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Steering Wheel Resto Paint Ideas ?

Andrew1

Senior Member
Offline
Hi Gang and Happy New Year!

I have successfully removed the trafficator head and steering wheel on my Bj8 with the intention of restoring some cracks at the wheel's spokes. I have followed the amazing trafficator repair instructions that were posted and revised in July 2005.

Rather than restoring the trafficator's faded rough bakelite face using the india ink shoe polish method described, I was considering priming and painting it at the same time as painting the repaired steering wheel.

Here's the challenge, I am not a paint expert. Would it be wise to use a basecoat clearcoat technology to paint the steering wheel and trafficator bakelite. I have not been able to find a definative recommendation on painting a steering wheel with a durable black coating? Enamels, epoxy paints.... I'm lost.

Any recommendations on specific brands and types of paint primer to use on plastic?

- Andrew -
 

Randy Harris

Jedi Warrior
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Paint is really not your best option for restoring your steering wheel. Assuming your wheel is original, it is made of plastic. Paint will not hold up to the task and it will always look painted - which of course they were not.

After thoroughly cleaning it, you should polish the plastic part of the wheel using automotive-grade abrasives, starting at 400 and working up to 2,000 grit. In my guitar building, I use a product called Micro Mesh. It is phenomenal stuff that can take you from dull flat all the way up to mirror shine, Regular everyday high quality wet/dry paper will work too. Then hit it on a buffing wheel with polishing rouge. You can make a buffing wheel using a hand drill and an inexpensive buffing attachment found nearly everywhere. The bakelite can be refurbished using shoe polish and buffing wheel.If you Google around, I think you'll find some instructions for returning bakelite to like-new condition. But remember, there's no shame in your wheel showing a bit of age. The bakelite looks just fine as it ages, it's just not jet black. After all, your car is 40 years old.
Hope this helps.
Randy '66 BJ8
 

John Loftus

Darth Vader
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Andrew,

I did not paint mine when I repaired the cracks because I was concerned with scratching/chipping the paint since the steering wheel gets so much handling. If you do go that route you might want to check the offerings at the Por-15 website as they have some durable chip resistant paints. On mine, I used West system epoxy (found through boat supply stores) with fillers and black epoxy paste for color to fill cracks and sand smooth. The final coat was unfilled epoxy with the black paste color and it smoothed out to look like an original finish.

Also, for painting plastics there is an adhesion promoter called Bulldog, avail. through auto paint stores that works really well but it's designed for flexible plastics like modern bumpers, etc.

Cheers,
John
 

Skip & Lynne

Jedi Warrior
Offline
I used Micro Mesh on some Walnut interior parts on my airplane, I ended up with 20,000 grit (yes the number is right 20,000 grit)it felt like soft leather. The window trim looks like glass that is about 2 ft deep. It is really good stuff. Skip
 

Bruce Bowker

Obi Wan
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20,000????? And I thought 2000 was as about as fine as anyone would want. 20,000 must really polish nicely.

Bruce
 

Bruce Bowker

Obi Wan
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[ QUOTE ]
On mine, I used West system epoxy (found through boat supply stores)

Cheers,
John

[/ QUOTE ]

Was that brushed on?

Bruce
 

John Loftus

Darth Vader
Offline
[ QUOTE ]
Was that brushed on?
Bruce

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, it takes 20 minutes or so to set up depending on temperature so it has time to flow out.
 

Keoke

Great Pumpkin
Country flag
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Hi Andrew, contrary to popular demand I painted all my steering wheels using PLasticote Universal Black rattle Can paint. Then water sanded them and buffed them out. The only downside of this technique IMOP is do not wear rings and the wheel will be just fine and look like new.---Fwiw---Keoke
 

John Loftus

Darth Vader
Offline
Putting on a quality leather cover is a good way to protect the wheel, make it more comfortable and adds thickness which I find more comfortable.

Cheers,
John
 

GregW

Yoda
Platinum
Country flag
Online
Of course, you could always break the plastic off and put some nice wood on… /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif
 

Keoke

Great Pumpkin
Country flag
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Yes John, I found some plain cloth black covers at the $0.99 store that I use to fatten and cover my wheels. When on long trips that wheel can get very hot. Similarly, at shows the cover keeps the wheels cool, prolonging their unspoiled life,---Keoke
 

Keoke

Great Pumpkin
Country flag
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/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/iagree.gif Yep Greg, I got one with the plastic all broken off-What chu say your address was???---Keoke /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
 

GregW

Yoda
Platinum
Country flag
Online
Sure, send it on over. You can bid for it on ebay when I’m done. I’ll even set the reserve low for ya. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif
 

Keoke

Great Pumpkin
Country flag
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I was just wonderin where all those wooden wheels were coming from on E-bay now I know !---Keoke- /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 
OP
A

Andrew1

Senior Member
Offline
A quick follow-up on my steering wheel project and a neat little story part hunters will appreaciate.

I have drilled, cut out and removed the cracked plastic on the original wheel and use a sandable epoxy putty made by POR15 to fill the spaces. I have primed and preped the wheel for painting and then decided to use a two-part epoxy paint also from POR 15 called hardnose paint in black. I decided to visit the dealer that sells the paint near my hometown called "The Guild" in Bradford Ontario.... here is the part find story.

The Guild is a high-end antique car restoration shop/museum. The manager appreciated my wheel restoration progress so far, but says too bad I did not come to visit earlier...could have saved you a lot of work.

Turns out they freshened-up a BJ8 with 15 K original miles for a wealthy client in Singapore. The guy took a test drive and hated the standard mega-wheel and insisted on a smaller modern wood replacement.

So, in the back the owner pulls out the most amazing gleaming black original wheel I've ever seen anywhere! For the cost of my materials to repair the old wheel, I now have two. Still have to paint.

- Andrew -
 

BlueRidge1

Jedi Warrior
Offline
[ QUOTE ]


So, in the back the owner pulls out the most amazing gleaming black original wheel I've ever seen anywhere! For the cost of my materials to repair the old wheel,

- Andrew -

[/ QUOTE ] Yep ,thats the best way to restore a steering wheel alright,some days you win!
 
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