Has your padded steering wheel seen better days? It seems that universal vinyl wraps or duct tape seem to be the most common way to repair these steering wheels. These repairs are now a thing of the past. Zip Corvette Parts, 8067 Fast Lane, Mechanicsville, VA 23111, (800) 962-9632 has new padded steering wheels available. Their new reproduction padded steering wheels have brushed silver or black spokes as original, correct leather colors, thick original padding and correct stitching. Specify color when ordering. No core needed! Our Project 77 needed a new padded steering wheel so we contacted Zip for all the needed parts. The replacement is simple and can easily be done in one afternoon with simple hand tools. We will also show how you can freshen up the steering column and attaching parts so that everything will have that new look.
Now let’s get started.
Click on the images for expanded views – it’s much easier on the eyes.
01: Here is what our steering wheel looked like when we removed the universal vinyl wrap that was on it.
02: This is what we received from Zip: A new steering wheel, mounting screws and a horn button stand and contact. The only other items you will need are some hand tools, a shop manual for your year Corvette and some paint, if you are going to refinish your steering column.
03: First, disconnect your battery. Then remove the horn button. It will pull off quite easily.
04: Remove the 3 screws holding the horn contact in place. Also remove the contact shims. These vary from car to car. Some Corvettes only have one, others may have two or three.
05: The screw securing the center star screw can be removed. Then remove the center star, telescopic lock and spacer.
06: Mark the position of the steering wheel and collar. You do this so that you can reassemble the wheel back into its present position.
07: The screws that hold the steering wheel to the collar can now be removed. When this is done, you will be able to remove the steering wheel and extension collar.
08: Since we wanted everything to look as good as our new steering wheel, we decided to refinish all of the steering column pieces. We started by masking off the horn button center emblem. Use 2” masking tape to cover over the emblem. Then take a single edge razor blade and cut around the emblem. Voila! An instant cover.
09: Use a scuff pad or 600 grit sandpaper to scuff up all of the parts to be painted.
10: After the parts have been scuffed, use 3M’s General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner #08984 to wipe them down before painting.
11: We used PPG Duracryl Interior Lacquer to re-spray our column and steering wheel parts. Check with your local PPG Dealer. Most of the colors are available.
12: The column also needed to be refinished. We prepared it the same as the other pieces. Then masked off all of the surrounding interior and re-sprayed it. You can keep the overspray to a minimum by turning the pressure of the gun down to 25 to 30 lbs and use light overlapping strokes.
13: When everything is dry, start the reassembly by installing the extension collar and steering wheel. Remember to line up your alignment marks.
14: Now re-install the spacer, telescopic lock and center star screw. Before you re-install the star retaining screws, check the telescopic lock. When you turn it to the lock position, it should lock the telescopic position of the wheel into place and you should not be able to push or pull the wheel in or out. If you can, you are not getting a full lock on the telescopic lever. Re-align the lever hole and try again. You want the telescopic lever to lock the column into place when it is approximately 2/3 of the way to the right. When you have achieved this, install the center star retaining screws.
15: If your horn button does not work, this is usually the problem: One or two of the plastic rivets have broken as you can see here on the old contact. When this happens, a new horn contact is the answer.
16: Re-install the horn contact and spacers. Next center the horn button and gently push it into place. Re-connect your battery and you are ready to go.
17: Here is our new steering wheel, just like original, and refinished column looking like new and ready for the road again.
1977-1982 Steering Wheel & Horn Button Installation:
How to Install the Steering Wheel & Horn Button
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
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