For those who don't know, I have a 1949 Ford Pickup Truck, the F3 series. My dad and I are working on getting rust off and figuring out what we're going to have to replace and such, and have hit a snag.
How do you remove the steering wheel and/or the steering wheel column?
We've gone in and disconnected the horn wire and bolts, but it's still connected with something. We just can't figure out what. And good luck getting just the steering wheel off. We have tried different methods, but have just managed to crack it and not move it at all.
Wiring: When you disassemble the horn button you can slip the contact plate off and that frees all the removable horn stuff, but leaves you with the horn wire sticking up.
There is a splice at the bottom of the column under the truck (sticking out the bottom of the steering box), unhook this splice and carefully pull the long horn wire out through the interior - you might be able to salvage the wire, and I had to wait forever for stock on this part from any vendor, nobody had em.
Soak the splined area of the wheel to shaft in PB Blaster or such penetrant, let it sit for a while, respray as often as reasonable - let the penetrant do its magic.
Carefully drill 2 holes directly across from each other in a straight line with the center hole and then thread them with 1/4 x fine and use a steering wheel puller (3 bolts and a piece of flat steel) - you can make it yourself if you have some flat steel... less likely to strip a 1/4 fine than a 1/4 x 20 since you only have a few threads to hang onto em by.
Replacement wheels most all come with the 2 threaded holes now.
I second Doc's suggestion to just take the whole thing out & replace it with new modern parts. The most common upgrades in the steering area are to use a Toyota Steering Box in the engine bay & a GM style column & wiring harness. I wanted to keep the old Ford look but have new steering components - See picture below. Caution steering parts can get pricey - the Toyota box isn't too bad - the generic column in mine was approx. $300 but the steering wheel was >$200 & then theres the horn button, the column drop to connect it to the dash & some joints to connect up to the box. Probably around $700 in parts (ouch). Good luck over there.
On an F3, you might have enough room to get the column out the bottom without the steering wheel on, but usually it requires putting the truck on a lift (F-1's). If there is no engine in place, you could probably get the box out thru the cab with the wheel still on. If the engine is in, but there is no back glass, the wheel might fit thru there. Otherwise I don't see how you could get it out with the wheel on??
The fun-est part iis getting the pitman arm off the box. You need a good quality puller. If it's real rusty, heat is the best bet, but it could damage the seals, so keep the heat on the arm, not the shaft.
You don't need to replace the whole thing with modern, it's not like an F-3 is going to be in a slalom.
OK -I have the steering box off the frame. I cannot get the steering wheel off as I don't have the puller. The steering box cannot come out through the floor as it appears the pedals need to be out. In order to do this it appears I need to take the brake master cylinder out also so this is not looking like an easy task. I am sending the cab to a body shop as soon everything is unbolted. So I think it is easier to pull the steering wheel at this point..Let me know if you have a way around this. Thanks.