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Old 08-24-2016, 03:49 PM   #1
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Steering wheel repair

I'm a hand on the top of wheel kind of guy when driving my Box and I noticed the top of the steering wheel is starting to show wear and it looks bad. Is there a DIY kind of repair you can do on these steering wheels? I have used all kinds of leather conditioners on it and nothing seems to help and I hate to have to slap on a Walmart steering wheel cover. J/K.

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Old 08-24-2016, 06:05 PM   #2
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Is it finish wear or leather wear? Generally if the leather is still good it's repairable.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:20 PM   #3
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Yea it appears to be the finish on the wheel wearing off. The wheel is not peeling yet but if I don't do something soon I'm afraid that's what is going to happen.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:59 PM   #4
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You'd be surprised at how much of it is just grime. Have you tried a cleaner? Hobby Lobby carries a black leather dye that works really well (most blacks look dark purple by comparison).
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:51 PM   #5
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If you have some disposable cash, I would highly recommend having CarsDream in Poland (Carsdream) rework your wheel. With shipping using your own wheel it would be about $225. They can thicken it and stitch it in any color(s) you like. If you send them your wheel it will take about 2 months. Or, they'll send you a finished one and you send them your wheel when they're done. There is a core fee.

I have had them do four or five steering wheels for my and have never been disappointed. Here the one in my Boxster that they did.

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Old 08-24-2016, 10:35 PM   #6
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I recently refinished my 2001 Boxster's black gearshift knob, and learned a bunch about leather refinishing in the process. I'm nearly positive that the black leather that Porsche used in their black leather steering wheel is identical to the material they used in their gearshift knob - both being black "through-dyed", top clearcoated leather. After a thorough cleaning, the surface finish will look a bit "off" if the clearcoat is worn off in the some places, but not others.

Probably my steering wheel (2001 style, 3-spoke) will be coming up as a refinishing project at some point, as I have a bit of similar wear pattern as you've described.

Your 2000 steering wheel would be the earlier, 4-spoke style, correct?
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeru View Post

Your 2000 steering wheel would be the earlier, 4-spoke style, correct?
When I had my 993 turbo I had CarsDream rework that one too. I wanted to stay period correct so I kept the 4-four spoke instead of switching to the 3-spoke. I thickened it and added the hand grips.

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Old 08-25-2016, 08:19 AM   #8
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I had some finish wear on my 03 Box wheel. I was re-dying the seats anyway, so I did the wheel, too. I used the Leather Magic kit. Most of my wear was on the bottom - sort of like the 8 and 4 position. Came out real well, IMO.


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Old 08-25-2016, 02:29 PM   #9
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My 2000 S is a 3 spoke black wheel.. yea the wheel is shinny other then the top of the wheel which I have used a couple different cleaners and conditioners and I just cant back the shine. Maybe I just need to keep working at it.. don't know
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:17 PM   #10
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If you are confident the "still shiney" areas have been thoroughly cleaned, then all the matte appearing areas (which surely, you just recently cleaned) have missing clear coat.

In that case, I'd recommend you either re-apply the clearcoat to the areas that have the missing clearcoat (if you can find a good enough OEM-shininess match on the clearcoat, with the clearcoat also being a leather-specific product), or otherwise you could plan to re clearcoat the entire wheel (this will reduce the need to get a perfect sheen-match on the clearcoat finish, if you do the whole wheel).

There are two methods of applying leather finish: wiping and spraying. Wiping can be done with good results, and may have less investment required for the application equipment, but will probably need more experimentation (be prepared to strip failed attempted before getting it perfect) to get the proper procedure figured out. Spraying is more equipment and setup work required (probably need to remove wheel from car, and mask off areas to not be sprayed), but is easier to get a uniform finish. Also, if you go to the effort of spraying the whole wheel, considering stripping off all the old finish, so you can lay down a completely even and uniform finish. Stripping the finish is a little frightening because there is a lot to remove and you will quickly feel "fully committed" (and like there is no turning back ) , however, by chemically stripping off all the old finish, you will retain the oe-style leather "grain", whereas if you don't you may find edges of old finish, or if you use very fine-grit sandpaper to smoother down edges of the original finish, it will leave you with an "unnaturally smooth" texture.

Another option is to apply black dye, rather than clear, and I can tell you there is a Kiwi black leather dye product readily available that will give the perfect OE black Porsche shift knob/steering wheel shade as well as a perfect "shininess" match, but the main drawback is when you clean your steering wheel with an aggressive leather cleaner, some of the black, outermost finish will keep coming up on your cleaning cloth as a noticeable black substance removed, and you'll haven hard time realizing if it's dirt being cleaned, or the black outer layer of the finish. (It's also more of a problem to refinish the shift knob by dyeing it black, because if it has contrast color stitching like mine did - and I've not seen contrast color stitching on an OE boxster steering wheel so this probably won't be a concern for you - then topcoating with the black dye will alter the color of the stitching to black.
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:37 PM   #11
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(Also, an attached photo of my recently refinished shift knob, for which I completely stripped off the OE finish, and then sprayed on both of the aforementioned (Kiwi and Fiebling's) products).

I think the sheen of the fiebing's product I used may be *slightly* shinier than OE.

When I first tried touching up the worn areas with just the Kiwi product, it was such a perfect match that you couldn't even tell where I had touched up, vs where I had not. So if you're looking for an easiest solution, just get the Kiwi product and wipe it on in the cleaned areas that have the missing clearcoat. It dries fairly quickly, so be sure to stop wiping when it starts to solidify! Also, practice your technique to avoid streaking marks/lines, (or otherwise, don't be frustrated if you need to strip and retry to get the wiping technique right. It's definitely possible to pull off as a DIY effort, but there is some learning curve!) Hope that helps.
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