Nice salvage interior find, need refurb advice - Cobalt SS Network



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Old 07-20-2018, 12:51 AM   #1  
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Nice salvage interior find, need refurb advice

Story:
Visited my local salvage yard today here in 94 deg sunny S.Fla. Went in looking for a door panel and a few other odds and ends, when I saw that the only cobalt they had was an SS with black leather interior. Its partially in the sun/direct weather, the sunroof was missing, the doors were partially open.... engine completely missing, normal salvage yard fare.
I looked over the interior as best I could, cleared all types of debris off and couldn't find a rip or tear. Dude said he'd let it all go for $100. Since I bought my ss/na new with the basic interior package...I figured it was cheap enough to give it a shot. Would be a nice upgrade if they can clean up well..


Bright day at the junkyard



Seats right before I lock them up in my climate controlled storage til I can get to them.













All the mechanisms still work, no cracked/warped plastic, all electronic connections were present, seams and stitching still tight, foam still seemed "firm and springy". Not sure how long the donor cobalt has been sitting, but these seats seem like they could be worth the effort to clean them up properly..especially for just $100.



Question:
I've never tried to 'bring back' leather seats before especially ones sitting partially open in a junkyard for (years?) and would probably think there's some process involved to do it right. Don't want to just start pouring a bunch of Armour All type solutions on it. Was thinking maybe some saddle soap first, then some sort of leather conditioner and then follow up with the protectant. Certainly need a safe and effective way to clean off all the mildew/grime first.

If anyone has some nice advice on the process and what cleaners/conditioners would be best or your own experience with this type of refurb please share.
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:58 PM   #2  
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So, I had some old Blue Magic leather cleaner and conditioner lying around that's at least 15 years old, holdovers from my old camaro. Didn't think the stuff was any good anymore but decided to try it out the rear headrests.







That worked out so far, so I went ahead and treated half of the rear bench for comparisons sake.





Seems to be working after wiping away the surface grime with a damp terry towel and then using Meguiars Gold Class Leather & Vinyl cleaner for about $7. Ran out of the Blue Magic cleaner (was only about 15% left anyway). The good news is that things are looking quite a bit better and the leather is much softer and pliable after the conditioner treatment. This might just go a bit faster than originally anticipated.

I'll probably tackle the 60/40 backrest next. I'll continue to update progress. Maybe someone will chime in with a better solution or advice.
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Old 07-24-2018, 12:30 AM   #3  
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Wink

Well, looks like I'm on my own with this... I'll keep updating the thread though. Hopefully it'll help someone.

Googled a bit and figured what I've been doing is basically what I need to be doing anyway. I went on ahead and finished cleaning the rear bench with the Meguiars Leather Cleaner. Man this stuff is great.




Its around 90% finished and the leather already has most of its 'natural' sheen and softness back. Going to hit it a couple times with the new Meguiars Rich Leather Conditioner (ran out of the Blue Magic finally) and set it in the direct s.fla sun for a few hours.


A still from the video I captured of the salvage donor car where I found the seats.



And that was after I cleared off a rotor and all kinds of crap already to get a better look. Grimy stuff I tell ya...I have a small soft bristle brush to softly scrub the leather after initially spraying the leather cleaner , especially in the inserts. Then wipeoff the excess with a hot damp terry towel. Black is sometimes hard to tell when its clean especially on leather it seems. The tell tale sign to me when black leather is clean thus far is that you can tell it gets 'richer' looking. lol

Taking a couple pics of the rear backrest (looks good so far too) and starting the drivers seat tomorrow ….
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:09 AM   #4  
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Using a steamer for the stubborn areas works really well
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Old 07-24-2018, 02:59 PM   #5  
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get yourself a nice horsehair brush and an all purpose cleaner or leather cleaner spray to go along with the steamer. youll be able to really get them clean. work the product in really well and then youll be set for the conditioner. dont be afraid to use that conditioner either. rub it in let it sit and then wipe off. then do it again so its hydrated really well.
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:28 PM   #6  
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Looks good! I did something similar with a set of LSJ recaros and used a carpet cleaning machine to make them like new again.
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:45 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by Slowbalt2000 View Post
Looks good! I did something similar with a set of LSJ recaros and used a carpet cleaning machine to make them like new again.
That's pretty much a steam cleaner, just a lot more water.
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:49 PM   #8  
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Quote:
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That's pretty much a steam cleaner, just a lot more water.
Yeah, you have to let them air dry really well after doing that. I used a vinegar/water mixture that seemed to do a hell of a job considering what the dirty water looked like when I was dumping it.
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:51 PM   #9  
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Yeah, you have to let them air dry really well after doing that. I used a vinegar/water mixture that seemed to do a hell of a job considering what the dirty water looked like when I was dumping it.
Yeah, thats why steam is nice, no prolonged drying after. Even just heated water will look nasty, the amount of stuff that soils seats is nasty
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:05 PM   #10  
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I appreciate the replies. =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECaulk View Post
Using a steamer for the stubborn areas works really well
This is a really good idea, Using a steam cleaner truly didn't cross my mind for leather but it makes sense. My only issue is that I'd have to go and buy a little handheld steamer from someplace...and that means more $$$. Still could be worth it. However, I think I'm doing a very cheap equivalent. The first thing I did was boil water, pour it over a terry towel in the sink, half-ass wring it out (as best as one can wring out boiling water) and started wiping off the grime and crust. Rubbing with a hot steaming towel burns a bit.....! Mad effective though.



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Originally Posted by hawkssoccer11 View Post
get yourself a nice horsehair brush and an all purpose cleaner or leather cleaner spray to go along with the steamer. youll be able to really get them clean. work the product in really well and then youll be set for the conditioner. dont be afraid to use that conditioner either. rub it in let it sit and then wipe off. then do it again so its hydrated really well
Great advice. This is pretty much what I've been doing. I'm using a small soft bristle brush to gently scrub leather after I apply the Meguiars cleaner. Wipe off the cleaner then follow up with the conditioner, rub it in and let it sit.....then do it all over again and again until its clean and supple again.




Update.

I started the drivers seat and this is the result after the first round of reconditioning.



This is after a couple days of scrubbing, conditioning and letting the sun bake all that "old car that's been sittin, in the junk yard smell" out. 96 degree sun is a great deodorizer.


Well I'm not done with the driver seat completely but its a good time to begin the passenger reconditioning.





Passenger seat leather is in ok condition except for the indentions made by being in the forward position in a junkyard for years. I'm hearing heat is my best friend to help with this.




Need to clean it and condition it to soften up the leather before the indentions can start to 'unravel' and draw out.



Here is what the driver seat looks currently looks like after conditioning and letting the Fla sun bake it. It certainly needs a bit more work but better than it was and the seat insert doesn't have any indentions anymore.





I snatched the center glove box for a few more dollars and decided to recondition it... because my original is completely tore up. Nothing loose on it at all and the cover is in great condition..just needs a cleanup.




All cleaned. It'll also match the seats better than my original charcoal gray-ish one.






And this is what I've been using for all things cleaning and conditioning so far. This stuff is awesome.




Still working on the backrest and driver side door panel. More advice and suggestions are welcome. Will update, thanks for the replies. =)
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:09 PM   #11  
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For the smell get a trash bag (clear) and put some vinegar in a open container. Put vinegar on seat so it wont spill, cover seat in trash bag try to close up best you can and then let the whole thing heat right up. You can do he same thing in the car, just make sure you air it out before getting in.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:30 AM   #12  
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My car smelled like vinegar for months after I used it in the carpet cleaning machine

Make sure you dont mind that smell.
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Old 07-26-2018, 03:48 PM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowbalt2000 View Post
My car smelled like vinegar for months after I used it in the carpet cleaning machine

Make sure you dont mind that smell.
If you don't remove all the shampoo and let it air out properly sure.

Last time I steam cleaned my car... was my last one about 5 years ago. I should do a full interior steam cleaning sometime though. My Febreeze car effects usually just hides the smell of my lunch
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:10 PM   #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowbalt2000 View Post
Looks good! I did something similar with a set of LSJ recaros and used a carpet cleaning machine to make them like new again.
Thanks...hopefully I can make this $100 I spent well worth it. Recaros would be a dream find. I forget the G5 and the Ion had the option of Recaros….might need to ask my local salvage yard if they have any of these cars. Depending what they tell me I might be starting another thread. lol



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Originally Posted by ProfDNS View Post
If you don't remove all the shampoo and let it air out properly sure.

Last time I steam cleaned my car... was my last one about 5 years ago. I should do a full interior steam cleaning sometime though. My Febreeze car effects usually just hides the smell of my lunch






I know all about steam cleaning. About a week before I found these seats I started refurbishing the interior of my car (sport cloth), embarrassingly for the first time in over 10 years. That's why I was even there at the salvage yard in the first place looking for a driver side door panel and an automatic shift knob in good condition. Arm was sore for 3 days scrubbing the carpet and cloth seats with the Bissel Little Green Machine.











I know right, cleaned my seats thoroughly about a week before I found the leathers and basically have to do it all over again. At least the carpet will be clean when I put the leather in I guess.....

BTW anyone know where I can find the leather wrapped automatic shift knob with the satin nickel cap....? Every one I've ever seen past 8 years old is as jacked up as mine.





Update:

Well I did pick up the door panel when I picked up the seats.

A still from the video I took in the salvage yard.










Didn't clean up too bad, still has a few spots to touch up. The problem is that I need this door because my original is held together with duct tape right now. Since this one has the leather insert in great condition, I either have to pick up the donor passenger door or wrap the insert of my original in leather. Either way is more $$$. Eh, I'll figure it out I guess...






Been working on the 60/40 back rest for a few days now....








Well, it cleaned up decently but I'm still working on the indentions with the sun and a heat gun (aka my girls hair dryer). Its been working, the indentions are much smoother/shallower than when originally found. I know it won't be perfect, they're 12 yr old seats that's been sitting in a junkyard, but nothings wrong with wanting to be a bit particular.



Still need an automatic shift knob!



Hopefully by maybe early next week I can start installing stuff if I get the door issue sorted out.
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:18 AM   #15  
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Yep, that black printer ink I got out of mine as well. I need to find the leather seats that are yellow to match the car that are in decent enough shape.

As for the automatic handle, I wouldn't be able to tell you. There should be some custom ones, maybe check eBay.
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Old 07-28-2018, 01:19 PM   #16  
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Yep, that black printer ink I got out of mine as well. I need to find the leather seats that are yellow to match the car that are in decent enough shape.

As for the automatic handle, I wouldn't be able to tell you. There should be some custom ones, maybe check eBay.

I thought about the seats with the yellow inserts also....so I figured that I could use some nice leather dye and colour them myself if I get the mind to. I've seen some people online do a flat out 'factory' looking job with leather/vinyl dye and a solid technique.




QUESTION:

So, I was making sure all the electrical connecters were clean under the seats and I see a second connection besides the normal seatbelt sensor one. So I figured it must for heated seats. I went back to the salvage yard yesterday to pick up the passenger door panel to grab the leather insert in it. I checked the panel and lo and behold...heated seat buttons....






I grabbed the entire trim piece for $8. The buttons seem to be clean and in working condition...…...seems.

SO, since there are the obvious connections in my floor already....will there be connections behind my hvac panel to simply plug these into or do I have to go and strip a damned harness out of the donor car? Already sick of it taking my $$.
I know I don't 'need' heated seats here in S.Fla but if its easily capable, why the heck not have it?
Any help would be appreciated.


Still need an automatic shift knob!
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:11 AM   #17  
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Sooooo….., guess I'm on my own with the plug n' play heated seats dream. Ah well, not too important right now I suppose. I will however, install the bezel with the buttons....just in case.





Well I do have a few updates. Its been raining EVERY DAY down here, two to three times a day for the past week, typical S.Fla summer storms/showers. Annoying for interior work but not insurmountable, there has been a few sunny hours. I was able to get a few things installed.
I wanted my driver side door panel installed like yesterday, the duct tape holding it together was bumming me out. At the same time I needed to refurb the button trim piece. I searched around the forums for what people were using for the stock satin nickel trim color. No dice. So I went to my local Advanced Auto Parts and saw this...…….after MANY MANY attempts to match different 'satin nickel' OEM spray paints.


THIS is the CLOSEST I could get to the stock trim finish paint.....and it works!



MY ORIGINAL TRIM PIECE AND DOOR PANEL……***NOTICE the DUCT tape**** scratched/flaking button panel



"NEW" salvage leather trim door panel and painted original trim piece.






Door panel and trim piece didn't turn out too bad IMO. Got a couple things to smooth out. I believe I can use touch up paint to take the light scratches out of the door panel plastic. Heard good things about Krylon Fusion satin black for plastics match the OEM black very well.

I like the stock look and I didn't want any crazy colors/designs on the trim. That Dupli-Color Stainless Steel trim paint is the absolute CLOSEST match I can find to the OEM trim color. Its not exact... I say its about a true 96% match, barely can tell a difference if at all. Plus its made for trim pieces and accessories.


OLD SPORT CLOTH BACKSEATS.... guess they'll be on Craigslist soon enough.



*NEW* salvaged backseats




Not too bad so far, still a few issues but certainly a worthy upgrade from what I can see. Maybe my $100 dollar salvage interior refurb just might work out. I'll take more pics once I get everything else all installed including passenger door panel and front seats. Just need this rain to let up some.

Tell you what, my destroyed auto shift knob just looks worse with this interior refurb. *sigh*


Opinions welcome.
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:13 AM   #18  
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Good. Now paint the interior trim yellow!
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:35 AM   #19  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythical SS View Post
Sooooo….., guess I'm on my own with the plug n' play heated seats dream. Ah well, not too important right now I suppose. I will however, install the bezel with the buttons....just in case.


Tell you what, my destroyed auto shift knob just looks worse with this interior refurb. *sigh*


Opinions welcome.
Refurb is looking good man, nice job.
If your car didn't have heated seats I don't belive the harness will have the connectors for it, but if im not mistaken your underhood fuse block and bcm should be equipped to work with them so long as you source the connectors and wire them in correctly. Here is some diagrams of what you will have to either check and see if its there or wire in yourself. Also got a heated seat module location for you so make sure its there on both seats.
Driver heated seat wiring.pdfPassenger heated seat wiring.pdfheated seat module location.pdf

Whats your vin and I can do a nationwide dealer search for the shifter and see how much it would be for me to buy and ship it to you. (I get near cost on parts)
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:42 AM   #20  
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Im deleting heated seats from my new harness if you want the wiring.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:50 AM   #21  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythical SS View Post
Sooooo….., guess I'm on my own with the plug n' play heated seats dream. Ah well, not too important right now I suppose. I will however, install the bezel with the buttons....just in case.

THIS is the CLOSEST I could get to the stock trim finish paint.....and it works!






Opinions welcome.
That is the closest color I have found also! Depending how you apply it, the match is near perfect.
I can give you a hand with the heated seats. What year is your Sport?

Last edited by HGT; 08-01-2018 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:56 AM   #22  
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That is the closest color I have found also! Depending how you apply it, the match is near perfect.
I can give you a hand with the heated seats.
I need to touch up my drivers side on the ss, any tips on how to prep the plastic? I tried painting trim with my ls I painted them white but it just cracked up when it dried. Ended up having the body shop sand and redo it.
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:12 AM   #23  
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All the plastic trim has a very thin coat of paint.
3M brand "All Purpose" Scotchbrite pads in the very fine Maroon color, plastic primer then the Dupli-Color starting with misty light coats.
Don't go for a gloss or the colors won't match as well.



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Old 08-02-2018, 12:17 AM   #24  
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Originally Posted by ProfDNS View Post
Good. Now paint the interior trim yellow!
lol I've seen some nice painted trim work on these forums and elsewhere but I prefer the stock look. The leather inserts on the seats is another matter though.



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Refurb is looking good man, nice job.

Whats your vin and I can do a nationwide dealer search for the shifter and see how much it would be for me to buy and ship it to you. (I get near cost on parts)
Thanks. =)

Truly appreciate the info and the offer. And I shall not turn it down!


My destroyed shift knob is akin to a pretty girl with a huge red and white zit on her nose.







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Im deleting heated seats from my new harness if you want the wiring.
Quote:
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I can give you a hand with the heated seats. What year is your Sport?

Thanks! I'll take all the proper help that I can get. BUT FIRST. I need to know just how involved this is. The DONOR car came with heated seats...I took the seats and the bezel trim with buttons. Seems like I need to possibly wire in some stuff if I really want this. May or may not be interested in ripping my dash apart.

I'll be taking off the trim pieces to refinish them hopefully by this weekend and I can check then if I have the proper connections built in already. But yes I'll take the new harness heated seat wiring and the help if its not a big job.





Quote:
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All the plastic trim has a very thin coat of paint.
3M brand "All Purpose" Scotchbrite pads in the very fine Maroon color, plastic primer then the Dupli-Color starting with misty light coats.
Don't go for a gloss or the colors won't match as well.
^^^^^^^All this if anyone wants to paint their trim. I use 800 grit sand paper instead of the Scotchbrite but it has the same effect. Hope I'll be able to get my trim as clean when I refinish it soon, HGT. Looks great.






'06 SS/NA. Original owner. Purchased Oct '05. It was the very first SS/NA on the lot at Miami/Kendall Chevrolet (went there to check out the new SS/SC at the time) with plastic still covering everything and .3 miles on the dash.

Photos from a few months ago after I hand washed it for the first time in ...in …(years)






Thanks for all the help so far. Hopefully I'll have an update on the interior when....it....stops...raining...!
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:43 AM   #25  
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Thanks. =)

Truly appreciate the info and the offer. And I shall not turn it down!
My destroyed shift knob is akin to a pretty girl with a huge red and white zit on her nose.

Thanks! I'll take all the proper help that I can get. BUT FIRST. I need to know just how involved this is. The DONOR car came with heated seats...I took the seats and the bezel trim with buttons. Seems like I need to possibly wire in some stuff if I really want this. May or may not be interested in ripping my dash apart.

I'll be taking off the trim pieces to refinish them hopefully by this weekend and I can check then if I have the proper connections built in already. But yes I'll take the new harness heated seat wiring and the help if its not a big job.

^^^^^^^All this if anyone wants to paint their trim. I use 800 grit sand paper instead of the Scotchbrite but it has the same effect. Hope I'll be able to get my trim as clean when I refinish it soon, HGT. Looks great.
If you have the connectors sitting in the harness it should only be a matter of making sure the fuses are in place and your getting power to your connectors accordingly. otherwise it can be as involved as you want making it work, that depends on how factory looking you want it (wired into the factory harness or build and route your own separately.) Routing your own wont be that hard, you don't have to get power from the Underhood fuse block, I can walk you through setting it up at the bcm. The biggest thing would be if you don't have the wiring at the seat connector youll have to make your own connections there. Which could be as simple as it being hardwired (no connector) or will consist of a simple 3 wire connector so if you need to remove the seat you can. We can walk you through it however we need to so don't worry.

Just to make sure I got a part diagram, your only needing the handle/part #1 correct? Your sleeve is in good condition, part #3 on the diagram.

Shifter Part Diagram.pdf
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