Replacing the rear seat of an '09 Prius
January 3, 2016 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Like it says in the title.

We have an '09 Prius whose rear seat cushion and fabric have, probably due to a long-ago missed milk spill by kids, become horribly stinky. Like, a this is my husband's car and I refuse to drive it level of stinky. Husband discovered and cut out a bunch of mold on the foam but stink is still there. We're assuming that there's more mold causing this. Anyone have experience replacing much of a Toyota seat? Can you get a seat cushion from a junk yard? Obviously I've googled extensively but there's not much specific to the model. Obviously II, I would like to avoid going through the dealership. Looking for where you got the components, how much they cost, and any cautionary tales.
posted by chesty_a_arthur to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sorry to not answer your main question, but: in addition to replacing the seat, you'll want to look into cleaning the ventilation system with an ozone cleaner. Likely professionally. I had a bad smelly situation with leather seats (non-absorbent) and cleaning out the air circulation was necessary to get rid of the smell.
posted by Dashy at 8:43 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd suggest calling a local junkyard...often, if they don't have what you need, they may be able to find it for you. (We replaced a couple of bent wheel rims this way.)

You said you googled extensively, but did you happen to come upon Just checking. They seem to have a pretty exhaustive database.
posted by tully_monster at 8:45 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In addition to the site above, I've always used No email/phone number needed, just click through and get a list of yards with phone numbers. There are a couple of good hits reasonable close to your profile location, FWIW - you want to go in person for this IMO.

I don't have any specific tips & haven't done this lately but it should be a fairly straighforward job - several beefy bolts, probably all the same size. Just be careful on reassembly - your car's seat is a body part and an integral part of its safety systems. Last time I had to do a major job on a Toyota I used their pay online technical manual service to subscribe and download relevant service manual sections. You can also often find these archived online at your friendly local [insert car model] board.
posted by ftm at 9:14 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Checking forums for tech information is an excellent idea, especially for a car with a decent enthusiast community.

(If you're not successful looking on forums, you also can visit a Cleveland Public Library location and use ALLDATA, which is the same subscription database that my indie mechanic shop ('my' like I'm a regular customer, not like I own it) uses (some other libraries subscribe to the Chilton's databases, which, while they're not as good as ALLDATA, would probably have the information you need).)
posted by box at 9:42 AM on January 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Australian smash repairer's daughter here. I don't know if it'll be the same for where you are but here, there are lots of dealers who specialise in second hand parts for specific makes. I don't know what you've been googling but in case it helps, I'd google Toyota and Prius second hand spares/parts/wreckers. You'll also get ebay hits which is another good option if you're not in a hurry.

The second hand dealers are connected and can find stuff for you and if they're a toyota specific dealer they'll know if some other toyota, or even some other completely different car has a compatible seat. Seats generally just click in and out with a couple of bolts to do/undo so you should be able to put it in yourself if you pay attention when taking the original seat out.

The other thing we've done is gone to a big car graveyard. You call and ask if they have a 2009 Prius, bring your own tools, take what you want and pay on your way out. Maybe a car buff friend will know if you have this kind of thing near you. This is what our is like.
posted by stellathon at 12:32 PM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I found a few results (here, here, here, and a couple others that I seem to have lost) that suggest that there are a couple of metal "U"s that stick down from the front of the back seat cushion (roughly in between where your legs would be if you were sitting in the seats) and kind of press into plastic clips installed in holes in the frame/floor. Pull up on the front of the seat hard (maybe use a small pry bar), and they should pop out. Then you can continue to lift the front of the seat up and kind of slide it forward to unhook a similar "U" from a hook at the center rear of the cushion.

Can you get a seat cushion from a junk yard?

My first inclination was that you'd be more likely to find an entire back seat assembly, but if my above description is really how the seats come out, then yeah, you might find just the rear bottom cushion.

It's been at least 6 or 7 years since I was in a junkyard looking for parts, but even then they clearly were using the web to tap into a nationwide database of what various yards had available, and if they didn't have the specific part they could spiel off a list of who had what parts, what it would cost and how quickly it would arrive. Yards usually want paid first before they'll order a part from another yard.

(My usual yards for Cleveland are Pearl Rd, Ridge Rd, and A&C, but I am a west-sider.)

I'll second box's suggestion to use the CPL - at the least you should be able to get hold of the dead-tree versions of either the Chilton or the Haynes repair manuals. These manuals don't always have detailed info on things like removing seats, but sometimes they do, and sometimes they'll have info on something like removing seats as a step in doing something like replacing seat belts. It can also be useful to read Chilton/Haynes as a way to get a feel for how much a car has changed over the years - often they don't, much, which would mean that, say, you could get a replacement seat out of any Prius from '04 to '10 (and so easier to find a replacement from a junkyard.)
posted by soundguy99 at 9:59 PM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Look for your local huge junkyard like this chain. They have a flat rate for each type of part, so you won't get charged out the ass.

I've never paid more than $50 for anything there. From alternators to entire window assemblies. Just bring a friend, toolbox, some gloves, and something to kneel on.

Make sure you aren't stuffed up so you can really smell the new seat. And bring a flashlight to check for mold.

Be prepared to have the color not match, and decide how much that matters to you. You can always get another seat later and put a cover on it for now if you don't want mismatched seats to hurt the trade in/resale value.

This is also a good opportunity to clean the battery cooling fan under the seat. Which for some dumb reason has no filter. Clean it!
posted by emptythought at 7:38 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, all! So delighted with all these suggestions.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:31 AM on January 6, 2016

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