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Triumph TR6 - New Guy-Steering Wheel Replacment Options
|Hi. New guy her asking for some options and opinions on steering wheel replacement or renewal. Here's a little bit about me and my car.|
I've had my 74 1/2 TR6 for almost fourteen years now. All stock except for a header and free flow exhaust. It was mechanically a mess and not very safe when I bought it but was structurally sound with good body work and a red paint job so good you could see to shave if you wanted to. At that time the extent of my automotive experience consisted of very long Saturday's and late Sunday afternoon's helping (read watching and getting tools) for my Father and his friend restoring Volkswagen Beetles in the mid 70's. At that time I was a very young teenager, not always wanting to be there, but my Father was providing me with knowledge that is not so easy to come by anymore and giving me the gift of being able to enjoy this car for the last fourteen years. I bought my TR on Friday and drove it to my parents house on Saturday morning to find out my first repair would be a leaking wheel cylinder. Back into town in a Volkswagon for a Haynes repair manual and wheel cylinder repair kit. My dad and me must have done a good job because that repaired wheel cylinder finally failed and was replaced last summer, 13 years later. I still have the Haynes manual and use the receipt for it and the wheel cylinder repair kit as a book mark. After countless hours and repairs my TR has looked like a new car from 10 feet away for about 10 years now and has been very reliable. I drive it to work every day when it's not too hot or raining and still make up reasons to go somewhere just to drive it.
The rubber at the 12:00 position of my original steering wheel has finally cracked and one of the spokes is showing some rust. It seems like I saw a place on the net or in a magazine that restores steering wheels. Anyone familiar with a place like this? Is it better to restore or just buy a used one? I see some correct steering wheels on E-Bay from time to time but it is difficult to see what shape they are in and some have been painted. It may seem like a small thing but this TR has been with me a long time and just anything is not good enough for it. What do you think an original steering wheel with tight rubber and no rust is worth? Any options or opinions? Thanks.
|Hello M F|
Although I am a regular reader of the board, I am not a prolific contributor but as I'm the first to respond - welcome!!
My wheel was straight but the rubber was shot. I stripped it and had it re-chromed with the brushed (satin) finish. Good chroming places will plate with a decent thickness of copper prior to chroming so serious rust shouldn't be problem in the future.
I had found a wheel where the rubber was in good condition but the spokes were shot, so I carefully cut (with a medical scalpel) around the inside edge where the 'seam' is in the 'leather' stitching. The donor rim was quite rusty but the rubber cleaned up OK.
I roughed up the rim of the newly chromed wheel with a coarse grit paper paper, sqeezed black silicone into the rubber and laid it over the steel, squeezing out the excess and removing it before taping it all up and letting it cure for a few days.
It is almost impossible to see any joins.
That was four years ago. It has worked a treat and although I am not generally hard on the wheel, if it needs re-doing in a year or two, it's only a few hours work again.
The rubber is the only part of the car which has not been 'restored' or replaced and although I considered a Moto Lita wheel early in the restoration, I'm glad I stuck with the original.
|I recently contemplated the same thing on my "72 steering wheel.|
Before I could research the repair options though, I ran across a better option- a new wheel.
TRF had 2 new wheels, I bought 1, so they may still have 1.
As it turned out, it was the later, smaller diameter wheel, 14.5" as opposed to 15" diameter. That was great for me as I have always had "knee" clearance problems.
|I went with an aftermarket 13-inch wheel and love it. The extra legroom, fatter grip, and greater steering control is wonderful. A very simple install IF the OEM wheel isn't stuck on.|
|Rick , If you don't mind sharing where did you get your new wheel thanks dave|
He's in Schuylerville, NY and very nice to deal with. I chose the 13-inch dished Astrali with vinyl grip (looks and feels like leather) which is a great value considering what the others (Motolita) run.
My original wheel on my '76 is also in poor shape (the rubber only) and so rather than hunt down another replacement I opted for the Moto Lita three-spoke slotted wood-rimmed wheel. It was roughly $250 but IMHO makes for a huge improvement to the interior over the stock black wheel. I'll still hang onto my original wheel of course but in the meantime, the Moto Lita will be in service. Since I'm also going to replace the dash panel with a new one (original type French walnut veneer) they should complement each other nicely. We'll see when it's done!
This thread was discussed between 22/09/2003 and 02/11/2003
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