I was already about to order a touch up pen from Repair Wizard. The price including shipping and handling was good and they had Rooster Red on their list.
Before placing the order I stopped by a custom shoemaker, who compared the Rooster Red leather to her standard colors, and mixed a small bottle of Cheq Brill branded paint for me. And as a bonus I got a couple of brushes.
I am looking forward to seeing if this paint will look good on the Mini's seats. She said that the paint is water-soluble before it has completely dried. I was happy because I thought if does not look good I should be able to wipe it off.
Then my project got a 2 month delay because of other things. (Read: Daily work.)
Finally, on Saturday I found time to continue my seat fixing project. Better late than never.
I washed yesterday Mini's interior using a Kärcher Puzzi 100 pressure washer/ carpet cleaner.
Unfortunately, I did not take a photo before starting the washer. The Mini did not look catastrophic, but I can say that black colors looked dark grey and when you looked closer there were ugly dirt spots everywhere. In addition to this the car did not smell very nice. The smell was a mixture of a sweat, mud and those cheap cleaners used in bad car detailing shops.
After 1,5 hours the Puzzi had filled two buckets with black water. I guess starting the project with a proper wash was a good move!
Then I cleaned the leather parts with leather soap and water. Unfortunately, this forum does not allow posting URLs to external sites before I have more posts, and I do not want to start making nonsense comments on other peoples' threads just to get the 15 postings.
Pictures of my project can be found in tinyurl m67e6wr
When the soap phase was done, I put leather conditioner on the leather inserts. Already the conditioner treatment seemed to have a big effect.
Then I waited several hours and let the leather conditioner work before moving to the next phase.
Then I wiped off the leather conditioner using a cloth.
Then I removed any grease from the surface using grease remover…
A picture of the leather at this point can be found on page 5.
Then I cleaned the leather parts one more time using the clear cleaning liquid, which was included in the Cheq Brill leather paint kit.
(At this point I decided that I had breathed enough fumes, and took a break.)
Then it was time to start painting. Argh, that leather paint was difficult! It was thick and dried super fast. If I applied the paint over a partially dry layer, the previous layer started peeling. Lessons learned: Do not to wait two months after buying the products, I simply did not remember that the shoemaker had mentioned the paint being latex type of water soluble stuff. When I noticed that a drop of water helps spreading the paint, work got a lot easier. Unfortunately, at this point I had already painted most of the leather parts.
I wish the paint company would have included instructions and information about the product in a language which I understand. The included instructions were a simple drawing how you paint a shoe, and some text in Spanish and (probably) the same text Spanglish. Based on what I saw and understood of the text, there was no information about making the paint thinner.
Afterwards I found myself thinking that an airbrush could have produced nicer coating than the brushes, which I got from the shoemaker. However, I don't know how I would have been able to protect the rest of the interior from the spray. If I would have removed the seats, I guess spraying would have been a good way to spread the paint.
A picture of the leather in the morning can be found on page 7. Not perfect and color differences, but not as disastrous as it looked in the evening when I left the project.
I applied another layer of paint and let it dry again.
At this point I decided to call the shoemaker and ask if she knows about the drying times of that paint. This is another thing, which was missing from the Spanglish instructions.
The shoemaker said that if I add a couple of drops of water to make the paint thinner, the drying time should be 30 min max. After this, I could paint a new layer. Well, I tried this, and the stupid paint started peeling again. Very frustrating. I am sure the airbrush would have been safer than my sponge brush.
After fixing the peeling layer, I let the paint dry properly before continuing.
Then after several hours of careful painting and waiting, it was finally done! I must say this paint was really tricky: One drop of extra water was too little, two drops was too much. But now I don’t care, I got the seats painted!
During the project I found myself several times thinking if I am totally crazy. Why don't I simply take the MINI to Design Eugen or buy a full leather interior from eBay..? Well, when a Finn starts a project, he wants to finish it too. The result can be seen on page 8.