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Steering wheel removal 50 Commander

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  • Steering: Steering wheel removal 50 Commander

    I know this has been discussed many times but I have had no luck. Need to remove the steering wheel from a 50 land cruiser. I have a parts car to experiment on and I made a puller that goes behind the wheel like the factory units shown in the shop manual but all it did was crack the plastic. There is no metal to press on. There are no threaded holes to pull from the front as in later models. Anyone know of a way to get this off without destroying it? I need to rebuild the steering box.

    Thanks
    sigpic
    Barn Find
    1950 Champion
    Before I started
    Jim Berry
    Midlothian, TX

  • #2
    I have never had a puller to remove the earlier steering wheels but have never had a problem getting them off by loosening the nut some and then putting my arms underneath the wheel and working it back and forth while pulling up on it and I am not particularly strong. Did it that way on my '41 and '52.
    Frank van Doorn
    Omaha, Ne.
    1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
    1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
    1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

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    • #3
      A bearing separator with a puller works great.

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      • #4
        The puller I made looks a lot like the bearing separator but the problem is the part of the wheel it pulls on is just plastic, no way to put pressure on the metal hub which is recessed in the back of the wheel. I will try the strong arm approach but my 73 year old arms are not what they use to be. Let you know.
        sigpic
        Barn Find
        1950 Champion
        Before I started
        Jim Berry
        Midlothian, TX

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        • #5
          yeah, use some penetrating oil and a grandson with stronger arms........

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          • #6
            Here is a pic of part of a standard steering wheel puller being used in conjunction with a bearing separator to remove a truck (or Champion style) steering wheel. These work great. To avoid cracking the plastic, you can make a washer style spacer that will fit around the back of the steering wheel, inside the recessed cavity so that you have metal to metal contact with the metal hub. Once you make your "washer" you have to cut it in half so that you have two crescent shaped halves to place between the bearing separator and the back of the steering wheel. It takes some finger dexterity to maneuver the little spacers in place.

            Where you encounter problems, using this method, is the Land Cruiser, and Commander with their factory turn signals, and the close shift indicator bevels fitting so close to the back of the wider wheel hubs. Those older plastic fancy steering wheels get so brittle with age that they will almost crack if you look at them wrong. I wonder if it is possible to loosen the steering column where it is attached to the dash, and gain a little clearance by moving the column tube/cover down. I really don't know. I hate seeing someone jerk on a steering wheel to remove it. Already, it is rare to see a steering wheel without stress cracks where the spokes meet the rim. I've seen some of our burly members absolutely ruin and warp steering wheels wrestling them off with brute force.

            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              When installing a steering wheel I think it is a good idea to use anti-seize on the taper so it will come off easier the next time.

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              • #8
                That's exactly what I intend to try if I can come up with some washers and manage to get them in place. The skirt on the Land Cruiser wheel is around 4 in diameter and about 1/4 in deep. If I do get it off I am going to put a thick washer on the shaft behind it as well as anti-seize when I reinstall it so this will not be a problem in the future.

                The wheel is cracked where the spokes connect and needs to be rebuilt but I don't want to do any more damage removing it. Don't know why Studebaker did not provide a means to remove these wheels.
                sigpic
                Barn Find
                1950 Champion
                Before I started
                Jim Berry
                Midlothian, TX

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                • #9
                  Guys, The Champion requires that steering wheel puller pictured above. The Commander uses another puller. I don't have a picture of that puller. I have that puller pictured above used to pull the champions steering wheels.

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                  • #10
                    I've never been up against this.....but would it be possible to drill and tap the steering wheel hub for two 1/4" pull bolts as in the later models?

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                    • #11
                      The commander steering column has a larger diameter than the champion and as someone said above, I do not think the bearing separator will work. The factory kent moore tool is around a 3/8 inch thick piece of flat steel with a cut out around the column. It just makes it between the wheel and column You have to use the same type setup as in the above picture for the top portion of the puller setup. I let the nut on the metal column but loose and pop it, I do not press against the plastic as it is brittle after these years. The nut being on prevents damage to both the threads and the steel column as it is not all that strong and a puller against it can split it with enough pressure.
                      Milt

                      1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
                      1961 Hawk 4-speed
                      1967 Avanti
                      1961 Lark 2 door
                      1988 Avanti Convertible

                      Member of SDC since 1973

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                      • #12
                        Drilling the hub would be the ideal way to go but the metal hub is only about 1/2" larger diameter then the shaft. Not enough room for anything large then about a #10 screw on each side. If I ever get it off I intend to put a 1/4" thick steel disk on the underside of the wheel around 3 in diameter. This will allow the wheel to be drilled and tapped for later removal if needed.
                        sigpic
                        Barn Find
                        1950 Champion
                        Before I started
                        Jim Berry
                        Midlothian, TX

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