How to Remove the Steering Wheel on a 1994 GMCby Chris Hoke
The steering wheel in your vehicle provides an important link between you and your vehicle's front tires, enabling you to turn them and maneuver the car. Removing the steering wheel will require a steering wheel puller, which can be purchased or rented from most auto parts stores for a small fee.Certain models of 1994 GMC vehicles will require removal of the driver's side airbag unit before removing the steering wheel. These models include the 1994 GMC Rally, Safari, Vandura G1500, Vandura G1500 Extended, and Vandura 2500.
Turn the key in the vehicle ignition to release the steering wheel lock and rotate the steering wheel until it is in the 12 o'clock position. Turn the key back to the "Off" position and remove the key from the ignition. Pull the hood release lever, then open the vehicle's hood.
Remove the positive battery cable from the battery terminal by loosening the terminal bolt with the appropriate socket and ratchet. Once the bolt is loose, remove the connector by simultaneously twisting it and pulling upward until the cable comes free.
Locate the fuse panel in the vehicle and remove the airbag fuse, only if your vehicle is equipped with an airbag. Use the diagram on the inside of the fuse panel cover to locate the correct fuse. The fuse panel will be located underneath the steering column or on the driver's side of the dashboard (facing the driver's side door). If there is no diagram on the fuse panel cover, consult the service manual to locate the fuse that controls the airbag.
Wait 30 minutes for the airbag backup power to shut down. This will let you remove the airbag unit without accidental deployment, which can cause serious injury or death.
Insert the 1/4-inch flat blade screwdriver into one of the round holes on either side of the back of the steering wheel and then push the tip of the screwdriver upward. This will disengage the leaf spring mechanism that holds the airbag unit in place. There may be up to three additional holes that require this method to completely disengage the airbag unit.
Lift the airbag unit away from the steering wheel enough to access the small wire that connects the unit to the vehicle's electrical system. Do not pull or stretch the wires. The wire should be connected to the steering wheel column with a small connector and attached with a yellow connector position assurance clip. Unclip the connector position assurance clip, disengage the wire connection, remove the airbag unit, and set the unit aside with the airbag cover facing upwards.
Disconnect the horn contact pin--a small pin that is connected to the airbag retention clips--by pushing it inwards, turning 1/4 turn counter-clockwise, and then pulling it out.
Remove the steering column shaft nut using the appropriate socket and ratchet. It may be necessary to use a socket extender to access this recessed nut, depending upon the depth of your sockets. Put the nut back on the column shaft a few turns to prevent the wheel from flying off of the shaft when using the steering wheel puller.
Place steering wheel puller in the center of your steering wheel, over the steering column shaft. Align the puller with the holes in your steering wheel and insert the bolts that came with in the puller kit through the steering wheel puller and into the steering wheel.
Tighten the bolts until the steering wheel pops off of the steering column shaft. Remove the bolts and steering wheel puller unit. Remove the nut from the steering column shaft and then remove the steering wheel.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set and ratchet
- 1994 GMC vehicle service manual
- 1/4-inch flat blade screwdriver
- Steering wheel puller
- Wear safety glasses when handling any airbag unit to protect your eyes in case of accidental deployment. Point to module away from your body whenever possible.
Chris Hoke is a freelance writer, blogger and musician living in the San Francisco bay area. He began writing professionally in 2005 and his articles regularly appear on EmailServiceGuide.com and Slapstart.com.