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Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: Buzz
Date: August 31, 2012 09:08PM
The leather covered steering wheel in our aging minivan is starting to get pretty ragged around the edges. After looking online into how to deal with such a problem, I stumbled onto several sites that offer repair services, and some DIY kits, but nothing that was as inexpensive as I was hoping to find. After watching a couple of instructional videos from some pricey DIY kits, I decided to give a go at fixing the crud on my own, to at least hopefully improve the situation...

First, I scraped some of the offending areas with one of my pocket knives, a too sharp of one as it turned out. Made a few small gouges in the leather before realizing the knife was too sharp; oops. I continued with a not-so-sharp knife, and scraped more of the crud off, and the steering wheel started looking, and feeling, better. I have since sanded the scraped areas, several times, with some scraps from some medium-fine cloth sanding belts, and then wiped the sanded areas down with a damp rag. The formerly bad areas are now vastly improved. This prep work was similar to the videos, though nowhere near as extensive, nor did I remove the steering wheel as was done in the videos.

After the more extensive prepping in the video, they re-dye and reseal the leather. Other than the small gouges, I haven't gotten down to bare leather. The sealers used in the videos are water based, and the steering wheel did get a little tacky when I wiped it down, after sanding, with the damp cloth, in such a way that I think the original sealer was also water based. I'm done with the scraping, and I think two, or possibly three, more sanding sessions ought to be plenty, to hopefully last for another ten years, or we get rid of the car, or I croak, whichever occurs first.

After the tackiness from the wipe down abates by the following day, the steering wheel feels close to new again, but I'm not really sure how durable the newly reprocessed finish is, or whether not it needs a new top coat. FWIW, I haven't tested the sanded areas with water after they've dried, to see if the finish is durable again; I'm guessing if the scraping and sanding has left the finish less tolerant to water, that it probably should be resealed. OTOH, I'll probably test a previously worked-on area when doing the next sanding, and see if it gets tacky when wet, like the freshly sanded portion; if not, I assume (hope/pray) resealing may not be necessary.

The question is; do I need to, or should I, reseal the steering wheel after all the scraping, sanding, and wipe downs? If so, I'm hoping to use something that can be wiped, or brushed, on, as I have no intention of having the steering wheel taken off to finish the job by spraying it. Any idea what readily available, I assume water based, product should be used? (or, IOW, what is the real generic product for the pricey "water based leather sealer and top coat" used in the DIY kits?)

Thanks.

///



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: rgG
Date: August 31, 2012 09:11PM
I remember wrapping my steering wheel in a previous car with a perforated leather wrapping kit. Would something like that work?

Here is a link to some covers

[www.sheepskinoutlet.net]





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2012 09:13PM by rgG.
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: Bimwad
Date: August 31, 2012 10:13PM
I would have gone with the new cover route as well. I don't know what they're like now, but Wheelskins were thick, good quality leather in the past.

Trying to refinish (repaint, actually) the cheap, flimsy leathers in modern vehicles is better left to the pros unless one really wants to become a practiced expert at the task.

Leather is more sizzle than steak now.
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: August 31, 2012 10:57PM
....can you use LACE.....??



____________________________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: artie67
Date: August 31, 2012 11:20PM
Does it have a airbag?
If not, go to a JUNK Yard and get another! Gotta go now, they're coming to change the sheets.
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: Buzz
Date: September 01, 2012 12:55AM


It looks likes this, only in tan/brown.
The new cover route is very pricey, unless you re-cover over the existing leather, at which point you have to use super thin leather, or end up with a super-fat, as in thick, steering wheel, usually looking pretty amateurish. It's looking OK now w/ the scraping and sanding, just gotta figure out how to keep it that way for the long haul. I doubt the junkyard replacement would be much, if any, better than what's there for anything resembling a reasonable cost.



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: Carm
Date: September 01, 2012 02:09AM
Have you thought of replacing the steering wheel? I have a 2009 Outlook and was able to get a new replacement steering wheel online (ebay). I replaced it myself.

Since you have done the work. Reseal the leather to prevent the patched area to bleed/get damaged. Protect the surrounding area with plastic sheeting/paper and spray the sealer on.

J.Carm
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Re: Who likes leather? __ < kinda long >
Posted by: rz
Date: September 01, 2012 07:35AM
I just buy one of those cheap covers from Big Lots on mine. Of course, my truck is 14 years old, so I honestly don't care how it looks.
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