Daily (Steering) Column

So, yeah, pulling out the steering column is more work than I figured. Even without the fancy slide-away steering wheel, this is not an easy job, but disassembly is complete.

Inside the steering column
Inside the steering column. Small piece on the bottom was once part of the turn signal.

Most of the difficulty came under the hood, trying to reach and turn four bolts, which took most of the afternoon. Had I been willing to remove parts that were in the way, the job would have gone faster, but I simply didn’t relish taking off the hood (the hinge was in the way) or the brake system. (Criminy, I just put that in!). Eventually, I ended up pulling a brace (easy) and a valve cover (needed to come off anyhow) to get to the last bolt.

 

Like the carburetor rebuild, I’m glad I dived into this. Some of the things I found:

  1. Behind the dashboard fascia plate, most of the screws holding the dashboard trim together are missing. No wonder it rattles so bad.
  2. Someone had jury-rigged the shifter in the distant past. I was only experiencing the shifter slipping from park to reverse (!) unexpectedly, but the day of complete failure was not far off.
  3. The self-canceling mechanism for the turn indicator was broken and needed replacement.
  4. The rubber boot sealing the firewall opening where the steering column goes through was completely shot, allowing exhaust and fumes to pour into the passenger compartment. (Pulling the steering column is the only way to install a new one.)
  5. The lower bearings supporting the shift tube and steering shaft were gone, replaced by a piece of PVC pipe. (Yeah, the kind you use for lawn sprinklers.)
One Steering Column
Once out, it was like landing a big fish.

All in all, a major safety upgrade, I’d say. There are a lot of pieces off the car, many of them rusty and some in need of paint. I’ll be putting it back together slowly, refurbishing parts as I go.

A complete photo journal of the disassembly process is posted on Photobucket.

2 thoughts on “Daily (Steering) Column”

  1. thanks for the blog and pics on photobucket. I don’t have the time,smarts,etc to do much posting on anything,or to check all the web-sites. I currently have the column out of my 64, but have found that the acellorator rod seal is not in place, and the speedometer cable grommet is AWOL! Also don’t know how I’m going to get the bolts back in to the lower column mount. Any hints would be greatly appreciated. If you have some , please e-mail to blblack437@ embarqmail.com if you can. Thanks in advance,and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !

    1. I got to those bolts by removing the valve covers (put a rag over them to keep them [and me] clean). I’ve heard others say it works to pull the hood hinge off that side, blocking it up with a 2 x 4 or something. In the end, I found that these went in easier than I expected.

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