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Steering Column Repair/1990 F150 Steering Shift Tube Removal


QUESTION: My wife bought this truck from a friend knowing that the steering column was acting up. I went to the nearest junk yard and picked up a steering column thinking it would fix the problem and it did fix the starting problem but it still wont shift. I can manually shift it where the linkage connects to the transmission but I cant shift it from the column itself. I ask the a couple mechs around town and they said its probably the shift tube. I am in need of advice and, if possible, a diagram so I can replace it myself. Really don't want to go out and buy another steering column. Thanks for the help.

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ford rack actuator  
ANSWER: Hi Colton:
Sorry about your truck.
It's a little difficult trying to diagnose a vehicle problem over the internet.  The only thing I can tell you is what the most common problems are that relate to your situation.  You didn't say what was wrong with your original column, so I will not be able to address that.  The second column though (assuming it is a tilt design) sounds very similar to a problem with the ignition rack actuator.  I have attached a photo of the part with this reply.  This small cast metal piece moves when you start the truck and releases the shift lever mechanism so you can change gears.  When it breaks, it prevents the shifter from coming out of park.  It also changes the way the key feels when you start the truck (a little more loose and you have to force the key a little farther than normal to start it).
If all of this sounds familiar, here are a couple of pages on our company website that will help you remedy this problem.  

We sell both the part and the instructions for how to replace it.  The instructions are an immediate download so you will have them as soon as you buy them.  We would have to ship the part to you once ordered.

I hope all this helps

Good luck

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QUESTION: Thanks for the help. I have another question pertaining to the tilt only part of the answer. What if it doesn't have the tilt option? I tore apart the old steering column and the bottom piece of that part fell threw when I loosened the 3 bolts that connect the outer casing to the inner shaft. So I am sure that is the answer to my problem but I just had that question. Thank you again.

Hi Colton:
Without tilt, it is a totally different design than the one I sent you links to, but the release mechanisms work the same way...just different designed parts.
Yes, the 3 allen head screws hold everything in place so the release works.  Without it assembled properly the shifter will not release.


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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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