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Old 02-12-2002, 02:28 PM
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55 chevy belair steering column swap??

I am building a 55 chevy belair and would like to install a tilt steering column with as little modifications (work) as possible. I would like to know what vehicles have columns that would work. Anyone have any helpful info? I would rather not go through every scrap yard in town looking for one.

thanks for the help.


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Old 02-15-2002, 07:33 PM
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It's a fairly simple deal to take a "605" GM steering gear(usually found in 78'-early 80's intermediate body) and modify the 55'-57' steer shaft to fit in the "605" box. can give you detail instructions if your interested or there is a whole bunch of rod shops that sell these boxes ready to go, of coarse it's a lot cheaper to do-it- yourself. The only draw back on this installation is it works best when you use a floor shift. The column for automatics will work if modified correctly,but a standard "3on-the-tree" won't work.
As far as the colunm it's self goes I've found that the ones in the 73'- 76'Intermediate GM is a good choice. The hole where the column passes through the dash will have to be enlarged slighty on 55'-56'--the 57' is slightly larger & will
work okay. Another good choice(harder to find)is
73'-92' Chevy van.It will allow you retain the ignition key in-the-dash.

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: PAULWELDIT ]

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: PAULWELDIT ]</p>
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Old 02-17-2002, 10:05 AM
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I am replacing the column in my 55 as we speak. I have had lots of help from fellow rodders online. I have a "76 GMC van tilt column. I also have some directions and some pics. on how to modify the column to fit the 605 conversion. I converted my own box and am now in the process of cutting down the column. One hint, when you get the column grab the rag joint too! also get the power steering pump and ALL brackets that you might need (Even if you think you might not need them, take them! This column will not need any dash modifications, but does need a fabricated mount to attach at the toeboard area. If you want the information I can mail everything I have, just e-mail me with your address and it'll be on it's way. Good luck with the project!
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Old 02-25-2002, 04:03 PM
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thanks for all the help guys.

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Old 03-03-2002, 07:43 AM
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Garrett, as Paul said, the van columns are the best as far as fitting and retaining the key in the dash. Make sure you take the rag joint with it. You never mentioned wanting to go to power steering, so I'm assuming that is not a priority. If not, you'll need to pull the column out of the car. What you'll have left is the steering shaft, which is part of the box.
Remove the rag joint from the van column. Hold it about 1 inch up the shaft from the steering box, and mark the shaft where you'll need to cut it. Be sure you'll have enough room to weld the joint, while also leaving room for the nub of the new column to stick out enough to accept the original firewall clamp. After you cut the shaft you'll need to weld the bottom half of the rag joint onto the steering shaft. The top of the rag joint is splined or flat cut onto the van shaft, so no welding is necessary there.
To prepare the rag joint for welding, you'll need to drill and remove one set of rivets from the joint so you can enlarge the center hole and then weld it to the original steering shaft now protruding from the steering box. Use bolts to replace the rivets you removed. Once you have the new column in the car, and you have the rag joint bolted together, be SURE to drill and cotter pin the rag joint bolts. This is a very important safety step. I've seen many guys who skip this process. It's bad fabricating. Safety should always be first on your priority list.
At this point you should be all set. Good luck!
Chuck A
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