C5 Corvette Seat Upgrade | By: Chris Trautman
When we first got the C5 we noticed is seat wear and the need for C5 Corvette seat upgrade. The question came up "what seat"? After contemplating the use and costs we found upgrading to a C6 Z06 seat was the best option for us. If you factor in new seat foam and leather covers for the existing seats. We found a very helpful member on the Corvette Forum that provided us with a nice set of used C6 Z06 seats at a price equal to the foam and leather parts. Always use caution when buying anything online especially from a Forum!
This is what the C6 Z06 Seat logo looks like. The newer base C6's will have the Corvette crossed flags logos. To continue with our C5 Corvette seat upgrade we decided not to wait for those and to go with the Z06 seat. Also notice the perforated center section that was not an option on any C5 seat. This helps display greater refinement for the older generation C5.
To start our C5 Corvette seat upgrade we pried out the center section of the seat bolt cover special fastener. Then pulled the cover towards the front of the car. The front mounting bolts have two covers on the front mounting brackets. Once exposed we removed the nuts with a deep well 15mm socket. Then repeated the nut removal for the back mounting nuts. We have power seats so we disconnected the wiring at the connectors after positioning the seat all the way down . Now this is the tricky spot. You want to move the tilt telescoping wheel all the way up and forward if possible. The seats still come out if you dont have the telescoping option. It would not hurt to protect the painted areas of the car when removing the seat out of the car. The seat tracks can ruin the paint and your day in a hurry!!!!! I cant stress this enough! An ounce of prevention warts off a pound of paint and pain in this case! Once removed you will find all the change you have lost on the way to all the Corvette shows you went to. Also all the dirt as you see in ours from our last excursion to some grassy field in Illinois for Vette fest! This is a great time to vacuum out all this offending filth.
For the C5 Corvette seat upgrade we are swapping the seat track from our C5 over to the C6 seats. To start we have to remove the track from the old seat. On the bottom of the seat near the back you will see a gray cloth material with hog rings holding it to the seat springs. We had to remove this to gain access to the pull string that goes around the base of the leather bottom. The string is what holds the cover down to the seat base.
We then pulled the cover away to gain access to the seat track to seat base mounting bolts. Now these are a real knuckle buster if you don't get the seat bottom all the way out. We needed a second set of hands here!
This my friends, is one of the easy front bolts. The back two are lets say, "difficult".
Now for the fun part of our C5 Corvette seat upgrade! Lets Compare the seats first.
Notice the airbag and seat sensor electronics on the passenger C6 seat on the left. The new seat is a little heavier. The seat bottom on the C6 is a little longer also.
You will now notice as we mounted the C6 seats to the C5 bracket that the seat bottom really gains no better access to the mounting bolts. We just reassembled same way as we removed them from the C5 seats. You will see from this point forward that the C6 is really just an improvement on the C5 when it comes to the seats! Say maybe a C5.5!
This is the passenger side power seat control trim piece and switch from the C5. If we had a manual passenger seat we could have skipped this step. The trim fits on the C6 seat without any modifications. We removed the side lever from the C6 seat and reused the C5 lever on the C6 seat.
Here is the finished passenger side! Two generations of Corvettes merged. The holes for the mounting screws where even pre-drilled on the C6 seat for the C5 trim.
In the left picture you will see the Driver side C6 seat, the C5 Seat control and the C6 control on the right (smaller one). For this side we reused the C6 trim but we needed to merge the control from the C5. Its very tight since the size of the control is so huge. This is one area that will vary when reusing controls from your C5. Ours is a 97 and the trim and controls are not the same for all year C5's. But this should give you an idea of what to do.
The picture on the right is the seat structure under the C6 trim. It requires flattening of the tangs around the opening. It also helped on ours to pull the front trim attach edge out to give us more clearance for the switch control.
The C5 Corvette seat upgrade uses the C6 trim panel. This panel has a very small opening for the switch that comes on the C6. So with our handy dandy Dremel tool we made the hole a little larger so that our switch would function normally. Make sure you size yours correctly to work with your switches from your C5! We installed it and this is how it turned out! Now since we used the C6 trim on this side we used the tilt lever for the C6. To remove these you just need to push the spring out with a screw driver or a small pick.
Now we reinstalled the seats back in the car in the same order we removed them. Make sure and protect everything during this C5 Corvette seat upgrade if you value your car!
You decide! Would you want the Driver side or the passenger side?
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