Discussion in '308/328' started by Russ Gould, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Russ Gould

    Russ Gould Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2004
    Well I completed a refinish/refresh/redye of my console. It was originally tan but had taken on a fleshy tone and in any case the seats have been redone in red/black "tennis shoe" leather. It was also very dirty having sat in a shop for nearly 20 years awaiting someone to take on a project.

    First thing I did (after removing all gauges knobs etc. and removing said console from car) was to wipe it down with lacquer thinnners using a coarse rag. This took much of the flesh color off, the white rag was now tan.

    I then ordered an 8 oz. kit from "Leatherique". This showed up in a $9 flat rate box, for which I was charged $26. Not a good start. The kit contained 4 bottles. "Rejuvinator", "Prestine Clean", Dye Prep and the black dye. Plus a couple pages of hyperberbole that read like something you might get with a bottle of hair regrowth formula.

    The "Rejuvinator" is some kind of oil mixture that is supposed to lift dirt and pollution etc out of the pores of your leather while making it soft and supple. I duly "massaged" it in and left it to bake in my workshop, which gets pretty warm in July. The next day I could see no evidence of dirt or "pollution" being lifted out of the leather, which was now tacky.

    The "Prestine Clean" is then used to clean the surface of the leather while adding more suppleness. It did take the stickiness off but that's about it. The leather looked about the same, and I can't say it was softer.

    Day 3. Now for the prep, which I applied as instructed with 600 grit emery paper. This did take some more tan dye off the leather, as evidenced by the paper towels that were used to clean off the slurry.

    Day 5. I stirred and stirred the bottle of black die. There was a skin on the surface around the mouth of the bottle, and a lot of solids in the bottom. I stirred it until the solids were dispersed, then loaded up my air brush with the die cut with about 25% water. I got about 5 seconds of spraying before the nozzle clogged shut. I duly cleaned the nozzle with the same result. After about a half dozen tries I used a different nozzle with the same results. In the process, I and my console got spattered with drops of dye. I wiped those off and gave up.

    I cleaned myself up and got on the internet. Lo and behold, numerous accounts of the same problem with an airbrush. The solids and the stringy skin that forms when this product is exposed to air are just not compatible with an airbrush, even though the instructions encourage the use of the airbrush. The other methods, rubbing the dye on with a cloth, or painting it on with a brush, create their own problems, namely streaks and color variations according to at least two accounts I read online.

    I then emailed the proprietors asking their advice, along with reminding them they had promised to credit my card with the shipping overcharge, something they had not done. I heard nothing back. I thought perhaps the dye was old, but I guess "they are all like that".

    Hmm. I pondered the situation for a while and then ordered a larger nozzle (0.7mm). This arrived a few days later and I tried again, this time diluting the black dye 50:50 with distilled water. After about 30 seconds, my nozzle clogged. I now had dye all over the cement floor in my shop, and all over the cardboard work table I was using. Everywhere except on my console. I have used this airbrush many many times, mainly to spray on cerakote, but also to spray acrylic paint and never had a problem of this type.

    Bottom line, I must have cleaned the nozzle 20 times and finally got this small job done. It took me more than the entire morning. I again emailed the proprietors and informed them of my eventual success. To date I have heard nothing from them. And I see they have yet to credit my card with the shipping overcharge.

    My conclusion is that next time I attempt this, I will try another route. The lacquer thinner worked great, in fact that was the best part of the process with obvious results. According to the instruction sheet, which advises against saddle soap, I think I will try that next. The instructions say saddle soap will remove dye. Well duh, that's the point. Plus we all know it makes leather supple. So much for "rejuvinator" and "prestine clean". Saddle soap costs nothing in comparison. And then for the final coat, I will use SURFLEX, which is what the auto manufacturers and professionals use to dye/resurface auto upholstery.

    The cherry on the cake: shortly after this saga, someone put through a fraudulent charge on my card. In the prior month, the only "new" merchants I had used the card with were LEATHERIQUE and SUPERFORMANCE. So while it's impossible to say who compromised my card, I have a strong suspicion.
  2. 308 milano

    308 milano F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 15, 2007
    Full Name:
    Love it when you need product support and company policy is just to ignore the customer.
    One of my true favorites is when I call customer support, finally get someone to actually pick up and their response is .. " send me an email on the issues you're having and I'll get back to you tomorrow." WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT!! If I wanted an answer tomorrow I would have called you tomorrow. THAT pushes me over the edge.
  3. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 23, 2002
    Leatherique screwed up my perfect seats. 15K mile car when I bought it. Dye coming off in splotches.
    It took two weeks for them to call and tell me that is pretty typical.
    I wish I had never heard of them.

    KISSLUST Karting

    Oct 13, 2009
    Birmingham Alabama
    Full Name:
    Jason M
    I second EVERYTHING you just stated.... Crazy!! Even the fraudulent Charge. Except I had 3!!!
  5. Brian A

    Brian A Formula 3

    Dec 21, 2012
    SanFrancisco BayArea
    Full Name:
    1983 US 308 GTS QV
    I certainly have a strained relationship with Leatherique products.

    When I had my interior leather professionally redyed in 2013 (by Tom Hatfield of Advanced Interior Restoration Services), I recall them saying they bought Leatherique Rejuvenator by the barrel and basted it on heavily after they stripped off the old dye. I am citing this as an indication that Leatherique products may be good for some applications. They do have a good reputation.

    Regarding the lumps in the dye, I was given a plastic bottle with the leftover dye from my job. (AIRS said they used custom dyes; not Leatherique dyes.) Last year I wanted to touch up some minor scratches on my door card and I phoned Tom about using the bottle of dye. He said that dyes quickly go bad and I should smell it to see if it was still good. My bottle smelt like rancid fat and had lumpy curdles. Maybe the dye you got was already bad.

    I use Rejuvenator and Pristine Clean on my 308. The stuff is difficult to work with. I find that Rejuvinator soaks in plenty fine, but remains sticky and that I need to use Pristine Clean to wipe off the stickiness. I have had no problems with it removing the dye from the leather. I wonder if simpler products such as Lexol, which I use for other cars, might be better.

    I get the sense that surface prep before dye application may be a black art. I know of someone else who is having getting DIY dye application to stick.
  6. Santino1

    Santino1 Karting

    Jun 4, 2014
    Sacramento, CA
    Full Name:
    My experience with Leatherique was terrible. After sending them a leather patch for dye match twice, they could not match. The Rejuvenator I found was horrible, left a sticky feel, the Pristine clean could not remove. Finally I used paint prep-solve wax and grease remover to get back to square one. Threw the whole mess in the garbage can.
    I took the leather sample to an automotive paint store for match. I used a PPG catalyzed enamel paint. Prepped the surface with 600 paper, any scratches or cuts, I used a 5 min epoxy, just put a very slight amount and cover with masking tape, let dry, and peel off, the surface is level and smooth. Slight touch up with 600 paper. Wipe with prep-solve, used a small touch up gun, pressure turned down, just a few passes with the gun, let the paint soak inn.
    Extremely happy with the results.
  7. derekw

    derekw Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 7, 2010
    London, UK
    Full Name:
    Derek W
    I had a demo of Leatherique dye last week on the inside of my door cards. Brushed on, the dye filled the texture grooves/holes so lost the leather look. I decided to stay with the slightly faded colour and just rejuvenate and clean the doors and seats.
  8. dflett

    dflett Formula 3

    Jun 24, 2005
    Full Name:
    A few years ago I had great results redying my steering wheel with their kit which is simply a dye followed with a fixitive

    I used an Iwata airbrush to spray their dye with no trouble. Sounds to me like you got old product and the solids were the problem.

    I've heard too many negative stories about their rejuvenator product to ever trust it on my cars though.
  9. yelcab

    yelcab F1 Veteran

    Nov 29, 2001
    San Carlos, CA
    Full Name:
    Mitchell Le
    I had good results with Leatherique using an airbrush and a small air gun for touch up. My dye was tan, not black.
  10. Mike Florio

    Mike Florio Formula Junior

    Jun 19, 2003
    NW Rural Nevada
    Full Name:
    Mike Florio
    #10 Mike Florio, Jul 22, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Color - Plus makes Surflex, which I've been using on my 308 for 25 years. I used it to repair a warn patch on the driver's side seat bolster, and used their black dye - it still looks good after all those years. Also used it to restore/repair two 10' leather couches I own. Sent them a sample and they perfectly matched the dye.

    Last year I took off the sheepskins on my BMW 850i and found some wear cracks on the Driver's seat (I know... sheepskins, but every man needs to own a 12-cylinder car!). Sent a sample to Color -Plus and they said it matched one of their standard colors so I didn't need a color match. They were right - it matched perfectly. Here's a bad before/after picture, but you get the idea. No affiliation, just an endorsement.
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  11. UpNorth

    UpNorth Formula 3

    Sep 30, 2006
    Quebec, Canada
    Full Name:
    #11 UpNorth, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Two winters ago I redone the interior of my 328 GTS using Leatherique and had good results even though I am not a very handy guy. And the support I had from the canadian office of Leatherique was very good. Sorry for the upside down picture.
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  12. craiggo

    craiggo Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 9, 2012
    Redwood City
    Full Name:
  13. energy88

    energy88 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jan 21, 2012
    Fredericksburg, VA & Sarasota, FL
    Full Name:
    Your experience with Leatherique sure sucks! Sounds like they have gone down hill recently and are rapidly losing their reputation.
  14. GatorFL

    GatorFL Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 18, 2005
    Wellington, FL
    Full Name:
    You really can't compare the results of cleaning vs a redye. Leatherique is used for a whole redye, the Mothers is just a cleaner.
  15. PDB

    PDB Formula Junior

    Feb 1, 2011
    Leicestershire, UK
    Full Name:
    I've use leatherique on my steering wheel and I'm pleased with the results.

  16. John M

    John M Formula Junior

    Nov 18, 2004
    I found the leatherique color "dye"...really paint...fairly easy to work with using a standard HVLP gravity fed paint gun. And honestly, I found its just as easy to take a wax applicator and apply full concentration and rub it in. If you screw up you can easily remove with acetone. Seems to self level and produce good results. Now I will say they have gone color blind and cannot produce two identical bottles of dye that are suppose to match.

    Durability wise I would say its not great on high traffic seating surfaces. Fine for consoles and door cards where wear is minimal. Its stable from sun fade. But it wears quickly on seat bottoms and bolsters and gets shiny from the rubbing. You will find the need to touch up the driver's seat to keep it looking proper.

    I bet there are better paints out there commercially...but don't have a recommendation at this time.
  17. Russ Gould

    Russ Gould Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2004
    An airbrush has a needle with a return spring in the nozzle and this, I believe, exacerbates the problem. But for small surfaces (like a console) you need an airbrush not a paint gun. I wonder whether you can use the airbrush with the needle removed? The clogging was in the passageway around the spring, for the most part.

    Still have not received any communications from the proprietors. Nor any shipping adjustment that they promised. It's been several weeks. Perhaps these people, like Clark Gable, just "don't give a damn".
  18. andyww

    andyww F1 Rookie

    Feb 7, 2011
    I have never had much success using Liquid Leather (which I think is the same stuff here in the UK) in an airbrush gun.

    Worked fine using a mini paint roller, medium grade. So, not the really woolly type nor the bare foam but a type in between these.
  19. Mike C

    Mike C F1 Veteran
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Aug 3, 2002
    Southeast USA
    Full Name:
    Mike Charness
  20. PeteyDaddy

    PeteyDaddy Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    May 25, 2017
    Funny I had fraudulent charges on my card right after ordering some product from them...

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
  21. Meister

    Meister F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 27, 2001
    Duluth, MN
    Full Name:
    The Meister
    did you screen/filter the dye prior to loading the gun?
  22. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 10, 2003
    The Sunshine State
    Full Name:
    I think we know the answer to that one. :D

  23. Russ Gould

    Russ Gould Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2004
    The instructions strongly state that all the solids must be stirred up into the solution and applied with the dye. It is very emphatic in this regard. So filtering them out again did not seem to be the appropriate method.

    The instructions state that an airbrush is an appropriate method of applying the dye, and there is no asterisk attached to this statement. You would think, if it were important, that given the problems MANY have had using an airbrush with this product, that the instructions would be clear.

    I received no further input from the proprietors in this regard ... if that was the answer why did they not respond in that vein? And if that is the appropriate solution, why even ship the dye with solids?

    And finally, should there even be stringy rubbery inclusions floating around in this dye?

    To the apologists for this product, let's hear the whole story. Any connection to the peddlers of this snake oil?
  24. robo330

    robo330 Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 15, 2014
    Michigan USA
    Full Name:
    Karl Robertson
    First, I have no connections to the makers of Leatherique, period.
    Having said that, I must add that I used their product. It was to restore a Saddle / Tan Interior on my 1985 308 QV. I did not use a Air Brush, but applied it by hand. All of this is on another Thread along with a number of other restorers / owners, and we all seemed to be reasonably to very happy with how our trim ended up. I did my Seats, the Door Trims and Center Console. I have lived with the Interior for some time now, and I am completely happy with the results. I do not want to get into a bun fight here, so I am only stating my experiences to date.
    I am sincerely sorry to see that you have had such a bad experience. Thank you.
  25. PDB

    PDB Formula Junior

    Feb 1, 2011
    Leicestershire, UK
    Full Name:
    Likewise with my steering wheel, I applied the dye by hand using a soft damp cloth. I had previously sanded down the leather and cleaned and treated it with the Leatherique products.
    I've hardly driven the car since doing the steering wheel, so I can't comment on how well it will last.


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