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-   -   Best Chevy van steering column? (http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/best-chevy-van-steering-column-208084.html)

Mutt's37Buick 11-03-2011 08:35 AM

Best Chevy van steering column?
 
I'm working to buy parts for mmy 1937 Buick Roadmaster that I want to resto-mod with a V8 & auto trans from a Buick Rainier. The '37 steereing column is 1.5" diameter just below the wheel.
I have read that 70's & 80's Chevy tilt steering columns work well to upgrade.
1) Can anyone tell me what years are best?
2) Will an auto columns with a D12 link up to an auto transmission with shift on the floor?
3) Can I mount the original '37 Buick steering wheel to a van steer column?
4) What else should I look for when selecting a column?
Thanks

Deuce 11-03-2011 09:30 AM

I do not know about the BEST ;)
But the most popular one in my area is the early 70's up to about 1978 or so Chevy/GMC van tilt column.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...ter/0dd0_1.jpg

It has no ugly key, it does have a neutral start and the P R N D d2 d1 feature ( lighted ).

It has the later GM steering wheel pattern so there are LOTS of wheels that fit.

After about 1979/1980 the columns grew to bulky size and not not as attractive ... IMHO.

Here is a 1975 Chevy van tilt column in my 1932 Ford 3W coupe.

http://www.hotrodders.com/journal_ph...1913596510.jpg

Mutt's37Buick 11-03-2011 10:32 AM

Thanks for the info.
1) Can you tell me what diameter the columns are before '79 and after?
2) Will my 18" original Buick steering wheel fit and work?
Thanks

ogre 11-03-2011 04:14 PM

they're not very good pictures but this is an 89 astro van steering column. i like it for the column shift, key and length. it also has the hi/low in the column and cruise which i use. it had no PRNDL, i bought one from ididit.com.

i kept the astro steering wheel and found a new old stock horn cover for it. it has the typical gm spline taper to mate with a steering wheel.

as for the linkage; the astro was a prnd21 and the 700r4 is a prnd321. it's how you hook the linkage up. but if your trans has a lever on it, you can make it work.

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/n...interior14.jpg

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/n...interior43.jpg

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/n...0529091519.jpg

Mutt's37Buick 11-03-2011 10:59 PM

Ogre,
Thanks for the info. My '37 Buick has stock 1.5" diameter steering column.
Trying to do a resto-mod on this car, but want to keep it as original looking as possible.
1) Does anyone know what a full size Chevy van steering column diameter was before 1979.
2) Have heard there are kits that allow adapt of column shift to a floor shift transmission. Where would I find such a kit?
Thanks

Deuce 11-04-2011 02:53 AM

IF you want the floor shift ... just find a mid 60's Chevelle, GTO, 442 type of vehicle with the tilt wheel option and a factory floor shift. Some of the larger GM models ( Grand Prix, Caprice, big OLDS ) also were tilt with a floor shift.

There is one on eBay now ... so you can look at and see what to hunt for in the junk yards.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/65-66-OLDSMO...sories&vxp=mtr

This is NOT my column nor am I associated with the seller. This is just for informational purposes. I think the price is too high also.

.

Mutt's37Buick 11-04-2011 09:27 AM

Deuce,
Actually I want a column shift that looks like yours.
I'm just tring to find the right combination of parts that:
- Allows me to use a 5.3L Alum V8 from a Buick Rainier
- Automatic transimission
- Column Shift with tilt that looks like yours
- Keeps my original Buick steering wheel
The trans for a Buick Ranier is a 4spd floor shift.
I have heard there are kits that will adapt a column shift to a floor shift trans but I have not found one.
1) Do you know where I can buy such a kit, or can it be made from salvage parts?
2) Alternatively, does anyone know if there is a column shift transmission that will easily connect to a 5.3L Buick Rainier V8?
Thanks

ogre 11-04-2011 10:37 AM

mutt
no column will ''easily connect'' to your trans without making linkage. it's one of those things you have to figure out. look at any column shift to get an idea of what's required. the shift arm on the column is fixed length and has a fixed travel path that coincides with the prndl.

you need transform that motion into the correct motion on the trans. this may require an intermediate shaft that you will have to fabricate. the length of any arm will define the amount of travel that the trans goes thru. you could figure it out mathamagically but it is easy just to fab up and adjust the length of the arms to get the right amount of motion.

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/n...Misc/shift.jpg

that ebay column is rather proud of itself, $375??? i paid $35.

my linkage consists of a couple of levers, shafts, some 5/16 rod and part of a swivel caster off a creeper. cost me nothing except time.

Mutt's37Buick 11-04-2011 11:28 AM

Ogre,
Thanks for the info. and pictures.
I'll take some pictures and do some research

Deuce 11-04-2011 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mutt's37Buick
- Allows me to use a 5.3L Alum V8 from a Buick Rainier
- Automatic transimission
- Column Shift with tilt that looks like yours
- Keeps my original Buick steering wheel
The trans for a Buick Ranier is a 4spd floor shift.
I have heard there are kits that will adapt a column shift to a floor shift trans but I have not found one.

I believe what we have here is a failure to communicate. :D

My column is out of a Chevy Van. It is a tilt model. My transmission is a 4 speed 700R4 transmission.

http://www.hotrodders.com/journal_ph...1431451842.jpg

Look at the shift arm on the column. I modified it to work on my coupe.

Then it is a simple matter to hook the linkage up.

There is a kit available from Kugel Komponents ... go here

http://www.kugelkomponents.com/zenca...=index&cPath=2

:D :D

As for using the original wheel ... I do not know.
They are a right good looking wheel.

http://steeringwheelsusa.com/Images-...ickWheel-A.jpg

Old Dude Rules 11-04-2011 01:14 PM

'74 Buick Tilt Wheel
 
1 Attachment(s)
The middle 70's Van Columns are probably the best, but are disappearing fast. I have used them for last 25 years.
In my my '39 Chevy. Coupe, I installed a '74 Buick Riviera back in 1980, and removed the pin out of shifter, and installed a B & M Shifter.

Mutt's37Buick 11-05-2011 11:08 AM

Thanks all for the pictures and info.
1) Does anyone know if certain models used larger steering wheels.
2) If I use my orig Buick steering wheel (18") diameter are the turn signal stalks too short to reach?
I owned a 75 Chevy van it was 6 cyl 3spd with lots of torque & got 20 mpg in town.
2) Does anyone know if pre-70's vans have options of cruise control, dimmer on stalk, & window wash.
Thanks

Deuce 11-06-2011 05:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mutt's37Buick
Does anyone know if pre-70's vans have options of cruise control, dimmer on stalk, & window wash.
Thanks

The early columns like mine do have cruise control sometimes.

BUT if you really want the dimmer on the stalk, window wash and cruise ... do will have to go with the later model, bulkier less
attractive ( to me :) ) column. A 80's model will also already have a key and a 4 speed automatic PRNDd3 d2 d1 indicator.
One like orge has. His looks like a decent fit in the 55/59 Chevy truck :cool:

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/n...interior43.jpg

They are a LOT easier to find and also a good bit less expensive to buy.
The larger, bulkier column will not look as large and out of place in a big old Buick as they would in a little small early Ford coupe. Might even be a better fit.

DEUCE .. Moderator :thumbup:

SSedan64 11-06-2011 08:47 AM

2 Attachment(s)
78-88 G-Body (Malibu, Monte Carlo, Regal, Grand Prix, Cutlass) would be a good donor, they're fairly cheap on some of those Forums/Sites.
Mailburacing.com
Montecarloss.com
Turbobuick.com, Gnttype.org & other sites.
They come with Cruise, Tilt, Wiper/Washer and for OD/4-Speed Auto Trans as they all came with the 2004R Trans as an option or stock.

http://www.shiftworks.com/kugel.htm
http://www.shiftworks.com/index.html

82/83-88 G-Body would have the OD shifter but, the Gear Indicator is in the Dash, not on the Column like the older 70's vehicles. It works of a small Cable from Column to Dash.

Rod S. 11-16-2011 08:52 PM

Van Column
 
Make sure you check the length of the column if your going to use a van column! I picked one up from the junk yard but it was real long for my 55 Chevy second pickup with a nova sub frame. I shortened that column about 10 inches to make it work.


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