This is a guide for removing the steering lock (the one that locks the wheel in a certain position if the key is removed) from an early 90s model Ford Capri.
It may be desirable to remove the lock if a key-less ignition system is being retrofitted (such as in my case) or in racing applications, where accidental key removal is possible and wheel lock-up could be particularly dangerous.
You will probably need:
- Phillips Head & Flat Head Screwdriver/s
- 21mm (or 13/16 inch) Socket & Driver
- Needle-nose Pliers
- Hammer (maybe rubber mallet)
- High Speed Rotary Tool (With cutting wheel attachment) (such as Dremel etc.)
I am not sure how this will affect you legally in your area or with your insurance provider, so I do not recommend following this guide before first being certain the procedure is acceptable. The actions performed in these steps have the potential to be unsafe in their execution or in their effects on the vehicle; you are responsible for the outcome, so be careful!
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Step 1: Remove Steering Wheel Screws
Firstly, disconnect the battery before starting. Not only is this safest, but it will also stop the horn going off all the time!
There are a total of three screws on holding the front of the steering wheel on. the 12 o'clock screw can only be accessed easily if the wheel it turned upside down (as pictured).
Step 2: Remove Horn Cover
Remove the rubber circle in the center of the steering wheel (with "Ford" on it), by inserting a flat-head screwdriver or similar implement around the outside of the circle and gently lifting some of the rubber flap upwards. You are not trying to pull out a heavy center-piece, you are simply trying to lift off a thin rubber skirt sitting over the horn assembly; it should not require much force.
Once it is removed, you should be presented with the image shown. The screw in the center can be removed and the crimp-end providing power to the horn should pull out easily as the center horn assembly lifts out.
Step 3: Remove Steering Wheel
Now it's time to get the wheel off! This can be difficult (particularly in older cars), but should be achievable by yourself.
Use the socket to loosen the central nut until it is about flush with the end of the bolt (you may need a fair bit of leverage to get the nut moving!)
Levering behind the wheel (with you knees or someone else's help) try to jiggle the wheel until it pulls forward. The rubber mallet could be used to tap it from behind, or you could try to hit the end of the bolt with a hammer. Remember, the wheel is on a spline, so any rotational motion of the wheel will be counter-productive!
You could try this approach (basically what I described above): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwf2BDC5DMo&feature=related
PLEASE NOTE THE POSITION OF THE WHEEL BEFORE YOU REMOVE IT - it's very easy to put the steering wheel on skew-whiff without realising!
Step 4: Remove Indicator Assembly
Looking down from above, you should be presented with the second image. To remove the indicator assembly, pull the lever on the top-side and pull the assembly evenly toward you, along the steering column. Once it slides forward a bit, remove the three electrical plugs, to allow the assembly to be removed entirely from the drive shaft.
Step 5: Remove Lock Assembly
This is the most annoying part. If you REALLY wanted, you could probably skip this part, but it would make later steps more difficult (read ahead and decide for yourself).
As you can see, there are 2 bolts holding the lock to the steering column - and they don't have heads for unscrewing! The only option to be able to the lock assembly is to take a rotary tool (or similar) and cut heads into the top of the bolts. It shouldn't take long and makes future steps easier, but don't stuff it up, or you won't be able to secure the lock to the column very easily afterwards (obviously).
Step 6: There's Your Problem!
This is what the lock looks like. It should be clear that the only way to proceed should be to completely remove the block and spring which forces it upward. Simply obstructing the block or gluing it in would be extremely unsafe if you were planning on driving without a key, since it could potentially re-activate while driving!
Step 7: Remove Rotary Switch
Next, remove the electrical-looking part from the passenger side of the assembly (should be one screw).
This picture could be useful if you are installing any additional electronics while you're in here.
Step 8: Remove Internal Plate
This is another more difficult step - made more difficult if you did not remove the lock assembly from the steering column.
Looking into the cavity left by removing the electrical switch we can see a plate blocking our access to the inside of the assembly. There are probably many ways to remove this, but I decided to bend the two smaller sections holding the plate in place using needle nose pliers and LOTS of force. After that, try to use a flat-head screwdriver to pop the plate out. It is likely that trying to bend these two smaller pieces back during re-assembly will break them off (it did for me). However, if you keep the top semi-circle un-bent, the plate should slot back in fairly securely.
Step 9: Remove Locking Block
You finally got to it! Simply pull the spring out. To be safe though, you should also remove the locking block, so it can't bounce up and lock the wheel accidentally. You'll probably want to remove the metal bracket connecting the locking block to the spring too, just so it doesn't rattle etc.
Step 10: Re-assemble!
Now with the locking block safely and completely removed, you can follow all the steps in reverse to re-assemble the car.
Hopefully you don't end up with any screws left over!
Happy Car-ing =)
P.S. Feel free to comment on this article if you have any improvements to my methods - this is the first time I had worked on this part of the car, so I'm sure there are better ways!