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Steering column loose...need fix info

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by chev4life, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. chev4life

    chev4life 1/2 ton status

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    My steering column is loose at the neck (at the tilt between the main column and the head)...is this a difficult task to repair?? Any breakdowns on how to do it?
     
  2. 87BrnRsd

    87BrnRsd 1/2 ton status

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    Mine did the same thing. There are basically 4 hex screws way down deep in the steering column. After time they become loose and the steering column does what you are describing. If you leave it wobbly like that for too long, it will take out the bearings in your column...and you cannot find these aftermarket. You would have to get a junkyard column and swap it or swap its bearings.

    As far as the repair...i dont really suggest doing it. I tried mine and it sucked. There are soo many different little pieces in the tilt column...and most are made of that famous gm crappy plastic that will break if you look at it wrong. If you do decide to do it, your gonna need a steering wheel puller for sure. I had a good break down on how to do it (my friend is the service manager for a gm dealership, so he gave me their breakdown that their tech's use) and I could not still get to all 4 bolts. I got to three of them and used loc-tite on them but couldnt really get to the 4th. It was a big pain in the butt. I have installed several motors, a tranny or 2, t-case, axles, lockers, lifts...ect....but I cussed more at the steering column than any of them....and I wont attempt it again.
    -Harrison
     
  3. bigbluesuburban

    bigbluesuburban 1/2 ton status

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    I have an 89 Sub and I just embarked on the same repair. I got the steering wheel off and even managed to get the blinker control ring removed, but after that... well it all went down hill. Just like 87BrnRsd, I have done lockers, lifts, engines and trannies and none of them brought out the curse fest like the steering column did. I finally turned the project over to my buddy who is a Tech full time and he had the column removed and disassembled in a couple hours. He did have to buy a tool for something down at the bottom end of the column.

    He was able to purchase all new bearings, and the tilt ball assembly from the Chevy dealership. He will have it all back together tomorrow and I can drive my Sub again.

    I felt like a real idiot not being able to fix my own truck... but there are some hills that I am just not ready to die on, and steering columns are one of them.

    On a side note. My buddy is going to start a side business rebuilding these columns for our local wrecking yard. If nothing else that tells you that steering columns are enough of a mystic art that there are specialists who nothing but rebuild them.

    Sorry I can't offer any advice other than "DON'T DO IT".

    Good Luck
     
  4. thedrip

    thedrip 1/2 ton status

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    I've done enough gm tilt-column-sickness repairs, I have it down to about 45 minutes from sitting in the drivers seat to handing keys back. Its not difficult, just finnicky.
     
  5. bigbluesuburban

    bigbluesuburban 1/2 ton status

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    How do you replace the lower bearing without removing the column from the vehicle?
     
  6. thedrip

    thedrip 1/2 ton status

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    I don't. I try to get to the bolts and tighten them before it gets bad enough to wreck the bearing.
     
  7. K5Jimmy

    K5Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with the others...I've done engines, t-case, etc. and this is one I won't do again. I tore into it with a video camera rolling, and ended up having a wiz kid guy I work with bailing me out. It took 2 six packs of Fat Tire and about 2 hours. This included a trip to the dealer for a part I broke and NAPA for a Quality compression tool. We got all 4 bolts and the steering column is tight as new, everything works and is there to stay since it all got red lock tite on it.

    If it ever needs rebuilding again, I'm gonna take it out...trade it for a Billy Goat....and shoot the f'ing goat.
     
  8. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    An easier and quicker fix would be to replace the column for one thats in good condition.

    I have one out of a '78 with tilt and cruise along with an aftermarket steering wheel. $75 for it plus the ride. Its already boxed up. Just let me know your zip code and I can get a quote for you.
     
  9. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    pay someone else..

    I never got around to having my 79 C10's loose tilt colum fixed..I sold it last week--and its colum was still loose,after me owning it for 4 years!..:blush: :whistle:

    I was going to have my friend do it for me,who's had more experience with them...I am not ashamed to admit I'm getting too old too see good enough, to tighten hidden screws in a dark tunnel..!:(

    I would rather swap in a whole used colum, than dick with a loose one..many times my attempts to tighten the bolts results in other problems,like busted directional switches,or a lock cylinder that wont work right anymore--not to mention the torx bits dropped into the colum,never to be retrieved ..more than once I'd have to swap a non tilt colum in a car that had a loose one, at the junkyard..

    I know it makes you feel stupid not to be able to fix something that looks pretty easy,compared to a motor swap or other hard jobs...but face it,no one can do it all..some come close,but nobody can fix EVERYTHING!..

    My friend is going to be the one to work on my Ford Contour when it needs attention..I might be able to do a frame off restoration on a old chevy blazer or pickup--but I'd have a hard time even changing a radiator hose on that thing!..you need special tools,and I'm LOST under that hood...:doah: :(
     
  10. muddermilitia

    muddermilitia ThatTrazerGuy GMOTM Winner

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    Man, the column in my new DD 88 K5, is loose, now that I read this I think ill just pull the column outta my trail rig 89 k5 and swap it untill i can get another column.
     
  11. chev4life

    chev4life 1/2 ton status

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    Just got it fixed...$120...figure that was worth the skin on my hand...I'll save that for my engine/tranny/tcase swap coming up in the next year. Thanks for the heads up on not waisting my time.
     
  12. DEMON44

    DEMON44 Low-Tech Redneck

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    sure can be done with the right tools and knowledge. that being said I would avoid doing one at all cost. there is about a billion small pieces in there though. you need a TORX socket when you get the the bottom, its a T-20 or T-15 or something like that.
     
  13. blazeonchevy

    blazeonchevy 1/2 ton status

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    come on guys... its not THAT bad. :rolleyes: .. i messed up the first colum i worked on. after that i bought one of those pressure plate tool things. that pushes the plate down and compresses the spring. after that its not too hard. just got to be careful because the plastic sucks. i redid the colums on the blazer and the caprice a few times. both with tilt wheel. its not my favorite job by any means. but its not That bad to do. :dunno: .. -sam-
     
  14. bigbluesuburban

    bigbluesuburban 1/2 ton status

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    Pay my Friend to do it.

    Like I stated, my buddy has started a side business rebuilding these things for our local wrecking yard. If you have one you need rebuilt, let me know, I can ship it via my FedEx account, he can repair it and have it back to you fast, like new. Just email me and we can work out the particulars

    lee.i.chrastil@tosdetailing.com
     

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