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HBJ8 Steering Wheel Repair Experiment - VERY GOOD.

pkmh

Jedi Warrior
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Hello all,

My last post here a few weeks back made reference to the removal of my steering wheel for the Healey in attempts to understand more about;

A. What may cause my signals not to work;
B. I wanted to remove the cracked portions of the steering wheel at the third points and restore by using old 78 records [dust] with glue and;
C. Repair the adjustable locking hub for the telescopic portion of the wheel.

I am still in the process of determining the cause of my signals not working, but all wiring within the upper stator tube was not the cause or so I believe, although I had to mend the sheathing to one wire. I will probably need to purchase another flasher unit to test further.

As for the adjustable hub, that is now working as designed, but only after many trials of grinding down the interior bakelite surrounding, resulting from shrinkage over the years and locking up the wheel (or in my case, the hub fixed tight in an open position and the wheel never locking at all). So, most of the inner bakelite surround is still within the hub and I figure I leave as much there instead of removing all.

Finally, the experiment of using pulverized record dust and Elmer's Glue worked well enough to my satisfaction and the final picture will follow soon (sorry, new computer operating system--don't know what I'm doing). I also incorporated wire "rebars" to keep the plastic remains intact as much as possible as well as the glue~dust mixture together as well.

All but the final product is posted here and that photo will be posted soon.

FWIW, I decided to use the Elmers [wood] glue because of the ease of mixing the dust with a more liquid base. It meant having to apply in layers at a time and rough sanding as I went. The curing process also took time and may still take longer before all cures rock hard. I experimented with epoxies and other cements but would not bond well with the dust, and I thought about having contact with Elmers vs. cements, etc. Seems to be a more safer solution.

Again, I have no idea how this remedy will hold up in the extreme heat and cold and aside from the slight difference in textural finish, but only resulting in a dull glossy finish vs. to the surrounding existing rim's glossy finish. The results are very good. Even the feel feels the same. If this solution does hold up, then the textural finish will only improve over time, increasing the glossy feel, after constant finger contact.

Enjoy the photos, so far....

Paul




AHSteeringWheelRepair1a.jpg



AHSteeringWheelRepair8.jpg




AHSteeringWheelRepair10.jpg





AHSteeringWheelRepair16-1.jpg





AHSteeringWheelRepair11.jpg




AustinHealeySteeringWheelRepair18.jpg


Here are some most recent shots taken today...

AHSteeringWheelRepair19.jpg



AHSteeringWheelRepair20.jpg
 

HealeyRick

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Interesting choice of repair materials. I tried to repair mine using epoxy, but it recracked after a while. Hope you fare better. If it holds up, maybe you could spray the whole wheel with an epoxy paint so it would be a uniform color. Best of luck.

(I took the easy way out and purchased a Lempert wood wheel and never looked back).
 
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pkmh

pkmh

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New photos added above...


Yes, Rick,

I hope I do fare better or enough to get by without the wheel cracking again.

In attempts to blend in the finishes of the repair, I am going to try to use that "Rit" clothes dye and see how that goes. When I fine sanded the new surfaces, they blended perfect with the rim, but as we know, the rim is not a flat matted finish.

Knowing what I know now, I should of made a more consistent design and better conceal the grooves I made for placement of those rebars I inserted.

But being what it is, I am much more pleased to have smooth surfaces rather than gaps or dangerous splines cropping out.

Then one day, after all other important issues are resolved, I'll go back an invest in a new wheel.

Paul
 
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pkmh

pkmh

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Thanks for that, too. After I darken those third points some more, the finish will greatly improve.

I already tested using those black laundry markers and the overall appearance was greatly improved.

I'll try some black clothes dye next.
 

Keoke

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I hope I do fare better or enough to get by without the wheel cracking

Yes you may get by without the wheel cracking. However, I do not think your repair will stand up to heat. Most adhesives soften when exposed to heat.Looks good.
You might get by if you purchase awheel cover to protect it from sun light,--Fwiw--Keoke
 

nevets

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The real test will be how well the repair holds up with temperature shifts. It may expand / shrink at a different rate than the surrounding plastic material, in which case all the joints will become visible. If you opt to paint the wheel, then you can use bondo or some other resin-based material as filler, which may be more dimensionally stable.

It's a creative solution. I hope it works out.
 
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pkmh

pkmh

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Thanks for the words of encouragement...

The one thing I notice with this "mixture" of [78] record dust and wood glue is, there seems to be some resilience when I press into the repaired areas a bit with my fingernail. A slight indentation is noticable, but returns to normal after a brief period of time. So this may be a good thing in terms of dealing with weather extremities.

But I still feel that in time, this will (or should) harden to a rock hard substance and why it hasn't yet, even after a few weeks in place, remains a bit of a mystery to me.

But so far, it hasn't cracked or seperated, yet. I will be able to improve the finish, whether it be with clothes dye or some other (maybe India ink). Right now, it is a whole lot better than it was before.

Just in case one wishes to experiment with this idea further, there are at least two types of those old 78 records out there and the one I stayed away from is the type having this embedded paper like sheathing which must of served as a means to strengthen the record against breaking through normal use. I stayed away from that type for the color of that paper substance was lighter than the surrounding black material which may of compromised further the overall repair finish. Consistency of workability was another concern I had.

Thanks,

Paul
 
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