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Tilt steering swap, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by joe dirt, May 5, 2005.

  1. joe dirt

    joe dirt Registered Member

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    My cousin is junking his rustbucket '84 K20 and last night I noticed it has tilt steering and he said I could have it. My '85 K20 does not have tilt steering and I was wondering if it is a worthwhile upgrade since there is absolutely nothing wrong with my steering now. His '84 is an auto and my '85 is a manual trans if that makes any difference. I have a steering wheel puller so I can keep my steering wheel if I do it. Should I swap the units?
     
  2. Poohbair

    Poohbair 1/2 ton status

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    I love my tilt steering, and swapping the column is very easy. My truck is a 4spd and has a auto column, no biggie... just take the shifter handle off. I would grab it if I were you
     
  3. big jimmy 91

    big jimmy 91 1/2 ton status

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    I am also considering this swap , but it's a tilt from on 85 1/2 ton to my 91 Jimmy.

    Is it a simple swap , or are there any complications to be aware of?

    Sorry to hijack :blush:
     
  4. trailblazer86

    trailblazer86 1/2 ton status

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    Yup!! You have to go for this one.
    The comfort factor alone is worth the work.
    Don't forget you may need to swap out the ignition switches to keep your key set together. Then again the key only works in the ignition. Maybe just swap the keys on your key ring.
     
  5. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    to all ! dont forget the year swap for the wiper controls and shuch. from the dash to the colom. 1984 up is all in colom.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2005
  6. ftcjimmy

    ftcjimmy Registered Member

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    if you wheel alot, bad idea. ive gone through two tilts due to me holding on over bumps.
     
  7. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Not to me it isn't!

    I have nothing against tilt wheels,but all the ones I had I never moved once!--and all the GM trucks I had with tilt,including the 79 C10 I have now,is loose!and I'm not even going to bother to try and tighten it up myself,I dont have the patience or torx bits(never did one,and I never want too!)

    --I have 2 regular non-tilt colums I can swap in instead--like I said,I never used the "tilt" feature at all,I prefer the wheel straight in line--if I was fatter I probably would feel differently about it--I think its just another thing to screw up and be a PITA!..I gave away a tilt colum for a 72 K5 in exchange for a non tilt one installed by the guy who wanted the tilt steering..I can do without it--I feel the same way about power windows and tailgates too--just more things to go wrong and are hard to fix.--
    Of course,thats just my opinion--its your truck,if you want tilt steering,its not that hard to swap colums--but get the shaft to the steering box with it--the splines might be different at the joint near the firewall if its not the same year,or 2wd VS 4x4.--and what they said about the wiper switch and dimmer switch being on the colum VS on the dash and floor on older trucks...:crazy:
     
  8. mudslinger99

    mudslinger99 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with Diesel about not actually using the tilt feature much... I have it in a couple of my trucks that I havent moved it in years.... But I do have it set just a bump or 2 higher up then I think it would be pre-set from the factory... In my 84 k20 I am thinking about putting in a tilt colum just to raise the wheel up a couple clicks.... The steering wheel is a little to close to my legs for me.... That is the only reason i am thinking about changing it because i feel a little cramped in..... Im sure if i do swap it in and get it adjusted to be a little more comfortable i will set it and forget it....


    P.S. either way if it is free and it works you should get it because you can't never have too many spare parts... :thumb:
     
  9. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Colum is uncomfortable!

    I'm 6'4" tall,and the steering wheel is very close to my legs and knees..I dont know why GM used such a long steering colum on the 73-87 trucks that sticks out a good foot past the dash!--and the huge school bus steering wheel only aggravates the problem!--when I put bucket seats in my 74 K20,I found I could no longer fit between the steering wheel and seat!--

    -I used a steering wheel off an 82 Cavalier to remedy the problem,its about 3" smaller in diameter,and bolts right on perfect...I had even thought about trying to swap to a shorter steering colum from a GM car,but it looked like a lot of work to make them fit,so I didn't bother...but the "tilt" steering to me is a waste,I never "tilted" mine at all..and like I said earlier,they are always loose and I dont like trusting anything loose in the steering--period!.. :crazy:
     
  10. joe dirt

    joe dirt Registered Member

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    I checked the tilt steering out a lot more last night as I kiped a few more goodies off my cousin's '84 that I needed on my '85 like the coolant overflow cap, windshield washer reservoir and pump and a headlamp or two :D

    The tilt steering is still tighter than a rat's hatband. It was probably never used. I'll try and snag it off the truck this weekend.

    Is it pretty easy to change the ignition switch so I can still use my keys?
     
  11. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    I love tilt steering , I drive with it in the stock non-tilt position , but tilt lets me get my out easy .

    If ya gonna change the ignition lock cylinder , may as well go in and loctite the bolts that always loosen :grin:
     
  12. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Swapping the lock cylinders is easy and since you are swapping your steering wheel over, you are already halfway into what you need to do for the swap. All you need is a lock plate compressor tool after you get the wheel off. Use the tool to compress the lock plate spring and fiddle the clip off of the the upper column. remove the screws holding the turnsignal switch in place and the turn signal lever and then pull it gently out of the way. You will see where the lock cylinder goes in. You may see a narrow window in the casting that is covered with casting flash. Use a small screw driver and a hammer to gently remove the flashing so you can stuff a thin screwdriver or stiff feeler gauge into it to release the catch on the lock cylinder. With the key installed and the screwdriver pressing in at the hole, rotate the key and pull out and it should pop right out.

    Again, you could proceed on from this point and loctite the 4 screws that come loose but thats up to you. Otherwise, reassemble in reverse.

    As for the earlier question of using a auto column in a truck with a stick it can be done. One benifit of using an auto column in a stick truck is that you can mount a tach off of the nub where the auto shifter went in and not have to use a giant hose clamp.
     

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