Ken Coopman, a former Corvette road racer (and one of Scarlett’s previous owners) once told me that few things make as big a difference in a car’s handling as the seats. Having taken the car for a quick run through some twisties up in the mountains, I now know why. With the seat keeping you firmly in place, you have a much greater feel for what the car is doing, whether it’s the initial “bite” on turn-in, or the exact moment of weight transfer toward the outside as the suspension loads up. It’s a night-and-day difference compared with the factory seats. I even found the Corbeaus to be much more comfortable than the mushy factory buckets when I took Scarlett on a few-hour drive through a combination of two-lanes and interstate.
Next month, we’ll look at staying even more firmly planted in the A4s by installing five-point harnesses and the crossbar to which they mount.
13. Since we were replacing the factory belts with Corbeau’s five-point harnesses anyway, we started the removal of the factory reel by unscrewing the door sill.
14. Removing the sill and peeling back the carpet revealed the reel cover, which is held in place by four screws. This piece covers the retractor for the outboard seatbelt.
15. The reel itself is held in place by one large screw in a reinforced mounting point. From there, the belt passes under the seatbelt guide.
16. With the reel removed, unbolt at least one end of the guide. With that done, lift the guide up enough to take out the old belt and slip the new one under it.
17. After cleaning up the accumulated debris, we bolted the tab on the end of the Corbeau lap belt to the factory mounting point and threaded the belt through the guide. Though not shown here, the latter item was then bolted back in place with fresh Grade 8 bolts.
18. After attaching the outboard lap belt to its mounting point under the seat, we bolted the new inboard seatbelt to its factory mounting point. While we ordered five-point harnesses, factory-style seatbelts are also available from Corbeau.
19. With the carpet still pulled back, we thinned the insulation to make it easier line up the bolts, brackets, and holes. This would also provide the flattest, most solid mounting surface possible.
20. Fold the carpet back down, remembering to thread the seatbelt through its slot in the carpet, then make sure all of your bolts will line up and fit in their holes.
21. To install the seat brackets on the seat, start by unscrewing the four mounting bolts from the bottom of the seat.
22. Slide the upper part of the seat brackets all the way forward, then reinstall the two forward mounting bolts. Tighten them down enough to clear the sliders, but not so tight that the bracket can’t be moved around on the seat to align the other two holes.
23. Repeat the same procedure with the rear mounting holes. Once you can get them lined up and started, go back and tighten the front bolts. Now it’s time to bolt the seats into the car.
24. After placing the seat in position in the car, install the rear bolts by sliding the seat as far forward as possible, then threading the bolts down into their holes. We used Grade 8 hardware here as well.
25. There’s only so far back the seat can slide, which means limited access to the front mounting holes. Now is a really good time to have a ratcheting wrench, provided you can fit it between the seat and bolt head.