NB Steering Wheel Restoration and Retrofit

After years with the beautiful Nardi Deep Corn steering wheel it was time to try something different. A friend let me test drive his NB and I realized how nice it is to have the chunky grip of a modern wheel compared to the thin vintage style. The Nardi was also slightly smaller (350mm) than OEM, which helped with knee room, but not maneuvering in parking lots without power steering.

Nardi Deep Corn 350mm steering wheel in black perforated leather with red cross-stitching

I knew I wanted an early NB steering wheel with the Nardi logo in the center. The later NB wheels move the Nardi logo to the bottom and put the modern Mazda logo in the center. Since I was going to wrap the wheel with a cover, I bought the cheapest and most beat up steering wheel on ebay that still came with a nice looking airbag. I didn’t expect to have to fill and sand smooth the surface, but the cracks were so deep and ragged that they could be felt through the wrap.

There are some great how-to videos and reviews on the East Detailing steering wheel wrap kit:

My biggest advice for the wrap kit is to start by lining up all the important seams before stitching. I started my stitching in the center at the 12 o’clock mark and moved outwards to keep everything as symmetrical as I could. Take extra time to align the cover because the double-sided tape and stitching hold it very securely and make it hard to adjust after the fact.

Worn early NB steering wheel with center Nardi logo
East Detailing steering wheel wrap kit
Cracking used NB steering wheel
Sun-damaged and dried out steering wheel material
Resurfacing steering wheel with JB Weld
JB weld sanded smooth
Double sided tape applied ready for wrap install
Aligning the East Detailing steering wheel wrap
Stitching all around the wrap with light grey accent thread. Before drilling the clock spring slots.

This stitching picture shows best how important it is to line up the seams before sewing. The 12 o’clock marker can’t be misaligned by even one stitch or it will be obvious.

Tightening each stitch one-by-one
NA steering wheel and airbag vs NB
NA airbag connector spliced onto NB airbag

The airbag connector doesn’t have polarity. Will this airbag successfully go off in a crash? Hopefully I don’t find out. More likely than the previous Nardi wheel though 😅

NA turn signal clock spring registration slots drilled into NB wheel

I tried to transfer paint marks from the clock spring plastic tabs onto the back of the steering wheel, but ultimately just measured the NA wheel carefully and copied the locations. It works great.

First install of NB wheel

I read one post that said the splines on the NA and NB are different by a few degrees. Mine seemed to center perfectly, but a wheel alignment from a shop should fix any off-center issues anyway.

Miata NB steering wheel with East Detailing wrap installed on NA

I highly recommend the NB steering wheel and the East Detailing wrap!

ebay Steering Wheel$100
East Detailing Miata NB Steering Wheel Cover$50

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