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Author Topic: Fitting an adjustable steering column  (Read 5111 times)

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  • Omega Knight
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Fitting an adjustable steering column
« on: 15 November 2006, 23:37:41 »

Fairly simple and very worthwhile mod, especially if you are tall.

From the donor car you will need the cowlings and operating lever for the adjuster, also a curved bit of plastic trim that fits between clocks and cowling (1 screw). Try to find a car with correct colour steering wheel and cowlings in good condition and close to same age, there should be less differences in ignition switches then. Try to get the ignition key, you will fit your old lock barrel to keep the same key but if you have the key to the new column it saves drilling out bolts in order to swap over steering lock assemblies.

Disconnect battery.
Remove column cowlings:
Turn steering wheel 90 deg to left of centre, remove plastic cap and screw that becomes visible. Repeat on other side.
Remove 3 screws on bottom, cowling should lift away.
Unlatch and lift out both switch stalks, no need to disconnect.
Disconnect ignition switch wiring (turn to posn. 1 and depress latch in side of connector)

Loosen steering wheel: If lucky you will have a wheel of the correct colour and good condition on your new column so wont have to do this step otherwise....
Remove airbag, two torx screws through rear of did disconnect the battery didnt you??
Carefully unplug airbag and put safely to one side.
Disconnect plugs to remote stereo buttons if fitted.
Loosen centre nut 2 turns but do not remove completely. (to preserve your teeth during next step)
Apply load to underside of wheel with your knees whilst striking end of shaft with hammer and alloy or copper drift. The wheel should come free with a sharp knock but keep load applied until it does, if you hit shaft without supporting wheel you will likely collapse the crash structure in the column. Note there is a special puller for this job but it is usually possible without. Do not release the wheel from its splines yet, we need to maintain alignment for a bit longer.
Remove cardboard cover above pedals. Look for pinch bolt where column joins steering gear, start to remove bolt then make sure wheel is set straight ahead and remove bolt completely and open up the split slightly by tapping in a thin cold chisel or screwdriver. Do not turn wheel or column again.
Remove steering wheel nut and wheel.

Disconnect wiring from steering column 'squib', there is a yellow latch to slide out of connector end before the connector comes free.
Open fuse box cover, the column is held by a nut on the RH and a sheer bolt on the LH. Centre punch the sheer bolt then drill off the head, it is a 8mm bolt so pilot 3mm then follow up with 10mm to remove head or drill 6mm then chisel off. Keep the washer, drill or file out hole to fit a replacement 8mm bolt.

Use a torch to peer down length of column, at about mid point there is a bracket facing upwards, fastened with a single bolt, use several long extensions and 13mm socket to remove. Access is improved if you unlatch and unscrew the relay panel. Dont drop the bolt, it seems to hide if you do.
Remove the nut at upper bracket and column should now pull free and wriggle out past wiring looms etc. A bit of levering may be needed to get upper bracket free of dash moulding.

Compare old and new ignition switches, will the plug fit? if not you have to drill out the sheer bolts and swap over the lock assy, You might have to file a notch in lock body or column housing to get lock to fit properly (the auto and manual locks wont interchange without this) use new sheer bolts or socket cap head screws with a bit of locktite.
Swap over the lock barrels, key in, turn to posn 1 then insert rod or allen key etc into small hole in side of lock, barrel will pull out.

Ease new column into place, either align bottom clamp with position of old one or set wheel straight if still fitted.
Fit all bolts loosely then tighten mid clamp first, then upper then pinchbolt with fresh locktite.
Reconnect squib, refit stalks etc.
Refit wheel, nip up but do not fully tighten nut yet until alignment is checked.
Reconnect and refit airbag, reconnect battery and go round block to check steering wheel alignment.
Disconnect battery again, remove air bag again and adjust wheel position or fully tighten wheel.
Fit the half moon plastic filler that goes below speedo on adjustable column cars.
Fit cowlings.
Fit airbag again, and reconnect battery.

If you turn on ignition when air bag is disconnected then warning light will come on and only a trip to the dealer or The Boy will get it activated again.
« Last Edit: 16 November 2006, 09:50:26 by TheBoy »
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