Bradford Willys Steering Wheel Puller
Haven't had much time to work on my Jeep or on the website lately, due to work and family commitments. But I've had a replacement steering wheel hanging on the wall for a few years now, and I'm tired of getting black hands from the original wheel which has lost its glossy finish.
I know a lot of people have had difficulty removing their Willys Jeep steering wheels, because our Tech Tips page on Steering Wheel Removal keeps generating responses from people who have built their own special tools for the job. So when I learned that Terry Fairchild was marketing a similar tool through his company Bradford Willys LLC, I thought this might be the solution for me and others.
Terry ships the puller by mail. It consists of a yoke that goes beneath the wheel, a couple of threaded rods, and a top bar with a bolt that creates the pressure. Also a nut to protect the steering wheel shaft, and a detailed, illustrated instruction sheet.
You have to remove the existing nut holding down the steering wheel. But then, stop! Before installing the puller, you need to replace the nut with the one supplied in the kit.
The supplied nut needs to be installed so that it remains loose, above the top of the shaft, to protect the threads. The nut is also necessary to protect your face when the wheel pops loose later in the process. If you have a wire for the horn, it can be pushed down inside the hole.
I attached the top and bottom pieces with the threaded rods, and started tightening the bolt that pushes down on the shaft, thus pulling up on the bottom of the wheel. Nothing happened.
Then I remembered the bit in the instructions where it suggests penetrating oil. So I removed the puller and the large nut, and for a week I applied Liquid Wrench to the circle where the steering wheel meets the shaft.
Reinstalled the puller, and tightened it up gradually. Also tried tapping the bolt with a hammer, as recommended in the instructions. It was getting very tight, but still nothing popped loose.
Eventually the half-inch thick top bar started to bend up in the center, from the force of the bolt pushing down on the shaft. I could see this wasn't going to work, so I reported my experience to Terry at Bradford Willys.
He said there had been a handful of wheels this stubborn, out of maybe 50 of the tools he had sold, so he had decided to switch to a one-inch-thick top bar. He sent the replacement, and I installed it with the longer threaded rods. A couple of turns of the bolt, and the wheel popped up against the big nut!
The serrated top of the shaft didn't seem that rusty, but I guess after five decades it had gotten used to having that wheel pressed on there.
The new wheel slipped on as smooth as silk. Soon I'll be ready for snowplowing with no black hands.
If you need to pull your steering wheel for whatever reason, there's no excuse for waiting, now that the Bradford Willys puller is available. I think the improved puller with the thicker top bar is a robust tool that is capable of handling this job as many times as you need it to. You can find the tool for sale at Jeep shows and on eBay, or you can contact Bradford Willys LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Price is $80.00, with free delivery in the U.S.
Thanks to Terry Fairchild for his help and for a great tool. -- Derek Redmond
See other tools people have built for themselves for Steering Wheel Removal.
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Last updated 5 October 2012 by Derek Redmond email@example.com
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond