One of the difficult jobs when repairing or restoring the steering box or steering idler on an Austin Healey 100 – MkIII is the removal of the steering levers. These levers are fitted on to a tapered spline and without the correct tool can be very hard to release without damaging the steering box, steering box lid or shaft.
Using this simple step by step process should prepare you for rebuilding the steering box or steering idler without damage.
First remove the cotter (split) pin. Sometimes you need to turn the nut a little to allow the pin to be removed.
The BN1/2 nut is 1″ AF, as I recall the 6 cylinder cars use a larger nut. This can be very tight but it is usually not seized, just tight.
Next remove the nut and the large washer that is under the nut.
Once the washer is removed reinstall the nut and turn it down until the top of the shaft is level with the bottom of the castellation slots in the nut.
This is the secret weapon!
These Pitman Arm Pullers are readily available at Harbor Freight, Princess Auto and similar discount tool suppliers or on eBay for about $20.
The trick is to use a disc grinder to slightly enlarge and “round” the gap between the jaws so that the puller fits under the puller lugs on the steering lever.
Again … The 6 cylinder component is slightly larger and will require a little more grinding on the jaws of the puller. Remove just enough material to permit the puller to fit on snugly.
Put a little grease on the threads of the forcing screw as these tools are usually shipped “dry”.
Tightening the forcing screw will exert the necessary pressure to release the steering lever. I take it in small increments and check that the castellated nut still turns freely on the shaft between tightenings.
I have had cases where the lever was forced so tightly on the taper that the end of the shaft started to crush down on the split pin holes before the lever pulled off. If you find that the castellated nut is starting to bind on the threads before the lever is released this could be happening. Try pressing a short piece of tightly fitting steel rod through the split pin hole and start over again. The piece of rod will prevent the end of the shaft from collapsing down on the split pin hole although you may have to use a pin punch to remove the piece of rod once you are done and possibly have to dress up the threads a little.