Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

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Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

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Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby Motorcityman » November 25th, 2017, 10:09 pm

I bought a new steering wheel recently along with all the associated stuff for the horn. The old steering wheel plastic was chipped to hell. I soaked everything with Kroil for a few days and removed the nut that holds the wheel down. I put a steering wheel puller on and started screwing it down with an impact. The tip of the main screw of the puller went inside the pipe and expanded it, forever fu#king me up, it expanded it so much that the nut will not go back on. I tried heating it (reason why the center hub is melted) and I'd didn't budge. What are my options?

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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby D Pizzoferrato » November 26th, 2017, 8:02 am

Get the rest of the plastic off of the wheel since the wheel is destroyed anyway. Heat the wheel's hub with an oxy/acetylene torch, Place a flat plate over the mangled shaft and use your puller again, with a wrench and some hammer blows. If you are lucky, you can spend some time with various files and rework the shaft so you can use it. Check out this thread where I had to repair the same thing http://g838.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6299&p=51469&hilit=steering+wheel#p51469
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby m3a1 » November 26th, 2017, 10:11 am

STOP USING THE PULLER and conserve that shaft !! STOP applying tons of heat. I'm betting that steering shaft has a certain tensile strength that won't benefit from more heat.

You have two good options at the moment. First, I'd try hooking up to that hub with a large slide hammer and see if it'll come off. If not, it's time for using a cut-off tool and a great deal of patience.

Highest priority is keeping that splined shaft intact. The splines are the critical part of the steering column up at that end. It is where the energy you put into steering is transmitted to the shaft. The nut is simply there to keep the steering wheel from working off the splines.

If the slide hammer route doesn't produce results, remove the plastic and use the cutter to carefully bisect that hub on the long axis of the steering column, at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions. You will be removing metal and weakening the circumferential strength of the hub, and in doing so, giving the hub room to expand.

Take your time and don't cut all the way down to the splines...just nearly so. Make deep cuts on either side. Don't cut through the bolt holes. It may be the shortest route to a deep cut but consider that you may need those bolt holes intact if you want to go back to the slide hammer.

The heat generated by the cutting process might even be all the heat you'll need to get it to release. Maybe you'll have to couple that cutting process with a follow up with the slide hammer. In any case, I guarantee it's grip on the steering shaft will weaken and you'll have that off.

Insofar as your threads go, maybe you can rework them and maybe you can't. I'm just spitballing here, but I'm betting if everything else fails and you find the threads are not renewable, you could have a machine shop create an insert that will fit into the shaft with the correct thread pattern. Obviously it would need to be welded into place and I'm sure some would say it would be better to replace it altogether. I'd be interested in hearing what Rick had to say about that idea.
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby Mark » November 26th, 2017, 11:25 am

When I removed my steering wheel, I put a washer or two over the hole to have the end of the puller go on, to break it loose, it took a while to do, ya, I know what I am saying is after the fact, it was no easy task
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby halftracknut » November 26th, 2017, 7:12 pm

The wheel may not come off because of the swollen threads...I would find a nut and cut it in half then weld the halfs to an old pair of vice grips...heat the threads ( not red hot but almost) and clamp the grips on the threads this will shrink them...may need to run a finish die over the threads to get correct diameter so the nut will fit...... You never take the nut completely off! ....just back it off until the top of the nut is even with the top of the threaded shaft...then place a flat piece of metal on top of nut and use the puller... when you tighten it down until you think it's about to come off and strike the top of the puller with a hammer....it should pop up...if not tighten puller some and hit it again....works for me every time....good luck
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby rickf » November 26th, 2017, 8:01 pm

Or, if all else fails, keep your eyes peeled for a new steering column. The A1 is a one piece setup with the column and steering box and they are still out there.

And yes, be it this or a tie rod or ball joint or anything that requires pressing or tapping. Never remove the nut more than a couple threads past the loose point since these pressed items pop loose quickly. You do not need a lot of room between the nut and the spot it was tight against. I will usually bring the nut out flush with the end of the threads to protect the threads at the point where any damage is going to occur. And on things like ball joints it serves the extra use of keeping a lot of weight from going bang against the floor when it does come loose.
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby Motorcityman » November 27th, 2017, 3:23 am

What do you guys think about cutting off the expanded portion of the threads leaving about 3/8 to 1/2 inch of threaded section, enough to hold the nut. I have the proper die (5/8 x 18) to chase the threads. I'm thinking of heating the hub of the steering wheel to a dull cherry with a torch and using the puller with some nickles on the end to get it to move, once it pops off the spline and starts moving to then heat the threads and use the hub of the steering wheel as a makeshift die that will be sure to even up diameter of the remaining threaded pipe, if in fact it even needs it at that point as I have already cut the malformed section? What do you fellas think of that idea? I was able to chip off all the plastic with a hammer and chisel.

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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby D Pizzoferrato » November 27th, 2017, 7:20 am

Spend some time with a flat file and work around the circumference of the shaft on the first 2 or 3 threads. Heat the hub of the wheel and it should come off, as described above. The guy that mangled mine made a much bigger mess than you have; I was able to remove the mushroom, get the wheel off and dress the threads. You are dealing with a 4 beer project there. Once the wheel is off, take a small V file, start at the good thread below where you filed and reform the threads up from there. As these threads will be above the tightened nut, you only need enough filing/dressing to cleanly guide the nut on.
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby m3a1 » November 27th, 2017, 8:18 am

If you feel you must use heat, don't use the screw-type puller. That combination is what got you into this mess in the first place.

Hook up to that hub with a slide hammer/puller and remove it that way. At this point, I think you will find it's probably nearly ready to come off. If it's still stubbornly hanging in there, thin that hub's side wall way down. The less metal there is, the easier it will expand. Use either of the two methods below and I guarantee you success. If you use the second method, there is no need to cut all the way down to the splines. Just leave a little metal in there and it will expand.

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There are tools out there for repairing threads called external thread cutters. The less expensive ones usually go up to 1/2" and then they start getting really expensive. However you choose to do it, you would have to begin by restoring that threaded shaft back to the correct major diameter. I urge you not to cut off the damaged section as at that point you will have eliminated any option for repairing it.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby rickf » November 27th, 2017, 11:52 am

If you try to pull the wheel over the bad section it will go bad in a hurry! Even if you heat it the mass of the wheel hub will coll the hollow shaft way faster than you cam pull. And even if it doesn't the end result will be a stretched tube, not good. Go with what Dave say's patience is the name of the game here. If you try to rush it you are definitely going to be in the market for a new steering column. You can cut the top two or three threads off if you really feel they are spread that far out bur you have to have a full nut worth of engagement plus a thread or two. I assume you are replacing the wheel so what I would do is get some pressure on it with the puller and a piece of steel against the shaft, forget the exotic things like nickels! Good old piece of flat steel. Not a lot of pressure, hand tighten with a wrench only. Leave the torch and impact alone for now. Once you have some pressure on it smack against the bottom of the wheel hub with a hammer and it should pop loose. If you have to heat anything only heat the wheel hub to expand it away from the shaft, do not heat the shaft since that will just make it tighter! You can also try to tap against the end of the puller but since the steering shaft is already damaged don't hit it with a two pound sledge, Just tap it with a regular ball pien. This is the best way to loosen the wheel but just use common sense with the pressure against the shaft. And do this before attempting any repairs on the threads, that way you are not repairing it twice. Patience, patience!!!!!
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby Motorcityman » November 27th, 2017, 8:26 pm

I got the hub off, major pain, I disected it in pieces, it took me about an hour! I nicked the spline with the die grinder but I'm not worried about it, I can dress the splines without hassle I think. The threads are going to be a problem. I have an idea though, I have a set of vice grips that are a set of some sort of crimpers, I'm thinking to thread the inside of the crimper section 5/8x18 that way I might be able to clamp onto good threads and slowly work the shaft narrow again, lots of lubricant of course.
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby Motorcityman » November 27th, 2017, 9:29 pm

I don't know if it'll work but I'm thinking about threading the large hole the same thread size and working it on by applying pressure to the threads until the threads line up and get it to thread on. I don't know.

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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby rickf » November 28th, 2017, 9:52 am

That is basically the same thing Halftracknut said to do with a cut in half nut a few posts back. You will need to get the shaft size down to what the die calls for for threading that size before trying it or you will just ruin your tool. I would cut off the very top of the shaft since the worst damage is up there and then work your tool up from the bottom with a lot of oil. Be sure to cut angled grooves in the tool for the metal to escape.
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby m3a1 » November 28th, 2017, 1:23 pm

Your splines will be just fine...there are plenty of them.

Cut that damaged area off if you will, but first, I'd make an attempt to get that area back to the correct major diameter and cut new threads in it.

I think finding a nut and cutting it and then making cuts across the threads for an ad hoc cutter might be doable as well but it's hard to beat a proper tool. I'm betting a few calls to some plumbers or pipe fitters might just turn up a guy who would loan you an external thread cutter.

Either way, that nut is there to keep the steering wheel from coming off the splines and as I'm sure you'd agree, once it's on there good, the nut becomes something of an afterthought.
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Re: Steering wheel, boy did I screw up!!

Postby m3a1 » November 28th, 2017, 1:34 pm

Ok, once again, I'm looking at your threads in cross section and just had an epiphany.

If you don't want to spend the money on the correct tool, RATHER than cutting that damaged area off entirely (and looking closely, I see there's a LOT of expansion there) why not consider interrupting the threads by making a cruciform cut across the top, say, one or two...maybe three turns of the thread?

This would allow the threaded pipe to close to the correct major diameter as you ran a nut back up and off. Then, once everything is installed, insert a small sleeve to keep the threads pushed outward. That would be far better than simply cutting the damaged area off.

Something to think about.

Cheers,
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