1997 Ford Ranger Remove Steering Wheel
The steering wheel on your ranger is held in place by a single retaining bolt, which makes the wheel relatively easy to remove. However, Ford recommends replacing this retaining bolt with a new one once you remove it. This will ensure the wheel is properly held in place. Make sure you have the new bolt before removing the steering wheel and follow the safety precautions during this procedure, if your Ranger comes equipped with an air bag system.
 Tools Used
|Wrench, if necessary|
|Small standard screwdriver, if necessary|
|Ratchet, if necessary|
|Ratchet extension, if necessary|
|Deep socket, if necessary|
|Steering wheel puller|
|New steering wheel retaining bolt|
 Remove Steering Wheel
Removing the Steering Wheel
- Disconnect both cables from the battery using a wrench, if your Ranger model has an Air-Bag system. Otherwise go the step 4.
- Wait for two minutes to let the back-up power supply in the system discharge completely.
- Pull the two screw covers (one on each side) of the steering wheel, if you have an air-bag system. Use a small standard screwdriver to pry out the covers.
- Unfasten the two screws (one on each side) from the steering wheel to release the air-bag module using a ratchet, ratchet extension and deep socket. On models without an air bag system, unfasten the screws on the back of the steering wheel using a Phillips screwdriver.
- Lift the cover off the front of the steering wheel carefully. Unplug any electrical harness under the cover. If you have an air-bag system, point the steering wheel cover away from you at all times to prevent the air bag from accidentally deploying and hitting you.
- Place the steering wheel cover on the passenger seat away from you; however, if you have an air-bag system, set the air-bag module in a safe place out of a child's reach, with the top cover facing up. Always carry the module with the top facing away from you.
- Loosen the steering wheel retaining bolt about two or three turns, just enough for you to dislodge the steering wheel from the steering shaft in the next step. The steering wheel comes equipped with a compression spring that may pop up accidentally if you remove the bolt completely.
- Release the steering wheel from the steering shaft using a suitable steering wheel puller. Make sure not to hit or hammer on the steering wheel to prevent damage to the steering column.
- Remove the steering wheel puller and steering wheel, working any wire harness through the wheel opening.
- Discard the steering wheel retaining bolt. You will need to replace this bolt with a new one during the reassembly process.
Arming the Air Bag System
- Turn the ignition key to the Run position.
- Connect both cables to the battery using the wrench. Doing this in this order insures that you are not in the cab when the airbag powers up, in case of an accidental deployment.
- Watch the Air-Bag indicator lamp on the dashboard and make sure it turns off after 6 seconds approximately. The system is armed now. If the light does not light at all after connecting the battery, does not turn off after turning the ignition switch to Run or starts to flash, the electronic wire harness is not connected properly or the computer has stored one or more trouble codes (TCs) in memory when you disarmed the system. In this case, take your car to a service facility for inspection, if necessary..