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Thread: Hard interior vinyl seats

          
  1. #1
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    Hard interior vinyl seats

    I have a '68 firebird convertible with 40 year old vinyl seats. They are quite hard and I am scared they will crack. Is there any type of dressing or similar that will restore the vinyl to make it softer and hopefully not crack??

    Thanx.

  2. #2
    Car Guy In Training Mikejl's Avatar
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    What have you tried so far? I use M40 Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner from Meguiar's Professional line. It will keep your vinyl supple, but I don't know if it will return your aged vinyl seats to a supple condition again.
    Hopefully someone who has come across this same problem will chime in soon. This is a holiday weekend so you may have to be patient for a definitive answer to your question.

    Mike
    Why do we drive on a Parkway, and park on a Driveway

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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    Thanx for the reply Mike,

    I haven't tried anything yet, the car will be sitting in the garage now until spring, so no rush. I would like to use the right product the first time and not have to remove something that I tried, then apply the right product.

    I bought it 2 weeks ago and don't know what the previous owner has used (if anything).

    I am worried of the kids sit in the back seat on the center "hump" of vinyl it will crack it. A new back seat won't be cheap so I thought I'd ask here if there is any way of re-softening (is that even a word?) the vinyl.

    Any help would be very appreciated.
    Last edited by dd75; Nov 29th, 2008 at 05:48 PM.

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    SHAKEN 03mach1's Avatar
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    I use natural shine from Meguiars. My T-Bird has Vinyl seats also and they are red but they faded a little but the natural shine made them look great for being 47 years old. This product made the seat a little softer to the touch.
    Last edited by 03mach1; Nov 30th, 2008 at 08:34 AM. Reason: checked spelling
    Alex
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    I would say while it is sitting would be a great time to continue to rub the seats down in an effort to make them somewhat supple again. I would try applying some M40, as suggested, regularly (perhaps weekly?) to let the vinyl hopefully soak up some of the conditioners and become a bit more pliable again. I would also take care to get into any cracks in the seat where they may be stitching as that would be the most likely place for the aged vinyl to split when someone sits on it. M40 will also help clean any dirt embedded in the vinyl as well. That is at least where I would start an attempt for something like that. It may not fix the problem, but like you said, it is worth trying something before buying new ones!
    Last edited by roushstage2; Nov 30th, 2008 at 10:25 AM.


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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    M40 has been around probably as long as your Firebird and has very strong and loyal following for restoring and then maintaining vinyl.

    If M40 doesn't help/work than chances are nothing will it's that good at cleaning, conditioning and protection.

    Take a clean, terry cloth wash rag and wet it with M40 and start working the product into the vinyl. the nap of the terry cloth together with the chemical cleaners in M40 will gently loosen and remove any dirt and grime while working the conditioning agents into the vinyl to help bring it back to life and revitalize it's color.

    If the seats are neglected, as in they have built-up dirt and grime than go over the seats at least twice... your first application will go a long ways to doing the bulk of the cleaning, a second and even third application should get the vinyl to as good as it's going to get.

    Mike Phillips
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    Thanx for the tips guys, I'll definitely give M40 a try. If it doesn't work, at least I can say I tried with the best product available.

    You've all been very helpful.

  8. #8
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    Now onto the even more important part though, lol. Pictures!! A 1968 Firebird 'Vert is a sight to be seen!


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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    Hey guys, its been a long cold winter here in Alberta Canada,

    But we are 70+ degrees today and great top down cruising weather!

    Just wanted to say thanx to all who responded to this thread and give a little follow up.

    The vinyl did seem to get a little softer after using lots of the M40. I applied it several times. I think if it would have been used all this time I wouldn't have the problem I have now. It seems like a superior product that I am now using on my other vehicles.

    The passenger seat however is getting worse. There was a crack when I bought it and stopping it now is impossible. A seat cover hides it but it is a short term fix. I wish there was a product / procedure to restore the supple vinyl softness. Overall I think the M40 helped but I wish I could do more.

    I did find an article that expains the basics of vinyl and what is going on in there. I see that more than 300 people have viewed this thread and feel I should help them as much as possible.

    I hope this helps explain things and you can use it.
    I just wish they would tell me how to restore the raw plasticisers that would restore my vinyl seats. I deleted the product they were promoting as it wasn't Meguiars.

    Proper Vinyl Care

    Vinyl is subject to deterioration from thermal heat (baking grime into the surface), UV radiation (causing fading and cracking), abrasion (sliding in and out of seats) and solvents found in some cleaners and dressings.

    A microscopic view of automotive vinyl would show raw PVC (polyvinyl chloride) covered by a thin layer of plastic called the "topcoat". The topcoat is the part of the vinyl you see and can touch. To keep vinyl soft and flexible, manufacturers add agents known as plasticizers to the raw PVC. A major function of the topcoat is to hold in these plasticizers, which otherwise would evaporate as the sun heats them. This is why new cars develop a greasy "vinyl haze" on the inside windshield for the first three to six months.

    Protecting the topcoat is the top priority in properly maintaining automotive vinyl. All vinyl manufacturers agree on and recommend the following:

    General Cleaning: Never use household cleaners, powdered or other abrasives, steel wool, or industrial cleaners, dry cleaning fluids, strong petroleum distillates, bleach or detergents. Use a medium-soft brush, warm soapy water, (such as Ivory soap), wipe or rinse with cool water and then dry. Stubborn stains should be cleaned with an alkaline (soap) based formula, not a solvent (acid) based formula.

    Mildew Stains: To kill the bacteria creating the mildew, use a medium-soft brush and vigorously brush the stained area with a 4 to 1 mixture of water and ammonia; rinse with cool water.

    Note: All cleaning methods should be followed by a thorough rinse with water using a sponge or wet cloth.

    Obviously abrasives should never be used on vinyl. Strong petroleum distillates are a universal "no no" for both vinyl and rubber and waxes should never be used on vinyl.

    Virtually all vinyl manufacturers agree that no type of silicone oil should be used on vinyl. Silicone oil vinyl treatments should not be used for several reasons:

    1. Silicone oils typically attack the vinyl topcoat by trapping heat. 2. Silicone oils contain no effective UV screening ingredients.
    3. Silicone oil formulas are greasy, build-up products which attract dust, and soil more quickly.

    READ THE LABEL! Product directions suggesting more than one coat for better cosmetic enhancements are build-up products and not recommended by vinyl manufacturers.




  10. #10
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    Re: Hard interior vinyl seats

    Oh, I forgot, how do you post pictures?

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