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  #1  
Old 05-02-2005, 05:19 PM
puddle_divr's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ferndale, MI
Posts: 37
Ugly steering wheel fix...

Ok first let me state the fine print. I have no leather care experience outside of my shoes (which I often wipe off with paper towel and some random spray cleener). That being said, I have no idea of the long term effects of my new DIY steering wheel fix. Advice used at your own risk.
Okay on to the fun part. The leather on my 91 300e was pretty badly scuffed and had some worn spots on it. Where it should be smooth and black it had greyish brown ish places on it. I tried leather polish to no avail. I had become desperate. Then last week I tried black edge dressing on it. Yes the stuff for your dress shoe heels. It looks like brand new. I just wiped the whole wheel down with a couple of coats straight off the little foam tip. Like most of my projects, before and after pics are an afterthought. LOL. The scuffs are completely covered/ filled in. The black is back. It looks much better. I am sure over time I will need to re-apply. It has been over a week now. nothing on my hands. no smeared spots. and it doesn't seem to fade or wipe off with water. At this rate even if I had to apply this stuff once a month, it may only cost me $10 for the life of the car.
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2005, 08:03 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
I want to try it!

I have been using KIWI cream shoe polish on my steering wheel for a couple of years. It looks great when first applied, but it smudges very quickly and the heat from baking in the sun seems to make it very dried out. It doesn’t come off on my hands or anything and I think it is working to preserve my wheel, but it certainly isn’t perfect. I also have two different bottles of the Leatherique stuff, but it didn’t seem to do the trick for the steering wheel.

I was thinking of trying leather dye from Leatherique, but after the less than stellar experience with the other products, I just forgot about it. Supposedly, the Leatherique dye comes in different gloss finishes for specific applications. I thought that maybe whatever provided the shine in the dye, would act like the original finish on the steering wheel. I think Leatherique also has some type of final finish coating that can be applied, but as I said above, after the disappointment with their other products, I just forgot about using Leatherique.

I think the wheel must have had some kind of protective finish that gets worn off from the constant exposure to the odd oils and persparation on our hands. I wonder if you have stumbled on to the perfect easy solution for the steering wheel. Maybe the stuff for the heels is a little different than the cream for the rest of the shoes. Maybe it is more like the Leatherique dye. The heel dressing must be made to stand up to more harsh conditions than the typical shoe polish.

I think I would like to try it. What brand did you use and what is the "specific” name of the product? I might as well do the exact same thing you tried, since it is working for you. Is it called “Black is Back”, “Black Edge Dressing”? What brand did you use? Is it more like a liquid than a cream? Does it have any shine to it? Do I have enough questions?
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I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2005, 02:53 PM
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The stuff I had is from Rite-Aide Pharmacy. It was $3.29 ofr a 2.5 Oz bottle. It is called Experts Choice Ultra Gloss Restorer Edge Dressing. It comes in a Black Plastic Bottle (w/ a grey & silver label). It is a liquid that is dispensed from the top through a foam tip. Whatever is in this stuff completely filled in the scuffed places and worn spots on my wheel. It does have a gloss to it though. There may be a brand out there that comes in matte finish.

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  #4  
Old 05-03-2005, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddle_divr
The stuff I had is from Rite-Aide Pharmacy. It was $3.29 ofr a 2.5 Oz bottle. It is called Experts Choice Ultra Gloss Restorer Edge Dressing. It comes in a Black Plastic Bottle (w/ a grey & silver label). It is a liquid that is dispensed from the top through a foam tip. Whatever is in this stuff completely filled in the scuffed places and worn spots on my wheel. It does have a gloss to it though. There may be a brand out there that comes in matte finish.

Report back in a month and tell us how it worked out!
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2005, 09:31 AM
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Talking Update 6/03

Well, it has been a little over a month. Steering wheel still looks great. It had a couple of spots that had lost soem of the sheen. I took a rag and buffed it a little. That evened it all up. Looking good. I think I may go ahead and try out this stuff on my shift knob. There are a few small scratches on it as well.
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2005, 08:45 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
I went for it the other day.

I purchased some heel restorer at the pharmacy. I tried a little on my shoes and then I tried a very small section on the steering wheel. I thought it looked go, so I went for it and did the entire wheel. It is more black and shiny than the center airbag portion of the wheels, but it really does look like new. My only problem was that it made the very worn spots on top of the wheel seem very rough. It seemed to magnify the roughness, much like the way wetting wood can bring up the grain. I had read about sanding leather during refinishing, so I decided to use some super fine sand paper to smooth the wheel and then I reapplied the heel dressing. Now my wheel is about as smooth as a babies behind and I am very happy with the result. I was afraid that I would loose the leathery feeling of the wheel, but I didn't. It still feels good. I still get that kind of "grippy", squeaky, supple feeling from the leather wheel and it feels good sliding through my hands as I straighten out after a turn.

It did not get the dried out cracking feeling when my car was parked in 100-degree heat while I was at work. In the past, the shoe polish treatment seemed to make the wheel even more dry feeling. The sheen is also very durable, compared to the regular shoe polish. I found that the shoe polish became smudged by the time I was out of my driveway. So far, the heel restorer has kept my wheel shiny for a number of days and it seems like it may be very good permanent solution to repairing the wheel.

Thank you for the tip! I have been worried about my wheel for a while. I just wasn't ready to go spend a $1000.00 or more, for one of those burl walnut and leather wheels. They look nice, but it seems way too expensive and I really am happy with just the regular leather wheel.

Thanks again.
__________________
I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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  #7  
Old 01-09-2007, 12:59 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: KY USA
Posts: 2,238
I just used the "heel and sole edge restorer" from Kiwi on a steering wheel with a seriously worn out spot; I sanded and cleaned the worn area very well. It took about 20 coats (it dries fairly quickly) and the first 10 were "absorbed", it seemed. I can't believe how good the results were. This was a wheel that I had purchased as a "core" to get refinished when mine wore out - I wanted to avoid having the car down for a month. The results look like new, I kid you not. I did remove the wheel before doing this and I'd reccommend doing this under good lighting because doing it evenly is important.

This was the best $3.49 I've spent on "car parts" in a LONG time.

I think that this stuff uses the same principles as Leatherique, etc; I'm going to give Leatherique a chance on my seat covers before I replace them. I didn't think it was worth the $100 risk but this changed my mind.
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  #8  
Old 01-09-2007, 06:09 AM
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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Sew one of those nice leather wraps onto those nasty vinyl wheels.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2007, 03:57 PM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
I wish it were plastic (MB-Tex)

I have had mine done for over 1 year. It seems to be little less flexible than the original coating, so after a while I did develop some cracks. I simply resanded and reapplied to get the new look back again. During the process I would apply and let it dry to do a bit more sanding and then apply again. I guess it is a bit like refinishing the car with repeated sandings and paintings to get the nice smooth finished surface.

Anyway, it did save my wheel. It isn't perfect, like a new wheel, but it looks pretty darn good and it didn't cost $1000.00. I am very particular and I have to say that it really does look pretty good if you do a good job. It also feels fine in your hands. I really did think it would feel bad, but it still feels like a leather wheel.

By the way, this is in reference to leather wheels. Actually, the “plastic” MB-Tex wheels are much more durable.
__________________
I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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