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Steering Column Repair/question/ diagram


jay i have some slop play in my 1974 tilt steering column, it appears to be at the tilt ball area,  i took it apart and it is very loose and also was hard to put the snap ring on more so then usual  the 3 screws that hold the ignition collar to the shift collar are very tight, but i still have some play, moving the steering wheel up and down?,  do those shift ball shafts wear out?,  thank you

Hi Randy,
This is Doug, not Jay.  I hope that works for you.
You don't say what kind of car (truck) you have so it will make it a little difficult to be specific, but from your description it sounds like a GM tilt column.
Most of the time, the play is further down than the 3 screws for the upper lock's in the tilt mechanism where the support stand bolts to the mast jacket (steering tube).  If those 4 inverted torx bolts are secure and the metal on the tube itself is not ripped (as some of the earlier ones do), then the only other place for play in the column would be the pivot pin holes on the side of the tilt mechanism.  Often those become slightly oblonged and no longer hold the tilt secure.  That requires replacing the tilt housing amd/or the support stand, whichever (or both) are worn oversized.
Take a look at our company website.  It offers solutions for problems like that-- we sell instructions for repairing the loose tilt columns (first set of instructions)
GM steering column repair instructions page.
Regarding the bearing and the snap ring.  Sometimes the bearings fall apart or one of the balls gets dislodged when it is taken apart preventing the shaft from coming up all the way and preventing the snap ring to seat.  As far as the bearings wearing out causing looseness, no.  The only ay they cause looseness is if they have broken and are no longer a working bearing.
I hope this helps you

Steering Column Repair

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Douglas Gan


My specialties are stolen vehicles, steering column and ignition locks repair, airbag service and installation and diagnosis. My work includes both domestic (USA) vehicles and foreign designs.


30 years owning a company that specializes in steering columns, ignition & airbag related problems

GM certified, ASE certified, 4 yrs college, Mech Tech degree
I own multiple auto repair companies and can help you professionally through any of our websites at: ---- we stock many older steering column parts and can rebuild your column if you ship it to us --- we sell airbag replacement information (no parts) -- we perform investigations for many types of vehicle claims
Please feel free to contact us through any of our websites for more information or help

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