Select from our range of boat steering wheels including three, four and five-spoke steering wheels from Ultraflex, Multiflex, RWB Marine, JPW Marine and Eastsun Marine. We have stainless steel boat steering wheels, plastic boat steering wheels and some made from a combination of materials such as aluminium & plastic boat steering wheels.
Most boat steering wheels will fit a standard 1.91cm (3 quarters of an inch) tapered shaft, which makes it easier for boat owners to change their wheel. This is always worth checking though.
If you’ve ever had to change over a steering wheel or a helm, then you’ll know how hard these wheels can be to get off. The wheels tend to get frozen onto the helm, and they can be difficult to remove, especially if you want to avoid damage to the helm shaft or wheel.
Depending on the design of your wheel and how it is attached to the helm, there are a couple of methods for removing it. If you’d prefer not to purchase additional tools, start by removing the centre cap to get to the nut. Some caps are easy to pry off, but others are secured with a little flat-head or Allen screw, and these can also get stuck. If it is, simply turn the wheel so you can see the opposite side of the cap from where the screw is, and (using some sort of flat implement) pry the cap out. Then remove the nut, and if there is a washer behind it remove that too.
Place the nut back onto the helm shaft so that it sticks out just past the threads. With that nut protecting the threads of the helm, take one leg and place it under the steering wheel, and then use your arm on the other side of the wheel to force it away from the helm, applying as much pressure as you can. Then simply hit the nut with a hammer, and the wheel should pop off the helm against the nut. If that happens, you simply remove the nut & pull the wheel off.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to purchase a steering wheel puller from auto shops (they are not expensive). The benefit of using a puller is that they pull the wheel straight out from the shaft, rather than kinking it on the shaft (which is what may happen if you pull using your hands only). A puller is basically a tool with a threaded rod through the centre, and three adjustable hooks around it. Place the point of the puller’s threaded rod in the centre of the steering wheel, and then try to get a grip on the centre part of the wheel (not the outside ring) with the 3 adjustable hooks.
Once you’ve positioned the hooks, adjust the threaded rod to get the hooks to grip. Attach a socket to the other end of the threaded rod, and slowly turn it to crank some pressure on the puller. Watch out for the hooks starting to slip, as if this happens, they may need to be readjusted. If the wheel remains stuck, spray a bit of penetrating oil (like WD40) into the centre of the wheel & let that soak in for a few seconds to break up the corrosion.
If the wheel still refuses to budge, try using a slide hammer. The end of a slide hammer is basically a hook, so it lets you hook it onto something and then bang it using the slide mechanism. Obviously, this is not ideal as it will result in uneven pressure being applied to the wheel and helm shaft, but the impact can be quite effective at breaking up the corrosion.