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  1. #1
    Senior Member mechanizeddeath's Avatar
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    Default Superskin leather steering wheel cover

    One of the problems my Ciera had when I got it was that the steering wheel was falling apart. Whatever paint they'd used on it was falling off in tiny chips that stuck to my hands and coated my pants in a dull gray confetti. Not sure why it was doing this, I always thought these wheels were molded in color, not painted.


    A picture from the day I got the car.

    It would have eventually stopped doing this once it all fell off, but I would have still had an ugly black wheel in a gray car, plus the steering wheel was abrasive and uncomfortable in this condition. A cover was the obvious solution.

    So I bought one of those "Sport Grip" foamy steering wheel covers for $5. It was cheap and looked and felt alright, but was rather fragile. It didn't take long for the cover to begin falling apart at the bottom left spoke where I usually hold the wheel, and finally it was so ragged I just cut the whole thing off last week.


    The Sport Grip cover looked this good for about a month.

    After that failure, I tried one of the slip on covers sold almost everywhere, you know the kind that are fuzzy or have Tweety Bird or Ed Hardy designs on them. (Fortunately I found a plain gray one.) The problem with this one was it made the grip circumference of the wheel too thick for my taste, I'm not kidding when I say it felt like I was holding a tennis ball when I drove. Not to mention it didn't wrap all the way around the wheel, so I was still getting gray paint chips all over me, just not as many.


    Really?

    The third and final option was to go with one of the stitch on leather covers. I knew these were the nicest and would sometimes outlast the cars they were installed on, but on the other hand the installation was said to be quite a headache. I looked online at the Wheelskin and Superskin brands, and decided to go with the much cheaper Superskin over the $50 Wheelskin brand.

    I found the cover, in the correct size, at a local Pep Boys. It was actually cheaper than I could find online, but on the other hand the one I got looked like it had been hanging on the peg for a while. The package was dated 2001, and while the cover itself wasn't dated, the stiffness of the leather led me to believe it was from closer to the package date than today's date. I decided to go ahead anyway, and just soaked it in leather conditioner before I installed it.


    In 5 flavors!

    After looking over the instructions and the available stitch patterns, I chose to go with the cross lace pattern. As I understand it, it gives the best results but is also the most time consuming, as you have to work with two needles. Additional tools used were a small hook and a jewelers screwdriver for pulling the thread tight, a spring clamp to help hold the cover down, and an antique thimble I borrowed from my grandmother's sewing kit.

    Installation was pretty straightforward, it just took a long time. According to what I've read online, it takes between 2 and 6 hours to install the cover. I believe I spent at least 7.




    The end result.

    As you can see, it isn't perfect but doesn't look that bad either. I wasn't able to stretch the cover around the thicker parts of the wheel at 10 and 2, and there's a ripple at the very bottom caused by the fact that I somehow ended up with an odd number of holes for the thread, resulting in uneven lacing. But after all that work, it wasn't like I was going to tear it off and return it.

    Here's a few shots of the installation. Nothing too exciting, just slowly lacing around the wheel:








    Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it. Just figured I'd share my install with the forum, since I know some of you guys have steering wheels in even rougher shape than mine. As a bonus, I know from experience that these covers look and fit even better on the older wheels without airbags.
    Oldsmobile Quality. Feel It.

  2. #2
    Senior Member LordDurock's Avatar
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    looks perrty good for wheel cover... 7 hours of sewing though. yuck i spent 3 wiring up the dash and wheel parts of my century doing the manual trans conversion, and another good 2 hours under the dash doing the rust. sitting there is killer

    Quote Originally Posted by LordDurock
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    Senior Member mechanizeddeath's Avatar
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    Indeed. To be completely honest, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm still unemployed (ugh) and thus have a lot of free time on my hands, I probably wouldn't have bothered, and just wrapped another $5 sport grip on there for a few months. There's a learning curve though, and knowing what I know now, I bet I could do another one, even better, in under 4 hours.
    Oldsmobile Quality. Feel It.

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    Senior Member dcjredline's Avatar
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    Nice write up man! Looks ok on there too.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Doc Salvage's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post and pics! I currently have one of the Sport Grip type covers in black on our Ciera, no probs with the color flaking here.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Is this a one size fit's all? Do I have to measure my wheel, or can I just order it?

    Thanks,
    Ken T.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Equalyzer's Avatar
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    I would do that with mine, but it's got the old luxury style finger-gripper thingies behind it. A cover wouldn't fit very well. I just wish I had one without the air bag; then I could get an aftermarket racing wheel for it.
    1993 "Gunmetal Gray" Cutlass Ciera, aka "Melanie"
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  8. #8
    Senior Member SCREECH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equalyzer
    I just wish I had one without the air bag; then I could get an aftermarket racing wheel for it.
    Is it a legality issue that precludes you from swapping to a non-airbag wheel? If you're just concerned about the airbag components, don't be. I swapped out the wheel on my wife's old '96 Regal to a factory Buick sport wheel from a '92 or '93 Regal. I just snipped the yellow harness that clips into the back of the airbag module, flush cut down against the yellow spring assembly cover in the column. If you want to disable the AIR BAG light, you'll need to get a bit creative, but I did that too. The module (which, in the regal was under the passenger seat, I've never checked where it is in an A-body) had a "shorting bar" built into the connector, so that if you unplugged the main connector from the ABS control module it would automatically light the dash light. I just inserted a custom trimmed piece of cardboard into the connector to keep the shorting bar from contacting the leads for the light and Bob was my uncle...for some reason that expression doesn't seem to work as well in type... Anyway, if there's no legal implications you're worried about, mod away!

    PS - sorry for highjacking the thread. And no, I don't mean the one that Mech used to sew that spiffy cover on! hahaha Very nice write-up, btw! Good pics and all. Well done.
    http://www.screech.ws/
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  9. #9
    Senior Member mechanizeddeath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equalyzer View Post
    I would do that with mine, but it's got the old luxury style finger-gripper thingies behind it. A cover wouldn't fit very well. I just wish I had one without the air bag; then I could get an aftermarket racing wheel for it.
    Sorry for the delay in reply... Actually, my wheel also has the finger notches, you just can't see them in the picture. Leather stretches, and once I had the lacing pulled tight the cover conformed to the finger notches, and I can still feel every one of them as the wheel slides through my hands. For a few days I could feel that the cover wasn't as tight between the bumps of the finger grips, but now that it has been on for a while, the cover is molded to the shape of the wheel, finger grips included.
    Oldsmobile Quality. Feel It.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mechanizeddeath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post
    Is this a one size fit's all? Do I have to measure my wheel, or can I just order it?

    Thanks,
    Ken T.
    There are three sizes: A, B, and C. Size A is the smallest, and is mostly for older/classic cars with skinny wheels. Pre-airbag A-bodies would probably use a size A, but that's just a guess. Sizes B and C are larger, and are for more current vehicles with thicker wheels. In the case of my '96, size B was the closest fit. I couldn't quite get it all the way around the thicker parts at 10 and 2, but if I'd used the larger size C, the rest of the cover would have probably been loose.

    These later A-body wheels would work best with a custom solution involving an irregular piece of leather the allow for those 10 and 2 bulges.
    Oldsmobile Quality. Feel It.

  11. #11
    Senior Member occupant's Avatar
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    My fix for a permanently on ABS or SRS light is black paint on the BULB ITSELF. Problem solved. You can't see the light, but the car think's it on so it's job is done.
    Alan Moore - TOAD Roadside - Worthington, OH

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  12. #12

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    my friend wants to knit me a steering wheel cover for my car. does anyone know of any patterns for this, or just some advise if this will grip the wheel good?...

  13. #13
    Senior Member mechanizeddeath's Avatar
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    I don't think I ever saw all the other replies to this! Not sure how I missed them either.

    lackneramanda: If the cover is extremely tight it should grip just fine, but the cover either has to be just ever so slightly too small for the wheel, making for a tight fit, or there has to be something wrapped around the outside of the cover to hold it in place, as it is with the Sport Grip cover. Being that tight means that the material has to be very durable, which is why most covers are leather or heavy duty vinyl. Not sure if a knit cover would hold up to that strain.

    As for patterns, prior to buying this I looked into simply making one. You can get a scrap of leather from a fabric store and make your own, but I figured the extra labor wasn't worth it, especially considering how much work went into this already made cover. But if you want to make something, really all you'll need to do is measure the wheel. But remember, make sure it is tight or it will just slide all over, which is not only silly but potentially dangerous.
    Oldsmobile Quality. Feel It.

  14. #14
    Senior Member white89euro's Avatar
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    Hi! Excellent pics and exellent work. Thanks much for sharing. Looks great!
    George

  15. #15
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    I trust it required skills to restore your steering wheel. Once my steering wheel also needed a restoration and i had no idea what to do. But my friend recommended me a restoration services providers https://www.woodensteeringwheels.com/ who restored it nicely and now it looks so fresh. But if you can do this by yourself, then do and save some amount of money.

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