Lotus Elan

Steering wheel care

PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:25 pm

Salut

I've just bought a Chapman steering wheel for my car for a foolish amount of money - it's not even the correct wheel but I thought it would look cool.

The rim has the original moulded plastic covering in very good condition - almost feels like a modern wheel. What's the low down on looking after theses things - are there products that should or shouldn't be used to ensure the plastic covering doesn't dry out and become brittle ?

Merci et @+

Vernon
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:50 pm

I thought all Chapman wheels were either wood or leather rimmed!
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:56 pm

Galwaylotus wrote:I thought all Chapman wheels were either wood or leather rimmed!


No, the Sprints (and probably S4's) had a plastic covered Chapman wheel that the plastic splits with age, normal practice is to recover in leather.
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:45 pm

types26/36 wrote:
Galwaylotus wrote:I thought all Chapman wheels were either wood or leather rimmed!


No, the Sprints (and probably S4's) had a plastic covered Chapman wheel that the plastic splits with age, normal practice is to recover in leather.


Ah. I learn something every day! :D
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:54 pm

It's a +2 wheel.
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PostPost by: saildrive2001 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:45 pm

My 69 S4 SE has a leather covered wheel.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:38 pm

Not sure there is much you can do after it has been cleaned. I highly doubt the plastic dries out as such but perhaps hot and cold cycles of the car being in direct sunlight then cold nights causes expansion and contraction then causes fatigue and splitting. Unlike leather I don't think you can condition it as such. Maybe just keep it covered when not in use and out of extremes of temperature.

Probably quite a valuable wheel as not many survive having not been recovered (and as far as I know no one has found a way to repair or recover in plastic.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:27 pm

Mine is plastic covered. There are a couple of minor splits on a seam, which are obviously going to only get worse through use, so any repair tips would be welcome.

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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:16 pm

vernon.taylor wrote:Salut

I've just bought a Chapman steering wheel for my car for a foolish amount of money - it's not even the correct wheel but I thought it would look cool.

The rim has the original moulded plastic covering in very good condition - almost feels like a modern wheel. What's the low down on looking after theses things - are there products that should or shouldn't be used to ensure the plastic covering doesn't dry out and become brittle ?

Merci et @+

Vernon

ArmorAll will likely protect the plastic against age cracking but it leaves the surface extremely slippery!! I wouldn't use it on tyre treads or a steering wheel.
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PostPost by: pereirac » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:27 pm

My Sprint also had the hard plastic cover and it was fine (a bit shiny in places) until I dropped it when the plastic cracked :oops: I had it recovered in leather by the Lotus factory for a reasonable price. Bell and Colvill sent it back to the factory for me.
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:55 pm

Meguiars recommend this:

http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product/g ... onditioner

... and the Chemicalguys this:

http://www.chemicalguys.com/InnerClean_ ... 663_16.htm

The first appeals to me. Anyone tried either of these ?

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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:17 am

With the increased premiums paid for originality amongst classic cars, I set out recently to find a company that could replicate the hot weld vinyl covering of Sprint steering wheels.

I failed to find one, dear reader.

If anyone elsewhere than the UK wishes to do the same, good luck! I suspect that the tooling and processes necessary to replicate the finish are no longer economically viable or available. However, I would be delighted to be proved wrong!

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