, we probably don't need all of the photo's, but they were taken in the order that I took the seats out of the car and took them apart. If someone has a direct location to take 50-75 megs of files please let me know.

I probably took more pictures than what I needed. I was blazing new ground, on a car that was only two years old at the time.

I think most email servers are not going to accept 1 75 meg zip file.

I'm going to attempt to temporarily upload it to google drive. If you want access please send a pm with your e-mail address, and I will send you an invite to the files from google drive.
jimreddog2000 at I have been wanting to do this for a while

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