1991 explorer steering wheel melting ( ? ) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1991 explorer steering wheel melting ( ? )


New Member
February 12, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Stewartsville MO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 xlt
The steering wheel in my truck seems to be melting. When I drive, I end up with this thick black goop on my fingers. It's leeaking out from the seam on the wheel vinyl. I clean it off and theres more in just a little while. The wheel also feels soft in my grip. I hav never seen anything like this before, it's pretty messed up to get that stuff all over your clothes when your going out. I want to change the wheel, but my cruise control still work great, and i want to keep it. Any ideas on where and how I can mount the cruise buttons?
Thanks for any ideas.

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The horn button and cruise control separates from your steering wheel. You can replace the wheel without replacing those.

The plastic/rubber is just going to hell from age. Easiest would be to go to a junk yard and get another with cruise buttons.

It's kind of red-neck, but here's what I did:

1) Get some silicon sealant (I used clear, but you could use black, I expect). Clean the steering wheel off real good. Smear a layer of silicon on the seam to seal it. I expect it will eventually peel off and leak again, but it's been good for a couple of years now.

2) Install a cheap steering wheel cover.

I had the same problem in my 92. The problem is the glue that ford uses from the factory to glue the steering wheel cover. I'll tell you the right way to fix it in case you are the kind of person that likes to do that, and then I'll tell you what I did.

The right way to fix it is to cut the seem where the steering wheel is sewn together, clean all the glue off and re-sew the steering wheel together. If you are inclined to do that, there is plenty of videos on youtube that will show you how to sew a steering wheel cover.

What I did- There is an electrical tape that is called self fusing tape, it can be a little pricey. I found it at harbor freight; they called it self bonding tape. It is formulated in a manner that it doesn't have any glue on it; which is great because I was originally going to use duct tape but I didn't want to have glue on my hands, as opposed to the goop, as it didn't seem like much of an improvement.

The tape is a little thick, but it is supposed to stretch to 3x its initial length. The roll at harbor freight was about $3 I think and it covered the whole top of my steering wheel (from 1 horn spoke to the other). I think I could have stretched the roll to cover the whole wheel, and I might get another roll next time I'm there and try to redo it. So far there hasn't been any problems. It's not sticky and I'm not getting the goop on my hands anymore.

I wrapped the tape around the steering wheel overlapping 50% each wrap so that the goop wouldn't seep through. It's only been a few weeks, but so far it hasn't come off or started to unwrap at all.

I couldn't find it on harbor freights website or I would have posted a link, but if you don't have one close by then you should be able to find it at lowes or home depot.

I had the same problem with my 92 and my fix was to head to Canadian Tire and by a nice leather steering wheel cover that just slipped on (well it was a bit tight but made for a great fit) and matched the original black cover perfectly. I actually like the feel of the wheel better now as it is thicker.

It is a leather cover

Your Exploder came with a nice leather steering wheel cover. Too bad Ford used a nasty black mastick to adhere it! Heat and age make the black goop ooze out all over the place. Cut the threads holding the cover on (all the way around), peel the stock cover off, clean the entire steering wheel with a mild solvent like turpentine or paint thinner, install a new cover. Or use it without a cover like I do.

I'm having the same problem, and I hate steering wheel covers. My fix is going to be wrapping the wheel in thin lack cord really tight to seal the wheel inside it.