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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 05-01-2017, 02:44 PM   #1
SledgeHammer!
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Hell
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My Ride: 2005 E46 M3
Repair or Replace Leather?

I have a 2005 with Black Leather and about 65k miles. 3/4 of the leather pretty much looks new lol. The drivers seat looks "Ok"... the bolsters are a little cracked, etc. and the main panel on the bottom shows some wear. It's not trashed or anything lol... maybe still an 8/10.

Issue is one of the seams on the bolster split slightly...

A few months ago, I had the seam on the back seat split and I went to 2 or 3 upholstery places and they said they can't re-sew them because the thread holes will blow out. I ended up having one or two of the panels replaced. This was fine since the back seat looks brand new...

Onto the front seat... if I do the minimal, I'd probably have to replace the bolster panel and maybe one more which may look kind of odd since the wear will be completely different from the rest of the seat. If I replace both the bolster sides and the bottom seat panel, It'll blend in a lot better... the main back panel is fine. The bolsters on the bottom have wear as well.

So.......... question is this........

Is it going to be cheaper / look better to replace 3 - 5 panels (both the bolsters on the backrest and maybe the bottom panel) plus the labor, etc. have to deal with the mismatched wear, etc. or just get new skins from BMW... it looks like you can buy the back and bottom skins for like $1300ish - $1400 brand new? Then I'd end up with essentially a new seat. I'd have to go to a shop to get them installed. I'd tell them to give me the old skins back obviously, so I could probably recoup some of my cost selling the old skins on ebay. Lets say worst case $300 to $400... so my cost would essentially be $1100 or so for a brand new seat.

If the seam hadn't split, I wouldn't be doing either. Just more concerned about the seat looking weird if 75% of it has wear and the rest is brand new lol.

I haven't gotten any estimates either way, just thinking about which way to go.

P.S. Yes, I want to keep the OEM seats and look .

Last edited by SledgeHammer!; 05-01-2017 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:53 PM   #2
Jimbabwe
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What I'm doing about seats.

I just got an 04 convertible with imola red interior. Front seats have seam splits and some wear. I am having a local Oakland, ca shop recondition and repair for under 1500 and I'm trusting the guy to get them in really really good condition.

Will post results in a few weeks,

Jim
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:31 PM   #3
SledgeHammer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbabwe View Post
I just got an 04 convertible with imola red interior. Front seats have seam splits and some wear. I am having a local Oakland, ca shop recondition and repair for under 1500 and I'm trusting the guy to get them in really really good condition.

Will post results in a few weeks,

Jim
$1500 for both front seats? Are they going to replace leather? See, that's another thing... if it takes 2 weeks for a shop to rebuild them, I'm probably going to be into a rental car for $400 to $500 on top of everything else. Installing new skins could probably done with appointment / while I wait.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:22 AM   #4
Jimbabwe
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Yes for both seats. My leather itself isn't in too bad a condition. The tears are at the seams.

He explained his process is to lightly sand, then "paint" two coats, then finish with a coat of sealer. And he is firming up the bolsters. The shop appears to be very legit with lots of activity and the owner was super nice and I got the feeling I could trust him.

He needs three days to complete. Fortunately I have a backup car to drive.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:23 AM   #5
Jimbabwe
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BTW I have seen other posts in forums where guys did a skin replacement on their own, and frankly the results did not look professional to me.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:21 PM   #6
SledgeHammer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbabwe View Post
Yes for both seats. My leather itself isn't in too bad a condition. The tears are at the seams.

He explained his process is to lightly sand, then "paint" two coats, then finish with a coat of sealer. And he is firming up the bolsters. The shop appears to be very legit with lots of activity and the owner was super nice and I got the feeling I could trust him.

He needs three days to complete. Fortunately I have a backup car to drive.
Hmm... I dunno about painting. Many years ago I bought a very expensive couch that was made of a really beautiful leather, I forget what its called, but the sales person neglected to tell me that it was unsealed leather, so over time, it absorbed natural skin oils in certain parts and a oily stain developed. The fix was to apply a chemical and pull the oil out and then the entire couch had to be "repainted" because to pull the oil out, it took the color out of the spots. The paint job definitely doesn't look anywhere near as good as the original couch did. It wasn't a solid color though, so that's probably why.

I'd definitely be interested in seeing your pics when yours are done though.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:22 PM   #7
SledgeHammer!
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Originally Posted by Jimbabwe View Post
BTW I have seen other posts in forums where guys did a skin replacement on their own, and frankly the results did not look professional to me.
With OEM skins or used eBay skins or something? I definitely want it to look professional. I'd just pay a place to put 'em on. I don't want to mess around with taking the seats apart, etc. OEM skins should look factory.

What didn't you like about them? Misalignment of seams or something?
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:51 PM   #8
Jimbabwe
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Picked up today and looks like new seats. Couldn't be happier. Charged me $1300. Will post pics tomorrow.
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:59 PM   #9
SledgeHammer!
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Originally Posted by Jimbabwe View Post
Picked up today and looks like new seats. Couldn't be happier. Charged me $1300. Will post pics tomorrow.
Sweet. If you have them, post before pics too, so we can see the change .
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:19 PM   #10
Jimbabwe
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I blew it and didn't take before. But the seams at the top of the vertical bolsters had come apart. And on drivers side lower left front seam was really bad. And overall drivers side looks worn.

Here are the results of removing, sanding and "re-painting". I'm totally satisfied. Actually more than satisfied. This was done by california covers in Oakland. $1300. Proprietor is Rick.
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Last edited by Jimbabwe; 05-18-2017 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:59 PM   #11
SledgeHammer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbabwe View Post
I blew it and didn't take before. But the seams at the top of the vertical bolsters had come apart. And on drivers side lower left front seam was really bad. And overall drivers side looks worn.

Here are the results of removing, sanding and "re-painting". I'm totally satisfied. Actually more than satisfied. This was done by california covers in Oakland. $1300. Proprietor is Rick.
Ya, that does look pretty good.
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