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Advice on steering column transplant

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by grumpy, Dec 2, 2001.

  1. grumpy

    grumpy 1/2 ton status

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    The column on my 79 K5 is wasted including, but not limited to, no ignition switch. I have one from an 85 I want to put in, is this a bolt-in operation? They both had 3 speed autos. The local locksmith wants $95 to make me a key, can I get the code from somewhere and get the key cheaper?
    Thanks,
    David
    Thanks,
     
  2. Wheels

    Wheels 1/2 ton status

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    Good question. I have a 79 that is in perfect working order but I need an 82 or later with the OD shift pattern (to match the 700R4 I have in there now). This is going to be my next project as soon as I get the new shop built.
     
  3. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    The shift pattern doesn't come from the column, it comes from the transmission. Certain columns will have different wiring, but most likely any '80s column, no matter what it comes from, will work in yours, Wheels.

    If you think I'm making this up, I'll just state right now that my current column is from a 1987 C30. It, being a 1 ton, had a TH 400.

    grumpy, you can get a column from a '70s truck. I am not sure what years the wiring changed. Get a similar year or the same year column and avoid the hassle.

    My new (to me) column is not tilt. I killed two birds with one stone--lost a broken column that wasn't repairable and replaced it with one that won't break like the last one.

    Tim
    '84 Chevy K10, lifted, loud, fast, and 3/4 ton axles
     
  4. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

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    Wierd coincidence, but I am swapping-in a '85 column into my '73 Suburban. Biggest difference is in the attachment to the intermediate shaft. My '73 (and possibly your '79) has a large, round, splined shaft at the bottom, while the '85 uses what is called a "double-D" shaft with a hole to insert a pin.

    If your '79 is the same as my '73, then you will need to change intermediate shafts. Otherwise, it is mechanically a direct bolt-in swap.

    Watch out for your electrical connections, though. Changes for me include: Headlight dimmer switch is now on the column instead of the floor; turn signal harness may use a different connector; and wiper controls are on the column, so may need a different connector, too.

    The key price sounds high to me, but I haven't looked into that, yet.

    Good luck,

    Robb
    '73 GMC Suburban - 502DFI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/robbrj>community.webshots.com/user/robbrj</a>
     
  5. Wheels

    Wheels 1/2 ton status

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    Inside the column, behind the tilt mechanism is a small bracket the has the shift lock out tabs (gates) that when you shift from R to P, you have to pull the shift lever towards you to bypass the tabs (there's a pawl on the shifter that engages these gates when you release it) and it will lock it there. This is the area that I need to change out. I have the gate from GM for an 85 column but it will not fit in my column (different in how it attaches to the column). A non OD column and an OD column has two different and seperate shift gates in them and they are not interchangable. Granted shift patterns are in the tranny, but if you have a non OD column with a OD tranny, you can't manually shift it into 1st and you can't grind enough out of the gate to get it to go there. This is why I need a 82 or later OD column. From my research, the differences in them is the wiper control mechanism is in the column after 1982 and on the dash for prior years. Not sure if the flat plug is different and the wiper hookup is seperate or is the flat plug has all the wiring in it for the column mounted wiper control.
     
  6. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Wiper controls are on the dash up until at least '83, and perhaps '84. As well, headlight dimmer switch is also on the floor up until '83, likely same length of time as the wiper switch. Flat plug appears to all be the same, amount of wires is different depending on things like key buzzer, etc.

    Dorian
    My tech/links page: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html>www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html</a>
    Why insist on counting when the ring gear has the tooth counts stamped in?
     
  7. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    go buy the $10 lock plate compression tool and remove the lock cylinder yourself. i think new lock cylinders with keys are $454, and once the lock cylinder is out, it will be a lot less to cut a key for.

    Dorian
    My tech/links page: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html>www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html</a>
    Why insist on counting when the ring gear has the tooth counts stamped in?
     

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