Ask The Mechanic

Pesky Steering Wheel Removal

(Progressive Farmer image by Steve Thompson)

READER: I have a Kubota M125X tractor that has a seemingly simple problem to fix that has turned into a real problem. I cannot remove the splined steering wheel from the steering shaft. I can see rust in the splines. The steering wheel does not have any holes to install a puller, and the steering wheel design does not allow for the jaws of a puller to grab the hub. The dealer told me to use two ball-peen hammers, one in the loosened shaft nut and the other to "tap" the head of the other hammer. I've done more than just "tap," and it will not come off. I need to remove the steering wheel so I can replace the switch that slips down over the steering shaft. My neighbor "strong-armed" the switch and broke it.

STEVE: Yes, sir, getting the steering wheel off a tractor steering shaft is sometimes difficult, especially if the shaft and steering wheel are multisplined rather than a keyway. If the tractor does not have a cab, it usually compounds the rust problem, but most of the time, the steering wheel can be removed with an air hammer while pulling up on the steering wheel. The air hammer is better than a couple of hammers to remove the steering wheel because of the deep vibration produced by the rapid-fire pounding on the nut.

> Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email