1968 Pontiac Firebird Deluxe Steering Wheel
Restoration Process

Here are a few shots of the wheel as it looked when it arrived.
from a distance it looked pretty good but as you can see in the
close-ups, it will require a restoration before it will be nice
enough to go into the car.

 

 

 

I did not realize it until some time after I rec'd the wheel that it was not round.
my son saw it sitting on the bench one day and informed me it was an oval.
I got out a tape measure and sure enough, it was over an inch out of round. I
guess the same forces that make the plastic crack and split also warped the wheel.
Maybe the humidity and altitude difference between California and Alberta had
something to do with it. But I had the wheel for several months before I noticed it.
A little late to talk to the seller. So I took it to my press and gave it a little squeeze.
it is still not perfectly round, but better than it was before I pressed it.

 

The first step in the crack filling was to widen out the cracks to make sure the filler
has sufficient space to penetrate deeply and I also read about drilling small anchor
pits into the side of the crack walls to give the epoxy some points to hold the filler
in place so it will not fall out later. I read a lot about fillers and epoxy and settled
on the POR 15 stuff.

I used this dremel bit to shape and widen the cracks.

and this one to drill the little side anchor holes in the grooves.

below are 3 shots of the groove cutting/widening.

and now you can see the side anchors drilled.

then I mixed up small quantities of the epoxy and pressed it firmly into each
of the grooves. I packed it as tightly as I could and in hindsight I probably left a
little much hanging out of the cracks. That meant I had a lot of sanding to do..

then lots and lots of sanding. Working my way down from about 120 for rough
shaping to wet sanding with 400.

then I cleaned the wheel with SEM plastic/vinyl prep. In hindsight... I would have
paid a lot more attention at this stage. I found out I had some very fine cracks
along the edge of the filler edges that had been filled during sanding by sawdust.
After cleaning And spraying with SEM plastic adhesion promoter and then paint I
discovered the fine grooves and had to sand it down again and fill these with fine
spot glazing putty. I should have discovered these fine grooves before all that
spraying and could have saved myself a lot of time. I then used SEM paint and Clear.

Then I sprayed the wheel and horn bars with SEM High Gloss.

So above is the Car with it's Grant Wood Wheel in place and Below
the car with the restored Deluxe Stock wheel installed. I really Like it.

I still have some issues to work out with the turn signal cancelling cam
and will post more once I get that sorted out.

 

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