Installing Sapele Wood inserts for the 2013 Cadillac ATS

After clearing back-order, the Sapele Wood inserts arrived for my Wife’s ATS.  She had an immediate negative reaction to the aluminum inserts the ATS arrived with, so I am glad Cadillac offers this type of customization.  I captured some pics while installing Sapele wood inserts for the Cadillac ATS.  Click on any of the pics to zoom in.

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I started with the right rear door.  The shots above shows the brushed aluminum insert the ATS Premium arrived with.

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The inserts arrived nicely packaged in bubble wrap, and in a partitioned carton.  Each insert has the fingers and retainers molded in to they are ready to slide / snap into the Cadillac once the previous items are removed.

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This shot shows ‘behind the scenes, the inner panel ready for the insert.

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Here is the new Sapele wood insert in place.  Sapele comes from tropical Africa, and is in the same family as Mahogany.

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The instructions with the tool show what I assume is a trim tool, with a warning NOT to use a pry tool.  I used a kitchen spatula to get under the trim pieces, then a hard plastic ice scraper to lightly pry the pieces out.  Each piece is tightly retained and takes quite a bit of pressure to get out; I broke part of my hard plastic tool along the way.

On most of the pieces, there are also shaped fingers that one has to take care not to pull straight out.  So in other words, each piece wants to be pulled outward slightly, then slid to the side.

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Once I had practiced on the rear doors I felt better about working on the more-visible front doors.  These took a bit more pressure to snap into place, so I was glad to have the confidence from the rear doors for how they would go.

The wood trim piece in front of the passenger airbag is a really good place to exercise additional care, and it seems very fragile, but was one of the easier pieces to swap.

This small triangular piece I thought — “well, if I never get that out maybe she won’t notice”, but once I got my spatula under an edge and then the plastic tool it came right out, and with only one retainer was simple to install.

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Overall this was not a tricky task, although it does take quite a bit of care.  Slow and easy does it, but also a surprising amount of pressure is needed to ‘pop’ the retainers out, while being careful NOT to pop them complete out so that one can slide the fingers lose before they detach.

My Wife was right, the Sapele inserts look better than the Aluminum for this ATS.

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Update: my Wife sent me this approval picture from her iPhone 5 — so successful install.

One thought on “Installing Sapele Wood inserts for the 2013 Cadillac ATS

  1. Very nice indeed! Aluminium panels looks too cold and sterile to me. They are suitable in a rented Volvo, Skoda or whatever. Not in a Cadillac!

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