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Leather re-upholstery question

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Old 12-14-13, 10:36 PM   #1
Crybicki
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Default Leather re-upholstery question

Hey guys, it has been a several months since I have posted but I just last week had a ton of work done to my 93 LS400 and my next big project is going to be the leather. My leather is beyond repair...It is so pathetically ripped, torn, destroyed. Unfortunately it was like that when I bought the car.

My question is, can I just buy used leather that is in way better condition than mine, and just remove the seats and reupholster the leather myself? Is it like putting a seat cover on? just remove the leather and hooks etc. and put the new leather on?

My car looks so nice on the inside, I treat it better than I do most people. The leather is the elephant in the room with my car. If I could get that fixed, the car would look brand new.

I did search the forums but there wasn't too much on the actual process.

Thanks in advance! I'll post pictures up shortly of the leather... it looks like someone got murdered in my front seats because of all the rips.
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Old 12-14-13, 11:15 PM   #2
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Crybiki,

I would like to see how bad the seats are. I have 93 also and seats are pretty ugly. There are many cracks everywhere and cushion is kinda dull. There are no rips anywhere though. You must really take care of you LS, as you say the 30 years old car would look brand new condition if the leather seats are repaired/replaced. I would also like to do something with the seats but I am not touching it as I know the cost will be pretty high. Let me know what you decide on what price point.
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Old 12-15-13, 01:35 AM   #3
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car upholstery is not an easy DIY - it is kind of an art - I would recommend contacting your local community college/tech school and taking a course in upholstery, the cost is not that much. And you will need a couple of tools you likely don't have but they are pretty cheap.

my Dad tried to do boat seats which are far easier than your leather LS400 seats, and he is a very talented mechanic and carpenter, and the results were terrible - then he took a course and three months later he did another boat seat and it turned out pretty nice!

alternatively, you could let the students at the community college do your seats and the cost is quite low compared to a professional automotive upholstery shop
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Old 12-15-13, 03:01 AM   #4
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re-skinning the seats with used leathers or fresh covers is totally do-able for a first timer, just invest in some hog rigs and hog rings pliers and watch a few tutorials on youtube, very feasible.

Making new leathers from scratch, that's a horrifying prospect without years of experience.
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Old 12-15-13, 07:52 AM   #5
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I just used a local "family" who do leather seat repair for my wife's 96 ES she uses as a daily driver. They told me patches are MUCH harder than a full re-upholstery job mainly because of the color matching.

Look at the pic below. The previous owner had placed something very hot on the passenger seat and it literally melted in the corner seat and lower corner of the back. According to the nice repair lady and her daughter it was the worst place possible.

All in all, not a bad job. Did cost 150.00 but was worth it (took them two hours and was a pretty involved process). Going to have them redo my LS completely but I need to take the car (or seats) to them so not done yet.

Definitely an art to patching, not so much on a full redo.
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Old 12-15-13, 08:05 AM   #6
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I don't know what your budget is. But leatherseats.com has pre-cut replacements for the Ls400s. Its pricy, $750 for the two front seats and center console. Also, keep an eye on ebay for seats. Also, I dont know your color but someone is selling two seats in the lexus classifieds for 50 bucks and I think they're for your year.
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Old 12-15-13, 08:44 AM   #7
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My seats are far from perfect too, When i get them re-done i may see if i can get them done in Velour like in my old 87 Cressida. Much more inviting in my opinion and the stuff is pretty much impervious to wear as i have seen in many older cars I've owned.
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Old 12-15-13, 08:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayow View Post
I just used a local "family" who do leather seat repair for my wife's 96 ES she uses as a daily driver. They told me patches are MUCH harder than a full re-upholstery job mainly because of the color matching.
I've seen this kind of patching before, and I believe you will be disappointed ; they may get the color right, but the material they use for the patched area gets hard and stiff very quickly. It will crack and break like bondo after a year or two, especially where it flexes a lot. Just beware.
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Old 12-15-13, 09:51 AM   #9
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Has only one bought wetokole covers?
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Old 12-15-13, 04:53 PM   #10
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Lol I love this community so much!
Thankyou for the overwhelming responses. I don't think I am going to try and do the leather myself but LSCowboy, I think I will look into my colleges auto repair department and see if they are willing to do it for me.

I have looked at the sites where you buy the leather and DIY but I honestly don't want to spend more than a couple hundred bucks on it because I am trying to get my front/rear bumpers painted ATM too.

Thankyou guys a TON! Give me a few minutes and I'll post those pics, you'll cry at how bad they are LOL!
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Old 12-15-13, 05:06 PM   #11
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These pics are pretty old but its dark here so I cant take any new ones. I have gotten some nice Synterior seat covers for front and back since these were taken. I like the seat covers, but tis not the same as having nice leather seats.




The rear seats have no rips but do have lots of cracks and LOTS of fading as you can see by the white/light tan areas:





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Old 12-15-13, 05:17 PM   #12
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So the seats, ecu capacitors, and power steering acvs on our cars haven't withstood the test of time.
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Old 12-15-13, 05:30 PM   #13
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Hahaha yeah pretty much. I literally just got my car out of the shop on Thursday because my power steering pump had finally died completely. My rack and pinion went bad over a year ago and when I bought the car I had no power steering, but the pump wasn't coming apart like it started doing last week. 1100 dollars later, I have SMOOTH power steering in my car for the first time. Had the rack/pinion/solenoid and pump done. It's an incredible feeling. That's kind of what made me want to do the leather because it actually feels like a luxury car now, having power steering, so I want the leather done too to complete that feeling.
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Old 12-15-13, 05:57 PM   #14
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another idea, that might be the best idea of all, is to just go on ebay or car-part.com and find some seats that are from your LS400 generation of the right color that are still in great shape and just buy the entire seats!

PS - Not to be a Debbie Downer, but that patch job photo above in post #5 does not look good to me, even for $150, I could not handle that shoddy repair in my LS400, unless it was just a beater.
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Old 12-15-13, 06:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crybicki View Post
These pics are pretty old but its dark here so I cant take any new ones. I have gotten some nice Synterior seat covers for front and back since these were taken. I like the seat covers, but tis not the same as having nice leather seats.The rear seats have no rips but do have lots of cracks and LOTS of fading as you can see by the white/light tan areas:
That interior is toast. At this point, getting new seats is probably the best option right now. Lucky for you, as someone stated earlier in the thread, there is a member (pl3wis) selling a pair of seats out of a 1LS.
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