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Projects Steering Wheel Rebuild

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by jkluge, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. jkluge
    Joined: Oct 6, 2014
    Posts: 111

    jkluge

    Rebuilt my steering wheel, I know its just a small item, but sometimes its in the details.

    Started with a falling apart 1950 Mercury Steering wheel.

    I didn't know what to do to try to save it, it was pretty cracked and tattered. Not to mention missing a chunk of it.

    So I sanded it all down, pretty smelly stuff when you do that.
    Cleaned out all the cracks on it.
    Put some JB weld on it, little by little, taping and using cardboard to shape it.
    Also the screws I added, I did have to do a little grinding to cut the heads off.
    Once I had it back to shape I handed it off to my buddy who is a professional painter, and he laid down a good layer of paint, but more importantly, he loaded the clear on.

    I think it turned out pretty good.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. vwdave30
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 457

    vwdave30
    Member

  3. wex65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,100

    wex65
    Member
    from WV

    Beautiful finish, kudos
     
  4. Looks good,I did basically the same thing with a '54 Ford steering wheel except I used PC-7 epoxy. HRP

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
    dana barlow likes this.

  5. Yes, looks great, did the same to mine. I was going to chuck it and get a better one. Lots of time spent but turned out nice.
     
  6. Now, would that work with epoxy too, instead of the JB weld?
    Great work, btw!
     
  7. jkluge
    Joined: Oct 6, 2014
    Posts: 111

    jkluge

    Way more time than I originally anticipated.
    I also thought about getting a different one but I wanted to keep the huge wheel for a little extra help turning.
     
  8. jkluge
    Joined: Oct 6, 2014
    Posts: 111

    jkluge

    I would image epoxy would do just fine as well, depending on what you had for epoxy, I went with JB weld for its durability and sandability.
    That center piece little gem is epoxy filled to make it look like a little stone type thingy. haha
     
  9.  
  10. Sharmack
    Joined: Jan 18, 2014
    Posts: 144

    Sharmack
    Member

    Looks fantastic I did mine like that also. 1950 ford. I as others have mentioned used PC7 available at Ace Hardware, I then shot it with Adhesion promoter (Bulldog) and PPG Concept single stage, with a bunch of clear on top of that. Its a lot of work and tough to get in nooks and crannies but a dremel helps and sanding blocks are your best friend. I let mine bake in the hot sun for a few days to fully cure. As to if it will last or not, only time will tell.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
    damagedduck and Spoggie like this.
  11. Great jobs, guys!
     
  12. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,061

    Torchie
    Member

    I have done this a number of times over the years and have always used JB Weld. Some claim that it will crack due to shrinking and expanding from temp changes but I have never had that problem.
    Pic is of a wheel for a wooden boat restoration that I did a few years ago. No problems with it at all and it spends a lot of time out in the sunshine and weather.
    Plus I always use paint with an added hardener on them vs a rattle can as the acid from your skin/sweat tends to break down non hardened paint.
    Torchie. IMG_0305.jpg
     
    jkluge likes this.
  13. I never could get JB Weld to work. I'd sand it down and topcoat it, only to find out that it expanded at a slightly faster rate in the Texas heat than the surrounding Fordlite material, leaving tell-tale marks showing each area that had been filled.

    Through some experimentation, I found that liquid CA glue mixed with bakelite/Fordlite shavings made a perfect repair;

    Step 1 (not shown): Carefully grind cracks (a v-shaped file works well here and will allow you to save the shavings/dust for later use).

    Step 2 (below): Lightly 'dust' bakelite shavings into gaps, cover with a small amount of CA and apply a final dusting of bakelite on top of the CA (the glue will 'kick' instantly)
    [​IMG]

    Step 3: Carefully sand excess and reapply as needed. Results after application of CA/bakelite mixture and sanding with 600 grit;
    [​IMG]

    Step 4: Paint with your choice of color. I chose black lacquer, as it is indistinguishable from polished bakelite once wetsanded. Here are the results after hitting it with 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000;
    [​IMG]
     
  14. richard price
    Joined: Aug 16, 2014
    Posts: 23

    richard price

  15. steering wheel restoration is pretty labor intense, great thread!
     
  16. Rathbone
    Joined: Oct 14, 2004
    Posts: 480

    Rathbone
    Member

    I've done several steering wheels now using 'plumber's putty'. Recently the best brand I've found is Loctite, and it's available at Walmart. The advantage to this over the other methods I've seen is how easy it is. It's like working with play-dough. It hardens fast, then you sand it and paint it. It's always been durable in the Florida sun.
     
    Spoggie likes this.
  17. I did mine with PC7 also. I do see a very thin hairline crack coming back.
    ROADSTER 010.JPG
     
    Sharmack and dana barlow like this.
  18. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,374

    brigrat
    Member
    from Wa.St.

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  19. buzzbrother
    Joined: Jun 2, 2009
    Posts: 63

    buzzbrother
    Member

    Those are dope...gonna send y'all mine. Good stuff fellas
     
  20. Here a tip to hold a steering wheel.

    100_0599.jpg
     
    damagedduck, jkluge and tb33anda3rd like this.
  21. Sharmack
    Joined: Jan 18, 2014
    Posts: 144

    Sharmack
    Member

    @gwhite what kind of lacquer did you use? Looks great!
     
  22. wex65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,100

    wex65
    Member
    from WV

    Doing it yourself is the way to go as I found out. First couple of shots are what I got back from a 'pro' wheel restorer that advertises in multiple locations. Second two are what I then did myself. 6-8 coats of acrylic enamel and a LOT of sanding, finished with 2k and then moved to polishing compound.

    Used acrylic enamel so it will hold up to use, tougher. Make sure you get the hardener right or you will have a tacky wheel in the heat of summer.

    IMG_3127.JPG IMG_3129.JPG 1.jpg 2.jpg
     
  23. Well done guys, very nice.
     
  24. wex65, your wheel looks even better in the car...

    [​IMG]

    jkluge, nice work, yours looks great. Turning into one of the more informative threads on steering wheel resto too. I've got a couple hanging in the garage that might actually get put back into service with some of this info.
     
    wex65 likes this.
  25. Dan in Pasadena
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Posts: 862

    Dan in Pasadena
    Member

    Man, these are BEOOTIFUL! No way I'm showing my amateurish crack repair and rattle can paint job from my avatar truck. It actually looks good - to me. (Naturally! Hahaha)
     
  26. Dan in Pasadena
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Posts: 862

    Dan in Pasadena
    Member

    Just read through the link in Brigrat's post and his referral to Marine Tex looks like a great find....for a lot of things. When I did my '55's wheel I repaired all the cracks successfully but the "backside" where your fingers wrap around the wheel has symmetrical bumps tha,t are damaged and I hadn't been able to figure out how to rebuild them. At about $20 delivered for just 2 oz. it's not cheap but I'd it works it'll be well worth it.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=1970559082&pf_rd_i=desktop
     
  27. cretin
    Joined: Oct 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,943

    cretin
    Member

    gwhite, That looks fantastic!
    wex65, Yours looks great as well. Who was the pro? I've restored one wheel myself and was less then pleased with my results. I have a couple wheels to restore, and may still try them myself with a different method, but have also thought about having someone do them. Don't wanna choose the wrong person if I go that way.
     
  28. wex65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,100

    wex65
    Member
    from WV

    I did some research before posting the guys name. As it seems I wasn't the only one to have these issues I am posting. He goes by fiftiesfords on ebay and his own site (same name with .com). Another guy had same issues as you can see on this page below which WAS on HAMB but has been deleted but can still be seen here in Google's cache. Check out his photos, pretty bad.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...-ford-parts.916215/+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    To be fair to the guy he refunded me like 30% of my money and I invested in some acrylic enamel, 1500 and 2000 paper and some polishing compound. It came out like a mirror after a bunch of coats and many hours sanding/polishing.
     
  29. Not familiar with CA glue, what kind is it? Some sort of epoxy?
     
  30. damagedduck likes this.

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