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Recover steering wheel 4-spoke – 1985 Porsche 911

Recover steering wheel 4-spoke – 1985 Porsche 911

Special THANKs to all the postings on pelicanparts.forum especially GeorgeK. Also see http://www.stuttswap.com/stuttswap/recover/392/rstat392.html for some additional pictures.

Materials
- Kit #911sw4 from Performance/Automotion $50 (see source at www.agla.com)
- #18 Nylon waxed button thread (optional, you can use the kit thread but check length)
- 2 straight needles (kit came with 1 curved needle but I wanted straight)
- Duco Contact Cement

Tools
- 1 1/16” (27mm) socket with 2-3” extension
- Breaker bar (1/2”, but 3/8” may work with adapter)

Process
- Remove horn pad using small screwdriver to pry outward, disconnect horn wire
- Align wheel to be straight & scribe mark the shaft and wheel, bottom center is good
- I used 21” piece of wood against floor to hold wheel, turn ignition to release lock
- Remove nut, washer, and steering wheel
- Remove leather cover and trim.
- Scrape and sand to remove old glue, wash
- Position new outer cover on wheel, note the larger tabs on front
- Carefully center cover front/back and tabs/spokes on wheel
- Sew short side portions first.
- Sew lower portion, then longer upper portion
- Trim spoke area and center-trim leather (rough, not final) before adding stitching
- Add decorative stitch on center-trim and carefully do final trim/glue center pieces to wheel

Stitching
- Measure working portion length of cover carefully and use thread 6 times the length.
- Start at one end with double loop on first holes, makes sure the thread length is the same on both sides before tightening
- Basic stitch is crossover “7” from left side, reverse from the right.
- The top of the 7 is underneath cover. His gives you the XXXXX.
- Be consistent; right first each time or left
- On the long portions find a mold edge on the wheel to follow, keeping the stitch straight and not rotating around the wheel.
- Sometimes I used a small needle-nose pliers to adjust the ‘prior’ X stitch before doing the final tug on the current stitch. This is especially useful in the spoke corners where leather is bunching. Small flat blade screwdriver may also work but harder on the fingers.
- Use the straight double loop at the end. Tie off with double knot, cut excess thread leaving ~1”.
- Note1: I needed to improvise to get a couple holes aligned and in the congested areas around wheel/spoke intersections. Once I skipped a hole on one side. A few times I stitched to a new hole and used hole to get proper alignment & strength where leather bunched. Generally the holes worked very well.
- Note2: Avoid piercing the thread when doing a stitch. If you do, remove the needle and pull thread back through the piercing. The nylon is too strong to break unless it’s a single fiber. Pulling slightly on the thread moves it out of the hole center.
- Note3: My thread was waxed which acted like a lubricant and kept the thread more stiff which improved workability.

Gluing
- You may want to avoid this on the wheel/spokes but my original was tacked in place and that kept it on the wheel even without threads. It probably doubled the useful life.
- Use glue sparingly, especially at seams. Some touch up can be done with acetone (nail polish remover), but not all.
- Setting time was never a problem but I would not use the glue unless I could proceed quickly. It should be last step before stitching. I worked it ~1.5” at a time.
- Generally I did all longer stretches with glue and when doing final wrap on spokes.
- Glue will make any rework more difficult so be confident

Center-Trim Sections
- The spokes and center-trim may overlap & must be cut before decorative stitching.
- I used a ‘new’ Exacta blade and small sewing scissors.
- These have decorative stitches which are different than the wheel. The top of the “7” went to the next hole on the ‘same’ side for a X X X X look.
- Then a second pass is used to fill in for a XXXXX look.
- I did these sections in four stages: first under horn pad, then short face, large back face, and finally tuck area behind. I used blue masking tape to hold them while cure overnight.
- Do final trimming on excess thread and glue toward the back under trim.

Working Recommendations
- I did the work on a sofa with pillows on each side to hold thread and tools.
- Wheel was between my legs on a towel.
- I worked in the same direction each time.
- A LED strip light was very useful to illuminate working area by placing it through the wheel. This way it was easiest to see holes for both sides. A shop florescent light would probably also work but the LED’s had a very narrow beam focus.
- I did stitching over three days; it took 4 hours not counting a small section on a spoke that I had to re-stitch for better alignment and center-trim sections.
- Patience. Working in stages allows you to examine and correct your work.

Old 11-03-2006, 08:58 AM
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Nice writeup Glenn! I did my 3-spoke a little over a year ago with good results too. I'd never sewn a stitch in my life prior to that.

This is a good Winter project. Just pull the wheel, take it inside where it's warm and stitch like Granny in front of the tube. Unlike Granny, I kept a beer handy to steady my nerves.
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:58 AM
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here's my writeup with pics for the three-spoke wheel:
Steering wheel reupholstery complete..pics

ryan
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Old 11-06-2006, 09:50 AM
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When you sew the leather do you pre punch the holes or just sew?
Old 11-07-2006, 11:34 PM
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rick, the kits that are sold already have the holes pre-punched.
ryan
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To the memory of Warren Hall (Early S Man), 1950 - 2008
www.friendsofwarren.com
1990 964 C4 Cabriolet (current)
1974 911 2.7 Coupe w/sunroof 9114102267 (sold) 1974 914 2.0 (sold)
Old 11-08-2006, 06:43 AM
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OK I have read this several times and I'm still not clear on the "center" sections. No matter how I position the two pieces they don't seem to fit. It also appears the wheel maybe needs to be further disassembled but not sure...it appears the leather is actually under the metal on mine ('88 coupe).
Thanks for any suggestions...or pics. I can't seem to find any threads with more detailed pics.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:54 PM
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