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Re-dye Steering Wheel
#1
Gurus,

After recovering my dash, the only ugly thing that I can see from my drivers seat is the steering wheel.  

   

Time to fix that.  I sent a piece of the new material (ultra leather) to the folks at Leatherique.com.  I told them that I was doing a steering wheel and to send me what I need.  They sent me three bottles.  (Prepping agent, custom Dye, and a clear coat finish).

First step was to tape off the plastic.

   

Next, I used the prepping agent and a piece of 1200 grit wet-dry sandpaper to gently remove the old dye and dirt.  Even though I went slowly, it took off a good deal of the old dye.  I started wondering if I was getting in over my head.  I let this step dry over night.

Next, time to apply the dye.  The dye is a water based pigment that really wants to separate into solids and liquid.  I emptied entire bottle into a plastic pot, and then used a little distilled water to rinse out the bottle.  Then I mixed slowly for several minutes.  Finally, I took about 1/3 of the bottle and diluted it about 20% with distilled water.  More on that next.

With the dye a little watered down, I was able to start applying to the wheel.  I opted to use fairly nice acrylic brushes (3/8”) to apply the dye.  I really went slowly and did not apply very much dye at one time.  I probably put 4-5 coats of dye on altogether.  (Let each coat dry to the touch).

I put several extra coats on where I had a little suede leather developing.  (More about this in lessons learned).  Here is second coat while wet

   

After letting the dye dry overnight, I put on several coats of clear coat.  I let each coat dry for 2 hrs.  The clear coat is kinda shiny, but putting light coats on tends to minimize that.  I also used the fine sandpaper between coats to knock down any rough patches.  (Not sure that was legal, but I did it so I wanted to let you guys know).

Here is the result.

   

Lessons Learned:
1). Re-dye of leather in the coach is totally doable.  It is not a no-brain process, but if you are careful and take your time, the results are pretty impressive.
2).  For steering wheels it is not necessary to remove the wheel.  (I toyed with the idea of putting new leather on the wheel.  I am glad that I went in this direction.
3).  There are several Leatherique videos on the inter-webs.  They are your friend.
4).  Leatherique makes two products that I did not use, but wish I had.  One is called rejuvenator.  It is a slop on and wait product that brings life back to old stiff leather.  The other one is called filler and would have been better on the suede areas on my wheel.  You put that product into rough / cracked patches and then sand down prior to the dye process.
5).  I am not sure how this process would be on large areas of leather (like the middle of the dash), but it totally works for small repairs and steering wheels and the like.

Enjoy!
Bill


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
                   
Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
#2
Great job Bill. Really improves the appearance!
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
NewellOwner.com
#3
That looks perfect! Great job!
1988 40ft Newell Classic
8V92 TA Mechanic
Allison 740 (4 speed)


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