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Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-08-28 8:48 PM (#569182)
Subject: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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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




(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_1_TheOriginalSteeringWheelThatCameWithMyCar.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_2_ASecondInterimSteeringWheelThatWasPlastiDippedAndPainted.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_3_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_4_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_ExampleCracks.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_5_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_OpeningCracksWithDremel.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_6_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FillingCracksWithPlasticWeld_Back.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_7_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FillingCracksWithPlasticWeld_Front.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_8_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_RemovingEpoxyWithDremel_Back.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_9_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_UsingSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Front.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_9_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_UsingSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Back.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_10_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_SandingOffSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Back.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_11_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingWimbeltonWhiteOverPrimer.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_12_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingWimbeltonWhiteOverPrimer.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_13_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingBottomWithElectricBluePaint.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_14_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct.jpg)



(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_15_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct_Detail.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_1_TheOriginalSteeringWheelThatCameWithMyCar.jpg (189KB - 148 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_2_ASecondInterimSteeringWheelThatWasPlastiDippedAndPainted.jpg (220KB - 140 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_3_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts.jpg (193KB - 135 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_4_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_ExampleCracks.jpg (185KB - 147 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_5_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_OpeningCracksWithDremel.jpg (158KB - 143 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_6_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FillingCracksWithPlasticWeld_Back.jpg (185KB - 143 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_7_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FillingCracksWithPlasticWeld_Front.jpg (206KB - 151 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_8_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_RemovingEpoxyWithDremel_Back.jpg (217KB - 141 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_9_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_UsingSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Front.jpg (176KB - 156 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_9_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_UsingSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Back.jpg (206KB - 145 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_10_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_SandingOffSpotPuttyOnEpoxy_Back.jpg (202KB - 157 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_11_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingWimbeltonWhiteOverPrimer.jpg (172KB - 144 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_12_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingWimbeltonWhiteOverPrimer.jpg (202KB - 152 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_13_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_PaintingBottomWithElectricBluePaint.jpg (243KB - 146 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_14_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct.jpg (199KB - 143 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_15_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct_Detail.jpg (174KB - 153 downloads)
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-08-28 10:06 PM (#569188 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


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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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DepsilonD
Posted 2018-08-29 12:13 PM (#569217 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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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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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2018-08-29 1:59 PM (#569220 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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Nice work. Now sell it for $1400?
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-08-29 3:08 PM (#569225 - in reply to #569220)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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BigBlockMopar - 2018-08-29 1:59 PM
Nice work. Now sell it for $1400?


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

Kidding.

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Stroller
Posted 2018-10-20 2:08 PM (#572056 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


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I love JB Weld
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GaryS
Posted 2018-10-20 3:48 PM (#572061 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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Very nice!
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mstrug
Posted 2018-10-20 4:42 PM (#572073 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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You are good!
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56D500boy
Posted 2021-02-11 9:06 PM (#608764 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: RE: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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.
Well, it only took me like 2.5 years to get the "new" steering wheel installed. The impetus was I had to remove the interim steering wheel to investigate a signal light switch issue and there was no reason not to install the French Lake all rubber steering wheel when I was completing that fix.

Signal light switch investigations:

http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=75266&...

The "new" steering wheel, installed (looks pretty good, feels great with no cracks anymore) (Remember the white is Ford "Wimbledon White" which is a little yellow, which in this application is a good thing):





Edited by 56D500boy 2021-02-11 9:09 PM




(56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_14_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct_Installed.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalSteeringWheelRenewal_14_FullRubberWheelFromFrenchLakeAutoParts_FinalProduct_Installed.jpg (171KB - 6 downloads)
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22mafeja
Posted 2021-02-12 7:52 AM (#608776 - in reply to #608764)
Subject: RE: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


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The dash looks really sharp Dave. What are the two additional meters sitting on the steering column? Is your ashtray missing? I might have one if you need..
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56D500boy
Posted 2021-02-12 12:12 PM (#608783 - in reply to #608776)
Subject: RE: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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22mafeja - 2021-02-12 4:52 AM
The dash looks really sharp Dave. What are the two additional meters sitting on the steering column? Is your ashtray missing? I might have one if you need..


Thanks Ralf. I don't know why it took me over two years to install that "new" steering wheel (I guess the interim, cracked but painted, steering wheel was good enough - until it wasn't)

I have an ashtray. I had removed it to try to figure out how to disassemble it so I could paint the non-chrome middle bit and then apply a new ASH TRAY decal that I bought years ago. Still trying to figure out what to do on that one. The ashtray was basically welded and riveted together with the center knob being a big rivet (no nuts involved).

The gauges are the custom ones that I "designed" (using Autometer's software) and Autometer made for me. Volt meter on the left (I was having generator and starter issues at the time) and Tach on the right (I don't want to push the engine over 4400 RPM (fat chance of that)). The pod is one that I constructed (with welding aid from my neighbour) from a section of dash that I bought from John F. at Big M and a new (NOS) gauge bezel (perfect chrome rings and plastic), as documented here:

http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=67964&...

These:

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big m
Posted 2021-02-15 12:01 PM (#608944 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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Nice job on the steering wheel, Dave!

I've used JB weld on some, and it's held up pretty well.

---John
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ronbo97
Posted 2021-02-15 1:59 PM (#608950 - in reply to #569182)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative


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IMHO, there should be a small gap (1/8"?) between the upper and lower portions of the wheel to allow for expansion/contraction of the metal core. Not that it helped much with the poor quality plastic that they used back then.

Ron
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56D500boy
Posted 2021-02-15 2:54 PM (#608952 - in reply to #608950)
Subject: Re: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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ronbo97 - 2021-02-15 10:59 AM
IMHO, there should be a small gap (1/8"?) between the upper and lower portions of the wheel to allow for expansion/contraction of the metal core. Not that it helped much with the poor quality plastic that they used back then.


Time will tell. It certainly didn't save even the best two-tone plastic steering wheels from cracking. The one that I used this time is a "rubber" one, and if there was a gap, I filled it.

Photos of OE two-tone plastic wheel photos that I saved for reference:



Edited by 56D500boy 2021-02-15 2:59 PM




(55DodgeTwoToneSteeringWheel.jpg)



(OE55_56DodgeTwoToneSteeringWheelShowingAgedColours_small.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments 55DodgeTwoToneSteeringWheel.jpg (133KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments OE55_56DodgeTwoToneSteeringWheelShowingAgedColours_small.jpg (208KB - 3 downloads)
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rockerarm
Posted 2021-02-15 3:38 PM (#608956 - in reply to #608764)
Subject: RE: Avoiding a $1400 steering wheel renewal - a cheap@ss alternative



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Beautiful.... Nice work.
FYI.... Wimbolton white is a Ford color and if one has issues with
using a Ford color then "Alpine" white, (a Mopar color), is identical to it.

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