First, here's a picture of the 1999 F350 we picked up a few weeks ago. Everything appears to work great and the outside is in good shape. The only real issue is (1) that it has Leather Seats and (2) that the seats were in pretty bad shape.
I ordered the leather repair kit from Leather World Tech and was thrilled when it arrived at work Friday before I left. Means I actually had to get at this little project.
The drivers seat wasn't in that bad of shape so I'll start there.
You'd think after all these years that I've been on FTE I'd figure out how to post a picture with breaks so I could explain before/after each photo but here goes.
1st & 2nd picts are how the seat looked before cleaning.
3rd is after I cleaned it with the cleaner that came in the kit.
4th is after I put the crack filler and one coat of stain on.
5th is the finished seat after 3 coats of stain, a conditioner and protectant.
Almost forgot, after cleaning, I repaired the seam split shown in the 2nd pict with a product called Mend-It. It was an "as seen on TV" thing that I picked up a couple years ago and have used on many different repair projects. I like it better than super glue because it bonds fast but not too fast and so far I've had good results on fabric's. I'll let y'all know how well it lasts on leather after its had some miles on it.
Don't ask me why but the passenger seat was in much worse shape.
The large hole isn't as perfect of a repair as I'd like but I didn't want to trim any of the seats foam and I'm on a time limit to get everything done because hubby is getting new denim seat covers put on this coming Friday and the repair & protectants need time to cure.
Pictures are as follows:
1. Seat as it came from prev. owner.
2. Seat with repair backing.
3. Small hole with patch piece in place. This one turned out great.
4. Large hole with patch in place. This one I'm not happy with.
5. Seat with crack filler on. This stuff is much easier to work with than bondo and very flexible.
6. Seat after 3 coats of stain, conditioner and protectant. Did I mention that I'm not all that thrilled with my shotty patch work but its still better than without the repair and won't rip the new seat covers.
Well, this one wasn't in my plan but when Steve took the cover off the steering wheel there was a nice gash and worn spots on the top of the wheel. Since I wasn't prepared for this repair, I didn't have the right color stain so I two-toned it. Top & bottom are the same color now as the seats. It actually looks very nice and as if it belongs.
Now for some of the little things none of the leather repair kits or websites or video's I've researched prior to tackling this project tell you.
1. The kits do not come with enough crack filler to do as an extensive repair as what I just did.
2. The repair kit comes with plenty of cleaner, protectant and stain to do the 2 front seats.
3. If you have to do the back seat also, you will need another 8 oz bottle of cleaner.
4. If you have any type of grain that you wish to try to duplicate, they have a seperate filler for that. I can't tell you anything about that because I personally like the smooth look.
5. I only used 320 & 400 wet/dry sandpaper and used it dry only. I didn't want a mess all over the interior of the truck from wet sanding. The dry sanding worked great and I was surprised at how little mess there was.
6. Definately keep a blow dryer, not heat gun, plugged in. It helps cure the back patch glue, crack cream and stain so much faster.
7. Buy the additional protectant/sealer designed to protect from denim if you have light colored seats.
8. Don't show anyone you know your repair - they'll all want you to fix their seats to - ask me how I know.
All in all, this was very easy to do. I spent about 2 hours Friday night giving the seats a good cleaning, about 4 hours Saturday night fitting the patches, gluing in the backing at all holes & rips and putting the 1st coat of filler on. Sunday was a bit longer day. I tweeked the easy repairs in between doing light coats on the major repair areas, stained, conditioned and protected. This was about 9 hours (6 if you take out for eating & smoke breaks).
Thats all I can think right now.
I'll post back after we get some miles on the truck and seats and let you know how that large patch repair and the drivers seat seam holds up.
Carlene, that is very cool. It escapes me as to how such a clean looking truck (outside) could vary so much on the inside.
Your final comments/suggestions leave me questioning... On my 11 SD I have leather seats. The drivers side is already looking 'worn past its age'. So what is it about denim and leather that I need to know/use?
Herman, It escapes us too as to how bad the seats were. Only thing I can figure is that they never conditioned the leather. The rest of the interior is almost perfect, including the carpeting.
As for the denim, every site I researched specifically mentioned denim due to the denim transfering color and fibers to unprotected or unmaintained seats. I would imagine denim is specifically mentioned because who doesn't wear jeans?
Scott, This is the kit I bought, actually bought 2 kits to make sure I had plenty of stuff to get it done over the weekend and couldn't find anywhere or anyone to tell me how much of everything I needed. I could have gotten away with 1 kit and 1 extra thing of leather filler.
I went with the kit above because it came with the color match stain. Many of the leather repair kits I've researched cost extra to get the color match.
Chris, I'd say go the same route I did, what do you have to lose - its much cheaper than having it reupholstered and if you don't like the results, you can still have it reupholsered. It was very easy to do. What took the most time was waiting for the leather filler to dry.
ctubutis, your avatar just about made me fall off my chair!!!!
Carlene, good job on the leather seat repair. Thankfully, my 2007 F-250 is an XLT with cloth seats. To all you Super Duty truck owners, with the Lariat leather seat interiors, suck it up, this happens to just about ALL these trucks whether it's a 1999 or 2013 model year. The problem is with how high these trucks sit, and after so many entry and exits we all tend to rub off the outer seat bolsters with a lot of force just due to the way it's curved. There's really very little that can be done to prevent this from happening, other than putting a concerted effort into NOT rubbing on the outer bolsters of the seats when getting in and out. But are we going to tell everyone to do this? Likely not. And what about the times when you are parked in a tight parking spot where you have to pay attention NOT to hit the vehicle beside you with the door while you're getting out of your truck?
It's just like the question I always wonder. How many of you hit your heads on the exterior mirrors of your trucks? More importantly, do you ever wonder how passers by will hit their heads on the mirrors of our trucks when we're parked in parking lots where the spaces are designed only to accomodate an average sided car? Sorry for the hijack.