Bugeye on a Budget

Mod: East Detailing Steering Wheel Cover

Refreshing an old STi Steering Wheel

I picked this 2005 STi steering wheel up from a friend that had it lying around. I wanted to use it for mock-up purposes for the telescoping steering column retrofit. I forgot that the STi steering wheel is 10mm smaller than the Bugeye wheel, and it sits a little closer to the driver (I forget the measurement). I put an Impreza/WRX airbag on it to avoid STi badges on my WRX.

I picked this cover up from East Detailing last year on Black Friday and I finally got around to installing it. I’m not big on interior mods as I prefer to keep things simple or minimalist. However, the steering wheel was pretty beat up, and after putting all that work into upgrading the steering system, I wanted a better steering wheel.

The first attempt to install was over the winter. I don’t know if it was because of the cold temperatures or what, but the cover was really tight, and we couldn’t get it to fit. So, we cut off the old leather cover, and that was a mistake.

You can clearly see that it is way too loose now. After that debacle, I threw the cover on a shelf and practically forgot about it. I was still working on the BRZ EPAS retrofit.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I decide to give this another shot. I put the old cover back on loosely.

I tried installing the new cover on the car, but my garage is 90-degrees in the summer and I’d rather do tedious things in a more comfortable setting.

So I pulled the steering wheel off and worked on it at my desk. It is possible to install it on the car, but the process was far less stressful for me with the steering wheel removed. I have removed this steering wheel a million times at this point. I also used every stitch versus every other stitch like in the instructions. Had I re-stitched the old cover back on, I probably could have closed the gap better with every other stitch.

It is still a little loose in places; I probably could have used tape to make some of the edges tighter. This wheel is a temporary solution, and I had already spent two days on it, mostly trying different patterns and techniques. Terminating a line was the hardest part; I eventually just gave up on trying to make it look perfect, and I got it done.

Overall, I am happy with this setup. The steering wheel feels 100% better than it did before. And it was only $40, whereas the DAMD-D or FactionFab wheels are around $500. Eventually, I will pick up one of those two wheels, but this works well enough for now.

Cheers!

10 comments on “Mod: East Detailing Steering Wheel Cover

  1. Peter Spinale

    This is fantastic information! I have been looking for a cover to not only improve the appearance but to increase the grip diameter of the wheel, the Bugeye version is on sale for $49 right now, so perfect timing on this update.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been eye-balling the Auto Interior Technic micro suede wheel cover for a while now, just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. The leather on my OEM steering wheel is still in great shape but sometimes I wish the factory wheel was just a smidge thicker in diameter.

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    • There have been others in our 92x group on Facebook that have gone with the East Detailing cover and have had good results. My only little gripe with the East Detailing cover is that the stitching doesn’t line up correctly with the OEM wheel stitching, so then you can see the OEM seam beneath the cover.

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      • A.A.Smith

        Hmmm, I couldn’t tell if it was me or the cover but yeah, I had the same issue with gap. My steering wheel was in terrible shape so this was a big improvement for me.

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  3. Peter Spinale

    So completely confused by the instructions. Do you stitch the leather or the existing stitching? Pulling the wheel off to do it for sure. As it’s 110 in the garage.

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    • A.A.Smith

      The instructions are not the best. Your starting stitch(es) goes through the leather. The rest hook the stitching on the new leather. I would watch a couple videos to figure out what technique you want to use. I gave up on making it look nice. lol. πŸ˜‚

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  4. Peter Spinale

    Hmm. Well it added thickness to the wheel, which was what I wanted, but the fit on the Bugeye wheel isn’t great. I think the newer one has the advantage of fewer spokes and they’re straight. The curved spokes on my wheel were a pain and there wasn’t enough material to cover some spots. One thing I would suggest is lacing a section loosely, they give you plenty of thread, then tighten it evenly like shoelaces. I used a couple of small pin pushers to pull a loop tight then moved it along to one end.
    I’m not completely happy, but it was worth it, maybe? We’ll see what a week of daily is like.

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    • A.A.Smith

      The spokes were a total pain on mine as well. And I didn’t have enough material on mine either. I wasn’t sure if that was my fault or not. I was frustrated with it and I just wanted to be done.

      For the price, it is hard for me to complain about it now and it my wheel looks and feels 100% better. At the time though, I was a little disappointed too.

      Like

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