: Diy - freshen up leather seats for $20 - no more ugly seat bottoms



luxurylife33
02-23-09, 04:56 PM
OK, as a profession I do mobile auto reconditioning. I mostly fix scratches, dings, dents and exterior work for used car dealers and private owners who have lease returns or want their cars looking good. However, I do some interior reconditioning as well, so I thought I'd share a few pointers.

As everyone knows the Escalade seat bottoms wear like no tomorrow! Instead of spending $200+ (EACH!) on a new seat bottom, I'd rather freshen it up a bit, much like I do on lease returns and used cars. You will need a $9 bottle of SEM SOAP and an $11 bottle of SEM 149B SHALE (#17203) Classic Coat leather paint. You can find these at most auto body supply shops. SEM has a list of their distributors on their website.

Lets get started! Here's what you need:

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seatsem.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat4.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat3.jpg

^^^ Notice the slight discoloration? ^^^


You will need to thoroughly clean the leather to be painted to get rid of any conditioner or grease left behind. Dab a little on a heavy duty Blue paper towel and use a spray bottle to spray the leather with water. Mask the area you don't want over-spray.

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat2.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat1.jpg

You will want to apply 3-4 light coats. You may want to go slightly heavier to fill in the "cracks", NOT THE CREASES! If you look closely at the seats, you will notice the black "dirty" spots are actually really small cracks. Those will be filled in.

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat7.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat8.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat9.jpg

And the other side.... (sorry no before pics, it was just as dirty/worn as the driver side)

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat5.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t222/luxurylife33/seat6.jpg

Pics don't do any justice. The difference in person is night and day! Although the problem with the creases will not be solved, it will definitely make you happier to live with. The paint is amazing, the blending properties within the SEM paint are unbelievable. You will notice the paint is really not a paint, but more like a dye. It just disappears into the leather and blends perfectly. You will not have to paint the entire seat. Just don't lay the paint on thick, and you will be pleased!

urbanski
02-23-09, 05:31 PM
that should work on my denali, too, thanks :)

Eldo1953
02-23-09, 08:18 PM
Amazing! Thanks!

8ball
02-23-09, 09:05 PM
Nice...thanks:thumbsup:

pcguy760
02-24-09, 02:12 AM
Wow this should be made a sticky!!

urbanski
02-24-09, 05:14 AM
i will copy it to tech tips

TSS
02-25-09, 03:28 PM
Amazing. Thanks! I just need to figure out what thjey called the light SLS interioir in 2001.

mtflight
04-17-09, 06:18 PM
genius. thank you sincerely for the tip!

V-Eight
04-18-09, 05:18 PM
That looks great!

sweetshot
04-19-09, 12:58 AM
Wow my seats look a thousand times better now! Any tips on how far to hold the can from the seat? And is it ok to use leather conditioners on the seats a day or so after painting? Thanks

Chris Luongo
05-30-09, 12:00 PM
Amazing. Thanks! I just need to figure out what thjey called the light SLS interioir in 2001.

Since I'm a new member, I can't post links yet, although I did try.

If you go to SEM's site, look at their automotive products, and find Classic Coat, there's a color chart there with different colors.

According to a local auto body supply shop, they don't have a cross reference list for the colors.

You could bring either your entire car, or a removeable part like a headrest or armrest, to the body shop supply store, and make a match yourself.

Also, their site has a VERY detailed guide to using the products, appears very helpful.

bowman1268
07-07-09, 09:54 PM
I had to post on this becuase I just started doing this to my new to me 97 deville.My seats had no creases,tears,or cracks.My problem all the shale color had rubbed off with age.I found this post and decided it was worth a shot since the previous owner really did take decent care of the seats.About 10 minutes ago I finished my passenger seat and all I can say is WOW.It looks new and the sem shale blends perfectly with the factory.I am just blown away.If wasn't getting dark out I would be doing my whole interior right now it is just that good.If you follow the prep instructions you will not be disappointed.:thumbsup:

ryannel2003
07-09-09, 11:20 PM
I wouldn't mind doing this to my Seville where areas of the dye has started to come off. Problem is I don't know what exact color I would choose. My interior is Pewter. I'm debating between two shades of Grey on the site.

codewize
07-11-09, 08:50 AM
So I have a question about colors, since you do this you might be able to help me.

I have an 01 DTS, The interior is 2 different colors but I think the seats are the shale that you mention. I'd like to paint the outer parts of the seats to mach the darker gray color in the car.

Any idea what color I need.

greg-sls
07-12-09, 08:57 PM
I was just looking at the SEM website - maybe this picture of GM colors will help:
http://www.vinylproleather.com/store/2173492/viewproduct/files/2173492/uploaded/classic%20GM.jpg

TSS
07-14-09, 08:34 AM
I was just looking at the SEM website - maybe this picture of GM colors will help:
http://www.vinylproleather.com/store/2173492/viewproduct/files/2173492/uploaded/classic%20GM.jpg

Thanks for the link. However, I don't really see the beige/tan color of our 01 SLS interior. Lt neutral is the closest. Maybe it is just my monitor.......

codewize
07-14-09, 10:08 AM
You really have to look up the trim codes. The colors on the screen never look like the car and the colors in the car are very different than what you think they are.

Order carpet samples some time. When you get them, I promise the one you think would never match your car, is the one.

Especially these greys and shale and neutral they have. They're very deceiving.

TSS
07-14-09, 11:00 AM
You really have to look up the trim codes.

I know, just haven't had the time. I have ordered multiple carpeted mats in the wrong color, now I do get samples. :thepan:

ocmdiaz714
07-14-09, 07:06 PM
I was just looking at the SEM website - maybe this picture of GM colors will help:
http://www.vinylproleather.com/store/2173492/viewproduct/files/2173492/uploaded/classic%20GM.jpg

Who can tell me the code for a 94 Fleetwood Brougham with the tan interior?

greg-sls
07-14-09, 09:30 PM
TSS - I suggest going to a local automotive paint store that carries SEM interior dyes. That's what I'm going to do when I re-dye my seats. The color of the lid on the can should be a match to your interiors. I have to agree that Lt neutral is close to my interiors too - more of a light mocha tan.

TSS
07-16-09, 10:04 AM
TSS - I suggest going to a local automotive paint store that carries SEM interior dyes. That's what I'm going to do when I re-dye my seats. The color of the lid on the can should be a match to your interiors. I have to agree that Lt neutral is close to my interiors too - more of a light mocha tan.


Good idea Greg - thanks. I have a superb auto paint supply store nearby. Problem is, I hardly ever drive the SLS during the week unless it needs to be taken to the dealer for service. Then, my wife and I trade for the day. But, that is definitely what I need to do.

00 Deville
07-17-09, 08:59 PM
Who can tell me the code for a 94 Fleetwood Brougham with the tan interior?

Use the RPO lookup tool to tell what color you interior is... on my 2000 the sticker is located on the spare tire cover. The interior color (3 digit code) was in the lower right corner after the exterior paint color.


http://www.cadillacfaq.com/rpo/index.php

ryannel2003
08-04-09, 06:33 PM
Ok so I received my can of SEM Classic Coat today in the mail and immediately went out and tested it on my seats. Amazing! That's all I can say. It blended right in with my seat color (BTW the seat color for a Pewter Seville interior is Medium Dark Pewter from SEM). The difference is night and day! My seats look 10x better than before, and saved me a good $300 from buying a new seat bottom cushion. Next up is conditioning the seats, and then it will be like a brand new interior.

Amazing product for sure.

codewize
08-06-09, 02:17 PM
Sweet, I really want to 2 tone my seats to match the 2 tone interior panels

snum1fan
08-08-09, 03:50 AM
Hey ryannel2003 ,

How do you "recondition" the seats? I am doing the SEM combo on my ebony seats tomorrow, and I would be interested in making my seats feel better. Has anyone doe this before on ebouny(black) seats? When you look at the color chart on the SEM website there is only one black. So I guess there is no other option to choose for black or ebony seats. But if anybody has any suggestions from doing an ebony interior vehicle, please let me know.

The dealer fixed a cigarette burn in the back seat, and although you cannot tell it was there by looking at it, it is very very rough about 8 inches by 8 inches all around where it was. I can't even wipe leather cleaner/protector on that part of the sea because the microfiber towel,or any towel sticks to the rough seat so bad I have to peel it off. Anybody got any ideas on fixing that one? Bet you the guy didn't use a flexible coating like the SEM we are all talking about. Think I could carefully take some 4000 grit to it very lightly and then hit it with the SEM paint? Only thing I could think of, but don't know if I would try without someone elses advice.


Everyone look out for my step by step guide to taking front bumper off write up this weekend or on Monday. I will be installing high beam and fog HID's this weekend since I liked the low beams so much. There is some confusing information on this subject on this forum, so I am going to provide a step by step like there is in the CTS forum. ---___With Pictures___---

Next step 2009 bumper on 2005, fix foggy headlams, rocker panel and pillar install, and modify STS stock 6 disc to accept aftermarket nav where 6 disc is now while keepind Radio/DIC for settings!!! :D :D :D

ryannel2003
08-09-09, 10:00 AM
I haven't done it to my seats yet, but i've heard nothing but good things about Leatherique.

http://www.leatherique.com

Buy the Rejuvinator Oil and Pristine Clean and it should soften your leather like brand new. Never heard one negative comment about the duo.

gdwriter
08-16-09, 08:15 PM
Add me to the list wholeheartedly endorsing SEM Classic Coat. I did my '91 DeVille first to make sure I did it right before doing the Seville. For a nearly 19 year-old-car with 257,000 miles on it, the DeVille's leather wasn't in terrible shape, but it definitely had some wear:

http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173294_8051416.jpg

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173295_987938.jpg

http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173291_2039034.jpg

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173292_5577546.jpg

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173293_375085.jpg

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173296_4723831.jpg

http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173297_2741005.jpg

http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173298_135328.jpg

http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/117/61/776743093/n776743093_2173299_1665237.jpg

The color is a bit lighter, but since I did all of the seats, it won't matter. And they look a lot better.

The Seville's seats weren't nearly as needy, but the left bolster on the bottom of the driver's seat definitely had some wear:

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs161.snc1/6010_117657418093_776743093_2173301_5434890_n.jpg

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs161.snc1/6010_117657443093_776743093_2173303_3735323_n.jpg

http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs181.snc1/6010_117657468093_776743093_2173305_8149448_n.jpg

http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs181.snc1/6010_117657473093_776743093_2173306_8048580_n.jpg

http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs181.snc1/6010_117657478093_776743093_2173307_6942608_n.jpg

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs161.snc1/6010_117657483093_776743093_2173308_4671932_n.jpg

Easy to do, inexpensive, and I'm very happy with the results.

TSS
08-17-09, 07:05 AM
^^^ NICE!!!! Hey, can you tell me the color used for the 01 Seville? That is exactly my color.

gdwriter
08-17-09, 02:00 PM
It's Shale. SEM has the correct GM color code

TSS
08-18-09, 07:29 AM
it's shale. Sem has the correct gm color code

thx!

tateos
09-22-09, 09:14 PM
Worked great on my '97 ETC seats. Also did my steering wheel and shifter - they were very bad - now look like new - amazing; after 12 years and 153K miles, the steering wheel finish in some fairly large areas was completely worn through to the brown leather underneath. The armrest did not fare as well - the paint covers all the wear, but the cracks are still there, big time. It's better than it was, but not great.

I used Ford light parchment color on my car - it looked closer than anything else on the paint chip chart they had in the store, when I took it out and held it next to the interior. It's a very little bit lighter than what I had, but looks very good and blends right in.

A wonderful solution overall, I think. I also washed the car, and vacuumed it out; now the car rides better, is quieter, has more power, the seats are more comfortable, and the stereo sounds better too - well - that is tongue in cheek - some of you know what I mean.

Many thanks to the OP!

TSS
10-05-09, 09:34 AM
Thanks again to the OP and gdwriter!

I did my 01 SLS shale driver's seat Sunday. Less than an hour, including waiting for coats to dry. Simple process. I used the SEM soap, followed by simple green. I did not use the grey scrubbing pads that some have used. I used a white washcloth for the SEM soap and simple green - and rubbed hard. I did 4 coats because I think I was coating a little too lightly at first because I was scared. Anybody thinking about doing this, you cannot screw it up, seriously - it is that easy.

ryannel2003
10-05-09, 09:44 AM
After 2 months my seats are still holding up really well! Ended up doing some other areas of the car and now it looks like I have brand new seats. Still extremely happy with the results.

Planedr
10-26-09, 05:54 PM
I did my seats today. I think they came out great.
Before
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1024.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1023.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1026.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1027.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1028.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1031.jpg

After
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1048.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1060.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1061.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1065.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t301/planedr2k7/100_1038.jpg

I would like to do the center parts a darker color.
The paint was $17 a can @ 2 cans but my seats were in very bad shape. The soap was $13. But 50 bucks is a lot better than 200-300$ for new seats.
(SAFETY TIP: DO NOT DRIVE VEHICLE FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS AFTER PAINTING. HAHAHAHAHA I FEEL PRETTY GOOD RIGHT NOW.... HEADACHE IS COMING ON THOUGH:bighead:)

cady97dev
10-26-09, 09:50 PM
I have read this whole post and......No one has said how it holds up with an interior cleaning.....Can you us leather cleaner on it afterwards????

TSS
10-27-09, 11:04 AM
Wife's SLS shale is holding up really well too. So good, that I did my father-in-law's 01 DTS this weekend (SEM med. grey). Incredible stuff. The key is to take your time with the prep. The painting part is simple. The fumes do get to ya though.

Planedr
10-27-09, 08:16 PM
Wife's SLS shale is holding up really well too. So good, that I did my father-in-law's 01 DTS this weekend (SEM med. grey). Incredible stuff. The key is to take your time with the prep. The painting part is simple. The fumes do get to ya though.

That SEM soap is good stuff, I started with a white washcloth and when I was done it was almost black. It even pulled some stains out of the back seat that looked like juice.
Next is carpet. Anyone have any suggestions where to get new carpet?

TSS
10-29-09, 08:59 AM
^^

1. Leather holds up fine to cleaning and conditioning.

2. RE: carpets, SEM makes fabric/carpet dye just like the stuff we used for the leather! I saw it when I picked up my classic coat for leather and thought maybe I would try it on my wife's light colored floor mats . If I were you, since the leather stuff works so good, I would try the SEM dye before replacing the carpet. Good luck.

LAC_STS
11-05-09, 01:33 PM
I had done my seats with the SEM and it did look great, but when I took the car to get detailed a month or so later the guy said that I should have told him the seats were sprayed. When they sprayed the Lexol on it the SEM came right off. I called leatherique about getting therm to match the color. (You send a piece from under the seat and they match it for you) and even they said that alot of leather cleaners will pull up the dye/paint. You have to be carefull on what you use if you do anything to your seats.

TSS
11-09-09, 03:22 PM
^^ Something is not right. I have cleaned and conditioned mine and my inlaws several times with both Lexol and Zaino. No problems. I cannot speculate, other than maybe our prep process differed. I think the key is in the prep of the seats, not the painting so much - that part is easy. Maybe the detailers used something stronger to try and clean the seats before conditioning too. I feel bad for you regardless.

My "process": SEM Soap; simple green: SEM soap; simple green; simple green; paint. I basically doubled the recommended prep process to ensure I did not miss any spots - if not properly cleaned, dye will just basically sit on the surface.

mtflight
04-12-10, 01:11 PM
Unfortunately something went wrong in my case as well!

I prepped the seats carefully with the SEM soap, and they looked awesome for a week... then THIS started happening.

My question is... how do I recover from this? Do I need anything else besides the SEM soap to prep it?

Also... what happened? :helpless:

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo2-1.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo-2.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo3.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo2.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo-1.jpg

mtflight
04-12-10, 09:37 PM
I gotta say the initial results were amazing. I cleaned the leather with the SEM soap and then the next morning applied the paint.

Unfortunately about 5 days later this happened (gruesome pics below!). Please advise as to what to do now--scrape all the paint off or only the parts that show chipping?

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo2-1.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo3.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo2.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo-1.jpg

Help/advise is appreciated!

joe cat
05-14-10, 09:09 AM
I hit mine with sand paper, fill in the cracks with latex caulk, sand the caulk down ( make sure no silicon) Usually the cheapest caulk available.
Sand down the cauk, wipe all down with alcohol and use house paint inted to match WORKS EXCELLENT!!!!

see pics here http://picasaweb.google.com/joecat44/SEATSREDONEWITHCAULKANDHOUSEPAINT#

The porsche seats were done in DURON semigloss house paint- I have done several cars since and just get a quart in the satin.

The semigloss does slightly fade to a nice shine with the help of wear and some cleaning.

Tips - Sand that seat down with like a 300 pad and then prep with alcohol- fill in all cracks and crevaces - you could even use a pointing knife to do the spreading and feathering- My next car i will try adding alcohol to the caulk to make it smother and quicker drying- Obviously wait overnight to start sanding the dry caulk depending on thickness.

mtflight
05-14-10, 05:06 PM
I hit mine with sand paper, fill in the cracks with latex caulk, sand the caulk down ( make sure no silicon) Usually the cheapest caulk available.
Sand down the cauk, wipe all down with alcohol and use house paint inted to match WORKS EXCELLENT!!!!

see pics here http://picasaweb.google.com/joecat44/SEATSREDONEWITHCAULKANDHOUSEPAINT#

The porsche seats were done in DURON semigloss house paint- I have done several cars since and just get a quart in the satin.

The semigloss does slightly fade to a nice shine with the help of wear and some cleaning.

Tips - Sand that seat down with like a 300 pad and then prep with alcohol- fill in all cracks and crevaces - you could even use a pointing knife to do the spreading and feathering- My next car i will try adding alcohol to the caulk to make it smother and quicker drying- Obviously wait overnight to start sanding the dry caulk depending on thickness.

Wow very clever and nice results!

ghettomike
05-25-10, 02:32 AM
well ive been watching this thread for about a year... so how is it all holding up???
my seats arent that bad on my CTS but they are showing wear and i would like to refinish them, i also have to do this to my gfs jag , her driver seat needs a little help but the rest are almost new.

so lets hear the reviews...
how long ago did you do it? how is it holding up? what have you used since to condition and clean it?
basically, would you do it again on a car you are keeping? sounded like the OP was spraying seats on cars being sold...fresh look but for how long???

mtflight
05-25-10, 02:46 PM
Glad you asked!

Initially I followed the directions to use the SEM soap and my seats looked great with that alone. I waited overnight and painted the areas that needed touching up first thing in the morning. Looked beautiful... the stuff really is easy to work with and blends in like magic.

Then weeks later... this started happening.... (the horror!)

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo-1.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo2.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo3.jpg

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo-2.jpg


So then I called SEM products to ask them what went wrong? They said to go to the website and download these directions: http://semproducts.com/images/Users/1/training-pdfs/RAP-1_1009.pdf

The guy explained SEM soap is only for water soluble debris (like dirt), and then I need a grease/oil cleaner which is their SEM leather/vinyl prep aerosol. It reminds me of brake clean because it is an aerosol that evaporates almost instantly leaving nothing behind.

So the process is to clean with SEM soap and a "3M gray scuff pad" which is almost like a dish scuff pad, but not as harsh. That's what the scuff pad is called, and you can get it at Sherwin Williams or most other places that sell professional auto paint (not Autozone or OReilly etc). Then after thoroughly cleaning that way, you use a lint-free cloth (microfiber) and sweep in one direction as you spray the grease/oil solvent aerosol.

Then you put on the Classic coat stuff. I've so far in a few weeks had great results. I do have a couple of high-flex areas that are chipping see the picture below http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h267/mtflight/photo2-1.jpg
but I can touch it up with more confidence knowing the failure was probably some residual oils.

The SEM Classic Coat has a technical data sheet that explains the above procedure http://semproducts.com/images/tech_files/17013-17353%20TDS.pdf in less detail.

TSS
05-25-10, 03:13 PM
9/09 - still holding up great. I use Zaino to condition. Have used Lexol on them too with no ill results.

FlyingRaven
05-26-10, 03:51 PM
does anybody know what is the color SEM color code for the gray seats in a cadillac cts? Also the dash around the radio and air vents

pitbull592
07-22-10, 06:32 PM
I have to say I was a bit skeptical about this, but I bought the sem soap & the shale sparay for my 04 cts, I followed this diy and it matched up great:worship:

bigtone
08-15-11, 07:30 PM
Anyone match up the light gray color from a 2001 Deville (GM sode 142)? Sem has a light gray but their code is 9781.

The Marshmallow
06-09-12, 10:02 AM
Subscribed for future reference. Very informative thread!

tbiglug
12-25-13, 06:04 AM
I know this is an old thread but does anyone know where to find an equivalent for the burgundy interiors?

ronswanson
01-08-14, 01:43 PM
Do you paint this on the parts of the seat that are meshed too?