novaderrik Dork
Jan. 14, 2012 4:59 p.m.

i bought a tilt column from an 82 Trans Am for my 86 Camaro, and it came with the stock steering wheel.. i like the Pontiac wheel and want to use it, but the foam was all worn away and falling off. i cut it all off, and am now stuck with only the steel spokes and the 1/2" or so steel core of the round part and am trying to figure out a good way to wrap it that will look somewhat cool and won't totally suck when it's 100 degrees outside and 130 in the car..

it's gotta be cheap, durable, and not sticky..

i was thinking of some pipe insulation for padding and some sort of a grip tape like you can buy for tennis rackets and what not wrapped around that.

Streetwiseguy SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2012 5:02 p.m.
SlickDizzy SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2012 5:04 p.m.

I would think bicycle handlebar tape would do the job wonderfully, considering it does virtually the same job for bicyclists. Maybe over a little bit of foam for comfort?

edit: Streetwiseguy beat me to it

pigeon SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2012 6:07 p.m.

Wheelskins lace on cover - about $55 but they're very nice. Worth it IMO to splurge on the one item you're always touching when you're driving the car.

fasted58
fasted58 SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2012 6:11 p.m.

In reply to pigeon:

+1 Wheelskins

M2Pilot Reader
Jan. 14, 2012 7:49 p.m.

Used wheelskins on my last ex-wife's Accord in 1982 or thereabouts so she could have a leather covered wheel. It was easy enough & looked good.

Kendall_Jones HalfDork
Jan. 14, 2012 7:57 p.m.

We used to wrap racing steering wheels with hockey tape, however you would need to build it up somehow.

novaderrik Dork
Jan. 14, 2012 9:58 p.m.

wheelskins.. are those the old school covers that are made of vinyl that's supposed to look like leather that come with the built in stuff to tie it one? i haven't seen those in years..

so far the bike handlebar wrap is in the lead. i know some of that is fairly cushy and it's designed to be left outside so it's pretty durable..

so pipe insulation for padding with handlebar wrap over it..

fasted58
fasted58 SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2012 10:00 p.m.
Taiden SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2012 10:12 p.m.

Whatever it is, make sure it won't slip.. for obvious reasons!

novaderrik Dork
Jan. 14, 2012 11:28 p.m.
fasted58 wrote: http://wheelskins.com/

ooh.. they even sell driving gloves..

Raze SuperDork
Jan. 15, 2012 8:26 a.m.

$15 leather wheel cover from Target or Walmart (get one that looks bland, no breathing holes or crazy design patterns). get a touch of foam under if all you have is the sharp metal, then go get leather sewing needle and some uphostery thread from your local sewing store (and a thimble). Total cost around $30 for all supplies and such, result, better than most options out there IMO...

novaderrik Dork
Jan. 17, 2012 12:23 a.m.
Raze wrote: $15 leather wheel cover from Target or Walmart (get one that looks bland, no breathing holes or crazy design patterns). get a touch of foam under if all you have is the sharp metal, then go get leather sewing needle and some uphostery thread from your local sewing store (and a thimble). Total cost around $30 for all supplies and such, result, better than most options out there IMO...

i thought about that, but most of those are for larger wheels. this wheel is pretty small for an oem wheel. i'll have to measure it and see what i can find.

this is what the wheel is supposed to look like, just a random pic from cardomain. all the padding was molded on foam, and half of it was just gone. i cut the rest off with a utility knife and might soak the whole wheel (with all the plastic stuff removed) in acetone and hit it with the bead blaster at work to get it sparkly clean and ready to be made pretty. i'm thinking silver hammertone paint on the spokes.

MadScientistMatt SuperDork
Jan. 17, 2012 7:49 a.m.
novaderrik wrote: wheelskins.. are those the old school covers that are made of vinyl that's supposed to look like leather that come with the built in stuff to tie it one? i haven't seen those in years.. so far the bike handlebar wrap is in the lead. i know some of that is fairly cushy and it's designed to be left outside so it's pretty durable.. so pipe insulation for padding with handlebar wrap over it..

Wheelskins are genuine leather and they are sewn on using pre-punched holes. Not the vinyl stuff with the cord wrapped around it.

RossD SuperDork
Jan. 17, 2012 7:55 a.m.

My miata has what looks to be a wheelskin type wrap on the steering wheel. I like it. It doesn't slip or rotate and it still fells like leather even during the hottest times. The vast majority of the time I never even notice it; that's how much I like it.

93EXCivic SuperDork
Jan. 17, 2012 8:12 a.m.

We used tennis rack wrapping material on our challenge car. It worked pretty well.

spin_out Reader
Jan. 17, 2012 12:47 p.m.

Sorry I dont have a close up, but the steering wheel on our Challenge car was exposed to the elements for years. I sanded and buffed the aluminum, but the leather was gone.
I cut pieces of weahter stripping to replace the missing foam, wrapped it in electrical tape, then scored by finding a used Wheelskins black leather cover on Amazon for $2.99. I had to cut and sew it to fit but no one seems to notice it's not factory.

ultraclyde HalfDork
Jan. 17, 2012 1:38 p.m.

If you want firmer than pipe insulation but still some give, several of my friends wrap their road bike bars with the high voltage (600V?), thick electrical tape before covering with the handlebar tape. Not terribly cheap, especially on a whole steering wheel, but it feels great on the road bike bars.

novaderrik Dork
Jan. 22, 2012 4:37 a.m.
novaderrik wrote:
Raze wrote: $15 leather wheel cover from Target or Walmart (get one that looks bland, no breathing holes or crazy design patterns). get a touch of foam under if all you have is the sharp metal, then go get leather sewing needle and some uphostery thread from your local sewing store (and a thimble). Total cost around $30 for all supplies and such, result, better than most options out there IMO...

i thought about that, but most of those are for larger wheels. this wheel is pretty small for an oem wheel. i'll have to measure it and see what i can find.

this is what the wheel is supposed to look like, just a random pic from cardomain. all the padding was molded on foam, and half of it was just gone. i cut the rest off with a utility knife and might soak the whole wheel (with all the plastic stuff removed) in acetone and hit it with the bead blaster at work to get it sparkly clean and ready to be made pretty. i'm thinking silver hammertone paint on the spokes.

i went this route- $5 cover, 1/2" pipe insulation, and Rustoleum silver hammered paint. got it painted and the cover roughly fit- had to cut over an inch out of it to make it fit the smaller diameter, but i think i can stitch it back together and make it look not horrible- might even be the nicest part of the car (not that anything on the car is very nice..).

Taiden SuperDork
Jan. 22, 2012 8:30 a.m.

Can't wait to see it stitched

mad_machine SuperDork
Jan. 22, 2012 9:44 a.m.

This is looking good so far.

novaderrik Dork
Jan. 23, 2012 4:50 a.m.

i got it kinda sorta done.. this was my first stitching attempt, and it shows.. 4 hours of making it up as i went and this is where i'm at:

need to clean up the bottom where it butts together and hope everything kinda flattens out over time, but it feels good and i actually got it pretty close to even.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
Jan. 23, 2012 9:40 a.m.

looks pretty good to me! The Leather on my wheel, installed in late 1998, is really in pretty bad shape. Im considering the wheelskins/generic sewn on type. Looks pretty god, and some youtube searching yielded some insights...

HappyAndy HalfDork
Jan. 23, 2012 10:34 a.m.

I've recovered several steering wheels using the leather covering kits from the local fastfood chain autoparts stores, I don't remember what brand they were, but I've been pleased with the results every time. IMO the trick to make them come out nice is to get some upholstery needles which are curved, for the stitching, keep a pair pliers on hand to help push/pull the needles through the leather. There is a stitching paternal that requires using two needles working the thread from both ends, I forget what that stitch is called, but it works great for a steering wheel cover.

novaderrik Dork
Jan. 26, 2012 6:07 a.m.

here is the almost final product.. still need to clean up the seam at the bottom.. and i need to find a different logo for the center- can't have the screaming chicken in a Camaro..

as far as feel goes, it actually feels really comfortable after sitting for a few days- soft, but not too soft. i think maybe the pipe insulation kinda settled into place..

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