One of the big problems when restoring old tractors is finding a way to get old steering wheels with cracked, broken and flaking rubber authentically restored.
Two neighboring tractor restorers who had the problem themselves teamed up and are now in the business of restoring antique tractor steering wheels to authentic, like-new condition. Their custom service, called Minn-Kota repair, uses specially engineered molds to duplicate the rubber on original steering wheels.
All you do is remove the steering wheel and send it to Minn-Kota. Partners Murlyn Schnaser and Arvid Whiting strip off the old rubber, then sandblast and prime the old metal. The metal is then placed inside a mold on a 390-ton press where it's recovered with new rubber under 350-degree heat.
Minn-Kota restores flat or round three-spoke steering wheels (14, 15 or 17 in. dia.) from the following tractors: Deere A, B, G, D, H, M and MT, plus early 40, 50, 60 and 70 models; Case DC, D, SC, S, VC and VAC; International M, H, W6 and W4, plus the A and B; Allis-Chalmers WC, WD, B, C, and early D17. "We can also restore Massey Harris, Cockshutt, Ford and other wheels which have rubber on the outside but not down along the spokes," says Schnaser. "You may want to strip off the old rubber yourself to reduce shipping cost. Be careful when you remove the steering wheel from the tractor so you don't damage the hub. Generally, you can heat the hub with a torch to make it easier to remove. If you find a wheel in a scrap yard, cut off the shaft and bring the wheel to a vise to remove the stub shaft."