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Discussion Starter #1
This burns my biscuits, our GXP only has 30k miles and the driver side "leather" seat has already split. Maybe they should have used vinyl as the cheap seat in my work truck lasted 130k miles before splitting in the same spot. Heck, the cloth seat in my 93 F-250 just split a few weeks ago with 144k on it. I figured real leather would be a bit tougher, which makes me wonder what these seats are really made of.
 

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kind of off topic, but your vehicle line up is almost exactly like mine hahah

2006 solstice
1992 f-150
1986 mustang lx

except you have the better version of everything I own...
 

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There's a certain something nice about leather, but in my opinion, it's not well suited for car applications. I condition my leather at least twice a year, and it's probably not enough. And will never outlast synthetic stuff.

I believe the center large portions are leather, and the edge/bolster pieces, sides and back are synthetic. And I believe the top and bottom are of the steering wheel are pleather, but the sides leather.

I made a pod above my center vents on my sky recently, and I definitely went with synthetic over leather because I knew it would be in direct sun, and would put up with it much better than leather woud.
 

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Had a company nearby that split and prepared leather and a lot of it went into autos. (They may actually still be in business.) Problem with today's leather is that it is split so thin to keep the costs down that it's not very durable at all.

Have an '02 F250 with leather seats. About five years into ownership I noticed the driver's side seat beginning to crack on the side. Obviously my fat a$$ sliding in and out caused a lot more compression and wrinkling there. I used to condition that leather about 4 times a year but that didn't stop it.
 

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Problem with today's leather is that it is split so thin to keep the costs down that it's not very durable at all.
Bingo. I have original leather seats in most of my British and Italian cars and they hold up very well because they aren't done cheaply and shoddily. The GM seats can't even get the seams straight and looking as goodl as a 50 year old MG seat.
 

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Where did the seat split? Only the "seating surfaces" are leather in our cars which is only the center panels.

When was the last time you cleaned and conditioned the seats?
 

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The word leather sounds simply but due to all the different grades and tanning processes it can turn into a complicated subject. Bottom line, there’s a reason that quality of leather (and workmanship) in a Rolls Royce and the quality of leather in an entry level vehicle differs so dramatically. Sounds ironic but I think the best way to protect the leather is by investing in seat covers which helps to provide it from the very things it’s supposed to be there for; to be used and enjoyed.
 

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I was going to get some new seat covers for Jm coach but I don't think that they are doing that anymore?
 

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Here's what Alex at JPM said about leathers;
your observation about the factory leather is correct. It is a corrected leather meaning that the hides used for the application do not meet the standards for use in creating aniline leather. The imperfections present within these hides are corrected or sanded off and an artificial grain is impressed into the surface and dressed frequently with stains or dyes. Full-grain leathers on the other hand have not been molested to remove imperfections. As a result, natural marring such as scars, brands or stretch marks are found throughout. Full-grain leathers are of the highest quality available and are usually available in an aniline finish. The one caveat of full-grain is that the workable or usable surface area volume is reduced by the natural marring found. Consequently, the material required for a project increases. Full-grain leather will develop a patina as you continue to enjoy it for years to come.



We frequently chose to work exclusively with full-grain, aniline hides. The aniline dyeing process uses clear or transparent chemicals which allow the color to penetrate throughout the hide uniformly while leaving the visible variations on the surface untouched. These hides due tend to be a bit more thick; however, they are still workable for nearly any project.
 

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Sure they are. Talking with them now about mine.
JPM are doing my boomerang dash as I type this. Therefore they would do your seats I would think. I have most of my interior done by JPM with the exception of my seats. My plan is when my factory GXP seats wear down I will get them redone by JPM.:thumbs:
 

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I observed some cracking starting to appear in the seat (drivers side) of my Sol. at about 32k and opted for the seat covers. I work in a factory that makes vinyl fabric (trade name is Naugahyde) and the quality standards for the automotive industry are the a step above the other products we produce. Leather is nice, Naugahyde is better!:thumbs:
 

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When I bought mine last year, I saw a bit of wrinkling in the seat and have since then, treated it with leather conditioner every Sunday. I also make sure I vacuum all debris out of the cracks where there's stitching. My seats look great. (knock on wood)
 

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Thread Hi Jack

When I bought mine last year, I saw a bit of wrinkling in the seat and have since then, treated it with leather conditioner every Sunday. I also make sure I vacuum all debris out of the cracks where there's stitching. My seats look great. (knock on wood)
Wow....every Sunday!!! I thought a leather cleaner and then leather balm twice per season which for me is eight months ( car is parked for he winter) would be enough. What does everyone think? Would clean and then balm be enough every four months? Joe and Alex (JPM) please weigh in if you see this.

Speaking of JPM as per their advice I have purchased a windshield sun shield from PFYC. JPM swears by this for leather protection on hot sunny days. Especially for people like me who are having / have their boomerang covered in leather.:thumbs:
 

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Got this from Joe at JPM

"As mentioned in previous post, only the center panels of the Sol / Sky seats are real leather, the rest is vinyl or cloth. The steering wheel is 100% leather. EVERYTHING else in the car is vinyl."

"Choosing leather for a factory automobile is a difficult task ( especially convertibles and cars in the lower price ranges). The goal of the factory is to choose a leather that will hold up over time with little care from the owner as that is what usually happens. The leather you see in the car is only partially dyed and then painted over top. This is standard practice for your run of the mill leather. The painting process means that the hide is more or less sealed off from the elements. This is good because it keeps the leather looking newer with little maintenance. However, it's also bad because it makes it harder for any sort of conditioners or treatments to actually work their way into the leather itself. Leather such as this is notorious for cracking, flaking, and showing lighter spots with age and wear."

"Top quality leather is dyed throughout ( also know as aniline leather) and not painted, but rather buffed and finished in other ways that promote the leather to breath naturally. It requires more maintenance in the end as it dries out easier but, with maintenance, it will last longer. Aged leather of this variety may show stretch marks, wrinkles ( not cracks), and darker spots with age and wear."

"Ok, now that everyone has had their lesson in leather, lets go back to the seats. They're actually a very good leather for OEM quality and pretty thick to boot. The problem is that it is only the center of the seat and nowhere else. Because of the way the interior is sold and marketed as a "leather interior" means that most people don't take care of it properly depite their best attempts. What you should be doing is using a vinyl/rubber protectant on the bolsters, dash, door panels, handles, console etc to keep them from losing their elasticity. Leather conditioners are not suited for this task aside from providing UV protection and a bit of moisture. Likewise, you should be using conditioner / protectant for the center of the seat that contains UV blockers. It will penetrate into the leather but you have to be religious about it."

"By no means should you get any vinyl/rubber protectant on the leather seat. It may appear to keep it up but in the end, you're just sealing off what little breathing capability the leather has and will cause it to dry up from underneath and eventually crack."

"A proper application method for either cleaner is to put the product on a rag ( not directly on the seat), apply it to the area, let it sit for a few minutes, then buff it clean. Please, NO SHINY SEATS! You may like the ultra shine look, but you're only doing damage to them by allowing them to more easily attract dirt and debris that will clog pores and cause premature wear."

"Sorry for the novella. Hope it helps someone at least."
-Joe

Any spelling or gramatical errors are mine (Northern Sol) as I could not figure out how to load an email as an attachment so I had to type all of the above.:devil::devil:
If anyone is looking for Old Northen Sol I will be back at the monastery copying out by hand Guttenberg Bibles.:lol::lol:

A big thanks to Joe at JPM for taking the time to give us all of this excellent information!!!!:thumbs:
NS
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It is the side bolster that's cracking. We have been using leather cleaner about twice a month when we wash the car. It's crazy how similar everything feels, I thought part of the door panels and the center hump cover were leather was well. I guess I will save the leather cleaner for the few bits that are leather now. I need to see if my sister has gotten her repair kit yet so I can stop staring at that crack.
 

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Well, if three years of reading the wife's Vouge has taught me anything, go for the real leather anytime over the immitations. Leather is tough and durable, and ages better. Though this is countrary to the spirit of a convertible, keep the seats out of the sun.
 
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