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Headrest leathers

Through the generosity of another listmember, I was given a set of front
seat leather headrests for my 5000 which I am (slowly) converting to
leather interior. (I wish the guy would get the regulator on his MIG welder
fixed before I lose patience and go buy my own - need to weld the front
seat brackets to the floor pan.)

Anyway, the reason I got them was that the rear headrests had, as they so
quaintly put it in the UK, "perished". Thoroughly sunburnt and cracked,
they had NO place in my Audi.

Of course, AoA wants big bucks for this stuff - once I asked the price of
the leather shift boot and was told $183 (!) - I then asked them if they
threw away the rest of the cow after making the one boot, but never mind.

It seems the leather part is the same, front and rear, so I reasoned that
if I found a good clean supple set of front headrests in the right color, I
could swap them to the rear position - correct, but you have to remove the
upholstery since the brackets (mounting posts) are different and I was
unable to figure out how to get the bracket out of the headrest.
(Explanations accepted for next time.)

The headrests are held into the seats by a pair of "C" clips - they are
horizontal, and a push with a small, flat bladed screwdriver pops them
right out. They are springy, so watch your eyes, and prepare for them to
launch themselves for parts unknown - don't push real hard and you'll be
OK. Once the clips are out, just pull the headrests up out of the seats.

The chrome trim ring eases off by squeezing the headrest cushion. Be gentle
and don't bend or kink it - once it is off, you'll see what looks like a
plastic zipper running around the headrest (it was hidden by the trim
ring). Guess what - it IS a plastic zipper! Find the ends - they are tucked
into the headrest and taped with masking tape. Gently pull them out, take
off the tape, and open the zipper using your fingers. Go all the way around
the headrest, then fold the old, cracked, dry, stiff, split, nasty leather
through the hole in the headrest, and remove it, sliding it down over the
mounting brackets.

Take apart your donor front seat headrests the same way. Once the good
leather is off, NOW is the time for Lexol, saddle soap, etc. When
everything is clean and dry, replace the new leather skin on the rear seat
headrest foam and bracket assembly.

Well, how do you get the zipper to zip? Can't do it with your fingers, and
there's no zipper slide! Take an old  pair of jeans that you are going to
throw out anyway and cut the zipper in half. Retreive the slide! You MAY
need to spread the slide slightly because the Audi plastic zipper is
beefier than a standard zipper, but be gentle (some slides are brittle),
and you don't want to open it too much because if it is too loose, the
zipper won't zip completely - you'll have "voids" or unzipped sections, and
you'll have to start again.

Remember the ends you took the tape off? Feed them through the zipper (this
is the only tricky part - and it takes strong fingers and a little
cussing), and once the zipper is started, just zip it up all the way around
the headrest. The corners are harder than the straight sections, so go
slow. Tuck the closed zipper ends back under the leather; just put them
back where they came from.

Once it is all zipped up, squeeze the cushion so you can put the chrome
trim ring back on, and then reinstall the headrest - you'll love it - it
really looks nice - and it is a very inexpensive fix - lotsa bang for the
buck and an hour's work.

Best Regards,

Mike Arman