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steering column loose....tilt problem?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 88jimmy4x4, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. 88jimmy4x4

    88jimmy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    My tilt steering column is loose, it can be moved/wiggled up and down, I guess holding it while jumping in the cab has worn something out. It feels like its the tilt mechansim not grabbing properly.

    Anyone else have this problem?
    Can this be tightened?
     
  2. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    Here is the infamous “GM tilt column loose problem” fix:
    Disconnect the Battery, Tilt the column to the full UP position, Pull the wheel
    Remove the locking plate, the large spring & the bearing cover (This comes off fine, but is a pain in the butt to get back on so I made a tool to put it back on)
    Disconnect the connectors for the turn signal switch, cruise and the "smart" switch
    Remove three screws that hold down the turn signal switch
    Gently pull the switch up and pull out of the housing folding down and hang by harness
    Remove the Ign Key buzzer switch and retainer clip
    There is either a screw on the right side holding in the IGN KEY LOCK or a slot in which you push a tab.
    Remove the screw or push the tab and remove the Ign Lock Cylinder.
    Most of us have been this far before into the tear-down.
    Next there are three or four torx head screws that hold the housing onto the tilt bowl, remove them.

    Return the turn signal switch back into the housing, do not put the screws back. This step is to give you some play in the wiring

    Gently pull up on the housing up and over the steering shaft. Tilting the shaft down will help but it puts the upper ball bearings in danger of popping out. The small cover for the tilt handle, the plastic push piece will all fall out

    There will now be a black bowl exposed. It has the bearings for the short shaft. The Hi Beam actuator rod will be coming through on the left side. There will also be a small rod through the top parallel with the floor. It is the sector shaft for the IGN Switch and has a small gear on the left.

    THIS IS IMPORTANT!! THIS IS THE PART THAT IS SPRUNG LOADED!!

    At the bottom is a small, about the size of a quarter, round silver plug with a square cutout in the center. This is the spring retainer. by tilting the column up most of the load has been removed from the spring. Take a #3 Phillips screw driver, put into the square hole. The object is not to go through this hole but to engage it. Push the plug down/in about 1/8 inch and turn counter-clockwise. There are two ears 180 degrees apart that retain the plug. REMEMBER IT IS SPRING LOADED!! Ease up until there is no load and pull out.

    The next step requires a small puller. I used small screws and vise-grips on one and a small crow bar on the other one !! They are in there pretty tight too !!

    There are two pins 180 degrees apart on the sides of the bowl. These are the tilt pivot pins and they need to be removed. Kent-Moore makes the special puller but I have seen other folks put a small screw in the hole and pull them out with Vise-grips. If the screws break you are hosed! The pins are harden and can't be drilled out if it gets screwed up.

    Once the pins are out put the tilt lever back in. Pull like you want to tilt the column. This releases the pawls from the retainer grooves.

    While holding them released, gently pull the bowl up towards you. The ball bearings are in danger of popping out again as they are disengaged from the races.

    You will notice that the upper shaft is connected to intermediate shaft by a white plastic ball socket. DO NOT BEND THIS TO 90 DEGREES OR IT WILL BECOME DISENGAGED!!

    Slide this to one side and two of four torx head screws will be exposed. I use a ¼” drive ¼” socket on a flex universal to gain access. This eliminates the danger of bending the tilt ball too much.

    If it's real loose tighten one from each side diagonally, That way the mechanism will seat and not bind. I recommend that you put locktite on them !!

    Going back together is just doing it in reverse with some extra steps.
    Reposition the tilt bowl on the shaft, pull back on the lever and slide on. Make sure the pawls engage the retaining grooves. The rods down to both the starter switch and the headlamp dimmer need to be lined up.

    Replace the tilt spring by depressing with a screw driver and turning

    To time the start switch the small snap ring retaining the sector gear, white or black plastic, and gear needs to be removed

    These will not be replaced until after the pivot pins are reset.

    Install these pins with a gasket hammer, SMALL! You may need to jiggle the bowl by actuating the lever disengaging the pawls

    Now time the ign rod rack with the gear and actuate a few times to make sure the Large cutout in the gear for the ACCESSORY position is timed. The rod has a tit that has to go into the racks crescent shaped area. This crescent shaped area allows the rod to be actauted from any tilt position when the key has been turned.

    Slide the turn signal housing down over the bowl, aligning the small tilt lever cover and headlight dimmer actuator. Small daps of grease will help hold this in position while trying to put it all together

    The rest is put together as taken apart.

    The Ign lock cyl goes in before the buzzer switch. The small tab on the lock cyl that actuates this switch needs to be held up in the close position. The IGN key needs to be out of the cyl for this to happen. Small dabs of grease will hold this up during assembly
    Another tip:
    Loosen the two nuts, maybe three that hold the column up to the dash frame. They are either 17mm or 15mm bolt heads. This will give you a little more play in the wiring.
     
  3. santana

    santana 1/2 ton status

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    You'll need to take it apart and retighten it at the tilt knucke, I've had this happen to me and I've done it before. You'll need a couple of special tools to take apart tho' , It'l take some time and patience. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  4. santana

    santana 1/2 ton status

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    WOW! Muddytazz explained it best.. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  5. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    The additional thing I did was to remove each of the bolts, apply some loctite to the threads and then reinstall them. There was NONE on them from the factory. /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif Hopefully that will makes sure that those screws won't ever come loose again! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  6. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    I've had to do a few /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    But that isn't my write-up. I think it was harv that wrote that up, i've used it every time with success /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. 88jimmy4x4

    88jimmy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Wow, thanks for the detailed explanation /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Sounds like an all day job.
     
  8. az-k5

    az-k5 1/2 ton status

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    It will be a couple of hours (3-5). It sounds more complicated with all of the details written out. You could make changing your spare tire sound like an all day process if you were descript enough.
     
  9. daleearnhardt01

    daleearnhardt01 1/2 ton status

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    It'll take a few hours. I didnt feel like doing it so I let one of my co-workers do it for me. It was inside the shop for around 2 hours. So for a shadetree mechanic with no experience with this Id say a few more. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    PS It was worth 100 bucks to not have to fool with it myself...Note to self: dont use wheel as pull up into truck handle. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  10. bryguy00b

    bryguy00b 3/4 ton status

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    im ganna have to do this to my truck sometime as well...its really loose!!! still works fine and all but its just really damn anoying.
     
  11. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    I've done this before. I used a slide hammer to get out the piviot pins. Took me about 30min on the first one and I almost broke out the driver's window when it came out.

    It would take you less time and be a better solution in the long run to just replace it with a non-tilt! In my 71 the bearings shattered because of the high loads in them and no one sells replacements. I had to do some grinding to get a metric bearing to fit. If I had the money and time I would have put in a non-tilt and been done with it!
     
  12. 88jimmy4x4

    88jimmy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Ya, the more I think about it. I may just try to find a replacement. I can do just about anything, however I have learned my limitations /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
     
  13. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    It would take you less time and be a better solution in the long run to just replace it with a non-tilt! In my 71 the bearings shattered because of the high loads in them and no one sells replacements. I had to do some grinding to get a metric bearing to fit. If I had the money and time I would have put in a non-tilt and been done with it!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I agree with you totally. My bearings shattered in my column and the shaft was all chewed up. Swapped in a non-tilt that I payed $50 for at the yard, takes maybe an hour max. I kept a few parts and burned the steering column in the front yard.

    You guys have any idea how long a steering column will burn? Its a LONG time!!
     
  14. bryguy00b

    bryguy00b 3/4 ton status

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    or just a tilt with no slop in it...i myself dont like non-tilt columns..speacially with the size of the steering wheels on these trucks..i always hit them with my legs when i hop in it.. thats why i swapped in the tilt column from my blazer..but then after that i discoverd the thing was loose as a biatch
     
  15. Ronnie4wd

    Ronnie4wd 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Thankyou Harv and Muddytazz.This I´ll show my Girlfriend next time when I´m going to "just fix a LITTLE problem" with the Jimmy. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     

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