Howard Tayler (howardtayler) wrote,
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Removing the Passenger Seat from a New Beetle

My trip to Comic-Con is complicated by the fact that I'm hauling a rather extensive booth display with me... in my 2003 New Beetle.

There is room in the vehicle for the display, but there would be a lot MORE room (for things like my luggage, and the books I need to sell at least 100 of in order to break even) if I could just get the passenger seat out.

I noodled around online, web-hounding as best I could, and found nothing. Then I called "Jimmy's Love Bug," where I bought the car, and their mechanic gave me pretty clear directions.

For the sake of bettering teh intarweebs, I shall post those directions here, further clarified by the fact that I have followed them.

1) TOOLS: You will need a socket wrench with an extension, a torx screwdriver, a small-blade pocketknife, a small pair of snips or scissors, a replacement wire-tie (for putting the seat back), a small hammer, and probably a third hand.

2) Begin by removing the rail covers on either side of the seat. Move the seat all the way forward and get in the back to do this. Take the knife and pop off the plugs that cover the torx screws. Unscrew them with the torx screwdriver. The rail covers will now slide off, but may need to be bent a bit (they're plastic, it's okay.)

3) Now it's time to free the seat from the rails. Move the seat all the way back, and look under the front of the seat for the block of metal bolted to the upthrust tab from the body of the car. Unwind the nuts with the socket wrench, and then tap the bolt-heads with the hammer. The seat should now be free, constrained only by the wiring harness -- don't slide it all the way out yet, though... you'll rip the wires.

4) Snip the wire-tie holding the cable in place. This will give you more room to work, and it has to come off regardless. Now you can remove the seat from the rails and tip it back to get under it. If you find that you don't have enough slack to get under the seat from the front, fold the seat all the way forward, out of the rails, and use your third arm (or your friend) to hold it against the dash. Now pop the rear hatch and (I'm not kidding) get upside-down in the back seat, feet sticking out of your car, and get your head and hands under that seat where you can use them. Bring your pocketknife.

5) Unhook the three plugs. The front (towards the front of the car) yellow one is easy. The middle green one requires the pocketknife -- you need to gently lift some tabs to get the plug free. The back yellow one has a hinged cover, and then at the top of the plug there's a tab you can't really see that you'll need to pry back with your finger.

6) Unhook the white harness clip at the far back of the assembly. Check and make sure that the wires are all free of the seat. The seat can now be removed, provided you are strong enough to wrestle it out of the car. I suggest going through the door, rather than trying to lift it out through the rear hatch.

7) Tuck the cable and the plugs into the rail at the center of the car so you don't crush them when you start piling stuff into your cargo-enabled Beetle.You may want to duct-tape the wire in place. Don't worry -- sticky stuff on the outside of the rails will not affect the seat at all.

8) NOTE: When you start the car, you'll see that the yellow "airbag" light turns on. I think this means that the car has figured out there is a seat missing, and has disabled the airbags. WEAR YOUR SEATBELT. It's more effective than the airbag anyway.

I'd write instructions about putting it all back together, but I haven't had to do that yet, so it would be fiction. I do fiction, but in other places.
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