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Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative
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   Forward Look Technical Discussions -> Steering and SuspensionMessage format
Posted 2018-08-28 8:48 PM (#569182)
Subject: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


Posts: 3567
Location: Lower Mainland BC
When I got my 56 Dodge in Sept. 2016 (coming up 2 years), the two-tone plastic steering wheel in the car was literally falling apart. I couldn't drive like that so I bought a better two-tone plastic wheel. It was still bad but at least all the bits were still on it. To create a useable wheel from that one, I painted the upper part with several coats of PlastiDip to hold the bits together. This was followed by gloss white Tremclad on the top and a Duplicolour Chrysler product "Electric Blue" paint. That made for a useable steering wheel.

I also inquired about the cost of s professionally redone steering wheel. The answer was US$1400 for a beautifully recast wheel. Too rich for my budget.

So I decided to look for a solid rubber steering wheel to fix because I found out that they typically cracked less. I bought one from French Lake Auto Parts (FLAP) in Minnesota with the plan of fixing and painting it some day. That day finally came last week.

The first thing was to acquire some JB Weld brand "PlasticWeld" epoxy putty (two part - you cut it and mix it together).

Before I could put the PlasticWeld on, I had to open up the few cracks with my Dremel. I used a fiber cut-off wheel for that task.

Then I cut about 1.5" of the epoxy putty and kneaded it until it was a consistent uniform colour. That was a lot of work - took about 10 minutes.

Good news there was still plenty of working time. I pushed the putty into the cracks with my fingers and an old flat blade screw driver. I tried not to miss anything but I knew that if I did, I could fix the problem with either more putty or spot putty.

I let the epoxy cure over night and then sanded it off with my Dremel and fibre disc (One of my favourite all round tools right now).

Once the epoxy was sanded off and the wheel wiped off, I could see small bits that I missed and places where I had gotten careless with the Dremel and had made some small cuts.

So those bits got Spot Putty. When the Spot Putty was dry, I sanded it off with 100 grit and then looked for more imperfections. Then one more round of Spot putty and sanding.

When I was reasonably happy, I sanded the entire wheel (by hand) with 220 grit. Then I wiped it down and sprayed on high build Duplicolour primer. This brought out more imperfections that I had missed. So another round of Spot putty, sanding and primer.

After quick sand with 400 grit, I sprayed the top half of the steering wheel with Duplicolour Wimbelton white (which is a close match to the Sapphire White on my car's roof). (So what it is a Ford colour - it works). After several coats of the white and a thorough overnight drying, I masked off the white and prepped for painting the bottom blue. I used 3M Painters blue at the interface because I knew it would create a crisp, no bleed line. Then I sprayed several coats of Duplicolour 2416 Electric Blue - because I had it and it looks good. Quite sparkly.

As you can see from the photos below, the result is better than what I had. Not even close to a proper $1400 re-cast but my car is never going to warrant that kind of attention or a $10000 paint job. This cost me $100 for the rubber wheel, $10 for the primer and $10 for the paint. Say $135 all in.

Next step - figure out what is up with the horn slip ring. I didn't even notice the issue until I saw the photos that I put together for this post.

Hope this helps somebody in the future.

Edited by 56D500boy 2018-08-28 8:53 PM

















Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_1_TheOriginalSteeringWheelThatCameWithMyCar.jpg (189KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_2_ASecondInterimSteeringWheelThatWasPlastiDippedAndPainted.jpg (220KB - 13 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_3_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts.jpg (193KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_4_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_ExampleCracks.jpg (185KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_5_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_OpeningCracksWithDremel.jpg (158KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_6_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FillingCracksWithPlasticWeld_Back.jpg (185KB - 12 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_7_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FillingCracksWithPlasticWeld_Front.jpg (206KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_8_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_RemovingEpoxyWithDremel_Back.jpg (217KB - 12 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_9_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_UsingSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Front.jpg (176KB - 10 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_9_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_UsingSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Back.jpg (206KB - 12 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_10_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_SandingOffSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Back.jpg (202KB - 13 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_11_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingWimbeltonWhiteOverPrimer.jpg (172KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_12_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingWimbeltonWhiteOverPrimer.jpg (202KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_13_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingBottomWithElectricBluePaint.jpg (243KB - 13 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_14_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct.jpg (199KB - 14 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_15_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct_Detail.jpg (174KB - 11 downloads)
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Posted 2018-08-28 10:06 PM (#569188 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


Posts: 3002
Looks good, i did that also. Fair amount of work but worth it... You have to start with a reasonable one though.
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Posted 2018-08-29 12:13 PM (#569217 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative

Elite Veteran

Posts: 781
Location: Buena Park, CA
I did the same thing but used the POR-15 epoxy. $25 Ebay wheel and a couple of hours work and I was happy.
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Posted 2018-08-29 1:59 PM (#569220 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


Posts: 3463
Location: Netherlands
Nice work. Now sell it for $1400?
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Posted 2018-08-29 3:08 PM (#569225 - in reply to #569220)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


Posts: 3567
Location: Lower Mainland BC
BigBlockMopar - 2018-08-29 1:59 PM
Nice work. Now sell it for $1400?

LOL. No. Special this week only, $699.


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