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Leather seat refurbishment


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The seats in my car are a bit worn and a slightly different colour from the rest of the leather. I checked with Lotus to see what colour they were when they left the factory and looked through the service history to see if they had ever been changed. It appeared not so I decided they must just need a good clean up.

Here's how they looked

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P1010241.jpg

I decided to start with the better one and used Halfords leather cleaner to get the worst of the dirt off. It took a while as I worked it in with a toothbrush, trying not to scrub it in case I damaged it further. That had a good effect and I then used Gliptone Liquid Leather cleaner to get the ingrained dirt out.

The result so far is this

P1010243.jpg

P1010246.jpg

Next step is to touch in the scuffs with a water dye and then give it a good dose of conditioner before starting on the other one.

The results so far are miles better than I expected. Anyone who thinks that they need to recover their seats should definitely try this first as it helps retain the originality. Total cost will be just over

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Your lucky, as Nick Fulcher will tell yuo, they later moved to water based colour on leather rather than cellulose, so the later leather doesn't get any benefit from conditioner, but yours should. It's hard to believe the difference between as was and when cleaned, I'd only be concerned that some of the areas where the dirt was attached to the leather is because the surface has already cracked slightly and dirt may get back in there. I wonder if a re-painting exercise may give you a longer lasting rejuvenation.

Either way it's still a great improvement.

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I'd only be concerned that some of the areas where the dirt was attached to the leather is because the surface has already cracked slightly and dirt may get back in there. I wonder if a re-painting exercise may give you a longer lasting rejuvenation.

I'm dubious about repainting as that tends to seal the leather in and can lead to worse problems in the future.

Once the dirt was off I could see that the actual amount of cracking was very minimal but I am a bit concerned about dirt getting back in to the few cracks that are there. The way I see it is that there was over 20 years of dirt build up so I'm hoping that if I keep on top of cleaning I should be able to keep it looking good. I guess only time will tell.

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Hi Carlos,

You have done a good job so far but as Andy said you must use a cellulose based colour and NOT water based, the cellulose based colour will not seal the leather and you must feed the leather with Connolly Hide Food, if you put plenty on and leave it on over-night you will be amazed by the results and by the next morning it will have all soaked in and they will be ready for some more then after a couple of days you can polish the surface of the leather.

You are very lucky to have cellulose based leather in your Lotus as its no longer available but we do have a few left in stock.

Do not relace any of the leather with modern day leather in your car as you will regret it big time, I wish you luck with the rest of the work that you have to do and any advice that you might need is free on the forum, just ask,

Nick Fulcher.

Mike Kimberley's 'Can Do' Trim Guru

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we stock all the base colours so we can mix up any colour to match your leather wether it is faded or not the material is Vinylkote but you do need a special thinner/cleaner which our supplier is not allowed by law to sell it to the general public but they can supply us with it and we cann't sell it but if you come to our workshops I can give you some together with instructions as how to use it.

I am not allowed to sell it on either so it is quite a difficult situation.

If you read this Carlos the cellulose paint that you paint your car with will not be suitable to touch in your leather with ,sorry I did not make that clear in my last post, if you would like to speak to me you can ring me on +44(0)1603 811993.

Regards .

Nick Fulcher.

Mike Kimberley's 'Can Do' Trim Guru

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Nick

Thanks for the advice.

After a second clean it's come up very well so I might skip the colouring altogether. I'm assuming that the Glyptone conditioner I've got will be suitable for the leather as it's marketed as being for older cars, which would be pre water based colouring?

I remember Vinylkote from years agio but thought it was for recolouing vinyl only. (hence the name)

I must admit that I didn't think cleaning seats could be so complicated. :rant:

Don't worry about the potential cellulose paint confusion - I'd already worked out that it wouldn't be the same as that used on the car body. I'd have to be an idiot to think that as the seats are magnolia and the car is red. :)

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Hi Brendan, the cellulose based stoped being about 1990 it depends what colours and how much leather the manufactures had in stock at the time.

If you get some cellulose thinners on a lint free piece of cloth and rub it on the leather (in a area not highly visible) and see if the colour all comes off and the surface goes really sticky. then it is cellulose based leather , if it's water based you might get a little colour off but it will not not stay sticky for more than 15 -20 seconds.

Hope this is of some use to you.

Regards,

Nick Fulcher.

Mike Kimberley's 'Can Do' Trim Guru

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This seems to be a bit of a can of worms is it not.................

I am about to get my leather all re-dyed (spraying it apparently) by Classic Car Restoration in Alyth Scotland who have a fantastic reputation for doing work up here. Question is what product should I be using. The guy thats in charge of interior refurbishment said he would order up the product after I gave him a small sample of the leather which I managed to find a small piece of under the arm rest.

Question really to Nick, what product should he be using?

I have already used the Gliptone cleaner and conditioner which did a very good job but it is not perfect and I am looking for perfect - pic of leather attached after cleaning.

PICT0007-4.jpg

I really want the leather to look as near to brand new as possible - what do I do?

Edited by stephenwhyte
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Hi Stephen,

I don't what year your Esprit was first registered but if you read the past comments on this thread you should get an idea as what to do, unless I have a piece of your leather I can't tell exactly what type of leather it is only by running a test on it,

We have just done a job for the Lotus factory with the same problem that you have and it looks like a new one.

If your people up in Scotland are as good as their reputation as you say it is I guess you will just have to trust them as I can't believe that we are the only people in the UK doing what we do.

Having said that we have just completed a job just like yours for a client with an Esprit in the USA and saved him a re-trim.

Nick Fulcher

Mike Kimberley's 'Can Do' Trim Guru

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