If you're on a quest to turn the "workiest" of work trucks into something cool and functional like we happen to be, you immediately have to address the low-level interior. The seats are still done in a tweed cloth like it's the late '80s, and there's a rubber mat on the floor where the carpet and floor mats should be. Compounding things is the fact that if you're working on a well-worn truck, the seats will be stained and caked with someone else's grime. When we were out at Audiotistics a few months ago, we pulled the seats and scrubbed them and the floor while we were installing the stereo and alarm, which made the truck tolerable to drive. But we weren't done with the interior cleanup by a longshot.
When you have a truck that isn't the most common configuration for customizing, you sometimes come up short when you hit the websites looking for components to build your dream ride. We were fearful we wouldn't find a leather kit over here in the cheap seats (pun intended) for our standard-cab base model '03 Silverado, but when we checked out the Roadwire website, we were pleasantly surprised. With a few mouse clicks, we devised a subtle but trick set of seat covers and placed our order.
Although two-tone designs are all the rage, we chose to stick with the stock gray color in a monochromatic scheme, as opposed to a contrasting color of inserts or thread. We did get pretty fancy with the inserts, which are done in perforated leather and stitched in a diamond tuck-and-roll pattern. In just a couple of weeks, our seats were ready, and we headed down to Roadwire HQ for a quick and professional install.
We were immediately impressed by the quality of the leather and the workmanship, as well as the Roadwire crew for going the extra mile to make the seats look even better than expected. We were in and out in about a half day and have been enjoying the new level of comfort every day since. But we're not done with the interior just yet. Check back next month when we give the rest of this cab a nice little makeover and show you the finished product. Then head over to the Roadwire website to see how you can improve the looks and comfort of the seats in your ride.
| Here is our before shot of our clapped-out work truck interior, but even this was after a thorough cleaning. The seats are only part of the equation, but they're the most important part.
| The options are just about endless once you get on the Roadwire website and type in your specific vehicle. At the very least, you have a base color, an insert color, and a thread color. From there, you can use different insert materials, add stitch patterns, or embroider a logo into the seatback or headrest. We chose to keep everything in the stock gray color (graphite) the truck came with.
| That's not to say we kept things looking plain Jane. We chose perforated (perf) inserts stitched in a diamond tuck-and-roll pattern. We also had the Roadwire logo embroidered into the seatback.
| Once we were at Roadwire HQ, the crew made quick work of getting our 40/20/40 seat configuration out of the truck.
| A couple minutes later, the first seat was up on the bench, where the seat bottom was removed from the frame with the twist of a few bolts, clips, and the recliner cable.
| Luckily, today's seats use a series of plastic clips instead of the old metal hog rings, making peeling back the stock fabric from the foam a whole lot easier.
| Roadwire keeps a big roll of nice, soft foam on hand to do any patching. This is not normally an issue, but we're dealing with a 15-year-old work truck. The Velcro-filled channels were left exposed for the new covers to seat properly.
| The new seat bottom cover was set into place, with the aforementioned channels being pressed into place before moving out to the sides.
| Next comes a series of pushing, yanking, slapping, and general persuading to get the leather seated over the foam perfectly with all the seams in the right place.
| Finally, the seat is turned over, and the edges are clipped into place around the seat bottom.
| With all that extra care, we ended up with a near-perfect seat bottom—with almost no wrinkles to speak of.
| The seatback had its stock cover torn off, and the Roadwire crew showed us another trick. Shoving this steam wand into the foam actually regenerates and puffs it up a bit, giving it a new lease on life.
| After a couple more patch pieces, the cover was slipped on with another dose of pulling and slapping, and even some more steaming.
| The outside flaps of the seatback actually do use a few hog rings on each side to lock them in place.
| The front and back sections are pulled over tight and clipped together.
| Finally the seat bottom was returned to the frame, along with the cable and any plastics that were removed.
| There are still a few more steps to have a completed seat. After a little slice of the leather, it is tucked behind the seatbelt grommet.
| The same procedure exposes the headrest guides. But on a custom build, you could easily glue a little foam on this section and leave the headrest out.
| Speaking of headrests, Roadwire had one more trick up its sleeve. This little stand holds the headrest foam, then a plastic bag goes over the foam, and a vacuum compresses the foam for a few seconds while the headrest is slipped on!
| Then the seam is fastened together on the bottom of the headrest before being reinstalled.
| Even without a color change, the difference between old and new is dramatic. The Roadwire crew made quick work of the second seat.
| The center jump seat is pretty straightforward. Off with the old, and on with the new. They even snuck the leather cover past the factory cupholders.
| Then the seatback simply slides on and clips together at the bottom.
| We were thoroughly impressed by the fit and finish of the Roadwire seat covers. The truck is actually nicer to drive with the added comfort of the leather. We installed the seats temporarily, but, as you'll see next month, they came back out of the truck pretty fast so we could complete the interior. See you next month!