The Jeep Wrangler comes equipped with both driver airbags and steering wheel mounted controls for audio and cruise control. When one of these components causes trouble or fails, removing the steering wheel is the only way to gain access. Removing the Wrangler's steering wheel only take a screwdriver, socket wrench and a special tool, a steering wheel puller. The device is not very expensive and is available at auto supply stores. Before doing any work on the steering wheel, however, always remember to first disconnect the battery cables to disable the Wrangler's electrical system.
Behind the Steering Wheel
First remove all the screws behind the steering wheel. These are countersunk and not visible on the surface. Use a Phillips head screwdriver and completely remove the screws. Once these are removed the center hub will come off the steering wheel's front.
Remove the cover from steering wheel center very carefully. There will be wires attaches connecting to the various switches. Disconnect all the wires. Don't worry, none of these wires are soldered; they use tabs and screws to make the connections. Once the center hub is removed the airbag device is visible.
Removing the fasteners securing the airbag to the center hub. Do not worry about any possible airbag deployment. There are safety systems installed to insure no inadvertent inflation occurs when working on the car. Once the fasteners are removed, disconnect the wires to the airbag. As with the center hub, these wires are easily disconnected. Avoid, however, letting any of the wires touch after they are loose. Even though the battery is disconnected, you don't want any unexpected circuits in the Wrangler.
Steering Wheel Puller
The steering wheel pulling tool has adjustable yokes with threaded bolts at the end of each one. There are threaded holes in the center the Jeep Wrangler's steering wheel. Adjust the yokes so the threaded bolts align with the holes. Thread the bolts into the holes evenly so the tool remains parallel with the steering wheel's face. Thread the bolts until they reach the bottom and are tight into the steering wheel. This will insure a good grip when pulling the steering wheel out. Once installed, use the tool to get the leverage needed to pull the steering wheel forward. Do this slowly and watch for any wires or fasteners you may have missed. Slide the steering wheel all the way off the steering column.
- "Chilton's Jeep Wrangler"; Richard J. Rivele; 1998
- Photo Credit 4x4 jeep`s head light. image by Sergejs Nescereckis from Fotolia.com
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