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Old 07-29-2007, 05:31 PM
downeyjc downeyjc is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 51
Tip For Easy Removal of Steering Wheel--560SL and Other Models

I recently had to remove the instrument cluster on my 1987 560SL and that required first removing the steering wheel. There are countless posts on the forum about the difficulties in removing the 10mm female hex head bolt that holds the steering wheel in place. Most people suggest the job requires a helper to hold the wheel steady while you use a long breaker bar with a 10mm hex socket to break the bolt loose. Everyone agrees that you CANNOT use the steering wheel lock mechanism to hold the wheel for you, as severe damage to the lock mechanism may result.

Since I don’t have a helper, I tried all of the other obvious options (penetrating oils, impact gun etc.) with no luck. After struggling with it for an hour or so, I decided to build a simple inverted T-frame from two pieces of lumber to hold the steering wheel stationary. This took all of 5 minutes to cut and set in place. I made sure the steering lock was not engaged and then applied counterclockwise torque to the bolt with the breaker bar. I could feel the steering wheel was absolutely solid—no movement at all, so I laid into it. Success--the bolt broke loose with a loud pop on the first try.

This worked so well for me that I thought others might be interested in using this approach. I’m including some pictures of the inverted T-frame that I used on my 560SL and the dimensions for the two pieces of lumber. I believe this approach will work equally well for other models, but you will have to adjust the length of the vertical piece to match the distance from your floorboard to the steering wheel. In all cases, you need to move the seat as far as possible rearward in its track, so you will have an unobstructed path for the inverted T-frame from the floorboard to the steering wheel.

Here are the specifics: Picture 1 shows the inverted T-frame in place and ready to remove the steering wheel. For the base, I used an 18 inch piece of 2x6 lumber. I thought a 2x6 would effectively spread the downward pressure on the floorboard, but a 2x4 would likely work just as well. The base just lies on the floorboard directly below the steering wheel. For the vertical piece of the inverted T-frame, I used a 2x4 measuring 21 inches long. I used my power saw to trim the edges of the vertical piece (see picture 2), where it presses against the steering wheel. I didn’t want the edge to dig into the steering wheel leather. This may not be critical, since I also placed a terry cloth rag over the vertical piece where it touches the steering wheel (picture 3)--I don’t like sharp edges pressing against the leather. NOTE: Do not nail the base and vertical piece together—it’s not necessary, and furthermore, in reinstalling and tightening the wheel, you will have to adjust/reconfigure the T-frame to the right hand side of the steering wheel (picture 4) for clockwise torque.

There was absolutely no damage to the steering wheel surface after using the T-frame—quick, cheap, simple, and effective. I’m happy to contribute this to the best Mercedes forum on the web—I couldn’t afford to maintain my car without the collective wisdom and assistance of all who post here. Cheers….John Downey
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Tip For Easy Removal of Steering Wheel--560SL and Other Models-picture-1.jpg   Tip For Easy Removal of Steering Wheel--560SL and Other Models-picture-2.jpg   Tip For Easy Removal of Steering Wheel--560SL and Other Models-picture-3.jpg   Tip For Easy Removal of Steering Wheel--560SL and Other Models-picture-4.jpg  
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