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Refurbishing leather seats


MartinW
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I have a HR with electronic + heated seats. The driver's side one is getting pretty warn and has a couple of tears so I'm thinking about getting them refurbished.

 

I got a quote for replacing the torn leather panel (the bolster that always gets bashed on the driver's side) and the chap wanted to find out if there are any special instructions when removing the seat with regards to the airbag in the seat?

 

The quote I had was about £250 to replace that one leather panel then about £300 per seat for general restoration + leather painting. It's starting to add up!

 

Any thoughts on a more cost effective way to get these refurbished?

I've seen some full leather seat covers for sale but they appear to be in the US, has anyone had any experience with those?

 

 

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Removing the seats is easy enough - remove negative battery terminal, unplug 3/4 connectors under seat + 4 bolts holding the seat down.  If you get an airbag warning light it's a pretty easy reset as well.

 

Can't advise on the pricing at all, but you can find used front seats on ebay in the £2-300 range (for the pair) that are in pretty good condition.  Obviously they'll be used and won't be perfect, but could be worth looking into if it's less than half the price?

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Cheers Kryptek.

 

The problem with all of the second hand seats I've found for sale so far is that they aren't really much better than mine so I'll be paying for a refurb anyway.

 

One idea was to take a used passenger seat which tend to be in better condition and strip the leather off it and use that to replace my torn panel but i don't think i'll be saving anything there compared to just getting new leather from the upholsterer.

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Aftermarket seats did cross my mind, the only issue there is I'd lose the heated seats and I assume the electronic adjustment. No idea if I would permanently have an airbag light on as well?

I won't be tracking this car ( I bought another 350z just for that) so no technical need for bucket seats, whatever I have I'd like to make sure it's comfortable and In keeping with the general look of the car

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Hi Martin. 

 

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away I used to be a trimmer so that guy charging you £200-300 is for his skill rather than materials etc.

 

All the time is spent stripping the seat down. The actual repair will be fairly easy.

Either 3 ways to go at it.

1 -Fix what you have its not a common colour so difficult to match and 350z leather is frankly toilet paper thin. 

You can glue a backing underneath, use leather filler and a colouring kit. But its not the best long term option.

2-Unpick that whole worn side panel and replace with new matching leather.

3-As above but unpick both sides and sew in new material (contrasting colour both sides) repeat for passenger seat so it matches. Expensive.

 

One other thing to consider is get a set of seats off fleabay in same colour and use the good side off say the passenger side seat to sew onto the worn bit you have. You end up stripping 2 sets of seats but the way the seats are sewn you have natural seam joins to work towards.

 

First thing to do , buy saddle soap and clean the seats well.

Then Buy a small tub of Connolly Hide food , others available but this one the best. It will revitalise your seat plus it will move colour from the good leather over the not so good. Smooth it on , leave over night repeat. You are trying to feed the leather and give its spring back. Its a cheap first step.

 

Hope it helps?

 

Stan

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48 minutes ago, MartinW said:

Aftermarket seats did cross my mind, the only issue there is I'd lose the heated seats and I assume the electronic adjustment. No idea if I would permanently have an airbag light on as well?

I won't be tracking this car ( I bought another 350z just for that) so no technical need for bucket seats, whatever I have I'd like to make sure it's comfortable and In keeping with the general look of the car

No worries buddy

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16 hours ago, stanski said:

Hi Martin. 

 

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away I used to be a trimmer so that guy charging you £200-300 is for his skill rather than materials etc.

 

All the time is spent stripping the seat down. The actual repair will be fairly easy.

Either 3 ways to go at it.

1 -Fix what you have its not a common colour so difficult to match and 350z leather is frankly toilet paper thin. 

You can glue a backing underneath, use leather filler and a colouring kit. But its not the best long term option.

2-Unpick that whole worn side panel and replace with new matching leather.

3-As above but unpick both sides and sew in new material (contrasting colour both sides) repeat for passenger seat so it matches. Expensive.

 

One other thing to consider is get a set of seats off fleabay in same colour and use the good side off say the passenger side seat to sew onto the worn bit you have. You end up stripping 2 sets of seats but the way the seats are sewn you have natural seam joins to work towards.

 

First thing to do , buy saddle soap and clean the seats well.

Then Buy a small tub of Connolly Hide food , others available but this one the best. It will revitalise your seat plus it will move colour from the good leather over the not so good. Smooth it on , leave over night repeat. You are trying to feed the leather and give its spring back. Its a cheap first step.

 

Hope it helps?

 

Stan

Thanks Stan

That helps a lot. I understand that i'd be paying for someone's craftsmanship, they would have spent years perfecting their skills, if I could do it myself on a Saturday afternoon £200 wouldn't be justified but i can barely sew a button back onto a shirt so I don't think I'm going to try this :)

I think refurbishing these isn't going to be cost effective, I was thinking about recovering some leather from some other passenger seat but that would just be the start.

I think I have decided that I am going to keep an eye out for a set in good condition that I can either treat as you described or get them professionally refurbished with saddle soap etc but without having to stitch in whole panels etc.

I may even have found a pair, reasonably priced from a breakers up in Derby, just waiting on them to send some more pictures.

Edited by MartinW
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2 hours ago, MartinW said:

Thanks Stan

That helps a lot. I understand that i'd be paying for someone's craftsmanship, they would have spent years perfecting their skills, if I could do it myself on a Saturday afternoon £200 wouldn't be justified but i can barely sew a button back onto a shirt so I don't think I'm going to try this :)

I think refurbishing these isn't going to be cost effective, I was thinking about recovering some leather from some other passenger seat but that would just be the start.

I think I have decided that I am going to keep an eye out for a set in good condition that I can either treat as you described or get them professionally refurbished with saddle soap etc but without having to stitch in whole panels etc.

I may even have found a pair, reasonably priced from a breakers up in Derby, just waiting on them to send some more pictures.

Ok good luck but for the small outlay in soap and hide food, its worth half an hours work, just clean it up and soak it. You would be surprised how well leather comes back to life. Our old Wolseley 1500 had bone dry seats, Connolly hide food rejuvenated them. Worth a go.

 

 

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2 hours ago, stanski said:

Ok good luck but for the small outlay in soap and hide food, its worth half an hours work, just clean it up and soak it. You would be surprised how well leather comes back to life. Our old Wolseley 1500 had bone dry seats, Connolly hide food rejuvenated them. Worth a go.

 

 

I'll definitely give that a try on the replacement seats. My current ones have a tear so my priority is to replace it with seats that aren't torn (or last resort replace that torn panel), then it's definitely worth trying the hide food etc :)

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  • 1 month later...
On 16/06/2019 at 21:40, stanski said:

Hi Martin. 

 

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away I used to be a trimmer so that guy charging you £200-300 is for his skill rather than materials etc.

 

All the time is spent stripping the seat down. The actual repair will be fairly easy.

Either 3 ways to go at it.

1 -Fix what you have its not a common colour so difficult to match and 350z leather is frankly toilet paper thin. 

You can glue a backing underneath, use leather filler and a colouring kit. But its not the best long term option.

2-Unpick that whole worn side panel and replace with new matching leather.

3-As above but unpick both sides and sew in new material (contrasting colour both sides) repeat for passenger seat so it matches. Expensive.

 

One other thing to consider is get a set of seats off fleabay in same colour and use the good side off say the passenger side seat to sew onto the worn bit you have. You end up stripping 2 sets of seats but the way the seats are sewn you have natural seam joins to work towards.

 

First thing to do , buy saddle soap and clean the seats well.

Then Buy a small tub of Connolly Hide food , others available but this one the best. It will revitalise your seat plus it will move colour from the good leather over the not so good. Smooth it on , leave over night repeat. You are trying to feed the leather and give its spring back. Its a cheap first step.

 

Hope it helps?

 

Stan

Based on your experience - is there anyone you'd recommend now who could repair tears in the OEM leather seats to achieve the OEM look? I'm not interested in going the aftermarket route..

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5 minutes ago, shad0wca7 said:

Based on your experience - is there anyone you'd recommend now who could repair tears in the OEM leather seats to achieve the OEM look? I'm not interested in going the aftermarket route..

Where are you located?

 

Auto trim Manchester always had a good reputation but I have been out of the game for years now.

 

https://www.autotrimltd.co.uk/

 

If you search for car or furniture trimmers locally , either can fix it.

 

There are lots of smart products on the market these days, Woolies trim sell kits too, but its the faff of taking stuff apart thats the issue. 

 

The best long term solution if you are keeping the car is new leather replacing the side panels which get the beating getting in and out.

 

A single leather hide is still about £100 each just to give you an idea of cost, rest is labour.

 

Hope this helps?

 

Stan

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My issue is actually with the backrest panel which has split completely and needs replacing / some magic. The bolsters are OK but starting to look a bit worn.

 

I'm out of the country a lot so I can leave the car really anywhere as long as they're good enough..

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  • 3 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, Exotic said:

I'm getting my orange leather seats refurbished next week. The seats are in very good condition for a 15 year old car, mainly bolsters need attention. Will post an update once completed.

Whereabouts and can you share the cost / before and after pics?

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Before:

 

20190829_100454.jpg.9b2a9cb4ad78b96c48ac37b48606418e.jpg

 

 

 

20190829_100535.jpg.6475defdf053325d7c6ff885aad5a557.jpg

 

20190826_183744.jpg.9984f7ce8d1ed91d783600b661687964.jpg

 

20190826_183751.jpg.a996e02f7b0ae1881a40dc977141b775.jpg

 

After:

 

20190829_132957.jpg.964d4ec791b7a44e73a58e02b4c8e70c.jpg

 

20190829_133031.jpg.600aafe035e78ba00a486ec200550289.jpg

 

20190829_134507.jpg.40e4345ac8b8935670dbad50446a0641.jpg

 

 

 

20190829_134514.jpg

 

Decided to get plastic trim done too. Although driver seat was mainly bolster area there were other areas which needed.

 

So I got full driver sear refurb (£120), touch up refurb for passenger seat (£60), and negotiated both pastic trim bits (£40), so £220 total.

 

Happy with the results!

Edited by Exotic
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On ‎29‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 17:54, Umster said:

Wow! That's amazing work for the price. Must be a very happy owner eh. 

Yes really happy now - I've been slowly restoring various things on the Zed coming up to my 10th year of owner ship. Last month done the cloudy headlights and I've always wanted to get the interior bits done but never knew who to contact.

 

It helps a lot and will be cheaper to do the refurb of the leather seats before it starts to tear and seams start to open

On ‎29‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 18:14, shad0wca7 said:

It looks good! Do you know what he used to respray the trim pieces with?

I did ask the question and he replied saying he used deep black scuffmaster touch up by Gliptone.

 

If you're thinking of doing it yourself this video might be useful (skip to 6min mark for interior trim restore):

 

https://youtu.be/Fo8niu0eY4Y

 

Edited by Exotic
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