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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 321
Garage
First cleaning of the car after 4 months!

So I have not even washed the 944 since buying it from my Dad last summer. Pure mechanical work to get it completely squared away. A couple drives just to ensure things are right. So I've probably put 400 miles on it. I have not even washed the exterior. Oil smudges all over the fenders and edges of the hood. Looks kinda funny.

Today I decided to pull the seats out of the cold garage and rejuvinate the leather in the house so the leather is warm and pliable and will absorb well. If you didn't know this, the seats take all of 6 minutes to pull both. 4 10mm bolts on each and the tracks come with so if you had designs of pulling the carpet to clean it you are set to do that.

I cleaned the seats with Griot's interior cleaner twice. Then let them dry with an electric heater gently warming them while I went to the garage to vacuum up the entire floor, carpet, floor mats, etc.

Came back in and they were warm and dry. I smeared them with Griot's Leather Conditioner and let them sit to absorb the oils and warmed waxes. I've been really impressed with this stuff. No benefits to me here. I was talking to a guy at our annual huge auto show a few years back and he preps exotic cars and has some of his own. Said get this stuff. Since I have 5 cars with leather interiors, I did.

The most amazing thing is that it is made with the same oils and products used in factories to infuse leather for durability. It is quite literally the stuff that makes your car smell like leather. Instantly your car will smell like a fresh and new leather interior - that italian leather smell specifically. Not the plasticky American leather. Anyhow, I can't give this a higher rec. I repeat apply it 3 times on a hot summer day usually and I've done 4 cars now and the bottle still has 1/4 in it. The rear seats are matching black vinyl, interestingly. I'll clean them this coming summer but I didn't want the leather to sit in the cold winter as it can lead to cracking.

It's in fantastic shape with just a fine scratch here and there - the stitching looks sound. One of the benefits here is that pliable and stretchy leather around the stitching relieves pressure and prevents the leather from flexing only at the stitch line over and over until naturally it cracks or the thread tears. Also, getting the grit out of the "valleys" the threads live in the bottom of removes the constant cutting and fraying of the thread fibers from sharp sand particles just sitting there sawing away as your carcass moves the seat up and down underway. Special attention with a toothbrush to loosen that stuff, then immediate use of a crevice tool on the vacuum will pull it out of there. Then do the cleaning. I'm not a detail guy at all - I never wax and all. But leather seats suck when they fall apart and its so easy to take care of them once every 5 years or so. I have 275,000 miles on one of our LandCrusiers we bought new and the leather seats look like most people's at 90k.

So I'm heading out for a jog and will put another coat on the seats when I get back and leave them to sit in the hall way overnight. Yes, my wife loves me. Not a month goes by in this house where I don't have some sizable project spread down the hall. Painting the Audi wheels, drying the Vanagon seats from upholstery cleaning, etc.

Anyhow, more progress on "Ruby" and a product nudge from the trenches if you have leather.
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84 944, 87 Vanagon, 88 Mitsubishi Van Wagon, 88 Supra Targa, 1990 Audi 90 20V Quattro sedan, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1993 LandCruiser, 1997 LandCruiser, 2017 Subaru Outback.
Old 12-09-2017, 02:43 PM
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Have 944, will restore
 
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Would love to see pics of the car!!
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85.5 944 Guards Red M456 5spd
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Old 12-23-2017, 02:07 PM
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Doug, could you provided the part numbers of the Griot's that you are using? They have several different varieties.
Old 12-23-2017, 03:01 PM
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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 321
Garage
Clean the leather with #11104 Interior Cleaner. Scrub gently with #10670 yellow scrubbing pads to agitate the dirt out of the leather. Gently and well wetted is key.

Condition the cleaned leather with #11141 Leather Rejuvenator.

When I apply the rejuvenator I put on a rubber glove on a hot summer day with the vehicle crazy hot. I dribble it on my fingers and rub it in kinda like giving the seat an oil massage - pushing it into cracks, seams and thread areas. Pull the glove off and set it aside somewhere clean so you can reuse it. Come back an hour later (windows up so grit won't blow in and coat seats) and you'll see dry patches where the leather drank it all. Recoat and come back in an hour and redo it. I did this because the leather in all cases was decades old and had never been re-oiled or cared for in any way.
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84 944, 87 Vanagon, 88 Mitsubishi Van Wagon, 88 Supra Targa, 1990 Audi 90 20V Quattro sedan, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1993 LandCruiser, 1997 LandCruiser, 2017 Subaru Outback.
Old 12-23-2017, 03:33 PM
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Hmm, so you have become a leather seat massage therapist?

Thanks for the info, will give it a try!
Old 12-23-2017, 06:20 PM
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Have 944, will restore
 
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Location: Vermilion Ohio
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Did the leather treatments soften the leather?
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85.5 944 Guards Red M456 5spd
06 BMW 330xi 6spd/ 92 Miata 5spd
04 RX-8 Nordic Green 6spd/ 01 MR2 Spyder 5spd
04 RX-8 Brilliant Black 6spd 86 Corvette 4+3
85 RX-7 Ocean Blue 5spd /80 RX-7 LS 5spd
Old 12-24-2017, 09:31 AM
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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 321
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Mazda,

Not to the degree I expected, nor in a short period of time. When I was done, the leather felt "different" and slightly softer, as well as uniformly softer everywhere versus harder and softer areas. Months later I was sitting at a stoplight tapping on the passenger seat and it used to have a high frequency clack-clack sound and now was a dull thump sound. I realized then that the leather had continued to get softer over time.

So it appears perhaps some softening is initially achieved, but continues to improve. I plan to do the Audi again this spring and will probably just put all the cars out in the hot sun and do them again. Since I don't have a history of maintaining leather I suspect it will continue to soften. Another thing dredged up in my memory of leather stuff when I researched and did this was that old untreated leather can create acid-like interactions as it dries and absorbs human moisture vapors and the salts and things left behind act with the deteriorated original leather preservatives. If you've ever pulled a very old ball well used ball glove out of an undisturbed storage you will note it has a sharp tangy smell as well as a smell of leather. That's the sweat and salt. By infusing new preservatives, oils and waxes this effect is blocked, and I think the ingredients also work to neutralize what's in there.

Sorry if I'm ending up being the forum "leather expert" as I'm uncomfortable in the role. If there are others who are more knowledgable please speak up if I'm getting it wrong. When I do something like this I have no knowledge of, I usually try to learn enough not to make a mistake and that's what I did.
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84 944, 87 Vanagon, 88 Mitsubishi Van Wagon, 88 Supra Targa, 1990 Audi 90 20V Quattro sedan, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1993 LandCruiser, 1997 LandCruiser, 2017 Subaru Outback.
Old 12-25-2017, 12:50 PM
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I went to an upholstery shop one time after I had gooped up my seats in hope of softening and restoring them. I wanted him to patch a small split. He ended up selling me a recover job after telling me the leather was beyond recovery after 30 years of neglect, heat and sun. The leather was too dried to absorb the treatment. The takeaway I got was the seats need to be continually maintained and treated over the life of the car to remain pliable and soft and not shrink, split the seams or crack.

The best and easiest way I have found to treat them is to apply Lexol with your bare hands. On my good seats I try to do this once a year and it takes only a few minutes.
Old 12-26-2017, 04:47 AM
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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 321
Garage
Yeah, I think there's something to the bare hands, hot day thing versus methods I see online. Feeling it and pushing the product into seams and such seems and feels like a winner. I suspect a shop won't do it because employee hands then get product on other ongoing projects, etc.

I did my Audi seats at 217,000 miles and 25 years of age and they looked untouched original (previous owner was petite meticulous german guy who showed me the right way to get into the driver's seat without sliding hard on the bolster). The structure of leather seems like it will absorb product. And mine did. Its porous, and when the leather is hot liquifies the Griot's product and it must penetrate deeper and faster under that condition. I also have leather/GoreTex ski gloves that I've been able to rub products in and they regained pliability. Then I rubbed Sno-Seal (used on leather boots to weather proof for winter use) on them and they're pretty impressive condition-wise after 10+ years of snowshoeing, skiing and trail running.
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84 944, 87 Vanagon, 88 Mitsubishi Van Wagon, 88 Supra Targa, 1990 Audi 90 20V Quattro sedan, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1993 LandCruiser, 1997 LandCruiser, 2017 Subaru Outback.
Old 12-26-2017, 09:56 AM
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