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  #1  
Old 12th May 2009
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Default leather rehab - colorado red

Oh hello there. I got myself a c900 vert, 1990 turbo 5-speed. for $999.

The interior was moldy and terrible. I cleaned it all up nice, but the biggest transformation was the Colorado Red seats. I know a lot of folks spend big $$$ on leather upholstery but I fixed mine over the course of two weekends and for about $100, so I thought I would share this. I had to spend a little extra than most people would because my seats were not even close to the stock color anymore and needed several coats of dye.

I have a full project thread over at saablink.net if you want to see everything else I've done so far, including carpet rehab/dye and rust fixing, the whole nine yards.

Let's begin...

Here is the piece of junk when I got it. The seats were not red/burgundy but brown with some blue and green tint. Also, very dirty and with many DEEP cracks. I thought the drivers seat especially was going to disentegrate




Last edited by abdukted1456; 13th May 2009 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 12th May 2009
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Oh, did I also mention there is a large tear in the driver's seat. Look at those deep cracks. the leather was just about splitting everywhere. I was told to hunt for a new interior. But a Saab buddy I work with showed me his c900 daily driver that had a "mint" interior, and he said he used products from leather world tech so I figured I would give it a try.



I ordered a repair and recolor kit.

Before you do anything else, clean it multiple times with the enclosed cleaner and scuff pad.

Then, I cut a piece of the included teflon subpatch material 1/4 to 1/2 inch larger than the repair area. Round the corners to make it a nice smooth repair without edges poking up making a bump in the leather!





The subpatch is inserted under the leather. A special leather adhesive that is provided in the kit is spread inside to bond the patch and leather. It is pre-impregnated with adhesive that is heat activated, but for something this large you use the plain side and the leather glue provided.



Not bad. Filler next...



I did the same on this small hole. I had to cut it open a little bit larger to fit a patch inside.



patched/glued and awaiting filler and dye.
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Old 12th May 2009
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So, here are the seats. I had already patched the tear in the drivers' seat. Here it is cleaned and prepped. after you clean it a few times with the scuff pad and cleaner, the leather starts to feel tacky. that's what you want. spray cleaner, scuff, and wipe away with paper towels. repeat a few times, be thorough!



Passenger cleaned and prepped.



Next I filled the cracks with the provided leather creme filler. I spread it in a few very thin coats where the cracks were really noticeable... and maybe one or two on the less deep cracks. It dried quickly in the sun. You can also use a heat gun or hair dryer to speed things up. the key is to have each thin layer dry before adding the next. too thick and you risk cracking the uncured/undried bottom layers later on after color is applied!

I kept adding coats until I felt like I built up enough filler to make the cracks level with the leather. Then I sanded it gently with 320grit, cleaned it again with the provided leather prep/cleaner a few times, and vacuumed off any remaining debris from sanding.



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Old 12th May 2009
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The leather on the door cards was just as discolored and faded as the seats. it's brownish blueish green. *yuck*


So, I cleaned, prepped, and masked off the door card leather. I sprayed a very light first coat.


Here is the dye and the sprayer. SPRAy-TOOL.



These came out a little too red. I should nto have done it in dirtect sunlight, the solvents evaporated too fast and the color was wrong. I re-did them later and got them nice and dark. Same happened to my front seats, but I fixed it later. You'll see, keep reading
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Old 12th May 2009
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So I did a few coats of the dye.
Um, it's RED. Now, you gotta trust me, the photos came out way more red than they are in real life. But still, more red than I thought. two things happened or could have:

1. direct sunlight= bad
2. vendor mixed the dye wrong.

I think it was the sun. I got more dye the following week and it looked the same and fixed the problem.

so anyways...good news, is that the cracks are more or less gone now. Can you spot the tear in the seat? !!!



Passenger seat



Um, holy difference batman.



this is where I ran out of dye, stay tuned for the "color correction" and back seat rehab.
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  #6  
Old 12th May 2009
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So, the new batch of dye arrived and I did the rear seat AWAY FROM DIRECT SUNLIGHT-----SUCCESS!
SO I did all the prep again on the front seats and door cards, and I used the extra to correct the color on those, again, out of direct sunlight. (I threw tarps over stuff in my garage and just did it inside with the door open for fresh air)

After 24 hours they get gently buffed with a soft cloth and then rubbed down generously with the provided sealer/leather protectant. 1/2 hour later thet can be sat on. everyone asked if my white tennis shorts turned red sitting on these. No, and my wife's white jacket was not harmed either

this was before the protectant which further enriched the color and shine/finish




Last edited by abdukted1456; 13th May 2009 at 08:19 AM.
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  #7  
Old 12th May 2009
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I also re-dyed the carpets and put in burgundy Suede door card inserts with some Liz Claiborne Suede I picked up for 12 bucks!





next "mod" is to wash the car and get the tire mounting grease off






I hope this inspires someone to rescue some seats that maybe seemed hopeless! If I can do it... you can too.

nicest colorado red on the netz!!?!?!?!?!?

Last edited by abdukted1456; 13th May 2009 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 12th May 2009
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Okay, can you tell us all exactly what the product is, and a good place to purchase it? Thanks! Those look incredible!!
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Old 12th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abdukted1456 View Post
I hope this inspires someone to rescue some seats that maybe seemed hopeless!
Wow. That's an incredible difference - it really does look as if you heeded that advice to junk the old seats and find a better interior.

BTW - am I getting a hint of "Haven't you finished yet? If we're not going to be late, we need to be LEAVING. NOW." (with added "Yes, dear. Coming, dear") from this pic...?
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  #10  
Old 12th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clovii View Post
Okay, can you tell us all exactly what the product is, and a good place to purchase it? Thanks! Those look incredible!!
yes, www.leatherworldtech.com

For mine, I used the repair and recolor kit. I had to order an extra 8oz of dye since my seats were so far off from original color. And 3 extra propellant cans for the sprayer. you may also skip the propellant cans and just brush the dye on with a foam brush. I did both, spray on in a light mist, and spread around evenly with a foam brush.

There is also a recolor kit that doesn't have all the repair items with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TooMany2cvs View Post
Wow. That's an incredible difference - it really does look as if you heeded that advice to junk the old seats and find a better interior.

BTW - am I getting a hint of "Haven't you finished yet? If we're not going to be late, we need to be LEAVING. NOW." (with added "Yes, dear. Coming, dear") from this pic...?
thank you. I thought others might benefit from seeing what is possible. I also had amazing results on my carpets with a product from superior restorations. I'll make a new post on that...

Yes, the wife wishes we were driving it and not fixing it. we took it out a few times in the last few days though, so she is happier now.

Last edited by abdukted1456; 12th May 2009 at 01:35 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12th May 2009
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Brilliant job on the interior well done
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  #12  
Old 12th May 2009
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Amazing restoration AND great step-by-step instructions. Shows how a keen eye, know how and effort really pays off...most people would have invested a ton of $$ in new seats. How much was the total cost?
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Old 12th May 2009
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Originally Posted by Satinsax View Post
Amazing restoration AND great step-by-step instructions. Shows how a keen eye, know how and effort really pays off...most people would have invested a ton of $$ in new seats. How much was the total cost?
(all in USD):
deluxe repair and recolor kit: $59.95
extra propellant can: $4.29


because my seats needed so much color (most people could skip this if the seats are in better shape):

extra 8 oz dye: $23.95
2 more propellant cans: $8.00 (quantity discount)

elbow grease: $FREE$

grand total: $96.19 plus shipping



also used some 300 grit sandpaper, rags and paper towels that I had in the garage
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Old 12th May 2009
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I went through your whole thread on SaabLink. I was amazed and this has inspired me to do my seats. I have a 1996 900 with the front seats as cracked as yours were. I have tan interior and I found a match on the site where you ordered the product. I didn't want to do the rear seat because it is in such nice shape, but if they end up being a shade off I wouldn't be able to stand it.

Should I order an extra 8 oz. of dye for $19? The front seats will need the filler and the backs would only need cleaned and coloured. I plan on applying this with a foam brush and would let the seats dry for a few days. Other than that, any advice or tips before I tackle this?
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Old 12th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatWhite00 View Post
Should I order an extra 8 oz. of dye for $19? The front seats will need the filler and the backs would only need cleaned and coloured. I plan on applying this with a foam brush and would let the seats dry for a few days. Other than that, any advice or tips before I tackle this?
I would consider it. The dye did not cover the creme filler so well and combined with my seats being horribly faded I used a full 8oz on the fronts alone. Then when I did the back, I did not use filler and I only used 4oz or so on the whole rear and also the door cards. I used the extra 4 oz to correct my lipstick red fronts and it JUST covered it. I could have maybe used an extra oz for some little other things, but that will wait for another day.

tips:

DO NOT do this in the direct sun, you don't want the seats too hot or the color may come out wrong and the solvents evaporate too fast and the dye gets rubbery and comes right off.

be very thorough with the cleaning and prep

scuff the seats with the included pad, don't use like 100 grit sandpaper and destroy them

follow the directions

wait the suggested times for drying of filler, color, cleaner, etc.

WHen I used 300 grit to sand the filler I did so with very light pressure and knowing I had nothing to lose with these. You might try something finer especially with cracks that are less serious. they did not reccommend any product for this step, but the scuff pad did not seem like the right material for this.

be very thorough with the cleaning and prep! I know, I said it again. It makes a difference. you will notice this in itself brings the leather back quite a bit.

you may also mix some dye with creme filler to help mask it and maybe not need as much dye to cover it up later. (according to the vendor)

be generous with the protectant ater the dye dries 24 hrs, it moisturizes the seats nicely and protects them.

this was easy as pie, and I am the guy who breaks bolts and turns them the wrong way. I have some protectant leftover, and will be using it to refresh the softness/shine and will probably order more for detailing prior to car shows/saab gatherings
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Old 12th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abdukted1456 View Post
I would consider it. The dye did not cover the creme filler so well and combined with my seats being horribly faded I used a full 8oz on the fronts alone. Then when I did the back, I did not use filler and I only used 4oz or so on the whole rear and also the door cards. I used the extra 4 oz to correct my lipstick red fronts and it JUST covered it. I could have maybe used an extra oz for some little other things, but that will wait for another day.

tips:

DO NOT do this in the direct sun, you don't want the seats too hot or the color may come out wrong and the solvents evaporate too fast and the dye gets rubbery and comes right off.

be very thorough with the cleaning and prep

scuff the seats with the included pad, don't use like 100 grit sandpaper and destroy them

follow the directions

wait the suggested times for drying of filler, color, cleaner, etc.

WHen I used 300 grit to sand the filler I did so with very light pressure and knowing I had nothing to lose with these. You might try something finer especially with cracks that are less serious. they did not reccommend any product for this step, but the scuff pad did not seem like the right material for this.

be very thorough with the cleaning and prep! I know, I said it again. It makes a difference. you will notice this in itself brings the leather back quite a bit.

you may also mix some dye with creme filler to help mask it and maybe not need as much dye to cover it up later. (according to the vendor)

be generous with the protectant ater the dye dries 24 hrs, it moisturizes the seats nicely and protects them.

this was easy as pie, and I am the guy who breaks bolts and turns them the wrong way. I have some protectant leftover, and will be using it to refresh the softness/shine and will probably order more for detailing prior to car shows/saab gatherings
Thanks for the help. I am going to order from the same place. I am planning on only doing the seats. It would be nice to go for an older orangish/tan or dark brown shade, but I will just keep the tan since it compliments the exterior so well. I want to say my interior is "sand beige"

http://www.leatherworldtech.com/Auto...=Saab&catID=16

I may have to check with a dealer or shop to confirm this. If this turns out like yours it beats buying covers by a long shot.
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  #17  
Old 13th May 2009
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I assume that you would not apply this to the vinyl parts of the seat. It looks like my '97 900 SET has leather wrapped seats - only the area that your body touches is leather, so not all of the seat would be refinished... Ron
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  #18  
Old 13th May 2009
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Absolutely stunning transformation….They look incredible..
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  #19  
Old 13th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '97 Saab SE Turbo View Post
I assume that you would not apply this to the vinyl parts of the seat. It looks like my '97 900 SET has leather wrapped seats - only the area that your body touches is leather, so not all of the seat would be refinished... Ron
correct, I applied this to the leather only. The vinyl sides and back are close enough to match, they don't fade as much as the leather.

I have no idea if this product would stick to vinyl anyways, as it is made for leather.
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  #20  
Old 13th May 2009
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after a few days of driving, some of the very very deep cracks and peeking through a little tiny bit. But nothing like before. It still looks amazing.

I may, next spring, before waking the very up from it's winter nap, do some light filling on those (now extrmeley shallow instead of deep) cracks again and touch up dye those spots right in the car (brush on, not spray)

my buddy Ric's seats look super mint with these same products but I beleive his were nowhere near the horrible condition mine started in, his were decent to begin with.
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