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  • Steering: Steering wheel restoration

    This might be more a cosmetic question than a mechanical question, but here it goes - has anybody here ever restored their steering wheel? The wheel on my '61 Lark Station Wagon has a couple of thick cracks in the plastic that leave the core a bit exposed, and the paint in general has worn away. I'm open to either getting it professionally done or, if I can make the time, doing it myself. A few questions then: If I go the professional route what sort of work should I request in order to restore the wheel so that it is both attractive and durable for a driver? Typically what's the range that I should expect to pay for this sort of work? - the car is in the LA area by the way, although I can ship the wheel if the work that I'm looking for isn't in my neck of the woods If I do try to restore it myself, what materials should I use for the filling, sanding, painting, and buffing for the wheel?

  • #2
    The steering wheels in sunny climates cracked badly.
    If you can find one from a cooler climate , you will find these to be uncracked and normally only need painting.
    I can look for a good one on my parts cars if you decide to go that way.
    I recently sold a 1950 two spoke wheel that was good with no cracks that came from a junk yard in Wisconsin.
    I am snowed in right now but in a couple of month my parts cars start showing again. What color do you need? I may have some N.O.S. wheels.
    Robert Kapteyn

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    • #3
      I think Eastwood has a do it yourself kit for this. But all it is is a two part repair filler that you sand and then you epoxy prime and paint.

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      • #4
        This makes sense - the car has been sitting in the California sun for at least 20 years! The wheel for my 61 is black and white - it sits on a black steering column. It's a regal model and has the chrome horn bar, although I'm not sure if that makes a difference since I think it just sits atop the regular wheel.

        Thanks Robert! Keep me in the loop if you find one.

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        • #5
          I've noticed that there are some folks that repair these by filling, polishing and painting and there are others who grind the whole thing away and re-cast the wheel. Does anyone know what the material is that they use in liquid state to re-cast steering wheels?
          Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
          Kenmore, Washington
          hausdok@msn.com

          '58 Packard Hawk
          '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
          '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
          '69 Pontiac Firebird
          (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

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          • #6
            I found this on YouTube a while back. The guy is restoring a '57 GH and shows how he did the steering wheel with epoxy putty and Rust-Oleum. I haven't needed to try it, but he makes it look easy.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isF_zDPCiwg
            Mike Davis
            Regional Manager, North Carolina
            1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

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            • #7
              The professional way, recasting the whole wheel, is expensive! It will take longer to get your first new crack though. Epoxy repair is easy, then repaint. Will last till the next crack appears in the old brittle plastic. I think Schrock Brothers is the name of the best known one-cost to recast is about $500.00 $700.00 thpugh.
              http://www.shrockbrothers.com/steering_wheels.html

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              • #8
                For a car that is relatively common, I would strongly suggest buying a good used replacement steering wheel. The correct colors would be ideal, but painting it is not a big deal, especially before you install it on the car.

                I think that a 1961 Regal wheel is different than a 1961 Deluxe wheel, other than the two-tone on the Regal. Look it up in a parts book before buying one.
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                • #9
                  I just did mine. I watched the video on YouTube and it was pretty easy. the epoxy ,primer and paint all came from Home Depot it didn't come out to bad but my car is just a driver and not a concors car.
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                  sigpic
                  2005 Dodge Magnum
                  1952 Studebaker Land Cruiser

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                  • #10
                    Nice job! Are you going to one day paint the interior to match the wheel?
                    Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
                    Kenmore, Washington
                    hausdok@msn.com

                    '58 Packard Hawk
                    '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
                    '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
                    '69 Pontiac Firebird
                    (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

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                    • #11
                      No, the wheel was a translucent red to start with. I just couldn't justify the cost of a rebuilt one.
                      sigpic
                      2005 Dodge Magnum
                      1952 Studebaker Land Cruiser

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                      • #12
                        Mr. H, that steering wheel repair/restoration is very good! With two part epoxy, it needs to be clean and all the brittle parts removed. One of my other trades is the Restoration of China and Porceline and use similar fillers,paints.. Nice looking 52' .How many inches is she chopped?? Mike..

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                        • #13
                          I did a 63 Avanti wheel a few years back, and I used a kit (I think from Eastwood). It basically was just PC7 epoxy filler (2 cans/parts), and a primer. I painted it with a special interior "paint" with a special hardener, for durability. My son runs a body shop and one of his guys got me the special paint stuff. It worked very well and was quite easy to do, just took a little patience. Bill

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                          • #14
                            It's only dropped 2 inches in the rear. The front drop is just Mother Nature (old springs)
                            Click image for larger version

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                            sigpic
                            2005 Dodge Magnum
                            1952 Studebaker Land Cruiser

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                            • #15
                              MrHemi2U - that's a pretty good job on the wheel. I'll certainly consider filing in the gaps with epoxy on my current wheel if I can't get ahold of a slightly less used one.

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