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How To: Restitch Steering Wheel

Discussion in 'How-To' started by Red-GT500, Jul 4, 2013.

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  1. Red-GT500

    Red-GT500 Needs More Torque! Established Member

    Sep 9, 2012
    Ft. Worth TX
    I've hated that my car had white stitching in the steering wheel since i bought it 2 years ago. Not wanting to pay an upholstery shop a redicoulous amount to restitch it i decided to give it a shot myself.

    The Before:

    First, i bought some UV resistant anti-wiching polyester thread (stronger than nylon, and very hard to break) from an online store. It only came in a 1500 yard roll so i'll be able to do this over and over if it ever goes bad. Hopefully not.
    The next step is removing the wheel, Its not that hard but follow the ford manual and remove the SRS fuse and battery cables so that you dont accidentally trigger an airbag in your own face. The manuals can be found here:

    Ford Service Manuals - 2011

    Next the wheel has to be removed, its not hard, just a few electrical connections and one large 15/16" bolt in the center. After that then the spoke covers must be removed. They are only pressed on and will release if you use enough effort with your finger nails on the edges. Just be sure to pull them up evenly or you could possibly break the retainers. Also, dont use screwdrivers since that will damage the thin plastic of the spokes.

    Once this is done its almost time to start the stitching. First make sure you have all the supplies needed.

    1 Roll of 138 or larger sized thread in your color choice.
    1 Slightly angled scribe to help with unstitching and minor adjustments.
    1 Exacto knife or thin razor blade.
    2 2" curved needles.
    1 Pair of scissors.
    3 Velcro Bands. (optional)
    A lot of patience.

    Now the hard part, getting the nerve to cut your factory stitching. I placed one of the velcro bands around the leather just incase the leather started to open up faster than i wanted it to. Luckily the leather is glued on the bottom so i found i didnt really need these straps. They can however be used if you feel more comfortable with them.

    No going back now!

    Once the old string is cut, start removing several rows so that you can start your stitching. I found it best to leave about 2-3 inches between my work and the old material that is being removed.


    After trying one side with a single strand i decided to double up and then see how that looked. Whatever size thread you use just continue with the same factory over and under baseball stitch pattern until you reach the end. Also, the softer suede on the wheel grips isnt as tough as the other leather. Dont pull super hard on these stitches as it can easily pull through and then you either have to make a new hole or buy a new wheel. I found that a gentle tug after each row of stitch gave a nice uniform look and tightness without putting a lot of strain on the leather.


    Once you reach the end tie a double square knot under the leather (sounds harder than it is) and cut the strands at 3/4" to 1" and tuck them under the sides. This will keep them from coming undone and when the spoke covers are installed they will be hidden.

    One area that will be a little more difficult (The reason i removed the wheel) is the hand grips at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions. The stitching wraps around behind the grips. Its also curved at this section so the stitching takes a little more effort to keep straight.

    Once you finish all three sections your work should look something like this.


    After this, just reverse the removal process and install the wheel and airbag and enjoy your new color accents.
    If anyone has questions about where i got the materials or a part of the process feel free to PM me.
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