Once upon a time (about 13 years ago) I worked as an installer for Classic Soft Trim, so I have experience with it – plus I’ve always wanted to do one just for myself!
I have a 07 double cab with no air bags in the seats and no fold flat passenger seat. Obviously an access cab and reg cab install will differ…
That being said, here’s the generic disclaimer: If you are not comfortable with any of the steps outlined in this DIY then do not attempt this project. That said I can not be responsible for any damage that occurs to your truck as a result of following the information contained within this thread
This is going to be a lengthy post but I’ll walk you through the whole process so you can successfully install leather in your Taco!
First things first. As I saw someone else post in TW before – there is more plastic in these trucks than a toy store! – so to begin – REMOVE THE DOOR PANELS!!! – even if you are not going to install new pieces on the doors – TAKE THEM OUT!!!
The reason is simple – even pros slip up - the bottom of the seats where they mount to the floor are metal & can be sharp – you can easily do serious damage to the door panels while removing & re-installing the seats.
Check out this post for instructions:
Thanks to ried for the detailed DIY on this. (My only variation from his install was to re-heat weld the door panel inserts back into the panel vs. using screws.)\
- Good scissors
- Flat & Phillips head screwdriver – ( a nice big flat head one too if you have it)
- 14mm socket & ratchet
- Curved hook & 90 degree pick
- Hog Ring Pliers & plenty of Hog Rings
- Needle nose Pliers (not pictured)
- Sharp razor knife
- Dremel Tool or equivalent with grinding bit
- Soldering gun with wide melting tip
Now removing the rear seat bottoms is simple – you just need to take out the (2) 14mm bolts on the front mounts – it may be easier if you tilt them forward…
For the rear seat backs, release them so they fold down & locate the plastic bolt covers at the corners. GENTLY pull up on them & the 14mm bolts will be exposed. (see pic) Remove these & the seat will come right out. The only addition to this is for the passenger side you have to also undo the bolt for the seat belts – this is also a 14mm bolt
Now that you’ve removed the seats, we need to remove the stock cloth.
Starting with the seat bottoms – flip them over cloth side down. Using a flat head screwdriver pry up on the corner of the U shaped molding that holds the cloth in place:
Once this is started you should be able to pry off the rest all the way around by hand:
Now work the U shaped trim up & around the foam so it looks inside out:
There are 2 hog rings on each of the 3 metal rods… Using a set of needle nose pliers, grab the rings and firmly twist them off.
You should then slide the rods out of the sleeves in the stock cloth. This is what is left:
Now, flip the new leather seat bottom inside out, expose the sleeves for the rods, and slide them into place:
Now you have to attach the new leather cover to the foam. Imbedded in the foam are twisted wire-like lines to attach the sleeved metal rods to. Load a hog ring into the hog ring pliers & attach the 3 Rods. Here’s a shot:
Once you’re finished with the hog rings (you’ll need 6) CAREFULLY pull the cover around the foam.
Now you are ready to seat the U-shaped molding back onto the channel in the metal seat bottom.
That takes care of the bottom & the only difference on the passenger side is the fact that it’s a little bigger…
Next comes the rear seat back.
Place the seat back cloth down and locate the screw holes under where the plastic covers were located. (There is a third screw in the middle of the passenger seat back)
Once you’ve removed those, simply push up on the plastic back towards the top of the seat & the rear will slide right off!
Now that the back is exposed you will see 4 more metal rods that connect the OEM Cloth to the seat frame. Remove the hog rings and metal rods from the sleeves:
You can now begin to peel the cloth around the sides of the seat, but there are now 2 things in your way: the release latch and the head rest mounts…
First take the hook & carefully reach in and separate the nylon pull tab from the metal latch hook:
(this can be a bit of a PITA)
Next GENTLY push in the sides of the tabs on both sides of the head rest mounts and then push them up though the metal frame holes. (take care in noting which is which & what direction they are facing – they have to go back in the same way – I marked mine with a sharpie)
Now you can take the cloth off to the metal rods holding the front of the seat face on.
You know what to do now – take the rest of the hog rings out & take the rods out of the sleeves
Left over on the seat back cloth is an important little piece of plastic… It’s the plastic eyelet for the pull tab that releases the back seat. Here is the inside view:
Take your Dremel & CAREFULLY grind dowm the 2 melt points until you are able to separate the 2 pieces on either side of the cloth:
Now you are ready to reupholster the seat back with the Leather!
Take the new seat back piece and turn it inside out. You should see two small marks in the foam backing for where the plastic eyelet needs to go. If they are not there, just carefully measure the original piece and mark on the new one where it goes.
You need to then CAREFULLY cut the slit for the pull tab to pass through. Once you make that cut, place the outside piece on the leather side & feel where the 2 melt points need to poke through. CAREFULLY make the holes – I used a razor blade, but a sharp punch would work too.
Now take the backer piece & using a flat attachment on your soldering gun re-heat the melt points to secure the eyelet in place:
With the piece still inside out, insert the metal rods into their sleeves and attach them to the seat front with the hog rings (you’ll need 6 again)
Gently pull the cover around the sides.
Pay close attention to the bottom. On both the driver & passenger rear seat backs there are connection points for a child seat. The new cover has slots for these to pass through and you’ll need to hog ring those tabs to the seat frame first.
***here’s an issue with my kit*** The sleeve for the rod on the seat latch side of the drivers side seat back was too long. I simply cut a hole to allow the rod end to poke out – the rest of the material did not impede the operation of the latch.
Insert the remaining metal rods in their respective sleeves and attach to the frame with hog rings:
There are 2 differences when doing the larger Passenger Side rear seat. First the 3rd seat belt is in the way… carefully unclip the retainer clip from the top of the seat and string the whole works through it. Then put it aside until your ready to put it back on the new piece.
The pull tab for the seat release is held onto the metal latch with a Phillips head screw instead of just being looped around the metal. This is actually easier than the drivers side one to take off & then reassemble.
The last thing is to re-install the head rest mounts. I took a screwdriver & carefully poked a hole up through the metal Frame holes for the mounts, then cut holes the same size as the mounts & pushed them back on place.
***Make sure the plastic tabs on the mounts are set back into place*** – you may need to help them along with a flat head Screwdriver.
Lastly slide the plastic back piece right back where it came from & re-install the screws…
Next comes the Front Seats:
Let me give you a tip on removing the fronts safely from the truck:
First pull the rear covers off & remove the 2 14mm bolts:
Next go back to the front & slide the seat all the way back. Remove the 2 front bolts (also 14mm) and slowly tip the seat back exposing the electrical connections underneath.
I use my 90degree pick to undo all of these connections – but a small screwdriver that is properly positioned will work too.
Now, I could not take a picture of this – leave the seat slid all the way back and lift the recliner handle and tilt the back of the seat all the way forward.
You can now flip the entire seat straight on its back. Put a hand between the seat bottom & seat back & pivot the front of the seat out the door. You can then “turn” the seat out of the truck without risking hitting the dash or wheel – depending on which one you’re taking out…
OK. The seats out & you have it in the garage & there’s all this plastic all over it & now unless you put a milk crate in your Taco isn’t going to budge. LET’S FINISH THAT SEAT!!!
Start by removing these 2 hog rings:
You can now remove the 2 small Phillips screws on either side. This also exposes the hog rings securing the seat back – take em’ off!
You don’t have to do this step, I just was used to taking the recliner handle off… position the seat like: _\
From this pic you can see the plastic tab keeping it in place, just pull up the tab & slide off the handle.
For the seat belt side of both front seats, simply pull the cover out & back & I will release (undo the sensor wires first!)
For my driver side I have that nifty lumbar knob. – it just pulls right off!
***NO PIC*** for the rest of the seat bottom plastic on the outside of the seat, just gently pull out & push forward & it will come off***
You can now begin to peel the OEM cloth upwards on the seat back:
There are 2 metal downrods held on with dual hog rings on the front of the seatback:
Remove the hog rings, tilt the seat all the way back and slide the metal rods out of their sleeves:
You can then slide the cloth up to the last metal rod in the seat back:
***NO PIC*** The headrest mounts are the same on the front seats, so just take them off like you did on the back ones – making sure to mark their position!
Now you have a naked foam seatback…
Start with the seat bottom by CAREFULLY removing this plastic peg:
(I used the needle nose to get under it then pulled with them & pushed on the end with a flat head screwdriver…)
Lean the whole seat on its back so you can access the bottom.
Take a screwdriver and pry the plastic clips & channel off of the seat frame – this is similar to the rear seat bottom – it does not go all the way around however.
Once this is released, once again peel the OEM cloth up over the foam:
There are 3 metal rods in the seat bottom. Remove the sides first then you can get to the middle rod & remove it:
You now have a full on buck naked seat!
These next two shot show the mounting of the heated seat pads…. As this was my option & is not part of the leather, I’ll just post the Pic’s:
OK… Now we reverse the process & start the transformation to BLING leather seat!
Flip the new seat bottom inside out & thread the MIDDLE rod into the sleeve:
Attach with 2 hog rings & then thread the other 2 rods & attach them with 4 hog rings:
Now begin to fold the new seat bottom around so it is right side out:
( you will have some pushing & pulling to get it to sit right because of the “bump out” shape of the sport seat fronts)
For that pesky lumbar knob on the drivers side, pull the new piece down and clip it in place leaving the bulge:
CAREFULLY cut out the circle with scissors or a razor blade:
Get the rest of the clips/channel wrapped around the seat bottom:
On the front you may have noticed 2 metal clips:
(These prevent the channel from separating from the seat frame – I just pushed them snug with the butt end of a screwdriver)
There is no pic because I needed both hands, but wrap the back end of the seat bottom around the foam & tuck it in around the seatback uprights on both sides.
You now have those 2 flaps on either side”
Poke a hole through & make it big enough to fit that plastic peg back through.
Stop with the bottom for now.
Take the seatback & flip it inside out:
Thread the small rod through the sleeve & roll the seatback down until you can attach it in the middle with 2 hog rings:
Now roll it down a bit further & expose the top of the seat… MAKE SURE IT IS CENTERED AND SITS WELL ON THE FOAM! You can now make your holes for the headrest mounts & ensure they are set properly in the frame (some installers will not remove them at all & just cut the holes & fit the leather around the mounts – or complete the seatback & then punch them through - this is difficult to do without experience so please take the mounts out & reinstall them – it takes longer but there’s less risk of f’ing it up. Also if you punch them though there is no way to help seat the clips)
Once you cool with the headrest mounts, continue to roll the new piece down the foam . Tilt it all the way back again & thread those heavier down rods into the side sleeves. Be GENTLE! – I’ve see installers shove those rods right through the new upholstery seam!
Attach the hooks on the end with dual hog rings:
Now tilt the seat back all the way forward & tuck the seat back piece through between where top & bottom meet.
Here is the weird part: The OEM fabric has a plastic rod sewn on either end of the back piece to hog ring together and complete the back. Our new CST has a rod in the top, but a sleeve on the bottom. ***There is no metal rod for this***
Now, the Pro’s usually will not try & save the OEM so they’ll just cut the plastic rod off & shove It into the sleeve & move on. I have intentions of offering my stock interior to another TW member (after I have TRD embroidered on it) so I came up with an alternate solution that was much stronger:
These are 2 plastic coated rods cut from a Closetmaid wire shelf. They served the purpose nicely!
Set the set on its back and attach the last rod on the seat bottom:
(I waited because I needed to see how the wires for the heated set pads would sit.)
***NO PIC*** Put the Plastic back on the sides
Hint – you may need to cut out a bit for clearance on the seat belt side:
Attach the 2 elastic straps with hog rings to the frame & that’s it!
Here are some shots of the finished product:
(a hairdryer takes out the folds..)
Door Panels ( I painted the speaker grills to tie in the 2-tone look)
I hope you find this helpful.
Don't hesitate to PM me if you need help!
(P.S. - you'll note I did not post instructions for the headrests themselves... I figured they were self explanitory. Just take your time!)