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Automotive Tech

Integra Type R Seat Transplant

The stock Civic SiR seats are not bad for comfort, adjustability and looks, but they lack decent side bolstering for autocross and track use. True race seats, like those from Sparco, provide the ultimate in support, comfort, and light weight, but are quite expensive, and may not be comfortable for longer trips, depending on how good the fit is and how much padding they have.

A popular alternative to a true race seat for Civic driver is to transplant the seats from the Acura Integra Type R. The Type R seats provide considerably more side bolstering than the stock SiR seats (see photo at right), are made with grippier fabric, and are considerably less expensive than your typical Sparco-style race seats. As a bonus, the Type R seats bolt into the 6th generation Civics quite easily, as demonstrated here.

The instructions outlined here show the transplant of the Civic SiR passenger seat for an Integra Type R passenger seat. The procedure is pretty much the same for the driver's seat, except that the driver's seat transplant is actually a bit easier as it does not involve the swapping over of one of the cables that actuates the seat reclining mechanism found on the passenger seat.

When purchasing the replacement seats, ensure that they have not been involved in a major accident, and that all the hardware, rails, mounting brackets and associated hardware are present, undamaged, and in working order. In case of an accident, these are what hold you in place in your vehicle, so they need to be in perfect working order.

The first step in the transplant is to remove the stock seat. This is done by removing four bolts, one at each corner of the slider brackets.

Photo at left shows the front two mounting bolts.

Photo at right shows the rear two mounting bolts. When removing the driver's side seat, there is a wire with a plastic connector that must be unclipped before the seat can be lifted out. This wire is connected to the sensor which indicates whether the driver's seatbelt is secured. The passenger side seat does not have this sensor.

The inner rear bolt is covered by a clip-on plastic cover, as seen in the photos. I can be carefully pryed off with a screwdriver. It comes off fairly easily, but avoid using excessive force as it is possible break the part if you are not careful.

When dealing with the passenger seat swap, as in these photos, once the seat is removed it is necessary to swap the entire left side rail and side support over from the stock seat onto the Type R seat. On the right side only the sliding rail needs to be swapped - the side support stays in place. Note that when dealing with the driver's seat, it is the entire right side rail and side support that must be swapped, and just the rail and not the side support on the left side.

Photo at right shows the stock SiR passenger seat, left side. In order to remove the side support and rail (all in once piece), first remove the plastic side cover by removing the two phillips-head screws indicated by the yellow arrows. The plastic cover will come off easily with these two screws out.

Next, remove the two large bolts indicated by the green arrows (the green dot indicates where the second bolt is located under the plastic cover). Note, the red arrow shows the large anchor bolt that secures the seatbelt buckle - do not loosen or remove this bolt. It stays in place during this entire procedure and does not need to be touched on either seat.

As seen in the photo, at the top right of the plastic cover is a bump. Behind this bump is the nut that secures the pivot for the seat back. This, too, must be removed to get the side support/rail assembly off of the seat.

Before the side support/rail assembly can be taken off of the seat, there is a cable and a thin wire that must be detached from the inside of the rail. As seen in the photo at left, the upper cable (black) is similar to those found on bicycle brakes, with a cylindrical metal piece on the end of a cable, secured in a catch. Unclipping the cable housing and pulling the cable and cylindrical piece out of the catch undoes the cable.

The thin wire (below the black cable) is simply bent through a tab and back on itself on each end with a washer on each end securing the wire from unbending. Slip the washer away from the bend, and unbend the wire to disconnect it. Both cables will be swapped to the new seat.

Photo at right shows the left side of the Type R seat. Highlighted are the two phillips-head screws (yellow arrows) secring the plastic cover, the two large bolts (green arrows) holding the side support on, and the seatbelt anchor bolt (red arrow) that must not be touched.

Note that the plastic covers stay with their respective side supports, so that the plastic cover from the SiR goes onto the Type R seat once the SiR side support is swapped on. This means that the plastic cover will be mismatched on the left side (in this case), as it will be the lighter grey SiR plastic cover on the Type R seat, while the stock dark grey plastic cover will remain on the right side of the Type R seat. Fortunately, the difference in colour is minimal, enough that it is unnoticable.

Installing the SiR side support/rail on the Type R seat is the reverse of removal - two large bolts and a nut for the pivot, then two phillips-head screws to secure the plastic cover.

On to the right side rail. At left is a photo showing the Type R (top) and SiR (bottom) right side rails back to back. They are virtually identical except for one crucial element - the red arrows point to where the SiR rail is taller than the Type R rail. If you do not swap these rails, the Type R seat will sit uneven from left to right because of this difference in height.
To remove the right side rail, the plastic cover will need to be loosened from the right side support. The photo at right shows the two phillps head screws with yellow arrows that need to be removed to loosen the cover. Even with these two screws removed, the plastic cover will not come completely off, due to the fact that the seat back adjustment lever will hold it on. This is OK, as you will only need a bit of access behind the cover to remove the rail.

The orange area shows the location of the bolt that must be removed to get the rail off. The green arrow shows the approximate location of the stud which secures the front of the rail in place with a bolt located above the side support. You can see the stud in the photo above of the two side rails - the nut to remove will be behind the plastic cover, which is why the plastic cover needs to be loosened to get to the bolt. Remove the nut and the rail will come free.

Install the SiR right side rail on the Type R right side side support (everything lines up perfectly), tighten everything up, and bolt the Type R seat into the car.

When installing the seat, the rails on each side will likely not be lined up. I've found that lining them up by eye beforehand so they are approximately lined up is good enough. Line them up by eye, drop the seat into place, loosely install each of the four mounting bolts, then tighten each a bit (not all the way), then make an adjustment of the seat front to back. This will line up the two rails. Finish tightening the four bolts after the rails are lined up.

Remember to re-install the plastic cover covering the inner rear bolt, make sure everything is tight, and you are ready to go.