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Old 07-29-2007, 04:31 PM
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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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Old 07-29-2007, 05:16 PM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 2,562
Very nice - simple and it works! It's amazing what you can do with lumber. I've designed/built counter-like mechanisms to loosen the crankshaft bolt on a lot of Asian vehicles using wood.

Thanks for the post.
Mike Murrell
1991 300-SEL - Model 126
M103 - SOHC
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Old 11-11-2007, 04:15 PM
83 300SD
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Shawano, WI
Posts: 691
Since I didn't have any 2x4's lying around, I used a jackstand. After padding the end supporting the steering wheel and placing it on a 2x6 on the floorboard, the breaker bar easily loosened the 10mm allen bolt. The jackstand is easier to use and adjust than cutting wood!

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
2002 F250 powerstroke with Plantdrive WVO conversion
1983 300SD 190K miles ,sold
2006 E320 CDI
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: NB Canada
Posts: 1,173
Nice 'tool', great write up McGiver! On my 560SL, someone had been there ahead of me. I was all set for lots of fun, having read all about this bolt here, and the caveat about not using the lock pin. Mine came right out with a regular length ratchet, first tug! Now, why would you want to over-torque it back in? I can't imagine the thing 'spinning' out against the airbag far enough to pop the wheel out of those splines, and I'm sure this isn't the last time the cluster is coming out.
1986 560SL
2002 Toyota Camry
1993 Lexus
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:28 PM
chuni959's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 388
ive used the steering wheel lock with no problems on several 201s and 124s many times. If you take a second to look at your ignition lock assembly, you will notice that MB spared no expense to ensure that these cars would be hard as hell to steal. The internals of the lock assembly are made of very hard metals, and do not break very easy. My only concern would be jamming your ignition lock, but im pretty sure they are unrelated.
1993 2.6 (040) SportLinE 5-speed - Armed to the teeth w. roof rack/2x bike carriers/8x ski carriers/MB towing bumper
1993 2.6 (040) - deceased/reincarnated as a trailer.
1987 16v (702) - Now parting out(9/22/10)!!! - Email me your requests for 16v parts- Engine and full body kit avail!!
1987 300SDL (122)- For sale!
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