Removing the steering wheel

Getting the old wheel off is by most reports a git of a job, made harder by the later models having a collapsible steering column. This means the normal method of giving the steering wheel nut a whack with a hammer cannot be used for risk of having the column collapse.

First up was to get access to the nut under the boss. The OEM wheel has an MG badge in the centre, held in place by a little ridge of the covering rubber material. A thin screwdriver (ideally a micro-driver) allows you to lever the disc out without damaging the surround. Now you'll see the nut which shouldn't take too much effort to undo. Chances are that the wheel will be stuck fast on the splines which keep it and the column aligned.

You now have two options to try and remove the wheel. The first is the 'just pull it' method. This varies from literally just pulling at it, through to applying alternating push/pull force to opposite sides of the wheel, to jamming your knees behind it. If you try any of these, please make sure that you leave the nut on a few turns as when the wheel releases it'll come off fast and could easily leave you with a bloody nose! We did all of these, including injecting WD40 down the splines over several days, without any movement.

The second method is to use a puller. Moss supply the proper tool, but you'll probably only use it once and it's pretty expensive. The other option is to use a hub puller, but the issue with the OEM wheels is that their spoke alignment make it awkward to get a purchase and the rubber coating can easily be damaged. We managed to borrow a two-armed hub puller and added a couple of spars of wood for it to attach to behind the spokes. After the first fitting we added some padding between the wood and the wheel to protect the surface.

The puller did the trick, revealing the splines on the column and the plastic disc which allows the wheel to cancel the indicators after cornering. The boss has two 'fingers' which fit into slots in this disc to turn it. Next up was to fit the new wheel, this one will be going on my garage wall!

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  1. Arun said on 15 Dec 2009:

    Thanks for the warning about not using the hammer trick, but what do you mean by collapsible column? Wouldn't using a hub puller put the similar pressure on the column? Cheers, Arun
  2. Adam said on 15 Dec 2009:

    Hey, Arun The column (on later models) is in two parts joined by a nylon peg which shears in the event of an impact to save the driver. A hub puller or gradual force by pulling with your hands is much less of a forceful impact than whacking it with a hammer and won't shear the inserts.
  3. Daniel Johnson said on 23 Apr 2011:

    Hi, What kind of spars did you use? I tried this method but only succeeded in breaking the wood! Daniel
  4. Adam said on 23 Apr 2011:

    Hi Daniel, it was just some wood we had lying around the garage (I guess it was plywood). I can only suggest more WD40 and rocking the wheel to ease the solution down the splines. When it comes off you will wonder how such short length of splines can hold onto the wheel so well!
  5. Daniel Johnson said on 20 May 2011:

    Hey Adam, Just thought I would let you know that I finally got the wheel off. Ended up buying a length of 1mm gauge box section steel. Combination of that plus a bit of tapping seemed to do the trick. Thanks for replying to my previous post. Daniel