Steering Wheel Pad Restoration

I have a couple of 69 three spoke steering wheel pads that are in decent shape except that they both suffer from warping where the pad meets the steering wheel center. Neither one really shows any separation between the vinyl and foam so no gluing is needed. It looks more like heat forming or some way of pulling things together is what is needed. I saw that there is a repro available but is considered worthless. Has anyone found away to save these remaining real pads?

Here is what I did with mine. I had one that wasn’t cracked, surface was good, no separation but just warped and out of shape. So I made frame out of clamps and wood that held the sides of the three spokes and the center section in their proper position. In other words I made a die for the pad it go into and be held correctly. I then mixed epoxy resin and injected it into the foam and let it harden. I believe I did two injections as the first kind of settled to the bottom. This is the finished pad.

Prior to this my pad was way out of shape but in good condition otherwise.

Nice. I was trying to figure out how to home brew a fixture but was considering using heat. However I also felt it would either relax back once out of the fixture or I would over heat and accidentally melt it. Your method makes a lot more sense. Can you share how you made your fixture or mold? I do not have a machine or wood shop set up so everything is pretty much on the cheap and cobbled together.

That looks great! Repainting the silver takes a steady hand for sure. I see you used our burl but is that our emblem in the middle?

Don will your standard 69 emblem fit in an XR7 rim blow wheel?

Somehow my stndrd convertible has what appears to be an original XR7 wheel, that I want to convert inexpensively.


Yes, the bezel is the same Decore vs xr7 only the applique and emblem are different, the bezel is the same.

Very nice Gary! But, I believe the sides of the bezel are flat (or matte) black? Just the ends (by the burl) are silver.

Here’s mine:

P.S. My pad is a repro, getting the bezel to fit it was akin to a moon launch!

Thanks Bob, I did take some liberties with the silver and the red, it is a rare 1 of 1. So it must be worth massive dollars.

Don, it is burl from WCCC and the emblem is a Xmas present from the wife that came from WCCC as well.

Capt Crunch, I don’t have any pictures of the fixture but it was basically a flat piece of plywood with short stubby blocks of the same plywood screwed in on their edge to form the sides of the spokes. Once the pad was stuffed in there (upside down) I used small clamps along the top edges of the plywood spokes to squeeze the pad as needed. Then in the middle I used a combination of wire and clamps to force that area into the right shape.

I then injected the resin pretty much everywhere but especially in the bad areas. That work was done three years ago and it is still holding up.

Gary, Sounds like something even I can do so off to the hardware store on Thursday or Friday and I’ll give it a try. I’m currently getting my bezel cleaned up and ready for paint then apply the WCCC decals. I’m contemplating how to finish the faux wood grain on the rim blow. It’s in good shape but worn smooth at the top. I’m open to ideas that worked for others.

Here’s a video that may help?

Mike, good video and I’ve watched it a couple times preparing to find a half way decent steering wheel. Turns out I have a nice driver quality wheel that won’t need a lot of the repairs covered. I wish they had made a second video on restoring the pad and bezel and I saw several people ask but no dice. Anyhow, ready to paint and detail the bezel and my pad fixture ugly as it is, is almost done. Still contemplating how to finish the wood grain, stay exact or close to factory or give it a little more warmth.