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MG MGB Technical - Changing Steering Wheels

I have a '72B and plan to change the stock wheel to a Mota-Lita Christmas gift as soon as it warms a little here in the cold Northeast. I have a puller that came with the spare parts to the car, any other special tools, techniques, or wisdom before I tackle this job? I read an article from a former dealer that stated they stopped doing steering wheel replacements when MG introduced the collapsible steering column. He said is wasn't worth the risk of ruining a column to change to custom (wood) wheels for customers. Any truth to that?

Joe. I have removed the steering wheels on my various cars many times. Spray the nut and the surrounding area with a good penetrating oil. I like ZEP-45, but others have used PB Blaster with good results. Do not use WD-40 as that is not its intended purpose. Let it sit for a day or more. Remove the nut holding the steering wheel down. Turn it back on about three-four turns to prevent the steering wheel from coming off and hitting you in the chin. Yank on the puppy. Hit the back with a rubber hammer. (A great deal of fun because you cannot get a full swing.) Rock the steering wheel from side to side a little. It will, eventually, come off, hitting the nut rather than your face. Remove the nut, then the steering wheel. Install the new wheel using a little anti-seize compound.

Did you get the socket? How did it work? Les
Les Bengtson

Be careful here Joe, don't hit the wheel on the back or pull it too hard or you might shear the nylon inserts in the collapsible column. Rock it very firmly in the direction that twists the wheel and the joint will break. Warm the centre of the hub if you wish and use a puller if you have to. You have to be quite brutal when rocking the wheel so don't be afraid to be rough on it but please resist the temptation to start hitting it on the rear face.
Iain MacKintosh

The 72 steering wheel is easy to remove, the wheel fastens to the hub with 6 5/16" NF cap screws. Cheap harmonic balancer pullers will work by removing two of the cap screws and using bolts in the puller kit with the puller. You can also remove the wheel by backing off the center nut. put your kees under the wheel and push up while using a soft bar and hammer on the column shaft.

I know it has been said you may shear the nylon inserts when hitting the upper column shaft. Not so.
The shaft has two retaining clips to keep the shaft secure in the upper bearing. The upper bearing is secured to the column housing with tabs and screws. If it is that easy to collapse the column from the top what would happen in event of an accident? The wheel would come out of the column into your face. The column designed to keep the wheel in place and collapse from the bottom.

Clifton Gordon

In my opinion the shaft is not really secure in the bush nor the plastic bush very secure in the column. The wheel certainly won't come flying out in an accident as its own forward velocity added to the poor driver's chest against it will ensure that. I certainly would not advocate the use of any force which would result in endloading the column in either direction.
Iain MacKintosh

Collapsible columns for the USA do not use plastic bushes in the top. The bearing assembly is steel with steel roller bearings. I agree you shouldn't take a 5lb. sledge hammer and pound away. It usually doesn't take heavy beating to break the wheel loose when using your kees to push up on the wheel as you tap the shaft. The seat belts are supposed to keep your chest off the wheel in an accident, but I think they may strech or if they are old they may break.


Clifton Gordon

Ah, I knew that there were cars out there somewhere that had proper bearings fitted but didn't realise that they were only US cars The UK ones or the ones that I've pulled apart have plastic bushes top and bottom which to say the least are not located very firmly. Most of the end location is provided by the steering coupling and so if you end load the wheelo in any way then the plastic inserts in the collapsible column take the full force. No match for a sledge hammer !!
Iain MacKintosh

I replaced the steering wheel on my 74.5 "B" back in September. I tried the knee and hammer method without success (and after a liberal amount of Liquid Wrench). I bought a steering wheel remover, (about $15 at Auto Zone) however the bolts they supplied would not fit the original wheel. I used some smaller bolts I had and eventually got the bugger free, (after a great deal of torque and a loud pop). When I was using the knee and hammer method I did ding up the original steering wheel hub a bit, thats why I tried the puller. My replacement wheel was a Mountny and I had to get a little inventive to get the horn connected as the brush supplied with the original did not reach the contact, a little bending and solder fixed that. The horn actually works better now. Good luck.

After much cursing I settled on using a 2-leg puller with the legs hooked into the jaws of the largest spanner around, which was placed behind the boss (nothing to grip otherwise). Once under tension a light tap springs it all free (main nut on just on the end of the column to stop you getting a face full of flying ironmongery, of course). Hasn't failed me so far and no lump hammer needed.
Steve Postins

This thread was discussed on 03/03/2005

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