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 Post subject: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:42 pm
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Location: Northern MN
Year and Trim: 5x former 3800 Buick/Olds owner
This isn't on a Bonneville, but I figured this may be of use to some of you - it sure revived the nasty interior of my project Suburban.

Backstory, I picked up this '04 Suburban Z71 for dirt cheap as it needed bodywork, interior work, and a couple non-op accessories fixed. Currently has 151k, had belonged to a family of 7 since 30k if that gives you any indication of the interior condition...

Anyhoo, after a fair amount of research online, I decided to use the Magic Mender leather repair kit (leatherrepairkits.com), which provides color charts with exact match dyes to your interior. I used 1 leather repair kit plus 1 additional bottle of dye ("Color Flex") to do the first 2 rows of seats.

First I had to cut through the grunge with a cleaning. I tried something new I learned from a leather repair shop online - Scrubbing Bubbles + scrub brush. These seats were GROSS. Then condition the seats before proceeding.

Original vs cleaned vs refinished:

Image

Then, sand lightly with 320 grit to get rid of any rough edges, apply filler if needed (and dry for 20 min), if so, then sand smooth afterward. Use the provided alcohol cleaner to get rid of any dust. Then shake the Color Flex (dye/paint) VERY thoroughly for a couple minutes. What you'll realize is that the original dye is really a paint/coating on top of the leather itself, so "repainting" the leather via this method isn't anything new. This was news to me.

Pour a fair amount of Color Flex into the provided paint tray, and smear the first coat on thinly with the provided sponge - wet it lightly before using. Allow 10-15 min to dry, then apply the second coat by dabbing - just like sponge painting. Just go light on each coat - not too thick or else risk cracking in the future. Allow drying time in between coats, and do more coats until you see the result you like. I did 2-3 coats. You'll need more over any areas that required filler.

I let it dry in a heated shop overnight, and voila!

The driver's seat covers and foam were replaced with used covers from a donor seat, along with replacing the heated seat pads. On the driver's seat I experimented further by only dyeing the outside (door side) bolsters and you can see how well the color matches (Light Shale). Results are amazing! It's recommended to recondition the seats again after this.

Now onto detailing the rest of this mess...



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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:21 pm 
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This looks amazing. Great job.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:41 pm 
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Wow! Dramatic improvement!

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:41 pm 
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AMAZING! Do you think that the seats could be made two-tone, as in inserts one color and the bolsters another? I really appreciate you sharing this with the FORUM. Looks like you did a great job! - BC

EDIT: Two tone as in the First Gen CTS - BC

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:11 am 
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Year and Trim: 5x former 3800 Buick/Olds owner
Hmm....that is a good point. I'm sure it could be done. The paint/dye is suspiciously similar to indoor latex house paint, perhaps a slightly thinner feel, requiring a few coats of coverage to create a strong color. I'm not sure how a dark to light transition would be without trying it first. But light to dark would be no problem. Just have to do a good job of masking for crisp lines (I did some masking, particularly on the driver's seat, where I only redid a section of the seat). I have a junk seat cover to practice on....I'll have to try it!

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2010 Chrysler 300 Touring Signature Series, Cool Vanilla - chrome 18's, MyGig touchsreen, all the toys.
2004 Chevy Avalanche LT 4x4, WBH, Arrival Blue Metallic - CAI, MBRP cat-back exhaust, lots of mods and all the options.
2004 Ford Mustang Premium convertible, Screaming Yellow - 18" staggered Bullitt wheels, 1.5" drop Eibach springs, CAI.
1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Brougham, Antigua Blue - 23 ft, 5200 lbs, and 472 cubes of luxo-barge goodness.
1998 Chevy Corvette convertible, Light Carmine Red Metallic


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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:09 am 
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WOW, impressive for sure!!

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:13 am 
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Hotwheels wrote:
Hmm....that is a good point. I'm sure it could be done. The paint/dye is suspiciously similar to indoor latex house paint, perhaps a slightly thinner feel, requiring a few coats of coverage to create a strong color. I'm not sure how a dark to light transition would be without trying it first. But light to dark would be no problem. Just have to do a good job of masking for crisp lines (I did some masking, particularly on the driver's seat, where I only redid a section of the seat). I have a junk seat cover to practice on....I'll have to try it!

Just from my perspective, I'd go dark to darker. I would think it would be problematic to try and go from dark to light, but then, I could be wrong. - BC

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In Memory of Brad - 1/21/1977 .. 10/23/2013 ...... Aaron - 1977 .. 2017 .....
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport ..... 1992 Bonneville SSE 1SB 170 HP L27 4T60E retired/sold to MattStrike ..... 2005 Bonneville SE 1SC 205 HP L36 4T65E - retired/salvage yard ..... 2013 Cadillac CTS 1SD 270 HP LF1 6L50 - SOLD ..... PBCF user 2321


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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:49 pm 
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Stunning! I might wanna try this on my parents' Lexus. The driver seat is in sad shape.

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Looks like a great option for trashed seats. My only issue is dye transfer or the dye coming off at a later date during cleaning. The factory leather has the color layer then a layer of clear coat to protect it, if these kits had the clear coat with them it would be even better. Either way though it is a massive improvement and should last for a long time!

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 11:24 pm 
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Could we have an update on how the leather repair(s) are holding up? Thank you! - BC

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In Memory of Brad - 1/21/1977 .. 10/23/2013 ...... Aaron - 1977 .. 2017 .....
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport ..... 1992 Bonneville SSE 1SB 170 HP L27 4T60E retired/sold to MattStrike ..... 2005 Bonneville SE 1SC 205 HP L36 4T65E - retired/salvage yard ..... 2013 Cadillac CTS 1SD 270 HP LF1 6L50 - SOLD ..... PBCF user 2321


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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 11:54 pm 
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I didn't see this the first go around and I'm glad I'm seeing it now.

This is 100% unreal. Killer work!

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 Post subject: Re: Leather restoration
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:42 pm
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Location: Northern MN
Year and Trim: 5x former 3800 Buick/Olds owner
Sorry about the delay in getting back to you guys, the leather repair has actually held up decent for the heavy use its been getting. It is showing some tiny cracking though as I did not get a chance to put any clear coat on it. Need to do this repair with a clear coat on my Avalanche and see how it fares. I think with that added, it should be very durable.

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Image
2010 Chrysler 300 Touring Signature Series, Cool Vanilla - chrome 18's, MyGig touchsreen, all the toys.
2004 Chevy Avalanche LT 4x4, WBH, Arrival Blue Metallic - CAI, MBRP cat-back exhaust, lots of mods and all the options.
2004 Ford Mustang Premium convertible, Screaming Yellow - 18" staggered Bullitt wheels, 1.5" drop Eibach springs, CAI.
1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Brougham, Antigua Blue - 23 ft, 5200 lbs, and 472 cubes of luxo-barge goodness.
1998 Chevy Corvette convertible, Light Carmine Red Metallic


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