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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 06-17-2008, 07:30 PM   #1
deraufschneider
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HOW TO DIY: Dyeing Leather Door Inserts for Two Tone Interior

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a website offering leather recoloring kits.
I always loved the way cinnamon red looked on the m3s with black leather and aluminum trim. I decided to give this a shot with a gracious friends help.

This DIY will show you how to dye your leather (or leatherette) door panel inserts to the color of your choice.

You need the following:
-Leather recoloring kit from leatherworldtech.com with dye color of your choice
I ordered this past noon one day and they had the cinnamon mixed and shipped out that afternoon...very satisfied with them
-Drill with sanding bit
-approximately 120 8x1/2 screws with washers (3/16 worked well)
-atleast 24 number 12 screws and washers
-aleast 8 number 10 screws and washers
-2inch poly brush sponge brushes ( I used a new one for each panel)

1)To start out you will need to take all of the door panels off of the car.
There are 5 screws holding on each door. 2 under the trim piece, 2 on the under side of the armrest underneath the plastic covers, and one under the window button/switch.

2) Now the door is held on with plastic clips that just pull straight out. You may use a screwdriver to get your fingers underneath the edge. Dont be afraid to pull hard. Now the door will be hanging by speaker and switch wiring. These unclip. Remove all speakers by turning them counterclockwise. The door release cable can be taken off by putting your finger on the part where the wire meets the white clip and pulling out. When dealing with the front door airbags, unplug battery.

3) Once you have all the panels off you will want to get your drill with sanding bit. This is the hardest part of the project. Sand the plastic welds off so that they are flush with the door panel material. Then pull the insert off with your hands. This leaves a lot of the plastic rivet on the insert so you can drill into it later.



Checking e46 during a break

4)The armrest welds are much bigger than the other welds, and two of them happen to be underneath the plastic mesh that holds the airbag door on when it deploys. Take a razor and cut little squares out inbetween the rivets.

To Be Continued...
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:43 PM   #2
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5) Now that you have all of the door inserts separated from the door panels, it is time to apply the dye. The dye will work on leatherette too (I tested it on a spare leatherette panel I had lying around, (my interior is real leather)). The kit comes with a crown sprayer but I found it is very hard to work with and that a 2 inch poly brush sponge brush works really well. Clean the leather with the supplied cleaner and prepper and lightly scrub with provided scruff pad.




6)The key to getting the dye to look good is using as little as possible for each coat. DO NOT apply in thick layers as this will cause it to blob up and create little flakes when you try to fix it. Just apply small amounts with long strokes across as much of the panel as possible. This is what the panel looked like after one coat.

Last edited by deraufschneider; 06-17-2008 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:48 PM   #3
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7) Continue to apply coats until you are satisfied with the color allowing it to dry to the touch in between coats. It was 95 degrees when I did this so drying was very fast so I dont have a good time estimate but I would wait at least 10 minutes in between coats while under a fan.




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Old 06-17-2008, 07:48 PM   #4
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looking good. Keep posting.
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:57 PM   #5
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omg this thread is awesome....keep em comming!
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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8) Once they dry for a few hours (the product says something like 18 hours before touching another surface, i.e. door panels) I attached the inserts on the door panels. Use the 8x1/2 screws for all of the small welds and the ones shown in the plastic below on the armrest welds. I built up some of the smaller pegs with epoxy prior to screwing to ensure the screws seated themselves okay.




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Old 06-17-2008, 08:19 PM   #7
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9) Reattach door panels to door, connecting speakers and switches, making sure to unplug battery when dealing with front airbag.
10) Smile at your new cinnamon red interior.







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Old 06-17-2008, 08:58 PM   #8
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wow! That looks awesome man. What annoys me is that i know if i try and do it myself it will end with me buying a new interior haha. Good job
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:56 AM   #9
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wow! That looks awesome man. What annoys me is that i know if i try and do it myself it will end with me buying a new interior haha. Good job
But wouldn't it be easier to buy a new interior if you had a good reason to?
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:44 AM   #10
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Looks Great.How does it smell//Strong or light "paint-dye"smell/smells for a couple of days and went away etc...(my concern would be hot days and the inside smelling like paint/plastic)I was thinking on doing this vs swapping the panels for black to save money but the possible smell thing was holding me back.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:21 PM   #11
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Did the dye bleed much? I was hoping I could just use some painters tape to separate the panel I want to paint from the rest and save the disassembly and reassembly process.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:16 PM   #12
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^ same here....
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coby1 View Post
Looks Great.How does it smell//Strong or light "paint-dye"smell/smells for a couple of days and went away etc...(my concern would be hot days and the inside smelling like paint/plastic)I was thinking on doing this vs swapping the panels for black to save money but the possible smell thing was holding me back.
Its been in the car for almost a week now and the smell so for is slightly noticeable only because I'm looking for it. Definitely not a reason not to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malum View Post
Did the dye bleed much? I was hoping I could just use some painters tape to separate the panel I want to paint from the rest and save the disassembly and reassembly process.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blksedan View Post
^ same here....
It might bleed through painters tape, might not if you use 2 layers of tape. But that doesnt really matter because even if you did tape off as best as possible you would still be able to see where you didnt get dye because the insert curves back into the door panel. And the dye needs to be spread out as you apply it so trying to compensate by putting large blobs where the panel meets the insert would end up looking terrible. Its not hard if you just get a sanding drill bit like the one shown.. do it! its one of the most rewarding mods ive ever done.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:15 PM   #14
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If you dye your seats and let it dry will it come off from you sitting in it?
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:20 PM   #15
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does this fade like a lot of the others do?
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:44 PM   #16
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curious myself... with the questions above^ I two-toned mine, but I swapped parts between gray and black interiors. I want to do LSB seats on the M3.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by deadlysyns View Post
If you dye your seats and let it dry will it come off from you sitting in it?
I dont know. I can scratch as hard as I can on the panels with my fingernails and it doesnt chip/come off because it is a true dye. Personally, I would be scared to try it on the seats but I really dont know if it would rub off eventually or not.

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does this fade like a lot of the others do?
I dont know because its only been in a week.... i can update in a while.. i do have tinted windows and the panels dont get much direct sun so I am definitely not worried about fading being an issue.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:03 PM   #18
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aite, i guess i'll wait for an update later on then
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:35 AM   #19
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I've used this dye before on my car and a few of my friends' cars. It is the same type of dye they use at the factory to color the leather. It's actually more of a flexible paint than a dye because it doesn't penetrate the pores it simply colors the surface of the leather just like factory car leathers. If prepped properly and applied properly, it stands up just as well as the factory leather and will not flake or chip off. No leather coloring is 100% colorfast, especially with repeated exposure to bright sunlight. Factory dye will fade slightly over time as will this dye, but with proper leather care you can minimize this fading for years. It is very easy to prep and apply and the results are amazing.If done properly according to the instructions, it looks just like the factory leather. To the OP, nice job it looks great.
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:21 PM   #20
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Are the door panels leather or vinyl?

Even if the seats are leather, I assumed regardless of the seat coverings that the other panels were simply matching vinyl.
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