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Discussion Starter #1
Well, after almost 150k miles I've more or less worn out the seat foam on my Soul. Not the seat cover itself, however, curiously enough. The seat upholstery still looks great. But the foam is breaking down to the point where I can feel the rods that hold the hog-ringed cover in place in the back of my hamstrings.

So today I ordered the seat foam to replace the foam. I found I could have also ordered the entire seat bottom, cover, bolting plate and all, if I wanted to go that route instead, for another $200 (the seat foam was about $100). I chose to go the foam route since I've done a few seat reupholsters before in the past.

If I can remember, I'll try to take pictures of this as I go and do a write up here, since I'm sure some of the original Soul owners are starting to get in this same boat. If everything goes well I hope to do it this weekend, but we shall see.
 

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OK, here we go. I got this done today and it only took me about an hour, start to finish. I took some pictures as I went so I'll try to break this up into a few posts.

First, remove the seat from the car. There are (4) 14mm bolts that hold the seat to the floor. Once you have the seat loose, prop it forward against the steering wheel and unhook the wiring harness from underneath the seat. The one you want to unhook is up by the seat near the yellow box. Once you've done that the seat is free. Fold it forward a little bit if you have to and take it out the front door.

Next, put the seat down on something clean - you'll be flipping the seat in several directions. Take off the plastic handle from the metal reclining lever. If you look to the inside of the handle (from the seat side) you'll see it is held on by a little plastic clip. Use a flathead screwdriver and push on that clip and the handle will slide off the lever. Now unhook the seat back upholstery from the bottom of the seat - if you turn the seat on its side you'll see it just hooks on the bottom of the seat.

After you do that you need to remove the plastic seat back. there are 2 metal snap-on clips on the bottom, 2 side-grip plastic clips on the sides and two plastic slide-in pieces at the top. First unsnap the bottom by pulling straight out on the bottom. Now push on one side or the other sideways to unhook the side panel clips. These are fragile (both of mine broke) so you might break them, but if you do don't worry your seat back will stay on just fine without them. Once you have the two side clips unhooked, slide the panel towards the bottom of the seat and it will be off.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Now that you have done this you need to take off the plastic side panels on either side of the seat. There are 2 phillips head screws that hold each side in place. After you take those screws out the plastic panels unhook by pushing up on the plastic pieces and the plastic clips that are built into it will unhook. This takes a little finessing so take your time, especially on the driver's side.

At this point it is time to unhook the seat back from the seat bottom. There are (2) 14mm bolts on either side. Just unbolt these and set the seat back aside. Now you are left with just the seat bottom. Turn the seat upside down and start unhooking the fabric. There are 3 fabric plastic hooks that hook onto the seat springs on the back, one plastic hook on either side of the seat, and one long plastic hook on the front of the seat. Look at the pictures to see what I'm talking about.
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Discussion Starter #4
Now that the fabric is unhooked it's time to start peeling it back from the foam cushion. Start from the front and peel it over the top of the cushion. You'll start seeing hog rings that hold the cover to the seat foam. There are a total of 10 hog rings that hold the cover to the seat cushion. As you peel the cover back you need to use a metal snippers or a needle nose pliers and clip or bend open the hog rings to release the fabric. Go slow and take the rings off side to side as you go - for example, take off the first one on the inner side of the seat, then the one on the outer side of the seat. Peel the cushion back some more and take the next two off. Then there are two in the center of the foam. Clip those and peel some more. There are three at the very back, one on either side and one in the middle. If you look at the pictures you can see one of the old hog rings hanging on the cover, and the open spots in the cushion are where the rings hook the metal rod in the cover to the seat foam.
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Discussion Starter #5
Now the cover is off and the foam is free. Just pull it off the seat base. There is a white fabric finisher that doesn't come with the new foam so make sure you save that and put it back on the seat base:
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Discussion Starter #6
Time to put the new foam on. I paid $112 including sales tax at my local Kia dealer. Take the new foam and put it into place on the seat base. It should be obvious how it goes on - it just hooks into place over the edges of the seat pan. You can see how it's formed to sit on the pan (ignore the hairy leg in the photo):
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Discussion Starter #7
Now it's time to put the cover back on. You need hog rings and a hog ring pliers, or hog rings and a needle nose pliers, or you can do this with zip ties. I prefer the hog rings for longevity but zip ties work too and they're not as much hassle. I have hog ring pliers but I find it's so tight to work around the cushion contours that I usually just hook the hog ring on both pieces and squeeze it tight with a needle nose. Take the cushion cover and slide it into place over the back of the seat foam. Now get your hog ring and hook the middle of the cushion to the middle of the seat cover retaining bar. If you look at this picture you'll see the hog ring hanging on the cover retaining bar, and it's getting ready to be hooked to the cushion bar:
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Discussion Starter #8
Once you have the back middle one on, do the two back side ones, then work your way forward. Once you get the back middle one on, the rest should be obvious where they go. Once you have all the hog rings on, snap the plastic fabric retainers back into place on the seat foam (one long one on the front, two small ones on the side, three on the back). The retainers go in by pushing the groove over the edge of the seat pan. It should be obvious how it hooks on, and you'll hear it snap as it grabs the metal pieces of the seat pan.

From there, reattach the seat back to the seat bottom. Then put the side plastic pieces back on. Put the reclining lever back on. Put the seat back on. Hook the back seat fabric to the seat bottom. Put the seat back in the car, hook up the wiring harness, bolt the seat back in.

That's it! I notice an immediate difference in the comfort of the seat with the new cushion in place. On the old cushion, once it was out I could see it wasn't torn but the seat bolster was broken down from getting in and out over 150k miles.
 

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Very nice work & write up jd. Thanks!
 

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Very nice work & write up jd. Thanks!
Thanks - I took it for a test drive today before I drive it to work tomorrow and it was like driving a new car. I was actually sitting about an inch taller in the car, which felt kind of odd, because the new foam was so firm.

I looked over the old foam and saw three issues that developed over 143k miles:

1. The foam had a tear in it at the bottom on the driver door bolster side, probably from sliding in and out of the car. This, combined with
2. The bolster itself was starting to separate from the rest of the cushion, which caused it to splay out and make the seat wider (and shorter), which combined with
3. The bolster foam itself was noticeably softer that the rest of the seat foam, probably from the moving and flexing and being constantly compressed getting in and out of the car.

All of that put together left the metal retaining bar of the cushion and the seat cover combining to feel like a solid rod on the back of my leg. This was definitely worth the 100 buck I spent and the hour of work.
 

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Thanks - I took it for a test drive today before I drive it to work tomorrow and it was like driving a new car. I was actually sitting about an inch taller in the car, which felt kind of odd, because the new foam was so firm.

I looked over the old foam and saw three issues that developed over 143k miles:

1. The foam had a tear in it at the bottom on the driver door bolster side, probably from sliding in and out of the car. This, combined with
2. The bolster itself was starting to separate from the rest of the cushion, which caused it to splay out and make the seat wider (and shorter), which combined with
3. The bolster foam itself was noticeably softer that the rest of the seat foam, probably from the moving and flexing and being constantly compressed getting in and out of the car.

All of that put together left the metal retaining bar of the cushion and the seat cover combining to feel like a solid rod on the back of my leg. This was definitely worth the 100 buck I spent and the hour of work.
It makes a big difference when your are comfortable jd. I've been in some expensive new cars where the seats hurt my back & generally uncomfortable. You'll appreciate your Soul even more now. Good job.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It makes a big difference when your are comfortable jd. I've been in some expensive new cars where the seats hurt my back & generally uncomfortable. You'll appreciate your Soul even more now. Good job.
Thanks - I need to make this car last a couple more years until I make it to retirement - I'm hell-bent on this being my last commuter :D
 

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My car has 370,000 and I thought the seat felt worn out from the beginning(bought used). Do you know where the pad for the heater goes? It does not look like you have heated seats but that is something mine does and would have to overcome. I prefer a softer seat, Do you think the foam will soften up as it ages a bit?
 

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Do you know where the pad for the heater goes?
This might help
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My car has 370,000 and I thought the seat felt worn out from the beginning(bought used). Do you know where the pad for the heater goes? It does not look like you have heated seats but that is something mine does and would have to overcome. I prefer a softer seat, Do you think the foam will soften up as it ages a bit?
Heated seat pad will go between the foam and the seat cover. It's the only way you'd feel anything. The foam sits directly on the seat base springs.

The foam will definitely soften up over time. It won't really be from age but from compressing it and decompressing it, i.e. getting in and out of the seat. My new cushion is pretty stiff right now, and I'll be glad when it loosens a bit, but it's still a big improvement from the bars pressing into my hamstring!
 

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Heated seat pad will go between the foam and the seat cover. It's the only way you'd feel anything. The foam sits directly on the seat base springs.

The foam will definitely soften up over time. It won't really be from age but from compressing it and decompressing it, i.e. getting in and out of the seat. My new cushion is pretty stiff right now, and I'll be glad when it loosens a bit, but it's still a big improvement from the bars pressing into my hamstring!
Thanks for that. I have done a few long trips and the seat is the only real complaint I have. I have to go to Cali next year for a cycling event and would really like to take the Soul.
 
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