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Steering Column Repair/1994 E350 steering wheel upper bearings


missing upper bearing
missing upper bearing  
Hello Mr. Gan,

I recently bought a 1994 E350 box truck, and I've been trying to repair the steering wheel. It felt loose and could wiggle back and forth quite a bit. I pulled everything off and discovered that it was completely missing the upper bearing, racer, and spring sleeve, and the spring was snapped in two. I ordered the missing parts online but now I'm having trouble installing them because I can't remove the gold bolts on each side of the upper collar. I've been oiling them for days and they just won't give. Is it absolutely necessary that I remove them and take the upper collar off to put the upper bearing in, or can it be done the way it is? Is there a special tool for it? Attached is a picture of the problem.

Also, it looks like it may be a tilt column but the hardware was removed; that is, if the spring lever in the following image is what identifies a tilt column, then it looks like my steering column is molded the same way but is missing the spring and lever -

Weird. Who knows what happened to this steering wheel. Anyway, thanks for your time!

Hello Elizabeth.

Sorry about your dilemma.  Yours is a non-tilt column, but you are correct.  The housing is the same as tilt designs but uses a different set of levers underneath that only capture 1 position.  From the looks of your shaft and the fact that there was NO support, my guess i that the lower bearing in that housing is gone as well.  so,sadly, yes, you need to ge that housing off.  
I have encountered stubborn pivot bolts in the past as well.  Here's how you beat them.

With a small chisel, hit the edge of the bolt assisting it to rotate counterclockwise (loosen).  Once you break the lock-tighted position and it moves ever so slightly, you will be able to use the 30 torx to unscrew it.  the you can remove the housing.
You will need to polish the shaft with some emery paper so you do not damage the new bearing going back together.

If you do not have the parts you need to complete this job, we sell them as a kit on our website. If by chance you want to replace the housing and make it a tilt wheel, we also have reconditioned housings wit new bearings for sale as well.
Here are the links to those pages.
Upper bearing kits
Upper housing assembly (2nd picture)

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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