Repainting my Leather Seats - A pictorial from Faded to New. - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums

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Old 16th August 2009, 17:18   #1
Tiauguinho
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Repainting my Leather Seats - A pictorial from Faded to New.

Just back from two weeks vacations back on my home country, Portugal. On this trip I arranged with my friend Rui (a professional detailer - without a shadow of a doubt, the best in Portugal ) to help me and guide me on repainting my leather seats. This was a technique that I wanted to learn properly and what better occasion to learn with a friend and on my own seats!*

My leather was not very scratched or full of gashes. The black was fading away and there were some scuffs here and there, specially on the drivers seat. We arranged an whole day for the two of us to get through this. The whole process was fun and instructive and although not very complicated, it is certainly a challenge to do it correctly

The procedure was more or less this:

1. Remove seats
Back Seats - These are super simple. Bottom part you just push up. Top part you unscrew the two nuts on the bottom sides, raise the headrests and push the seat up.
Front Seats - If you are a skinny fellow like me, you will encounter some difficulties unscrewing the T50 screws from the rails... they were tightened by Hercules himself!!

2. Vacuum clean the seats very well.

3. Sand the leather.

4. Prepare the leather with a special product.

5. Clean all plastics on the seats that are not easily reachable when they are mounted.

6. Mask the plastics.

7. Paint very thin layers. Dry them. Paint again. Rinse and repeat until happy with result.

8. Vacuum clean the car and mount the seats again.

Below are the pictures of the process.

It was nasty to take photos in a dark garage only TL light from above, which gave a weird reflection on the leather, so really cant show how god damn spectacular the seats stayed. However, I can attest that they now look like new



Some of the scuffs that the rear seats had, although not deep, it was showing already the years that the car has.



Rear seats being sanded down.



Leather being prepared.







The fun then starts. Slowly but steadily, a thin layer of paint is applied and dried.











Part by part, the leather gets painted, always working in small areas and drying them right after you finish painting.











We had a lot of fun (NOT) removing the front seats. Here is a picture of all the screws that need to come out.



Power cable being unplugged.





The little metal cable on the bottom right is a pain to install again... be warned about that one, it will chew your patience



With the seats out, there is a great opportunity to properly vacuum clean beneath the seats.



The M, now seatless, waiting for us to get on with it.



The front seats required some more care than the back ones, but all the love was put into bringing them up to shape properly.









A little 50/50 with two strips of tape, to clearly see the difference of how the leather was against the new freshly painted area.













I'm very happy with the end results! I was a bit wary of doing my first leather painting alone (even considered traveling to the UK to have some lessons on it first), but I'm very thankful for having the opportunity to have Rui teaching and showing how its done, him having learned the mistakes already that are easy to do with too much paint.

Another step completed on the process of having my car clean and as perfect as possible (despite being my daily driver). Next step is to remove the interior trim, sand it down and repaint it myself in Piano Black.

Need to get on with some pictures of the interior on natural light, but I can tell you all, the leather of my car now looks like new
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Old 16th August 2009, 17:48   #2
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Nicely Done!! Looks good and thanks for the pictures.
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Old 16th August 2009, 19:26   #3
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wow great job thanks for taking the time to post those pics with the step by step.... I have been thinking of having my seats done for a while now but have been leaning towards buying the new leathers from bmw instead.... but its alot of $ .... around $2300 per seat

nice job !!!
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Old 16th August 2009, 19:35   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfizzlenyc View Post
wow great job thanks for taking the time to post those pics with the step by step.... I have been thinking of having my seats done for a while now but have been leaning towards buying the new leathers from bmw instead.... but its alot of $ .... around $2300 per seat

nice job !!!
Your welcome

To be honest, its not worth it to re-do the leather on the seats, unless of course it all burned away or something.

You can repaint and restore the leather with some patience and technique, fill in the scratches or gashes, bring it up to be as new as possible. Of course, it will also cost you some bucks to pay a good detailer to spend time doing this, but its worth it.

Just don't take it to a slacker or noobcake... saw my dose already of very bad repaints, paint brush strokes noticeable, greasy leather, seat belt plugging things painted due to lazyness in not removing the seats, etc.
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Old 17th August 2009, 02:07   #5
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My drivers door handle has been bugging the cr-- out of me since I got the car. No tears...just the carmel is gone from it.

Do you know or does someone know where to source the carmel colored paint????

Anyone.

The other option is to replace the door panel...Last option

Thanks

Steve
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Old 17th August 2009, 03:46   #6
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I thought this was going to be a Magic Mender thread... haha glad it wasnt, you did a good job bringing your seats back to life. Will the paint allow the leather to breathe though? That would be my only concern
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Old 17th August 2009, 07:09   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havasusteve03Beast View Post
My drivers door handle has been bugging the cr-- out of me since I got the car. No tears...just the carmel is gone from it.

Do you know or does someone know where to source the carmel colored paint????
For whatever the colour that you have, you can always send a little sample to the Leather Paint maker from underneath the back seats to have it measured and the colours will be mixed to match exactly that

Or, there are some detailers with a special machine that will detect the colour of the leather and give the correct mixing paints percentages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackxs View Post
I thought this was going to be a Magic Mender thread... haha glad it wasnt, you did a good job bringing your seats back to life. Will the paint allow the leather to breathe though? That would be my only concern
Thanks! Yes, the leather will breathe in correctly if you are careful with how thick you are putting the layers of paint.
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Old 17th August 2009, 13:57   #8
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Wow! Thanks for taking the time and extra effort to document everything and sharing it with us. I've always wondered how that was done.

Michael
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Old 17th August 2009, 23:52   #9
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Car looks GREAT what color is it?



maybe a group buy on caramel paint anybody? send it one sample and get 10 or 15 bottles
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Old 18th August 2009, 00:09   #10
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Is there any special paint used? What type and brand? My Silverstone interior on the driver seat is starting to show through, the grey part is kinda showing its age on the bolster. Will definately consider doing this!

My grab handle on the drivers side door, right under the window controls needs some refinishing too. More stuff to do in the winter now!
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