Why aren't there more threads on steering wheel restoration? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Why aren't there more threads on steering wheel restoration?

One of the toughest things I've had to wrestle with is what to do about my steering wheel. '68 with a deluxe interior, and the wheel is trashed. Proof is in the photos. I've considered downgrading to a repop standard wheel (cheap but wrong), aftermarket (wouldn't fit in with the car's originality, which I've tried to preserve, not to mention what I've read about aftermarket wheels), repop (68 deluxe wheels are now being offered, but they didn't seem to exist until recently, and they're hitting $600), or restoration. And considering the variety of wheels used throughout the Mustangs early history, lots of you must've faced the same problem. What to do?

Yet as I search the forums I don't get much info on the various restorers - Best In Show, Bob's, Gary's, etc. Nice websites, every one of them, with glorious photos of their work, but it's like they don't exist in the forums. Maybe I'm just searching wrong, or looking at it wrong, they may all do exceptional work, for not much more than a repop you can have your original back, and I think that's the way I'll go - if the thing can be salvaged.

OK, enough whining or whatever it is. I've sent emails to all the major restorers I can find online, and if it can be done and I do it, I'll post the results.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 10:08 AM
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Try restoring it yourself. If it doesn't pan out, you're out next to nothing. Fill the gaps where it shrunk and cracks with a high grade plastic filler, sand it smooth, and use interior lacquer, clear coat it with compatible stuff and enjoy. You could put a nice looking steering wheel cover on it to help discourage wear I suppose.
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My 1st car...
'66 Tahoe Turquoise/ Aqua coupe
•289 / 4100 •C4 Auto •Disc Brakes
•Dual Exhaust •Quick Manual Steering
•Rally Pac •Console •Deluxe Belts
•LOTS of Rotunda accessories

Older son's 1st car...
'66 Emberglo / Parchment deluxe coupe
•289 / 2100 •C4 Auto
•Dealer A/C • Console
•Dual Exhaust • Power Steering

Younger son's 1st car...
'66 Nightmist / Blue & white deluxe coupe
•289 / 2100 •C4 Auto
•Factory A/C •Console
WAITING FOR RESTORATION

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 12:10 PM
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I have restored more than a few. Thing is, it’s relatively simple.

Fill in the cracks and missing material with SteelStik from JB Weld. It’s an epoxy putty and dries quite hard and is sandable. Give it a try.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakeTX View Post
I have restored more than a few. Thing is, it’s relatively simple.
What do you do to remove the God-awful smell the old steering wheels have? The one in my '69 is horrible, it came with another steering wheel also but it's just as bad.

Allen

My build thread: Allen's Build Thread

My go fast build thread: Go Fast Build Thread
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 12:51 PM
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Problem with restoring and old wheel is that it may develop new cracks.

Its time consuming to restore one correctly.

I just put the old ones in a box and buy a repop.

Maybe someday I will start restoring them.


1965 Mustang Coupe 289/C4
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 12:57 PM
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"Why aren't there more threads on steering wheel restoration?"

Very Simple. Because unless they are expensive Hard to find steering wheels (like Original Shelby Wheels) and/or they are wood....People just don't bother doing this anymore unless it's a simple one or two small cracks.....Since the Regular '65-'70 Repro Steering Wheels today are made even better than the Originals were (With the exception of the '65-'67 Deluxe GT Steering Wheels where the repros are close and very, very good, but have not gotten as good as the originals just yet).

It's always much easier to buy a Brand New "Colored" Plastic Steering Wheel than to try and repair one where the cracks will just come back and the "re-paint" will just wear off anyway. Think about it. ...as I said..especially when they are better made than the Originals... We have it really good in the Classic Mustang hobby....much better than other car brand hobbyists....even GM....trust me on this....someone who has had both GM and Ford classic cars for the past few decades....We have it REAL good....better than you even know.

Did you know?!?!? that most GM Body Parts for like a Camaro, Chevelle or Nova sell for nearly double of what Classic Mustang Body Parts go for?!??! Go and price them..

PS: No Offense, But your Steering Wheel is Trash, Not safe and definately not worth repairing either in its condition. Sorry to break the bad news, Now go out and buy yourself the best NPD Repro out there..

"Try restoring it yourself. If it doesn't pan out" - Sorry, but this one is not only Dangerous, It would be a complete waste of time to try and fix.

The '68 Deluxe Steering Wheel is Reproed as far as I know....So you won't have any issues...and you'll be glad that you bought it. Just Pony up the bucks for it....A more than worthwhile investment....Toss your old one in the trash or hang it on the wall....or use it as a door stop somewhere.

)

Tony K.



Tony Kovar
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1965 Mustang Convertible 200cid I6, 3spd Manual (Soon to be swapped for a '65 Date Coded C4!)
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Last edited by NEFaurora; 08-17-2019 at 01:10 PM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 01:06 PM
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"Problem with restoring and old wheel is that it may develop new cracks."

Very True...and his is WAY BEYOND Restoration grade... It's TRASH grade.

I'll be the first person out there to try and rescue an Original Ford part....but not in this case... His Original Steering Wheel is way too far gone. It passed being Restorable 25 years ago....lol....No lie.

Here is your wheel....$600 bucks... Not cheap, but an investment in your car.

https://www.npdlink.com/product/stee...1968&year=1968

If you don't want to pay the $600, You can buy the "Standard" Parchment '68 Steering Wheel for $200 and will work just the same.

)

Tony K.
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Tony Kovar
Melbourne, FL (Formerly from Long Island, NY!)

1965 Mustang Convertible 200cid I6, 3spd Manual (Soon to be swapped for a '65 Date Coded C4!)
1966 Mustang Sprint 200 Registry Owner/Moderator
1966 Mustang Sprint 200 Convertible 200cid I6, C4 Auto
2007 Mustang V6 Convertible w/ Pony Package
MCA#70001

Getting Ready for the 2020 Melbourne, FL MCA Nationals!

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgc View Post
Problem with restoring and old wheel is that it may develop new cracks.
Invariably, they do, but it lasts several years, and I find it to be a simple and fun thing to fix.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnall View Post
What do you do to remove the God-awful smell the old steering wheels have? The one in my '69 is horrible, it came with another steering wheel also but it's just as bad.

Allen
I think what made my old one stink was a steering wheel cover. Those things, and all the grooves on a wheel or horn button, hold all the dirt, oil, grease, food, and God knows what over the years. May hafta soak it in white vinegar or a bleach solution.

My 1st car...
'66 Tahoe Turquoise/ Aqua coupe
•289 / 4100 •C4 Auto •Disc Brakes
•Dual Exhaust •Quick Manual Steering
•Rally Pac •Console •Deluxe Belts
•LOTS of Rotunda accessories

Older son's 1st car...
'66 Emberglo / Parchment deluxe coupe
•289 / 2100 •C4 Auto
•Dealer A/C • Console
•Dual Exhaust • Power Steering

Younger son's 1st car...
'66 Nightmist / Blue & white deluxe coupe
•289 / 2100 •C4 Auto
•Factory A/C •Console
WAITING FOR RESTORATION

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 03:40 PM
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By the way @flashback52 and @NEFaurora , I didn't see all the pics (didn't load) and yeah, that one is too far gone. That's not just tiny cracks here or there, that is major separation and if you DID kind of "restore" it, I would only use it as a man-cave wallhanger.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 04:13 AM
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I did mine not too long ago. It was easy though time consuming. Here’s the post that documents it. https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/b...l#post10122588

Mine didn’t have the damage at the spoke and hub yours does but my ring was fairly well trashed.

67 Hardtop, brought it back to a driver
http://desertratretro.com

Last edited by vegasloki; 08-18-2019 at 04:16 AM.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 07:38 AM
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Speaking of Mustang steering wheels.....

My '95 has started oozing some kind of black goo. Anyone seen that? Know how to fix it?

Ok, not technically a restoration question, but it does involve a Mustang, a steering wheel and some leaking mystery fluid just for good measure so that's got to be on topic, right?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info folks. Tell the truth I was afraid to buy one of the repops, have seen a thread or two where a repop wheel wouldn't seat all the way onto the stem, and I remember a reply that said 'Can you say C-H-I-N-A.' Which put the fear of China in me.

I did contact a number of restorers, sent them the same photos I posted here, and actually did get a phone response ( - like a doctor making house calls) from Steering Wheel Bob. UNFORTUNATELY, my wife got the message, was half way though before I realized what she was listening to, so I only got to hear the last part, and then she hit delete instead of save. But the gist was use this wheel as a boat anchor, not even close to saving, and if I want an original wheel on the car, shop around for a decent core. Anyway, kudos to Bob, for that act alone I'd give him my future business, but after considering the favorable build-up the Best In Show repops get (better than original And I was afraid of them) I'll go ahead and get the repop. Got to shut up all the friends who say I'll never finish the car, and retirements looming - after 20 years I want to drive it to my retirement dinner.

No responses from the other restorers yet, btw.

Thanks again, folks. One day I'll post photos of a done car.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 08:21 PM
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I used the following video's as a guide and did mine myself. I did purchase a new pad and rim blow switch. The three way plastic insert that goes onto the pad is the original that I spend a lot of time masking and painting. Once again I used a sliver leaf paint pen on the outside edge of the plastic insert.


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