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Installing a malibu skin

WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 477 Baller
I have a small silver dollar sized hole in the backrest vinyl of the backseat of my 1998 Malibu Echelon. I either need to get it repaired or just order a new skin for the whole seat. I can get the skin for $185. I haven't priced out getting it repaired, but I have to think it is close to that or more. Has anyone installed that skin, and how difficult is it? I think it is pulled tight and stapled on the back, but i don't really recall. I'm not sure if I would need to hire a professional to install the skin anyway. Any thoughts? Thanks.


  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,251 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    You can install any skin yourself if you have patience and an electric staple gun.

    The trick is to get the tension right...too loose or too tight and you will get wrinkles.

    FWIW I redid all of the skins in my boat, it turned out as good as any that I have seen. That said, it definitely took me longer than I thought it would.

    Since you are only doing one piece, it shouldn't be a big deal. One key tip is to get the piece warmed up before you install it...I laid my pieces out in the sun for 15 or 20 minutes before installing. It makes the vinyl much more pliable and easier to stretch.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 555 Solid Baller
    Get the skin, overall you will be happier with the result. In addition to what Jordan said you could trial fit the new skin over the existing one just to see if you have the courage to attempt it. An upholstery shop will probably swap out the skins in a hour (labor) if you bring them the piece.
  • east tx skiereast tx skier Posts: 598 Solid Baller
    Start in the middle and work your way out. Be patient, and use stainless steel staples.

    Good luck.
    Perpetual Longline Baller and curvy ski boat owner.
    My real name is in my profile.

  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,757 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited March 2014
    Getting a skin installed is cheap. I paid a local upholstery guy $20 do install one on my bayliner after the seat base had gotten cracked from someone stepping on it. Mine were plastic bases and you needed a "real" staple gun to shoot them.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,060 Mega Baller
    I helped a friend do his last year and I would say the back seat backrest should be pretty easy to do.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I just upholstered my entire boat. It was a very simple process! You can do it!
    I couldn't find stainless staples in my area so I ordered monel staples from west marine. A box of 1000 staples is 29.99 plus tax and shipping.
    Good luck!
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    where are you getting the skin from
  • DWDW Posts: 2,297 Mega Baller
    @WBLskier: I would go to the Malibu Crew website and get the information on Malibu skin replacement. Best source for them on that site.
  • OldManRiverOldManRiver Posts: 6 Baller
    I bought skins from Chee for my '98 Echelon. He has all the > 7-year-old Malibu boat seating patterns. Pretty much anything you need to know is in the link below. I still have a couple skins yet to install, but it's not too tough with the right porter cable pneumatic stapler and right SS staples. Hope your skins/install goes well.
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I got my skins from Chi also. I got complete interior for a closed bell delivered to my door for 1100 dollars. the upholstery is thick and well put together! Che has been doing Malibu's upholstery for years and is the only one you'll find recommended on the Malibu crew web site. if you want his personal email address I can pass it on to you.
  • 1jeremy1jeremy Posts: 2 New Baller
    Hey everyone, new to this forum, but have read some posts about chee building replacement seat skins for older malibus. I have a 97 sunsetter lx that is in good shspe but the rear seat has come apart in the usual spot. Can I please get chees contact info to see if he would still be interested in making skins?
  • DonTDonT Posts: 65 Baller
    I've been following the ongoing saga of Chee on the malibu forum and it appears that he is missing in action. I do not know the details, but several have paid for skins with no delivery of product. I cannot comment on the reasons, only the net effect.
  • 1jeremy1jeremy Posts: 2 New Baller
    Ok, thanks. Thats too bad, really hard to find good craftsmanship and someone you can trust with your stuff. I do have a local guy I can use for a good repair as long as the vinyl can be matched decently.
  • Billy_728Billy_728 Posts: 10 Baller
    +1 for Chee Maua
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I sent you a pm w Chee's contact info
  • kstateskierkstateskier Posts: 524 Solid Baller
    Word of warning about Chee. He has been an institution on the Malibu Crew for years as the "guy" for Bu skins. However, over the last 4-6 months 10-12 members have sent money to Chee for skins and to date, Chee has disappeared with their money. Obviously there are alot of theories but our hope is its something medical and Chee is alive and well. But who knows, things happen. Several of the members are out $2500+ with no responses from Chee since summer 2014.

    I wouldn't recommend going the Chee route at the moment.
    Bradley Beach - Lone Rock Ski Club, Missouri
    2004 Malibu Response LXI, 2014 D3 Helix 66"
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,757 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Yup - there is a thread over there with another source - guy who currently works for Malibu and does skins for the older boats in his spare time. No cash until they are ready to ship.
    - Contact info is in first post
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    If that's true, I guess I got really lucky! I got mine in no time and also got a replacement skin at no charge. The one replaced had some stitching coming loose.
    I hope all is well with Chee and that the Fellas from the Malibu Crew get they're issues resolved!
  • MrBMrB Posts: 146 Baller
    @WBLskier I had a skin replaced several years ago by the dealer but they didn't use stainless steel staples and they rusted off. Be sure to use STAINLESS STEEL staples. They cost more but it's worth it!
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,757 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @MrB Better off using Monel than stainless
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    +1 on the Monel staples!
  • MrBMrB Posts: 146 Baller
    @oldjeep @Steven Haines I'll have to google Monel staples. Not familiar with them. But Thanks, I'm sure you're correct.
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,065 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I got mine at West Marine
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,757 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 2015
    Home depot sells them too.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
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