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Removing 5212.5 Steering Wheel and Dash box

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As part of another repair project, I needed to remove the dash box, aka mouse hotel.  This requires removal of the steering wheel.  Simple, right?  Wrong. When I acquired my Simple City, the hub, under the wheel cap was full of water.  The water was rust orange, i.e. she had not been shedded.  But she has been treated right since I brought her home..

STEERING WHEEL REMOVAL: A cross bolt holds the steering wheel to the steering shaft.  With a little bit of persuasion and a dram of PB BLaster, I was able to remove the nut.  Removing the bolt, not so much, even with a 1/2" drive socket wrench.  It was rusted TIGHT.  More PB Blaster.  I was able to work the bolt loose with a 24"x 1/2" drive break-over bar. Back-and forth, umpteen times.  Then a drift to drive the bolt out.  It fought me most of the way.  Now just lift the wheel free.  Nope!

More 'holy water'... nothin'.  I figured the wheel hub was either cast iron or steel.  I decided to bore two holes 180° apart, through the metal hub, then use my wheel puller.  To my surprise, the hub had no steel, just molded plastic. I bored two 1/4" holes, then inserted long bolts to fit, then with a bit of luck and pluck got nuts on the bottom side, then applied the magic of the inclined plane wrapped around a shaft... i.e. the screw part of the wheel puller... mechanical advantage.  The wheel came right off.  While the wheel wasn't rusted, the rust, which expands from raw steel, had effectively wedged the plastic hub to the steel shaft.  The cross hole appears to be of a tight tolerance, and even after clean-up the bolt was a tight fit.  I had to lightly tap the bolt in with a modest hammer.  I suspect this keeps the connection from being sloppy.  The plastic hubbed wheel had to be driven a bit onto the shaft, but once flush with the end of the shaft, I was able to rotate the wheel about the shaft until the bolt holes lined up.

DASH REMOVAL: Now with respect to the dash box.  Once the steering wheel was removed, only four screws hold the whole thing to the dash base.  Two screws on either side of the dash, one near the throttle on the left side and one near the choke knob on the right.  The other two bolts are on the engine side, behind the engine.  After that it lifts free.  The gas tank is not fastened to the dash box, but you need to remove the fuel cap/gauge to lift the box free of the gas tank fill neck.  It's a tight fit, so you need to lift the box and push down on the open fill neck.  Cover the tank fill hole with something to keep bird dirt and mouse droppings from falling into it. I wrapped one turn of duct tape around the fill neck, then folded the tape in, to cover the opening.

Do this while sitting on the provided tractor seat:  Once clear of the tank's fill neck, rotate the box counter clock-wise, rotating about the throttle lever.  At some point before 90° rotation.. oh about 30 - 45°, reach in behind the dash to unplug the IGN switch, and light switch.

Complete the 90° rotation of the box about the throttle shaft until the usually vertical dash slot becomes horizontal, lining up with the Tee handle of the throttle lever.  Pull the T-handle through the slot.  Go slow and easy here. (See field expedient below)  The shiny dash decal has a hard plastic covering that cracks easy.   Installation is the reverse.

FIELD EXPEDIENT:  In my case the throttle cable exits out the engine side of the dash box, near the bottom of the dash box.  To make this operation easier, I turned the hole into a slot so that the dash box lifted off the throttle cable.  Otherwise you will have to remove the throttle cable at the carburetor, then snake the cable out of the hole to remove the box.   Because of this brain storm,  I decided that if I ever have to remove the dash box again,  I plan on lengthening the throttle lever slot, which is on the driver side of the dash box, through to the bottom of the dash box so rotation is not necessary, with the added benefit of not cracking the pretty dash decal.   Slotting was accomplished by the application of electricians' side cutters.  Two snips into the hole and you have a slot.  As the box appears to be made of roto-molded plastic, it's pretty tough stuff. I do not think the previous and planned slotting will affect the strength or integrity of the box.

TommyK1 (fka TommyK)


Edited by TommyK1
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I have 5200, 6200 and 6500 in the fleet.  Once per year oil bolt and remove steering wheel.  I use a bit of scotch brite to clean clean steering shaft, and grease both inside of steering wheel and shaft.  Because my luck will have issues needing this removed in the middle of winter.  And then I'm not rushed to repair just because.  First removal is the hardest.  Good tips.

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