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Steering Column Repair/1986 K20 Chevy Pickup (Silverado) Steering Column Loose


I have a 1986 Chevy Silverado K20 pickup truck. 3/4 ton 4x4, all original I bought it from my dad, he purchased it brand new.  While I was on vacation someone tried to steal my truck.  Luckily I still have it, but my steering column is now very loose.  The ignition works fine, truck operates fine. Column shift works fine.  Tilt steering wheel still works, all wiper/turn signal/cruise control and horn still buttons still work.  The wheel still locks when you turn in while in park to lock the wheel.
However, the whole wheel column is loose, I can move it back and forth and up an down about 2 inches in every direction.  While holding the wheel straight I can move the whole wheel around in a loose circle, like a loose cupboard handle.  It's not just the wheel though, it's the first part of the column too.  How would I go about getting this fixed?  I have a Chilton's manual or could even take it somewhere---is this just like a loose nut or something, or might I need to replace the whole column?  Everything is all original so I am nervous to have to replace something.

Hi Josh:
Sorry about your truck
This is one of the most common problems with the GM tilt columns.  We have recently uploaded some pdf instructions on our company website (for a small fee) to give you first hand viewing of how to remove, disassemble, and reassemble the loose tilt column you are talking about. They are broken down into step by step detailed instructions. Although the instructions are not for your exact car, the column is very similar to yours.
Loose Tilt Column Repair Instructions

The only thing I caution you against is that frequently the problem turns out not to be loose bolts, but rather a torn steering column tube which can be welded but makes it a much more complicated process.

We have also uploaded exploded views of most columns as well (for free).  Yours should be here:
Exploded Views

I hope these instructions can help you.  Lastly, if you need parts to repair this column simply locate the part on our website and you can purchase it directly through the shopping cart.  We stock just about everything you would need to repair your car properly.
Good luck


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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