Ben­nett cleans up his 996 to rid it of win­ter grime and re­ally goes to town, even re­mov­ing the wheels. The in­te­rior comes in for some at­ten­tion too, as the driv­ers’ seat gets a leather re­furb job courtesy of a Colour­lock kit

911 Porsche World - - Contents - CON­TACT Colour­lock colour­lock.com For Klasse and 303 prod­ucts go to mo­torgeek.co.uk and for Swiss­vax head to: swiss­vax.co.uk

Ed­i­tor Ben­nett restores the leather in his 996 and Dep Ed, Fraser, has a new clutch and more on his Boxster

Spring has sprung and with it a de­sire to get on top of things, which means get­ting on top of 996 things. For most of the win­ter it re­mained in hi­ber­na­tion and ev­ery time I did take it out, on what was sup­posed to be a guar­an­teed 'dry' day, it seemed to rain, gen­er­at­ing a swirling mist of salty spray, which meant that I had to clean the bloomin’ thing (again) and get the jet wash into all the nooks and cran­nies. In the end I just gave up and re­solved not to drive it un­til win­ter had well and truly bug­gered off, which, as we know, took some time.

But even­tu­ally the time was right and out came the 996, look­ing not as clean as I though I'd left it and with a salty residue still cling­ing to the body­work, which meant it could only be worse un­der­neath. I knew that I needed to do a proper job and put aside a day to do it. By 'proper' I mean get­ting the wheels off and get­ting it up on axle stands. And is there a frankly more back break­ing job than that, for sin­gle-handed home me­chanic? F1 teams, in the heat of ac­tion, man­age the task in 2.5 secs, but I reckon it took me the best part of 45mins of stoop­ing, kneel­ing and generally rolling around on my back, be­fore the thing was safely perched mi­nus its wheels, while I re­cov­ered.

But it was worth the ef­fort and I was able to get to work un­der the arches with the jet wash. It also gave me the op­por­tu­nity to clean up the brake calipers and the wheel arch lin­ers, plus the very vis­i­ble hubs, all of which came up ex­tremely well. The wheels also came in for a good spring clean. It's easy to clean the wheel face, when it’s on

the car, but the in­side rim is much harder to get to, and re­ally lets the side down, so I spent as much time there as I did on the outer, with a good coat of Swiss­vax wax. And when you've got shiny wheels, you also need black tyres, rather than muddy, brown ones and so I at­tacked my new and expensive N-rated Miche­lins with 303 Space Pro­tec­tant, which cleans and pro­tects rub­ber from UV fad­ing and gives a very nat­u­ral fin­ish. Ap­par­ently it was de­vel­oped for use on the Space Shut­tle! What­ever, I've been us­ing it for years on rub­ber and plas­tics, and it's never let me down and def­i­nitely does the job. And should my 996 ever go into space (well, you never know), then I know my plas­tics and rub­ber bits will be UV safe.

The wheels went back on with more pain and strain and I took the op­por­tu­nity to re­place the hor­ri­ble rusty wheel studs with some smart black an­odised jobs that I had picked up on ebay some time ago, on the ba­sis that they would work well with my an­thracite wheels. And they do and they were very rea­son­ably priced, too, for what can be very expensive. And so with some more scram­bling around in the gravel and dust that is my drive­way, I had the car back on its wheels. Job half­way done.

I'm ashamed to say that in the three years that I've had my 996, I haven't ac­tu­ally pol­ished or waxed it. I know that shortly be­fore I bought it, it had been pro­fes­sion­ally de­tailed and the paint­work had been worked on to re­move any swirl marks etc, be­fore be­ing waxed, but re­ally it was well over­due. I'm no de­tail­ing fetishist, but I do know that the se­cret to a good fin­ish is in the prep and the pre­vi­ous work on the paint was still stand­ing up to close scru­tiny, so I elected to clean the body­work the traditional bucket and sponge way and then re­move any re­main­ing wax and other sur­face con­tam­i­na­tion with Klasse cleaner pol­ish. I love this stuff. It's easy to use and is an allin-one so­lu­tion, but it can be en­hanced with a layer of good qual­ity wax too and to this end I ap­plied a layer of Swiss­vax Car­nauba wax. And then I stood back, clasped my poor back, and ad­mired my ef­forts. Cer­tainly my 996 had never looked better, with a deep shine, en­hanced by the pos­si­bly above the call of duty wheel, tyre and caliper and wheel arch liner de­tail­ing. Good job, too, be­cause it was due at Sil­ver­stone a cou­ple of days later for a star­ring role on the cover of Johnny Ti­pler's lat­est tome: 911 Carrera: The wa­ter­cooled years, where it would line-up with a cur­rent 991 to il­lus­trate 20-years of the mod­ern 911.

With the ex­te­rior gleam­ing, a few days later I tack­led the in­te­rior, or to be ab­so­lutely spe­cific, I tack­led the driver's seat. Twenty

years of jump­ing in and out in­duces wear and tear, par­tic­u­larly on the seat bol­sters, which on Sports seats is even more pro­nounced, due to their en­velop­ing nature. The Space Grey leather was dry and cracked in places, but I had a so­lu­tion in the shape of a leather re­pair kit from Ger­man leather care out­fit, Colour­lock, which comes com­plete with the cor­rect Porsche shade of Space Grey leather dye.

Now I dare say that you can do the job with the seat in situ, but it's al­ways go­ing to be eas­ier with it out of the car, for max­i­mum ac­cess. I mean it's not a dif­fi­cult or back break­ing job to man han­dle a heavy, awk­wardly shaped, elec­tri­cally ad­justable seat through the small hole of the open door... But I'm get­ting ahead of my­self.

With full con­fi­dence in my tool kit, which I've dili­gently built up over the years, I re­moved the plas­tic cov­ers and the ends of each seat run­ner to re­veal the fix­ings. Ex­pect­ing a con­ven­tional 13mm head, or an Allen fix­ing of some sort, I was sur­prised to dis­cover some sort of star-shaped bolt head. Great! I don't have any­thing even close, so it was into the car, into town (for the sec­ond time that day) and into my lo­cal mo­tor fac­tors, where (some­what be­grudg­ingly) I pur­chased a set of suit­able sock­ets. Then, re­turn­ing to my 996, I spot­ted a dis­tinctly saggy look­ing near­side rear tyre. Clearly punc­tured, I limped it to the near­est tyre cen­tre, where they dis­cov­ered a ruddy great nail in the cen­tre of the tread. For­tu­nately for my wal­let, they man­aged to fix it with a rub­ber bung. Phew...

So, two hours later and the seat is fi­nally out and sit­ting on my Work­mate, and I'm pon­der­ing a se­lec­tion of lo­tions and po­tions. Colour­lock ob­vi­ously sup­ply per­fectly ad­e­quate in­struc­tions, and there's some very handy tu­to­ri­als on­line to gen up with, too.

As ever it's all about the prep and get­ting the leather ready for the dye. Colour lock sup­ply a mild foam leather cleaning so­lu­tion, which is sponged on, fol­lowed by a leather cleaning spirit, which re­moves any grease, wax and sil­i­cone. With the leather squeaky clean, there is the slightly dis­con­cert­ing step of tak­ing a sand­ing pad to the seat to slightly roughen the sur­face, so that it ab­sorbs the dye, which of course is the fun bit and cer­tainly the most sat­is­fy­ing pro­ce­dure.

Ap­plied with a sponge, the dye is wiped and dabbed on to achieve a good cov­er­ing and create a tex­tured ef­fect. I worked on a panel at a time and Colour­lock rec­om­mend dry­ing each layer with a hairdryer on a low heat set­ting. I prob­a­bly ap­plied four lay­ers to build a good solid colour base and I was ab­so­lutely de­lighted with the trans­for­ma­tive re­sult and the colour match is per­fect, too. Final pro­ce­dure, af­ter leav­ing the seat for 12hours, is to use Colour­lock leather pro­tec­tor to pro­tect from UV fad­ing. Over­all the seat has shrugged off 20-years of wear and tear, and the leather is back to its smooth and soft best, rather than dried out. And that, of course, is the beauty of leather. It is end­lessly re­pairable and while I didn't need them, the kit also in­cludes the nec­es­sary in­truc­tions and prod­ucts for fill­ing cracks and even holes and again it's worth look­ing at the on­line tu­to­ri­als to see how this is done. Price for my kit was £80 and, while I've only done my driver's seat, there is enough prod­uct to eas­ily do a whole in­te­rior at least twice over.

Need­less to say, putting the seat back in was as awk­ward as re­mov­ing it, but it was ab­so­lutely worth it. My 996 has never looked better and while there are still other is­sues to at­tend to, its spring clean has given me a cer­tain pride in its ap­pear­ance, plus a 'job well done' sat­is­fac­tion, which should keep me go­ing while I pon­der my next move...

Top: Ben­nett’s 996 makes a guest ap­pear­ance in cover shoot for Johnny Ti­pler’s new book on the mod­ern wa­ter­cooled 911 Carrera gen­er­a­tion. Left: Spring cleaning

Wheels off. Is there a more back break­ing job for the home me­chanic? Worth it though to re­ally get un­der the arches, plus clean up the brake calipers, hubs and the wheels, too

Be­low: The full Colour­lock kit in­cludes ev­ery­thing re­quired to re­pair and re-colour your leather, in­clud­ing cor­rect shade of Porsche Space Grey leather dye

Be­low left to right: Roughen the leather slightly with sand­ing pad. Cor­rect shade of Space Grey leather dye is ap­plied with a foam pad. Dry with a hair dryer be­tween coats. Fin­ished seat is trans­formed

Left to right: For max­i­mum seat ac­cess, it’s best to fully re­move the seat from the car. Wear and tear can be clearly seen on the bol­sters. Pro­ce­dure starts with mild foam cleaner

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