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View Full Version : Why Are My Seats Deteriorating?



Carl C
01-21-2014, 01:07 PM
I started a thread awhile back about my rear seat bottom looking like this after 7 or so years. Now my rear seat backs are cracking and are probably good for one more season. I have had 20 year old boats that weren't taken care of as well but still had original upholstery. The only thing I've done differently with the Donzi is use magic erasers (genuine) and vinyl conditioner. Look at my seats on a 2005 model, garage kept boat :( . Are they just made out of crappy material or could it be the magic erasers or conditioner? It's not the stitching that failed on the bottom, the vinyl cracked at the seams.

Morgan's Cloud
01-21-2014, 02:16 PM
In my neck of the woods that would be due to extreme sun deterioration ,(and we have extreme sun out here) but I'm sure that's not your case.
As a matter of fact , I doubt it completely .

Maybe it was a dud batch of material. Even using some of the cleaning agents that you mentioned , I'm sure you only use them in certain spots and not all over .

Looks like some new covers are in your immediate future.

Tidbart
01-21-2014, 02:26 PM
Your questions might be best asked to some upholstery professionals. Maybe worth emailing a few of them, with the photos and see what kind of response you get. I would be interested in knowing the answers.

My guess is a cheap grade of vinyl.

Bob

BUIZILLA
01-21-2014, 03:16 PM
Armorall will do that

303 won't

craigdskilling
01-21-2014, 04:21 PM
I use spray nine to clean and if its realy bad I use comet with bleach and spay nine and load it with 303 but let dry then wipe so it can soak in. But I can take my foam out easly so I do to let dry after every use.

Morgan's Cloud
01-21-2014, 05:34 PM
Armorall will do that

303 won't

Jim , that's very interesting . (trusting your knowledge here)
I've been using Armorall for only automotive purposes since 1978 . I try to keep that sort of stuff away from the boats no mater who's version it is.
My friend who had the 28ZXO a while back used 303 and it was outrageously slippery everywhere and on anything it made contact with. Just lethal stuff to have on a performance go fast.

Is there a general consensus that Armorall can do that ? I've never heard of it before and would be very interested to know .

Carl C
01-21-2014, 05:48 PM
By the replies here it sounds like this early failure is not normal for my boat. I have never used Armor All but the product that I've been using looks like it might be a generic version. Both claim to be good for vinyl and to provide UV protection. I believe that I've used a Maquires product also. If this is the culprit then is there anything that I could put on the front seats and the new rear seat bottom to stop the damage from getting worse? The front seats look pretty good still.

joseph m. hahnl
01-21-2014, 07:24 PM
Jim , that's very interesting . (trusting your knowledge here)
I've been using Armorall for only automotive purposes since 1978 . I try to keep that sort of stuff away from the boats no mater who's version it is.
My friend who had the 28ZXO a while back used 303 and it was outrageously slippery everywhere and on anything it made contact with. Just lethal stuff to have on a performance go fast.

Is there a general consensus that Armorall can do that ? I've never heard of it before and would be very interested to know .:yes: Regular Armorall was notorious for cracking dashboard vinyl. The best protection is a cockpit cover:D. I don't use any sealer on my vinyl. I do all the tricks mentioned, I find Comet gel works great for cleaning. Acid Rain, freezing temperature, and wetness inside of the cushion are all candidates for cracks. There are not that many vinyl companies out there, so chalking it up to a cheap brand, is highly unlikely the source of the problem. I'm going out on a limb, but I would suspect the protectant you are using may be a contributing factor. Vinyl loves heat, so keep it warm in the winter and don't step or place anything on it when it's cold :doh:

Tidbart
01-21-2014, 08:19 PM
:yes: Regular Armorall was notorious for cracking dashboard vinyl.

Funny you said that. My first experience with ArmorAll was around 1980. I used it on the interior of my '73 Nova. Two days later, the dash split right up the middle. Man, was I pissed. :banghead:

Haven't touched the stuff since.

Bob

Trueser
01-21-2014, 08:23 PM
Magic eraser will shorten the life.

My 2 cents

Carl C
01-21-2014, 09:01 PM
No more magic erasers or vinyl conditioner for me. I'll go back to what I did with my other boats and just wash them with normal soapy water. :( What sucks is that I learned to use these products on boating forums. (not just here)

yeller
01-21-2014, 10:33 PM
Carl, I have to assume the vinyl used on your boat is the same as mine and I can tell you it is not a cheap vinyl. Based on how quickly it deteriorated.....and I know you take care of your boat.....I would have to say it is from some type of chemical reaction.

Lenny
01-21-2014, 11:01 PM
Jim , that's very interesting . 303. Just lethal stuff to have on a performance go fast.

Please keep in mind that Jim no longer has any performance boats. :biggrin:

Jim owns and belongs to, the deck boat crowd now... all we have are his pictures from the past

jus' say'n ...

BUIZILLA
01-22-2014, 07:23 AM
at least everything I own runs, every time, and any time, anywhere, more than I can say for some keyboard cowboy's herein :shades:

I just can't bring myself to invest 100k into a boat, that'll never be worth 40k when done :wink:

now, if you will GIVE me an HP500 for the lounger, it will help me get rid of some of the oar's :yes:

woobs
01-22-2014, 07:32 AM
I'll go back to what I did with my other boats and just wash them with normal soapy water.

Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways.

Carl C
01-22-2014, 07:58 AM
The boat is in a cold garage, uncovered. I'm going to bring the seats inside and wash them good in the basement after they warm up since I wiped them down with this crap before winter lay-up. Is there any reason to not use a Lysol or dish detergent solution? That's what I've used in the past.

Mr X
01-22-2014, 08:16 AM
I was told by the Reliatex representative (Donzi vinyl supplier) that Magic Eraser used even one time,
removes the UV protection from the vinyl.

Carl C
01-22-2014, 08:37 AM
I was told by the Reliatex representative (Donzi vinyl supplier) that Magic Eraser used even one time,
removes the UV protection from the vinyl.

Thanks, Ted, yet they are recommended on every boating forum thread that pops up about cleaning seats. I won't use them any more.

Just found this good thread. I'm going to look into this 303 stuff. http://forums.iboats.com/boat-topics-questions-not-engine-topics/best-way-clean-vinyl-seats-605170.html

Another edit :) I just did a lot of reading about this and ArmorAll type products definitely ruin boat upholstery. I will clean mine with a dish soap solution and apply 303 to try to stop the damage that I've done from getting worse. I'll get the front seats inside today but since it's below zero now I won't try to unsnap the back seats until it warms up a little. How can these products even claim that they are good for vinyl and have UV protection? Sheesh. :(

bertsboat
01-22-2014, 09:47 AM
If you have not tried this product do yourself a favor. Don't let the price turn you off.
They are making other products now. I love them all.
eBay is the place to buy it bu the gallon. (unless you have a Port Supply account)


Armorall will do that

303 won't

Carl C
01-22-2014, 10:45 AM
If you have not tried this product do yourself a favor. Don't let the price turn you off.
They are making other products now. I love them all.
eBay is the place to buy it bu the gallon. (unless you have a Port Supply account)

I know it's pricey. It's for boats! I'm going to try to find a small spray bottle locally for now. The front seats are inside warming up now. :)

knots2u
01-22-2014, 11:40 AM
For cleaning vinyl use warm water and a small amount of Dawn or Ivory dish soap. A SOFT plastic bristle brush works well for scrubbing, rinse with a hose or a wet towel. Then use a soft dry towel to THOROUGHLY dry.

If you have some mildew or stains from leaves. Use One (1) tablespoon ammonia, one fourth (1/4) cup hydrogen peroxide, three-fourths (3/4) cup of water. Scrub/ Rinse / Thoroughly Dry.


Magic Eraser's and Bleach do have some uses, just not on vinyl.

78699


Have fun,
Bob

Carl C
01-22-2014, 11:57 AM
Thanks, Bob. Since you make these seats I guess you know a thing or two about them ;) . I will use the dish soap but will also use the 303 to try and reverse the damage I have done (making them brittle). I've never used anything other than soap & water on previous boats.

Conquistador_del_mar
01-22-2014, 01:41 PM
The boat is in a cold garage, uncovered. I'm going to bring the seats inside and wash them good in the basement after they warm up since I wiped them down with this crap before winter lay-up. Is there any reason to not use a Lysol or dish detergent solution? That's what I've used in the past.

Carl,
If you have used Lysol spray on your upholstery, I am guessing that is what did the damage with the C14 and C12 alkyl ammonium compounds - check the active ingredients in a spray can. Bill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkyl_(C12-C16)_dimethylbenzylammonium_chloride

Carl C
01-22-2014, 05:01 PM
Carl,
If you have used Lysol spray on your upholstery, I am guessing that is what did the damage with the C14 and C12 alkyl ammonium compounds - check the active ingredients in a spray can. Bill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkyl_(C12-C16)_dimethylbenzylammonium_chloride

Nope. Only weak soapy water and magic erasers. Usually dish soap maybe lysol at times. I use dish soap to wash the boat and cars too. I'm pretty sure it was that crappy vinyl protectant that did it. I did a lot of reading up on it. I've brought all of the seating into the house and washed it except the new rear seat bottom. I will get the 303 and maybe that will help stop the cracking.

Bob, nice looking blondes!

joseph m. hahnl
01-22-2014, 06:00 PM
Please keep in mind that Jim no longer has any performance boats. :biggrin:

Jim owns and belongs to, the deck boat crowd now... all we have are his pictures from the past

jus' say'n ... I thought he owned a performance deck boat:wink: and there's a lot of vinyl in those deck boat too :propeller:

BUIZILLA
01-22-2014, 07:03 PM
my '96 16 OB has the original interior

I only use 303 on it,

if I used it on the hull, it might go 84.... :p but, it would then be a performance boat, the horror

Trueser
01-22-2014, 07:20 PM
This is what I have been using. I want to say Mcleod turned me on to it.

http://www.biokleen.com/boat-cleaning/marine-vinyl-interior


I think it works great, cleaner and sealer/conditioner.

DOUBLE DD'S
01-22-2014, 08:34 PM
I use westleys bleach white,,my interior is 15 yrs old and still shows new..I don't use any conditioner through out the year,just once the beginning of the season..you apply my stuff,let it soak in and you have to hand buff the vinyl..works great!

Carl C
01-22-2014, 09:02 PM
Looks like some good options but I think I will stick with good old dish soap. I'll use the 303 just in case it will help reverse the damage that I've already done.

Pismo
01-23-2014, 10:40 AM
Bleach will turn your seats(or any organic matter) into CO2

Tidbart
01-23-2014, 12:32 PM
For future reference, I tried to gather a list of good and not so good chemicals and put it in the Whatever section.

http://www.donzi.net/forums/showthread.php?69612-Care-and-Cleaning-of-Your-Boat-s-Vinyl&p=647927#post647927

Hope this helps.

Bob

Fishermanjm
01-23-2014, 07:10 PM
how about the foam cushion??? should it stay in the plastic bag that it came in or not??? the
rear seat bottom in my boat had a big clear plastic cover over the foam cushion than stuffed inside the upholstry. the vinyl is doing fine so far with just the boat soap and water. I also pull the foam out every now and then just to dry it all out

yeller
01-23-2014, 07:54 PM
Carl, I still don't think the Magic Erasers were the cause of your problem. Your boat has always been garage stored and has seen limited sun (as compared to being down south). The damage to your vinyl is MASSIVE in such a short period of time. I worked in and ran an upholstery shop for many years and I never, ever, had anyone come in the shop with 6~7yr old vinyl that showed the damage yours has....unless it was super cheap vinyl....and yours isn't. I suspect it's from something else and the breakdown had started before you even bought the boat. Something happened during the manufacturing process, or afterwards. It could have happened at the dealer, at Donzi, at the upholsterer, at the vinyl manufacturer, at the vinyl warehouse, during transportation, or.....??

I doubt you will ever know.

I'm not saying Magic Erasers are good for your seats, I'm just saying I don't think they were the main cause of your damage.

yeller
01-23-2014, 07:57 PM
how about the foam cushion??? should it stay in the plastic bag that it came in or not??? the
rear seat bottom in my boat had a big clear plastic cover over the foam cushion than stuffed inside the upholstry. the vinyl is doing fine so far with just the boat soap and water. I also pull the foam out every now and then just to dry it all outNo harm in leaving the plasitic in. It helps with keeping water out of the foam.

Carl C
01-24-2014, 08:44 AM
Glenn, I got a lot of great responses on this thread and I did a lot of research on the web about this. My conclusion is that the vinyl protectant that I've been using is similar to ArmorAll and ArmorAll destroys vinyl, especially older vinyl. There are stories here and elsewhere about people using ArmorAll on an old car's dash only to find cracks within a week. I'm pretty sure that's the culprit. But I've also found plenty of people who know what they are talking about say bad things about the magic erasers. A lot of people swear by them but I will never use them again.

I do not remove the foam from my seats in winter. Usually the boat just sits uncovered in a garage so that everything dries out well and I never mess with the seats when they are cold except this week to bring them in and wash them because I wiped them down with vinyl destroyer last fall.

knots2u
01-24-2014, 11:17 AM
I'm surprised your bucket bottoms aren't showing same signs. The top corners of buckets are hand pressure points from climbing in, the top corners of rear cushions from leaning on while searching around engine compartment, bottom rear cushions from all the.... well lets just say passengers. Can you see any logo on backside of vinyl to determine manufacturer?

Carl C
01-24-2014, 01:11 PM
I'm surprised your bucket bottoms aren't showing same signs. The top corners of buckets are hand pressure points from climbing in, the top corners of rear cushions from leaning on while searching around engine compartment, bottom rear cushions from all the.... well lets just say passengers. Can you see any logo on backside of vinyl to determine manufacturer?

The front seats have held up pretty well and that is puzzling because they have seen the same treatment that the rear has. The buckets are tucked in a dimly lit part of the basement but here is a pic of a cushion. The only damage is a crack on the front that looks more like damage from a sharp object. The rear seat bottom failed catastrophically. Here is another pic of the cracking on the top of the rear seat backs. The flat surfaces of the seat backs have no damage. I dissected the old seat bottom and see no logos on the vinly. The seats were made by PPI.

Greg Guimond
01-24-2014, 01:13 PM
The front seats have held up pretty well and that is puzzling because they have seen the same treatment that the rear has. The buckets are tucked in a dimly lit part of the basement but here is a pic of a cushion. The only damage is a crack on the front that looks more like damage from a sharp object. The rear seat bottom failed catastrophically. Here is another pic of the cracking on the top of the rear seat backs. The flat surfaces of the seat backs have no damage. I dissected the old seat bottom and see no logos on the vinly. The seats were made by PPI.

PPI is a quality shop. Maybe give them a ring and see what they say.

justleft
01-24-2014, 04:51 PM
The rear bottom cushion looks like it could be climbing in and kneeling to open hatch (turn on battery switch in my case).

Or suspect the suntan lotion of the girl who wears the thong and sits in the middle :wink:

Carl C
01-24-2014, 08:26 PM
The rear seat gets kneeled on every time I check the engine, which is often but the front seats take a beating too and look OK. Got some extra time? Google what to use to clean and protect boat seats. And google ArmorAll stories. Crazy stuff. Endless contradictions. About the only thing that no one has said not to use is 303. I've learned a lot since posting this thread. I'll probably never know why my rear seat broke down but I will only use dish soap and 303 from now on.

yeller
01-25-2014, 12:10 AM
I'm surprised your bucket bottoms aren't showing same signs...
Exactly. One of the reasons I don't believe it was the magic erasers...or the ArmorAll.

Carl C
01-25-2014, 10:05 AM
Exactly. One of the reasons I don't believe it was the magic erasers...or the ArmorAll.

Well, they were fine for several years and then went downhill fast. About the same time that I started using erasers & conditioner. I guess something could have happened before I bought the boat but I doubt it. Anyway, I've dug up enough dirt on the erasers and ArmorAll type products that everyone should stop using them. The erasers are abrasive and the damage takes time to happen, yet so many people still swear by them.

hardcrab
01-25-2014, 10:49 AM
Frequent
And
Repeated
Taco
Stains

.... seat bottoms don't tolorate these well ....... :jester:

Morgan's Cloud
01-25-2014, 02:55 PM
I can understand the rave about magic erasers because they work immediately , but in the long term ?

As for Armorall , I'm having a hard time that a product that is supposed to be a protectorant could do such damage over the long haul.

At any rate , like I said earlier , I avoid using the stuff on boats anyway .

Carl, I'm still thinking that you might have had a dud batch of fabric , or like you suggest , something was done to your upholstery before you got the boat.
Maybe some twit secretly cleaned greasy fingerprints off with acetone or lacquer thinners.

Carl C
01-25-2014, 03:06 PM
I can understand the rave about magic erasers because they work immediately , but in the long term ?

As for Armorall , I'm having a hard time that a product that is supposed to be a protectorant could do such damage over the long haul.

At any rate , like I said earlier , I avoid using the stuff on boats anyway .

Carl, I'm still thinking that you might have had a dud batch of fabric , or like you suggest , something was done to your upholstery before you got the boat.
Maybe some twit secretly cleaned greasy fingerprints off with acetone or lacquer thinners.

I've actually found threads recommending acetone!

I might have figured it out! The boat was in the shop twice for the hull reinforcing kit which required engine r&r and for work when I got rear ended in tow. There is a good chance that a mechanic wiped grease off the rear seat with something bad. That would explain why the damage is only on the back seat. After my research though I will still only use dish soap and 303.

Morgan's Cloud
01-25-2014, 04:51 PM
I've actually found threads recommending acetone!

I might have figured it out! The boat was in the shop twice for the hull reinforcing kit which required engine r&r and for work when I got rear ended in tow. There is a good chance that a mechanic wiped grease off the rear seat with something bad. That would explain why the damage is only on the back seat. After my research though I will still only use dish soap and 303.

Now that would connect a lot of dots , eh ? If that's the case it's a shame they didn't remove the cushions while they were doing the work.

I once spilled some lacquer thinner on lovely white boat cushions that are in a cabin and a few days later I could see cracks in the area that had the wet thinner on them. Thank god they're in place where the light is subdued and not out in the direct sun .

yeller
01-26-2014, 04:21 AM
Carl, if your extremely concerned about using the right products for your boat.....and I don't blame you for being concerned....don't use dish soap. Use an automotive or marine wash soap. If your worried about using those, then use shampoo.

Offset
01-26-2014, 09:38 AM
I have a theory of why a similar situation happened on my rear sear cushion as well. I wonder if what happens is that the thread absorbs the cleaning/detailing solution and even if you wipe the seats down the thread holds the solutions and starts the process of breaking the material down. I noticed that the vinyl started to rot at the seams and I believe it happens from kneeling on the cushions that are weakened by whatever you have applied to the seat surface. The front seats are used more frequently so they see less sun but clothing can also absorb the solutions in the tread.

Just a thought but mine seemed to start to deteriorate right at the depth of the seam stitching.

Greg Guimond
01-26-2014, 10:17 AM
I might have figured it out! The boat was in the shop twice for the hull reinforcing kit which required engine r&r and for work when I got rear ended in tow. There is a good chance that a mechanic wiped grease off the rear seat with something bad. That would explain why the damage is only on the back seat.

It sounds like you have hit the nail on the head Carl given the location is so specific and that PPI has an excellent reputation for quality.

Carl C
01-26-2014, 10:32 AM
Yup, they must have been wiped down with acetone or mineral spirits. The worst cracking on the bottom was at the seams where the stuff would sit. A lot of people in this thread actually recommend acetone: http://www.thehulltruth.com/archive/t-249532.html

I appreciate all the opinions and info here but this seems to be as controversial as oil threads! If Bob at Builtrite says to use dish soap, that is good enough for me. That's what I've always used in the past anyway.

Mr. X, Trueser and so many others here and elsewhere say don't use magic erasers, so I won't.

If the boat ever has to go to a shop other than Brian Orlandi's then I will remove the rear seat first.

DOUBLE DD'S
01-27-2014, 12:19 AM
The front seats have held up pretty well and that is puzzling because they have seen the same treatment that the rear has. The buckets are tucked in a dimly lit part of the basement but here is a pic of a cushion. The only damage is a crack on the front that looks more like damage from a sharp object. The rear seat bottom failed catastrophically. Here is another pic of the cracking on the top of the rear seat backs. The flat surfaces of the seat backs have no damage. I dissected the old seat bottom and see no logos on the vinly. The seats were made by PPI.

Carl,,see if ppi can do ya a shelby style interior.would look kool!

Carl C
01-27-2014, 06:48 AM
Carl,,see if ppi can do ya a shelby style interior.would look kool!

The money tree didn't blossom this year. :(

Donziweasel
01-27-2014, 10:49 AM
303. I have been using it for years on about everything, from rafts to truck dash to boat vinyl to snowmobiles. The UV is VERY strong at my altitude and eats everything. Since using 303, no damage at all on anything. Been using it for probably over 10 years.

I used Armor All on my 1997 Milan boat interior. Vinyl was destroyed and cracked in 4 years. It actually cracked in one winter of storage. I put it away, cleaned with Armor All, and in the spring when I pulled it out, every piece of vinyl was not just cracked, it was pretty much destroyed. Stuff is crap. When that vinyl cracked all to hell in 4 years, I went to 303.

knots2u
01-27-2014, 12:53 PM
First, I would take rear cushions out if taking boat in for any service work, no need for them to be in boat.
John and Sue Harmon told me to use Low Odor Mineral Spirits for any oil removal on vinyl. Put it on a white rag and wipe, dispose of rag OUTSIDE, then use damp rag (water) to wipe away any residual mineral spirits. They also used Sprayway No. 990 Vinyl and Leather Cleaner. I still have a couple cans, I use it on my leather seats, dashboard and door panels in my BMW.

Carl C
01-27-2014, 01:12 PM
Thanks again for the good info and yet another ArmorAll horror story!

wwahl
01-27-2014, 06:05 PM
I have a bucket seat recover kit made for a 1966 16' in the color of yellow. If anyone wants it just pay me for the shipping cost. I am located in the Seattle area.