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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After 11 years, my front seats are finally showing their age. Time, heat, cold, friction, sunlight, and oxidation have either stripped or discolored the dye on the leather so badly that they no longer match the original OEM color, and are instead a deep orange, or a dark brown.

Since the OEM leather was made for Volvo by Bridge of Weir (the same company that makes leather for Rolls Royce and Bentley), replacing the leather would be far to costly. My only remaining options were to either pay someone to re-dye the seats, or do it myself.

Well, you know me. DIY FTW.

Leatherique, sells a re-dye kit for $200. For the money, you get 48 oz of custom-matched dye, prepping agent, crack filler, and as a bonus, 32 oz each of the Rejuvinating Oil and "Prestine Clean" (yes, i know they spell it wrong. Maybe a mashup of PRESTO and PRISTINE?).

Anyway, since i already have a 1/2 gal each of the oil and cleaner, I have a feeling friends will be getting samples in their stockings this year.


This is the prepping agent. No exact ratio was given, just "a few ounces in a bowl of warm water. AWESOME.

Anyway, you prep the leather by wet scrubbing or sanding the leather with a scotchbrite or 400-600 grit paper.


Prior to using the prepping agent, you have to thoroughly clean with the Leatherique system (oil, then cleaner). I did this weeks ago, so all I had to do today was wipe down with some Prestine Clean.

A few years ago, I purchased a spare Drivers seat skin from CF Werks Henry (Lowenhart), so I could experiment without ruining my own interior. This is what I'll be working with today.


On the same skin, you can see what part has been in the sun (lower) and been sat on, and what part hasn't (upper).

The goal is to get them to match.


Notice how orange and discolored the leather is. Not at all what it looked like new...




After round one of wet sanding, followed by a white terry towel wipe-down, a ton of the old dye has come off, revealing that the "creases" in the leather are actually cracks in the dye. I'll have to feather all those out.


All those crack edges are only in the dye, the leather underneath is fine. However, I still need to address it, or these "hang-nails" will prevent the dye from adhering to the leather.


I also bought a spare center console arm-rest. After cleaning it, it doesn't look all that bad, but I still need to prep it and dye it, so it matches the seat.


A few more rounds of wet sanding, and the dye is really coming off, exposing the natural leather color underneath. It will require more dye to cover, but I have plenty!


More dye came off than I was expecting. It's good that I did this today, otherwise, the dye would flake off on my arm while driving.


Now it's time to switch gears a bit, and do some dry sanding ONLY along those cracks. The goal is to feather those edges without removing too much of the grain texture. If i sand the leather too smooth, it will look like vinyl after i dye it.


This is going to take a while...:(


The top of the left panel is a high-wear area, due to sliding across it as I get in and out of the car, and it shows. Otherwise, I might have left this alone, since the other 80% is in very good shape.


ALL DONE. After a quick wipe with the prepping agent, it now gets to sit in the sun and dry for an hour. Then, it will go in the garage, overnight, for at LEAST 12 hours. I'll pick up tomorrow morning, and start the dye process.


FYI, This is what my towels looked like after wiping down both seats and the arm-rest. I wager that anyone who has had poor results with the Leatherique Dye might not have prepped the leather as thoroughly/effectively as I did. It’s a water-based dye, which means ALL old dye and petroleum products need to be removed, bc oil and water don’t mix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hell, if this stuff works good enough I may just use it on my old gobi instead, lol. :cool:
A recolor is certainly possible, but it will require many more coats. However, based on my consumption for one seat and armrest, I think 48oz will be more than enough for a recolor. Hell, even if its CLOSE, but not quite, it's still better than Gobi ;)
 

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