Q: Steering Wheel Restoration
Anyone know of a place that does rebuild the custom option steering wheels? Is it me or do they all crack?
A: I’ve had good results in the past using PC-11. Eastwood even sells a complete kit for do it yourselfers. Why spend $200-$300 for someone else to do what you can do for under $20 ? Just takes a little patience, sanding, filling, painting.
A: Its not just you; they are prone to cracking though, I’ve found more uncracked Custom Sport (Wood) steering wheels than I have of the Deluxe or Standard type. I’ve had good results in the past using PC-11. Fills big cracks well. You just have to spend the time sanding to get a good finish for the paint. There are many places offering this service; everything from crack repair to a complete remold of your rim. Like I said before, you can fix the cracks yourself for under $20. Resto shops charge anywhere from $100 to as much as $400 depending on whats needed. Matching the Wood Grain ‘Tint’ is the toughest part and even the companies who redo the wheel are not always able to match it perfectly. It can and has been done; just requires patience and trial and error to find the match.
A: Know about the kit, but it only works if you have a solid color wheel. The deluxe wheels have a clear plastic on the top half.. Sanding and painting are out if you want the original look.
A: I have some good news for you. I work as designer/engineer and we have a process for dying acrylic. Specifically to simulate tinted glass. Pretty simple really, but you should test on samples to get the correct ratio for the color you want.
What you do is boil some water (rolling boil) in a vessel you wont use for anything else but this process. To this water add RID dye (liquid) green, blue, and yellow, in ratios to reach the desired color. Let boil for several minutes to insure mix and high temperature. Set up a cold water bath very near to the boiling area, like maybe a two bay sink. When the dying vessel is hot turn off the heat and submerge the wheel in the liquid for a few seconds, try five seconds to start, promptly remove from the tint and submerge in the cold water. Leave for a minute or so then remove and check the tint job, to light go one more time. To dark WHOOPS! Get the deal. Works better than you could imagine, really great look, won’t rub off! Test on acrylic sample, the part must be polished, factory sheet surface wont take tint until hit with say 1200 then buffed on wheel to a polish. Needs a little something to bond to, should not be a problem with poured cast acrylic.
A: When I bought my 1968 Gp from San Jose the steering wheel top clear part was not just cracked – it was MISSING! Because he rest of the car was mechanically stuffed I did not even think about what this problem may entail, I was too busy trying to pay and fix the car so it would go!
Anyway, when I finally turned my mind to “fixing” the wheel I could not just go down to the local wreckers and find one on a car as you people Stateside can appreciate. I had a similar wheel on a 1967 Catalina (was going – now parts car) and as soon as I looked at it, it disintergrated. So I thought – what to do? I spoke to a fried who knows everything and he indicated that he knew someone who was involved in the fibreglass resin game. What this person did was:
Stick The Wheel In A Material That Acts As A Mold (Lower Half)
A Mold Of The Lower Half Was Made
This Section Was Used To Create The Top, Missing Part
When I Got It Back, It Looked Like An Old Plastic Model With Bits Of Plastic Still Attached.
I Trimed Off The Excess Plastic And Sanded The Clear With Fine Wet And Dry.
Buffed The Upper Clear Section As One Would With Acrylic Paint (Be Careful Here) To Achieve Gloss
The only thing that I should have done was research the “tint” of the clear – I did it in clear – it was only after that I saw an original wheel – the damn things are green!! Also the lower half of the wheel is sectioned, so it is not a “mirror image” of the top. What I have is the top as same as the bottom. Aside from a few bubbles in the resin I am very happy – only $50 – looks good and better than trying to drive with a steel ring! So the moral is (is there one?) talk to your local fibreglass people – once you have the mold you can sell/give/repair as many as you like.
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Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm