Front seat disassembly and cleaning in washing machine (cloth, with pics).

Since it'll get long anyway, i'll try to skip some bla-bla... I'll try to squish pictures together and make them smaller too, possibly too much even. Drew on some.

When i bought car, i got original grey seats that came with my 1.2tdi as an extra set. Previous owner had installed black non-3L seats. Replaced black standard bench seat pretty soon to separate 3L grey seats in the back for obvious usability reasons (To avoid questions: Bench seat was somewhat forced to install, floor is configured for separate seats). Kept front non-3L seats since they have height adjustment and 3L ones needed slight cleaning. After seeing them clean now, "SLIGHT" might be mild understatement, but there seems to be plenty of A2-s with pretty dirty seats on sale. If i find lack of height adjustment or color to not fit my taste, i'll put back black ones, since weight saving on fronts is only 1,5kg per seat, probably almost all from lack of height adjustment.

Having previously stuffed my dirty A8 cloth seats into washing machine and witnessed wonders, i was set to do same with these seats before fitting.
So now (only 1,5 years later) time has come to actually do it! Since i'm already doing it, i'll document it and give a quick rundown of steps involved.
Probably more useful as a quick guide to disassemble seats.
There are probably additional steps involved with adjustable seats, heated seats etc.

WARNING: Seat cloth layers will probably separate in a washing machine. More problematic on rear seats, in front seats mostly causes concern in airbag area (pictures). Did not notice that on A8 or there was no place to notice it, but for A2 i brought a sewing machine to sew layers together. Since i do not know if same happened on A8, i have no long term guarantee to give. No problems after some years on A8. Separated layers may get wrinkled over time easily or who knows. Separation did not happen everywhere, probably is dependent on cleaning agent and washing program/temperature used.
Attempt on your own risk. Don't come to complain afterwards...

Firstly i have picture of disassembled drivers seat before washing. (FYI: we drive on RIGHT side, so many on here might think picture or text seems off)
As you can see (especially near airbag) it was in no way clean and shining:

Logically thinking it was worse than passenger seat, but i have no side-by-side proof of that. Except there was probably no such ugly stain in middle of it.

Then i have some side-by-side pictures of drivers seat after washing machine and passenger seat before it. There is some red dust on passenger seat from my own mishaps, but tried to select pictures that seemed most fair comparison.
If I need to tell which is cleaned, i failed at it.

After using Dust-sucker to remove dust, some pictures of seat before starting operations:

Not pristine, nor suitable inside 1.2TDI.

Lets start with the main deal:
First start by pulling out "whatever it's named, so lets call it a large clip" near bottom of backrest. Tools are just for holding it still for picture to show twist. Small screwdriver etc may be used to get one end out, and then pull by hand. Additional small ones on both ends.
Same thing with sides and then lift it:

Near top we can see first metal wires bended into circle. Objective is to bend them sideways enough that they can be removed, they will be reused. Turn them out and remove long wire hiding inside:

(On an A8 there were nice plastic locking clips instead, much better to deal with, both installing and removing wise)

3 10mm nuts will be visible under airbag, remove them and airbag comes off. It'll still be attached by wire at the bottom, try not to damage it. And dont force it out, might tear apart plastic that is meant to tear if airbag deploys. After that pull away cloth under airbag. It is held in there by miniature hooks glued to plastic. Whatever this connection is called, it'll come off by simply pulling gently. Insert airbag back and screw on nuts, so they will not be lost. Airbag is secured and there is no unwanted sticking...

This step can be skipped, but i'll want to clean them separately anyway:
Insert screwdriver like shown, adjuster should slide out. Remove adjuster and springs. With fingers or some tool, slightly pressing plastic upwards should remove it. This side needs to be slided sideways first. Other side just pops off.

If you lift cover, you can see small notches to press with screwdriver etc and headrest thingy-s will slide out (one already removed). Then by pushing bottom slightly forward and then pulling up, whole backrest foam with cover should slide off. One small separate piece might remain. (Heated seats etc may need additional steps):

Turn cover off from foam and start removing metal wire circles again. Sides first, remove long wires:

Same with shorter ones and you should have disassembled backrest:

Start removing remaining plastics from seat. 2 things holding larger plastic, they need a slight push to release. Rear one is harder to access, screwdriver (upper right corner on pic) helped out and plastic came off.

Inner side is held place with a screw (torx 25). Pull off backrest adjustment knob and remove plastic.

This time i decided to remove whole base from frame. First seat was done without removing. So either way it can be done, both have its merits and cons. Without removing , access is more limited.
If you decide to not remove base, skip forward to pulling cover and add some pain to those steps.
From one side you can access M8 XZN bolt, removing that frees one corner. But on other side it is blocked by plastic. With adjustable height it might reveal itself, but no luck on 3L. Instead i removed 13mm bolt and hex 8 bolt with 16mm nut on other side.

In front, there a 6 screws to be removed (torx 25). Seem to have missing picture how to remove wire from clip that holds it to seat base, but its basically inserting small screwdriver under tongue in it and lifting, it opens up and becomes reusable. Then base is freed from frame.

Turning base around we start by inserting something somewhere to free something... Rest should free itself by helping hand. Free remaining holder on back.

Separate foam from base plastic (upper left corner, hardly visible). Cloth between them is probably drifted away. Set cloth away and turn cover around. Metal circle clips again.
Unfit for 3L, probably the reason why it was converted to normal 1.2TDI. Missed clip, adding another one added too much weight!!! Joking aside, outer wires might be slightly loose depending on wear. Drivers side was worse, but not something i'd worry about. And we are left with disassembled out of focus seat base.

Since it was not my first try, i already knew that airbag area is problematic. It is made from different cloth, glue gets destroyed and grey cloth becomes loose. Also since there were no stitching in place, many loose ends were produced on first try.
So i found a friend who's wife had sewing machine and did probably my first work using it. White stitching. HEY! No laughing at my work now, it did what i needed from it. Produced less loose ends and while it did de-bond from glue as expected, it now has stitches holding layers together. (First pic before washing, others after) Only time will tell if drivers side without stitches to hold upper layer in place will start to slide out under airbag or not. There is option to try to glue them back together afterwards, but not thinking about it now. While i had machine, did reinforce loose end area under plastic too. I did secure that small thingy under seat that holds cover near feet in place, since it is dangling too much in washing machine and does some additional damage otherwise.

Now comes hardest step: Using washing machine! Here i can not think anything to comfort you, this step is mandatory for this...
Only god can help you during this step. Can't think anything to help in that regard. But i'd dry them normally to avoid further damage.

Now hard part is over.
But first loose ends chewed by a washer need to be removed with scissors. I probably cut them too much, but at least long ends should be removed.

After washing machine process is reversed. Take foam and cover, install wires, add circles and start to bend circles back together after successfully attaching them to both wires. Continue until all 4 wires and circles are in place. You can take mental breaks if bending circles gets too unfun.

Add fabric onto base or onto foam. First picture has fabric wrong way, second has it normally (align the holes etc). Insert base into foam or vice-versa. Discover that there is ugly stain that is visible especially under flash. Tear it all apart again and threw back into washing machine. Take another mental break if needed.
I did dial in a short daily wash routine on washer hoping it would result in less loose ends that need to be trimmed and less overall damage, backfired.
This time i threw in only base cloth, but poured some of cleaning goo onto stain beforehand. Dialed in 2,5h long synthetics program and ran away.

Next day the rewashed cover was back on seat base. Looking much better. Very mildly visible stain under flash (area where i did not add goo beforehand), but hardly visible normally, so did not opt for a third run in washer.

Now bend white thingy back around and push it into place. Some clicking sound are probably produced. I decided to start from front middle, do sides and then backside. Some piece of wood helped a little and base is back together.

Throw base back where it belongs. With my slightly rusty tool i inserted xzn bolt. Added thread lock beforehand, but not so needed on 3L, since seat is stationary anyway.
Two bolts back to other side. Wire clip back together. 6 screws back and base is fixed.

Started to assemble backrest. Airbag area de-bonded from glue. After witnessing that ugly stain on seat base that must be left there by a Terminator himself soiling his pants with oil during acceleration phase of mighty 33/45kw beast, i decided to put cover over foam and and look for imperfections that might be caused by my misuse of washing machine. Slight darker area visible in one place near airbag. Decided to leave it as is and not add to second round of washing.

Threw backrest over frame. Pushed headrest fixings back in. Put back backside wire and circles

Washed plastic parts in Fairy and water mixture. Airbag cover included, better to do beforehand, but i chose hard way. Foam should come behind like that (upper middle pic).
On foam side, there is a dent where bottom black connection piece can rest in. Airbag out i connected back rear part.

While backside is closed its probably better to stick back cloth into airbag hole. Second picture is out of focus, but does its job. Airbag back into place if adjusted until satisfied. Reopen back and add nuts to secure airbag.

Put back together again, including small side connections, throw rubber band back where it belongs. Add some plastic.

Other side too and we have completed the quest. And that tiny stain will probably drive me nuts every time i notice it, but that's my own problem.

Next to other one to be lifted into car. Weight savings achieved. Tools used.

By my experience from A8, wrinkles that appear after washing will go away after short use. Washing machine does not repair damaged fabric etc. But as much my experience tells, usual Kärcher wet fabric cleaner does not come close to washing machine even with multiple passes. Might be doing it wrong, but even if it would clean it as good, my logic tells me some dirt is just pushed into foam or something. Layer separation might get problematic, but that needs time to show.

I've almost done rear seats and headrests too by now, one still needs minor assembly. Going to post that at another time. Dealing with pics etc takes as much time as washing seats...

Thank you very much for putting this together, it really does look like the complete guide to removing the seat covers. The pictures assist brilliantly.

Your findings/write up will inspire many to give this a go themselves, maybe add some heating elements before reassembly?

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to produce this.

Kind regards,

Admin could this be added to the "How to" section? Great write up.

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
Morning Bob,

Absolutely sir. I'll see what I can do shortly.

Edit: This thread has now been placed within the Knowledge/How To/Interior Forum so it is easily located in the future.

Thanks again for sharing this great source of information @maxufeiss.

Kind regards,

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