The wheel is fitted to the shaft with a splined and tapered joint and a nut (about 1 1/16″ or 3/4″ Whitworth), which together means that even if the nut comes loose the wheel should not be loose on the column, the taper must be ‘broken’ as well. The best way of doing this to avoid damage to both wheel rim and column is as follows:
- Remove the horn push or centre cover (varies with model)
- Slacken the nut by just a turn or two – make absolutely sure that plenty of turns remain engaged and the nut does not protrude too far above the end of the column. Be careful loosing the nut. Pull the wrench down from the left not up from the right… I cracked my windshield doing it that way…duhhhh.
- Sitting in the drivers seat, draw your knees up behind the wheel and use them to apply pressure to the back of the wheel rim.
- Wearing appropriate eye protection, place a medium hammer on the end of the column shaft. If you have a hammer with a ball-end then use this end against the column. Whatever hammer you use make sure the hammer is in contact with the end of the column and not the nut or you will damage the threads.
- Strike the first hammer firmly with a second hammer.
- After a couple of blows the wheel should pop free, but be safely retained by the nut which prevents it from flying towards your face.