replacing steering wheel

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Active member
Mar 1, 2006
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south shore, MA
OK, this should be a relavitvely easy exercise, but...I can not get my damned steering wheel off. Was looking to replace it with a nice Schmidt wheel with a power knob. I have a 15" factory parker wheel, popped off the dust cover and have removed the nut. I've tried holding the center bolt with vice grips and turning the wheel but it won't move independantly from the bolt; I've tried pring th ewheel off from underneath with a pry bar, but the whole wheel, cinter bolt and all, appears to be pulling out of teh helm (sea star hydraulic).

Am I missing something? WHat do I do, put a torch to it?
Yes, sometimes you need to put a torch or "heat hammer" on it, but try this. First, put the nut (or better, use a simple non-Nylok nut) on LOOSE, so when it lets go ... you or your friend won't catch the wheel in the teeth.

Soak the tapered shaft with Kroil or PB Blaster a few times. Then you or him "rock" the steering wheel at 3 & 9 and then 12 & 6 o'clock and pull UP while the other guy raps the center hub with a ball peen hammer (don't damage the threads), trying to loosen the fit.

Taper fits can hold like a mother ... as you're finding out. FWIW, using 2 people I've never had to resort to the heat hammer technique or even a puller.
Thanks Dale--I'll give that a go. Should I be concerned about damaging the hydraulic system at all?
I wanted to pull my wheel off to flush mount my Poly Planar CD player in the dash. This wheel would not come off. I gave it a few hammer shots too but that didn't help. I just gave up before I damaged anything and mounted the CD Player somewhere else. :oops:

Good luck.

DaleH":9czcpsal said:
First, put the nut (or better, use a simple non-Nylok nut) on LOOSE, so when it lets go ... you or your friend won't catch the wheel in the teeth.

True words Dale! I did not do that when I removed the wheel from my Dusky and ended up going backwards over the leaning post when she 'popped'. I was a little smarter when taking the wheel off the Parker. :wink:

I used the 'rocking' motion Dale mentioned to remove mine while installing my electronics. Either I got lucky or it wasn't seized, as mine came off with a minimum of fuss.

jeffg":w0ul9mio said:
How does the wheel puller work (if it is easily explainable)?
I'll try ... usually they are a 3-spoked or 2-spoked "arm" that has a smaller bolt out on each wing of the spokes, and then a large diameter bolt in the center. You put the arm over the wheel and adjust the smaller bolt on each spoke to grip the bottom of the hub of the wheel. Then you tighten up the center bolt which pushes against the wheel shaft. Presto ... or more likely ... BOING! ... she some loose. And it can come flying loose as Capt Kevin has attested to.

FWIW, places like Auto Zone have FREE tool rental programs including wheel pullers ... shudda mentioned that earlier.
Here is a pic of a 3-jaw puller that would be appropriate for removing the wheel.

You can get them at NAPA, Pep Boys, Tractor Supply, and any other number of tool outlets.


  • 3-jaw wheel puller.png
    3-jaw wheel puller.png
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well, it only took three weekends worth of effort, but my wheel is finally off. I snapped a steel prybar trying to get it off, tried the rubber mallet and pull method, tried a little propane, but eventually had to plunk down $20 for teh gear puller, which worked in about two minutes.

Then, I could not get the new wheel nut on because I damaged the bolt threads, so I spent two days looking for the tap and die piece to rethread the 5/8" in bolt. Fortunately i borrowed instead of bought, and the wheel is now on. what a PITA!