New Italian Leather Steering Wheel Covers in Oak (Tan) and Grey (1 Viewer)

MScruiser

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My steering wheel was extremely worn, and a hole about 6 to 8 inches was cracking across the top of the wheel. Because of my OCD, I knew I had to fix it. My research brought me to a steering wheel cover, which is offered by a company that is associated with this website, but the prices seemed high, the color did not seem to correctly match the factory color, and the vendor has several questionable ratings on the “Buyer Beware” section of the MUD classifieds. Due to all these factors, I set out to do everything on my own.

Working with a major national leather supplier, over the course of the last few months, I was able to locate the exact shade and texture that Mr. Toyota used. Unfortunately, I had to purchase an entire cowhide, as smaller quantities were not available.

Once the cowhide came in, I worked with a local seamstress in my neighborhood who was highly recommended by several people I know, to help me get the correct template made, and get all the pieces cut and sewn together.

Granted, this process was far more expensive than simply purchasing a premade cover from the above mentioned company, but it also left me with a very large quantity of leftover leather. I plan on working with the local seamstress to develop kits, and hopefully offer them to the MUD community at a more reasonable price point.

The leather is very supple, and Italian-made.

I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon installing my new cover. Now, I am definitely not very handy with a needle and thread, but the results are fairly good, considering my skill set. The leather, on the other hand, looks beautiful.

I think I will be able to offer kits, competitively priced, around $135, which will include enough brown nylon thread for the project, and a curved sewing needle. If you are feeling adventurous, as I was, you can certainly try doing it yourself. On the other hand, you could take a kit to your local upholstery shop, and pay them to install it for you, which will save you big $$$ if you are supplying everything necessary.

Before I venture to deep into those waters though, I wanted to see how many people might be interested in actually purchasing a kit.

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MScruiser

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In this picture, I am using some E6000 adhesive to glue the edges of the leather down around the contours of the spokes. I am using green frogtape to hold everything in place until the the glue cures.

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Finished
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View attachment 1773613

Here’s a quick rundown of how to do it. Do the seams along the red arrows first. Start at the outside of the lower spoke and work across the wheel to the lower outside of the next spoke. Do this until the entire main seam is done. Then stitch along the blue arrows stitching toward the center of the wheel. Use a bit of adhesive on the spokes before laying the leather down. If for some reason you have a bit too much leather in a place and it is bunching up at the seams, you can carefully trim the excess with an exacto knife before stitching it the rest is of the way.

If for some reason the leather is too tight and short in an area, you can soak the section in warm water and the leather will swell. You will have about 4 hours of work time until the leather shrinks again.

Remember to work slow, and check your work often. Ensure the leather is not bunching up, if it is, you can stretch it, and manipulate it by how you sew the seam.

There are several videos on YouTube showing various methods.
 
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Timely, as I was just looking into steering wheel options. Pretty cool, I will stay subscribed here to see what develops, but in all honesty, I'll probably yank something from the junk yard (many other toyota/lexus wheels should fit).
 

NorCalFJ100

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Also in need of wheel leather replacement, although when I got my truck it was so bad it was work down to the metal...I'll probably need a new wheel to even start with. But interested in your leather price.
 

MScruiser

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Also in need of wheel leather replacement, although when I got my truck it was so bad it was work down to the metal...I'll probably need a new wheel to even start with. But interested in your leather price.

Lots of cheap cheap cores available in the classifieds.
 

lckarl

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I also need to do this, mine is not terrible yet, but on its way out.
 

LINUS

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Timely, as I was just looking into steering wheel options. Pretty cool, I will stay subscribed here to see what develops, but in all honesty, I'll probably yank something from the junk yard (many other toyota/lexus wheels should fit).

I’ve been there myself - LS400 wheels from the same time/era ARE the exact same as a FZJ80 wheel, right down to cruise stalk.

Camry wheels get you a smaller diameter, and you can go back to base rubber instead of leather if you find a lower trim level one, and the airbag is a P-n-P connector for our harness - but take the Camry airbag as it’s smaller like the OD of the wheel (good for all you 6’2”+ guys).

The Camry wheel I saw myself installed in a 80 when I was up in Squamish, B.C. - it was a ~6’4” guy who just tried it & it worked. I forget his name, he’s on Mud now since we met.

Or leather one up, if you’re tall & want a slightly smaller wheel / kneeknocker.
 

NorCalFJ100

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@LINUS Thanks for the tip!!! I was wondering which wheels were interchangeable, but hadn't looked yet!
 

musthave

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Look beautiful, perfect match. For $125 I would be up for at least one.
 

davidp14

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I'm interested. I'd like to see a before pic of your wheel just to get an idea of how bad it was. Mine is missing the leather off the entire top half. I think a rewrap would fix it but a comparison pic would help make that determination.

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COYS

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I wish the seams were as subtle as oem. Aftermarket always tends to look aftermarket.
 

MScruiser

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I'm interested. I'd like to see a before pic of your wheel just to get an idea of how bad it was. Mine is missing the leather off the entire top half. I think a rewrap would fix it but a comparison pic would help make that determination.

View attachment 1763755

Mine look nearly as bad as yours. I do not have a before picture though. This is not a wrap, this completely replaces the original leather; you must cut off the old leather cover before installing this cover.
 

MScruiser

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I wish the seams were as subtle as oem. Aftermarket always tends to look aftermarket.

The seams would look better, if I had first taken a little material off the original rubber pad. Whoever does the install, could certainly make that less apparent.
 
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In this picture, I am using some E6000 adhesive to glue the edges of the leather down around the contours of the spokes. I am using green frogtape to hold everything in place until the the glue cures.

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Finished
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damn fine job Andrew
 

Flipped Bezel

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I'd be interested
 
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Sign me up! That looks great! Ive got a 95 in oak leather.
 

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