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Steering Column Repair/chevy truck w/tilt steering column


Scott Smith wrote at 2008-07-23 19:00:30
First off, let me say that Rob Painter is amazing in his extremely accurate and useful description of this problem and the solution. I had an 86 S10 Blazer with the wobbly steering wheel problem just as described. How those 4 machine screws WAAYYY inside there manage to loosen up is a true mystery to me. But they do; and they did. I would STRONGLY recommend red or blue Loctite on the threads AFTER you clean the old grease and oil from them. You do NOT want to have to do this job again !

A couple of notes regarding this repair:

1. The steering column is a VERY complex assembly. Make careful note of the exact sequence of disassembly paying careful attention to how a part is positioned BEFORE removing it. The black plastic actuator for the hi/lo beam switch may very well fall out during disassembly. You will be a very happy camper if you made note of how it was positioned BEFORE it fell on the floor ! Same is true for the little metal leaf spring that holds the buzzer switch in place. You need to remove this switch to gain access to the special screw that retains the ignition switch assembly. In case you are wondering, the white plastic switch goes ON TOP of (slides OVER) the spring.

2. Take your time and make a mental (at least) note of each thing you do. Keep removed parts on a stable surface in the order in which they were removed.

3. While most of this job can be done with the usual shop tools that a reasonably well equipped shop will have, there are two tools that are an absolute MUST. I will describe them and give you an idea of how to do the repair by fashioning these tools yourself.

First, the 'lock plate' is held in place with a lock ring (snap ring) that encircles the steering shaft just in front of the plate. There is a very strong coil spring BEHIND the lock plate that makes it nearly impossible to remove the plate without compressing the spring first. Re-installing the lockplate without the special tool would be impossible.

While the tool can be rented/borrowed from some car parts dealers if you live in the right ... ahem ... 'Zone' ... (hint), I live on an island 5 miles off the coast of Maine so I simply cut a piece of 1/4" thick aluminum stock 3-1/2" long and 1-1/2" wide. Drilled a hole in the center that would clear the shaft and then drilled and tapped two holes for 1/4-20 screws at each end. The 1/4-20 screws protrude through the plate about 3/4" and I placed two small (1/4" and 5/16") Craftsmen, 1/4" drive sockets over the threads. These sockets are 7/8" long.

To use this tool, you place it over the shaft with the sockets (centered by the machine screws) pressing on the lock plate. You then thread the steering shaft nut onto the shaft and compress the lockplate just enough to remove (or re-install) the snap ring! Worked like a charm for me.

Secondly, you will encounter the evil "Pivot Pins". These are pressed into each side of the assembly and are tapped for an 8-32 machine screw thread. After seeing a picture of the commercially available tool, I made my own by simply taking a 'disposable' 9/16" 3/8" drive socket and grinding down one edge of the 9/16" opening on one side of the socket about 1/8" to allow clearance for the small ridge on the column just forward of the pivot pins. This allows the modified socket to sit flat. I then got a long 8-32 machine screw, threaded a nut up towards the head, and placed two steel washers on the screw. I then ran the screw through the modified socket, threaded it into the pivot pin, and after positioning the socket properly I tightened up the nut against the washers and pulled the pin straight out. One was VERY tight and the other let go easily.

Hope this helps make the job easier for someone, someday.

trying to be helpful wrote at 2009-04-18 00:30:37
have exploded view of tilt ( floor shift) steering column      courtesy of G.M.

trying to be helpful took me long time to get this

for my use to fix mine

old fat guy 327 wrote at 2013-11-28 02:43:45
Very good directions here, improve it by using a LMC catalog as a guide. Shop manual offers confusion. Use your cell phone to collect pictures coming apart, every part, you will not have too many pictures and you will not be done in two hours

Steering Column Repair

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Rob Painter


I had a auto theft repair store for 17 years, which repaired over 10,000 steering columns.


ROB PAINTER, ASE, CFL, CFEI P.O. Box 190 Big Bend, WI 53103 Phone (414) 698-9696 Fax (262) 662-1352 Forensic Vehicle Component Analyst Diplomate, Board Certified Forensic Examiner ASE Certified Auto, Collision, Med/Hvy/Duty Truck Technician Certified Forensic Locksmith Certified Forensic Auto Theft Examiner L-5 Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator Certified Auto Theft and Fraud Expert As per federal court rules of evidence (702) (Daubert) my testimony has qualified me as: Auto Theft and Fraud Expert Forensic Vehicle Analyst Fire Origin and Cause Expert Qualified to testify as an expert for the Defense in a USAF Court Martial in the areas of Origin and Cause of Vehicle Fires, Transponder System Operation, Ignition Locks, Steering Columns, Auto Theft and Vehicle Burn Debris Analysis. July-2004 Assisted San Francisco PD in a homicide investigation involving a reported stolen and recovered burned vehicle. September-2004 Offered book deal by Lawyers and Judges Publishing. September-2004 Contacted by the TV show ?Forensic Files? for a potential story to be aired. November-2004 Filmed to be featured in the National Public Television pilot ?Why Not? on auto theft and auto theft prevention. BUSINESS EXPERIENCE ? Formed the International Association of Forensic Auto Theft Examiners LLC. ? Formed the non Profit Forensic Institute on Auto Theft Analysis. Both organizations are to set the standards in forensics as it relates to reported stolen vehicles and to provide training to examiners, fire service and law enforcement. ? 1986 opened Auto Recovery Specialists Inc., providing exclusive repair of theft recovered and vandalized vehicles. The initial concept of the business was to return vehicles to their original shape before the theft, vandalism or fire. In 1987 bought the rights to the theft deterrent known as the ?Chicago Collar?. ? Founded the ?International Association of Forensic Auto Theft Examiners.? Its purpose is to set the standards in the field of determining the last operation of a reported stolen vehicle. ? Duties include complete component replacement: dash, stereo system, interior, locks and coding, rebuilding steering columns, repairing and installing vehicle security system components (factory and after market), engine components, body repair, glass replacement, repair and service of air conditioning components, brake and suspension repair, and replacement, wiring harnesses etc. to return vehicle to pre-theft condition Complete reconstruction. ? During the past 17 years directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft-recovered and fire damaged vehicles. ? Personally examined and rebuilt thousands of steering columns on both import and domestic vehicles ? Internationally acknowledged as expert in auto theft including court, consulting with insurance companies, attorneys and law enforcement. ? Consultant on steering columns, locks, stereo systems and vehicle security for Special Investigation Units for many large insurance carriers during the past 10 years. Consulting services include but not limited to: How a vehicle was last operated (with or without keys in burned or unburned vehicles), Origin and Cause of vehicle fires, and vehicle defects. ? Provides services as a consultant and researcher to attorneys and insurance companies, and private industry throughout the US in cases related to vehicles. ? Has worked with crime prevention officers throughout the US establishing training programs designed to protect the public from becoming victims of auto theft. ? PATENT: 3/21/00 issued patent# 6,039,140 for 8 different variations of airbag anti-theft devices. PUBLICATIONS Currently authors articles and test reports on an ongoing basis for SIUs and the forensic/vehicle fire industry. Published author: (1,350 slide training course) Auto Theft/ Fraud Training Course) ?The Modern Forensic Approach to Auto Theft Investigation.? (January, 2001) Author: ?Absolute Statements Made By Experts? (Insurance publication-Sept. 2003) Author: ?Locksmiths as Experts Reporting On Stolen Vehicles? (Insurance Publication-August 2003) Author: ?Uncovering The Truth in Burned Reported Thefts? (Insurance publication-August 2002) Author: ?Problems and Solutions in Vehicle Theft Determination? (Insurance publication December 2002) Author: Master Keys? Insurance publication- February-2003) Author: ?Variables to Be Considered In Vehicle Fire Investigation after Suppression.? (Insurance publication-November 2001) Author: ?Ford Magnesium Steering Columns and the Results to Ignition Components after a Fire?. Article for peer review from the fire and forensic community. (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM VATS.? (Article) (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM PASSLOCK TM? (Article) (November 2001) Author:? Auto Theft Investigation: Hollywood vs. Reality? (Article) (February 2001) For the John Cooke Fraud Report. Published author: (Manual) ?Forensic Vehicle Fire/ Arson and Auto Theft Investigation? (October 2000) Published author: (Article) ?Petty Claims? for the John Cooke Fraud Report (October, 1998) Published author (Manual) ?AUTO THEFT: LET THE TRUTH BE KNOWN!? (1998) (Previously distributed by Barnes & Nobel) Co-authored the investigation manual, ?Surreptitious Entry & Auto Theft & Burn & the Investigator.? (1999) Authored test questions on the subject of steering columns and vehicle security for CFL designation to be given by the International Association of Investigative Locksmiths. January, 2000 Published author: (Manual) ?Saginaw Steering Columns-What Has Not Been Told? Training manual for fire investigators. (March 2000) Published (Article) ?Beyond The Lock? (May 2000) Published Author: (Article) Fraud Defense Network-August, 2000 Edition-?Melting Steering Column Tests.? Published author: (Test Report) ?Burned Toyota Steering Column Testing to Determine How Last Operated?. Tool marks and procedures. (December 1999) Currently at the FBI Crime Lab in Washington DC and the US Army Crime Lab in Atlanta, GA for peer review. ACCOMPLISHMENTS Defeated the ?unstealable? Ford Securilock transponder system for a court case 10/10/00. They said it could not be done! Primary designer of a state of the art ?bait? car for a police department to catch car thieves. Worked with The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and discovered a potential fire hazard on a vehicle and determined origin and cause of under hood fires on this type of vehicle. Featured as ?Auto Theft Expert? in the A & E auto theft documentary ?Stealing Wheels? that aired July 26, 2000. Contacted by Sears and Edelman Marketing to be a national spokesman for an anti theft device for vehicles. (November 1999) Invited to provide evaluation and consulting to steering column engineers at Daimler Chrysler Corporation in Auburn Hills, MI (10/99). The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how steering column locking mechanisms could be defeated without the use of a key and how to reinforce the columns again.....

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