Focus ST – Titanium Seat Swap (Front seats)

Note: This is a post I made on the FocusST.org forum.

This guide is for swapping a Ford Focus ST 2’s partial leather trimmed Recaro seats with the seats from a Titanium Focus. Only the driver seat can be swapped directly. The passenger seat electronics from the Titanium do not work in the ST. The easiest way to deal with this issue is to swap the upholstery between the ST and Titanium passenger seats. The steps for an ST 1 and ST 3 should be very similar. I would imagine the process would also be similar for a Fiesta ST as well. Over all the process is straight froward. Remove the bottom cushion, the seat back cover, and the foam. The frame and electronics are identical: size, shape, placement.

Tools

  • Ratcheting wrench
  • T50 torx
  • T30 torx
  • Flat head screw driver
  • Phillips head screw driver
  • 7mm socket
  • Bolt cutters
  • Knife, box cutter or similar
  • Dykes or pliers (optional)

Driver Seat

The drivers side is compatible with the car and can be swapped directly. The Titanium drivers seat is electric (not heated) and the electric adjustments work.

There are four bolts that hold the seat to the car. Take those out with the T50 torx. There is also a plug box under the seat that needs to be disconnected. Use the 7mm socket. The bolt is part of the top of the plug and won’t itself come off. Disconnect the plug box and pull out the seat. Put the Titanium seat in, bolt it to the car and connect the plug box.

Passenger Seat

The passenger seat, unfortunately, cannot be dropped into the car directly like the driver seat can. The car will see the seat and all of its components but refuse to work with it. The SRS system will say something like unsupported part (I can’t remember the error exactly) and disable itself. Meaning if you just swap the passenger seat you won’t have air bags (any air bags not only the one in the seat). The air bag light will always be on letting you know the air bags will not deploy in a crash.

I was not able to determine which part within the seat the car doesn’t like. My guess is it’s the air bag module. The passenger seat I got was from a wreck so when I had the dealership pull the SRS faults it was showing a lot of them. Due to the unsupported part they couldn’t clear any of the codes. I wasn’t going to try swapping individual pieces and taking the car to the dealership to see if I found the right one. Instead I decided to swap the upholstery.

The good news is the upholstery can be swapped without much modification to the seats themselves. The frame itself is the same for both models. Also, the air bag module is the same size, shape and in the same location. The only modification you need to do is to remove a plastic shaping piece for the bottom cushion’s bolsters in the ST seat.

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For anyone who wants to try only swapping the air bag here is what the Titanium seat looks like with the upholstery removed. The air bag is the box on the left. Here is another shot of how the air bag connects to the frame. There are two tabs and two screws that hold it on. There is a connector at the bottom of the module that unplugs and leads to the plug box under the seat. Again, this info is for anyone who wants to try swapping the air bag only (I don’t know if that will work or not). If you are going to do an upholstery swap you won’t need to worry about or mess with the air bag at all.

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Of course you need to take the seat out of the car. See the driver side section on how to get the seat out.

A word of warning. Take your time and don’t force anything. Most of the attachments are to the foam cushion and if you force anything you’ll end up ripping the foam. Or worse you’ll rip attachment point out of the foam. Again, take your time.

Remove the lever for leaning the seat back. Pop out the circular cover in the picture using a flat head screw driver. Under the cover is a bolt. Remove it using the T30 torx. The lever will slide off. Remove the screw on the back of the plastic side piece with a philips screw driver. With the lever and screw removed slide the plastic piece that goes across the side of the seat forward and pull it off. There are two tabs (middle and front) that hold it to the seat. Remember this for when you put the seat back together.

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On the side with the seat belt plug there is also a plastic piece that needs to be removed. As with the other side remove the screw on the back. Slide the piece forward and pull on it to get it off.

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With the plastic side pieces off you can access all of the tabs to remove the bottom cushion. There are two tabs on each side, and one across the front. The tabs are probably the hardest part of this entire process. They hook around and hold on to the metal tab at the top. Titanium cushion doesn’t have much give which makes getting tabs off difficult. I had a much easier time unhooking them on the ST seat. I sat on the edge of the side of the seat I was working on then inserted a flat head screw driver between the tab and the metal frame. Twist out to get the hook off then push down to pull it off the metal frame. Go around the seat and unhook all of these tabs.

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At this point the ST seat has an extra step. There is a plastic insert that shapes the bottom cushion’s side bolsters that isn’t in the Titanium seat. The plastic piece has a hook on each side that also holds the cushion in place. Don’t just pull on the cushion because you will rip the cross member that the hooks hold. I pulled the cushion up as far as I could and used a flat head screw driver to pop the cushion off the hook. This is probably the second hardest part of the process.

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Now we’re back to ST and Titanium steps being the same. With the tabs unhooked flip the seat over so we can unhook the back. There are three tabs that are on elastic bands that are attached to the seat back. Pull those off and flip the flap of material out of the way. You’ll see two tabs that are part of the bottom cushion; unhook them.

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The two tabs, leather, and foam of the bottom cushion wrap around a bar that goes across the back of the seat. It’s a bit tight but push it off so you can get the cushion free. Don’t pull from the front of the cushion, push from the back. If you pull the tabs might hook onto something. Also, you might want to slide the reclining lever back on and play with the position of the back of the seat to make it easier to get it out.

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The ST seat has another step that doesn’t apply to the Titanium seat. That plastic piece for the bottom cushion’s side bolsters, which has to be removed. Sadly, the piece is held on with three rivets. Two in the front and one in the back. The rivets are not heat rivets like you’d see on a 1920’s sky scraper. The rivet is a hollow tube that has a pin inserted at one end which compresses and expands the sides. You can pull the pin out using a set of dykes or pliers which would make the next step easier but it’s not required. Cut the rivets off with the bolt cutters. I couldn’t get my bolt cutters in flat to cut it off easily. I positioned the cutters perpendicular to the rivet and cut a few times to get it apart. I also had to use the flat head screw driver to bend and reposition the rivet (it will spin) a few times.

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You’ll need to detach (then reattach) the weight sensor mat to get the plastic bolsters off. Look at the first picture of the seat without the upholstery (or at your seat at this point). You’ll see a plastic mat that was under the bottom cushion. This it the weight sensor. It’s held on by two plastic push pin. Gently pull the pin out (you can leave them through the mat) of the frame. The plastic bolster shaping piece should now be free. Reattach the weight sensor mat.

With the bottom cushion off you can move on to the removing the leather cover. Slowly peal the cover upward. Think of it like an upside down banana but you won’t be splitting it. For pulling the cover up you’ll need to work both the back and front alternating between the two. Do a little of one then switch to the other. Both the front and back have various attachments that hold the cover in place that will need to be dealt with.

The ST seat has a foam insert that goes across the bottom of the back that is not present in the Titanium seat. It is glued in place. Pull it out gently so it doesn’t rip.

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Both the ST and Titanium seats have clips along the inside the cover on the sides. The clips hold the cover to the frame. The Titanium seat has two clips (one on either side) and the ST has four. The Titanium has an additional clip that the ST doesn’t have that goes from the front of the cover, through the foam and attaches to the back of the seat. It is near the air bag. Disconnect this clip and push it though the hole in the foam. Both seats have a clip that holds the pocket in place that will need to be pulled off.

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The front is a bit trickier than the back. The Titanium seat is mostly velcro but there isn’t much of it. The ST seat has clips along the side that are attached to the foam. Gently unclip the cover from the foam (it’s easy to tear the clips out of the foam). Also, be very gentle with the velcro. Again you can pull the velcro attachment off the foam. I took the flat head screw driver and inserted it between the two parts of the velcro to separate it then used the screw driver to hold the foam side in place and pulled the other side off. Sometimes it didn’t want to come apart so I had to push the screw driver across to get it apart.

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The ST logo on the front of the seat (shoulder area) is held in place with a lot of velcro. There are multiple lines of velcro that hold it in place. The Titanium seat unfortunately doesn’t use velcro in that area. Instead there is a plastic bar on a flap that is held to the foam by a set of metal rings that goes through another plastic bar embedded in the foam. Cut these rings with bolt cutters. When reassembling the seat I used a set of zip ties as a substitute for the rings.

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At this point the cover should be almost off and only held on by the head rest posts. There are two options for for getting the cover off the rest of the way. You can carefully pull the cover over the top of the post. Be careful you don’t rip the cover if you do this but the hole is big enough to do this. Otherwise you can push the cover out of the way and wait until later when the posts are removed in order to get the foam off without tearing it.

The top of the foam on the back has slits. The ST seat had the slits taped over but the Titanium seat didn’t. Cut the tape along the slit (you can tape it back later if you want). Pull the foam flap on the back up so you can get to the head rest posts in the seat. On the top right (when facing the back of the seat) of the post is a plastic piece that don’t allow the post to be removed. This piece can be pressed in (it’s on a spring) so you can pull the post out.

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With the posts removed the foam can be slid off the frame. The foam does go around all sides of the air bag box and can get caught when removed. Gently pull it off the air bag box and you’ll be able to slide the rest of the foam off the frame.

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Reassembly is the disassembly process in reverse. Swap the foam pieces. Then put the leather cover (it should be inside out) on the top of the foam and put the head rest posts back in to hold it all together. Start pushing the cover down and press the velcro in place. Put the clips back making sure to get the one that goes through the foam front front to back. Put the bottom cushion in place, and be sure to wrap it around the bar on the back of the seat and clip it in place. With the bottom cushion in place finish by attaching the back across the bottom of the seat.

Put the seat in the car (remember to reconnect the plug box under the seat) and turn it on to verify the air bag light doesn’t come on.

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