And now for something totally more stressful

Ever torn a nice 997 seat apart? Yea, I couldn’t find anyone that had yet, lol. Porsche is doing a lot of repair and warranty repairs on the 997 seat motors which are breaking. The forward/aft drive motor cable breaks and does not drive both sides (well, in fact it only drives one side and not the other, which twists the seat as it goes front to back). Essentially you have a center motor with square cables on each end running to the left rail and to the right rail. Now, the kicker is…..they don’t just sell the motor…..or the cable in this case….you have to replace the ENTIRE seat bottom/rail system. This is a big undertaking as you have to remove the seat upholstery to swap seat bottoms. EEEEK!

The biggest issue was getting this seat out of the car. The seat was all the way forward, meaning I could not get to the front mounting bolt on the right hand slider as it would not move. This presented a huge problem. I was able to reach underneath the seat with a needle nose pliers and get a hold of the tiny piece of motor cable still sticking out of the right hand rail and painstakingly turn the cable one revolution at a time, moving the seat back. It needed to make about 300 revolutions to move the rail back the 3 inches I needed. That was working until that part of the cable came apart. Since I was on site with minimal tools, I stopped over to PorschePhd’s house since it was close. The larger tool selection didn’t help much. We scratched our heads…..very similar to this:


When that didn’t work, I looked at PorschePhd and said “Mongo….bend steel” And so he did. And the lower seat rail was no more. Then we were able to pull it out. Now I know why they make you replace the entire rail system, as it probably won’t come out of the car in one piece if it is in a certain position (too far forward, or too far rearward).

So here we have the new seat rail on the left, and the seat on the right.

And jumping ahead, here is the part that I actually need.

Ok, actually here is the part that I actually need. Seriously, it pops off one end of the motor and out of the drive in the rail…..should be an easy swap right…….right.

Ok, so a lot of stuff to remove and transfer over.

Bunch of wiring comes unplugged here and there. Slowly plodding along removing cabling and retainers.

Seat switch, control module, and air pump removed.

Then we remove the seat back

And carefully pull the wires through.

Then we can start removing the seat cover and cushion.

You have to remove the seat cover around the entire perimeter of the seat. Figuring this out takes a little bit, but the design is actually pretty nice. A lot better than hog rings.

And the seat cover removed from the old frame.

Then we swap over the lower air bag bolster system to the new frame.

Here they are blown up 🙂

And the seat cover on the new frame. Now I’ll start running the wiring and securing everything, then put the seat back on.

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David Lessmann

May 23, 2011 at 11:54 AM

It would be interesting to interview those who participated in the JD Powers survey a few years ago that gave Porsche such a high ranking. I suspect those numbers will drop significantly over time. Especially given the labor cost to replace an entire seat when the only part needed is a drive cable.


May 23, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Especially since the cost of the seat bottom is about $650. Add 3-4 hours of labor to R&R the seat and break it down/build it back up, and ouch.


June 23, 2011 at 5:50 AM

I have a 996 seat with a broken cable. Actually just the plastic piece fitting is broken. Will I be unable to purchase the cable? There is no way I would buy the entire assembly. Assuming the 996 seats are the same, sounds like there could be an opportunity for parting out Porsche seats. 996 versions are cheap on ebay. I gave away one pair that had excessive wear.


    June 23, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    Hi Steve,

    The 996 is a different seat than the 997, and it looks like buying the cables are no problem for the 996 seat.

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