Repairing a Stepdown Steering Wheel

pseftoncomcastnetpseftoncomcastnet Posts: 187Senior Contributor
My '51 Commodore steering wheel needs some help. The plastic is nearly all there but it has cracks and is missing a few chunks here and there. I'm contemplating trying to help it out with epoxy. Has anyone had good luck with a particular brand or repair technique?


  • Courtesy ManCourtesy Man Posts: 264Expert Adviser
    A 20 page booklet is available(?): STEERING WHEEL RESTORATION HANDBOOK by Jack Turpin Copyright 1981 mine is 2nd edition 1987. No ISBN number. Author listed: Jack Turpin Box 2474, Route 2 Peaceful Valley Subdivision, Cleveland, Georgia 30528 (I have no affiliation).  Quite complete coverage from removal, repair (incl hard rubber, plastic), epoxy, repaint - restoring knobs. Probably out of print?  Let us know.
  • pseftoncomcastnetpseftoncomcastnet Posts: 187Senior Contributor
    I'll check this out!   Anybody know Jack?  Maybe he has some updates on products.
  • Courtesy ManCourtesy Man Posts: 264Expert Adviser
    I see a copy on Abe Books - other book dealers may have it.
  • 40indianssgmailcom40indianssgmailcom Posts: 277Senior Contributor
    Seems to me that in the last 42 years the products/materials used to restore a 70+ year old steering wheel would be greatly improved since 1981.  Some of the techniques of repair are probably still appropriate.  As an example leading is virtually unheard of since the introduction of ‘bondo’ like material, ‘filler’ primers, and catalyzed paints.  
  • ken1962ken1962 Posts: 346Member
    I remember about 5 years ago there was a company in the USA who restore them if you have a core (which you do) They focused on the 1950s hot rod market ...I'd google the hell out of the subject to find them if I was you as I remember their website was showing beautiful marbled wheels ...hope you have success...just wish I booked marked them cheers ken
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,714Senior Contributor
    I used a clear epoxy, spread it into the crack and simply wound clear sellotape around it.  When the epoxy hardened I removed the sellotape, sanded the epoxy, then painted it with primer and  nitrocellulose lacquer.   These original wheels were nitro-cellulose based.   
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • ken1962ken1962 Posts: 346Member
    Back again found them ...they are Australia based 
  • pseftoncomcastnetpseftoncomcastnet Posts: 187Senior Contributor
    these are some excellent leads. Mr. Turpin appears to have left us in 2014, so I certainly think that there is a niche for someone to update his classic  book on repair taking new tech into account. About to email Australia.
  • 54coupe54coupe Posts: 1,122Member
    Eastwood makes a kit. I know a couple of people who have used it, and had very nice results.
  • charles4dcharles4d Posts: 674Expert Adviser
    Check Hemming for a company that restore  them
  • stevepetstevepet Posts: 122Member
    There is a company in Adelaide South Australia that restores steering wheels, Do a very good job but cannot remember name though.
  • atcatc Posts: 41Member
    I know when dad and I redid my wheel we used that gray hardening epoxy you mix together on a paper plate. It's lasted a long time but the wheel is starting to split at the very top again.
    If you have a marbled wheel (or want one) I cannot emphasize how talented airbrush artists are. For a fraction of the price of a re-cast, I got a marbled steering wheel that looks just as good, if not better, from a local airbrush guy. It's lasted longer than the underlying epoxy fix :smile:

  • pseftoncomcastnetpseftoncomcastnet Posts: 187Senior Contributor
    I checked out these Australian restorers and some American recasters. does fine art quality work, and some of the others are probably "Better than Hudson." But high quality - high price. Expect to pay $1-2K for a nice job. 

    My Commodorer's a "driver," and that's only on the days it feels like running. Thinking about an epoxy and scotch tape investment, may be with a trip to the air brush studio.
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