The second generation SVT Lightning featured an extremely sporty interior with its aggressively bolstered seats. These seats featured a unique suede and leather upholstery that made it distinctively a SVT performance vehicle. The problem with this interior is the fact that suede requires more “upkeep” compared to its vinyl or leather counterpart. Too often these performance trucks have worn, faded, stained or torn upholstery. Thanks to LatemodelRestoration.com you do not have live with these eyesores and you will not have to run to an upholstery shop to have your seats refinished. We carry new Lightning upholstery kits available in the grey suede with black leather insert or an all-black combination.
I recently picked up a high mileage 2000 SVT Lightning. One of the biggest eyesores on this truck was the ugly worn upholstery. The truck had been used as a work truck in its previous life and this left the suede heavily worn. To go along with the worn suede, the seats also featured plenty of stains, tears and crappy patch jobs. That is why I turned to the LatemodelRestoration.com Lightning Seat Upholstery kits. I decided to go back with the factory style upholstery to stay true to the factory looks. I was a little apprehensive about the installation at first; being that I had never done any upholstery work in my life. After starting the install, I quickly realized that the hardest part about the whole installation process was the amount of time it would take to complete. Be sure to set aside a whole day to complete the installation.
Below you can read the step-by-step instructions on how to replace your SVT Lightning upholstery!
Installing your new seat upholstery is simple yet time consuming. The installation process is the reverse of the removal process. For the seat bottoms you will need to remove the seat tracks for better access to the seat frame. They are held on by 10mm bolts. I did not precut holes of lumbar adjustments, or brackets. You will have to muscle and stretch the new upholstery over seat frames and foam. I left the bolts/screw in place so that it is easy to find their location under the new upholstery once it is installed. The seat backs are a slow process of slowly working your way down from the top. I turned the new upholstery inside-out and worked my way down while hog ringing along the way. Be sure to firmly press the Velcro into place along the top.
It looks hard than it seems. The removal and installation process is super easy. Probably the easiest part of the whole install (glad I saved it for the end – my fingers and hands were getting numb). Remove the metal side brackets from the center console armrest. You will need a T-45 Torx bit and ½” socket. With these removed you can now open up the center console and remove the Philips style hinge screws. They are small so you might want to keep a bag or cup handy for storage. Once you have removed the hinge from the lower and upper piece you can now remove the cup holder. You will need a thin flat blade screwdriver to push and pry on the tabs. BE CAREFUL! The tabs can become brittle and break easily. To release the rear tabs you need to located them and push toward the front while pulling upward. For the front tabs push them toward the rear while pulling upward.
Once the cup holder is removed you now need to remove the upholstery locking ring. Take your thin flat-blade screwdriver and pry on the inside toward the outside. You will hear an audible “click” when it disengages (see pictures below). Work your way around the ring. When the ring is off you can now pull off your old upholstery and repeat on the upper arm rest. Installation requires you to pull and stretch the upholstery into place. As you pull it into place you will need to “tuck” it into the armrest just like the factory upholstery was. Use the screw driver to push it into place. I found it was easiest to tuck in the stitched seams first as they stayed in place easier. Continue to work your way around the armrest while stretching and tucking it into place. Once you have it all in, reinstall the plastic retaining ring and reassemble the console armrest.
There you go! You have now successfully replaced your SVT Lightning’s Upholstery. You are on your way to fully restoring your performance truck to it is showroom appearance! Be sure to leave comments below and post up some pictures of your Lightning’s interior!!! You can also see more before and after pictures below!
Ford SVT Lightning - 1999 (99) - 2000 (00) - 2001 (01) - 2002 (02) - 2003 (03) - 2004 (04)