October 30, 2008


Tonight was a nice get together with Josh, James, and Oleg, along with some new faces (Scott and his brother Tony). I had decided to swap out the black and tan leather for either all black leather or the dark gray and black cloth. I really preferred getting cloth because the racing seats I'll be getting at some point are cloth, and the interior not only feels more comfertable then leather, it all also has a nice color to it I think. Got someone who was interested in trading black leather, but when I got a message from someone I met at a car meet not long ago, ready to do cloth ASAP, I was on the scene.
Got to Scott's brother's house a little after six where Scott's car was ripped apart in the garage already with Josh there. They started working at it at around five apparently, but were stuck at the steering wheel, in which we needed a steering wheel claw tool (the RX8club DIY said we didn't need it originally). I'm going to list the steps of everything we went through so incase someone runs into this you can follow the steps. The only things I can't provide is socket sizes but I'm sure you can figure that out.. It can't be that hard.

1. Roll up one of the cars to the garage and disconnect the negative on the battery. Let it stand for 30 min (At least that's what we did) so that when you're playing with the front seats and steering wheel, the airbag won't blow up in your face.

2. Meanwhile, waiting for the front seats and all, you can start with the rear seats. Pull up at the bottom cushion and literally pull out towards you. Then unbolt the two bolts holding down the backrest cushion at the bottom. After doing so, lift up on the cushion and push upward to "unhook" then pull away.

3. The front seats are held in by four bolts on the ground that are covered by plastic coverings. Just pull away the coverings to get to the bolts. First though, you want to disconnect the connectors under the seats to make sure the Airbag's are unplugged and heated seats (If you have leather). Then unbolt the seats one by one and lift out.

4. The steering wheel is relatively easy, just be careful. There are screws under the steering wheel that hold the horn/airbag into place. Unscrew those, then carefully pull out the horn assembly. You will then need to unclip the orange and yellow clip that power off the airbag. Once that is done, you can use the steering wheel claw tool to pull out the steering wheel. James knew how to do it, and even watching him I was still a bit confused, but I'm sure if you have time and play with it, you can figure it out!

5. The body panels themselves are held on very easily. The back one you just pry off, just be sure to lift the scuff guard at the bottom up enough and the rubber seal about the door. The rear door is held on by 3 screws. one is behind the door opener handle (lift the small circular guard) and the other behind the grasping handle, just need to take the top off of the handle. After that, lift and pull hard because of the body clips. Lastly, the front, you need to unscrew the door opener handle, then pull back on the panel. Be careful, you have a lot of connectors behind it for the windows, the door lights and all. So do this with your partner and unhook everything before lifting up on the panel and removing it the rest of the way.

6. Lastly, if you are swapping for heated leather seats (Like Scott did), you will need to remove the small center console where the shift boot and heater buttons lie. Simply turn the shift knob until it comes it, then grasp the shift boot and pull up hard. This will remove that panel and reveal the two small black and white connectors for the heated seat buttons.

There you have it! Now just go backwards and swap everything out. The whole process took us a little over 5 hours...including pizza, good laughs, and cold weather. Well worth it in the end! All pics are taken from Josh and posted at Mazda's 247, right here.

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