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Old 02-21-2006, 10:53 AM
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Loose Gm Tilt Steering Wheel Moves Up And Down

Hi, I have a 1988 s-10 that I know all of you have run across this problem. I can move the steering wheel up and down(not touching the tilt lever). It is loose because I am guessing the bolts that hold the tilt mechanism have unscrewed themselves. I seen this on a blazer......and was only able to barely tighten one if I remember right
How does one do this repair correctly is there a special tool required..mines getting sloppier ast time goes by. I thought it might be the tilt mechanism itself but watching it move, the movement is after the tilt mechanism.(I've seen ones where the tilt is just broke or wore out).

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Old 02-21-2006, 06:41 PM
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I have actually repaired this problem... It's not actually the tilt mechanism that's the problem. At least not on the trucks I've fixed.

Tilt columns are a bugger and need special tools. I'm not going to describe how to take the column apart because that would be like a book. Tilt columns are often left out of Haynes and Chilton manuals, too.

But the fix is pretty easy once you get far enough into the column to get at it... 3 reverse-torx bolts that worked loose. All you have to do is locktite them back in.

I've seen this get so bad in G.M. trucks that the column would move far enough to pull the ignition switch to the off position when turning a corner.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:39 PM
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Yes I know the bolts have come loose because if it was tilt then it would act differently...........question is how does one get at the bolts.........I dont remember if they were all accessable the last time I tried this(13 years ago!!!). or at least I think it was hard to get at them.......how far down does it have to be taken apart??

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Old 02-22-2006, 05:23 AM
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You need to pull the wheel, depress and remove the plastic cover (special tool), remove the turn signal switch, remove the outer column assembly, pull the pivot pins from both sides of the tilt mechanism (special tool), THEN you can get access to all the screws.

Best suggestion is to get a book.

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Old 02-22-2006, 02:02 PM
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This should help you
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Triaged
great referance article thanks Ed
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Old 02-25-2006, 12:52 AM
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GM calls it Planned Obsolescense and they want you to buy another vehicle from them cause that ones worn out.

""Engineering was subordinated to the questionable aesthetics of nonfunctional styling at the expense of economy and safety. And quality deteriorated to the point that by the mid-1960s American-made cars were being delivered to retail buyers with an average of twenty-four defects a unit, many of them safety-related""




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Old 02-25-2006, 03:18 PM
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I copied this from a forum about 3 years ago, hope it's the detail you need.

> Turn steering wheel 90 degrees.
> Pull off horn pad.
> Unplug horn wire that's attached to horn pad by turning
> counterclockwise.
> Remove Nadar clip from center column, sits above column nut. (If
> equipped)
> Remove column nut.
> Use steering wheel puller to pull wheel.
> Use lock plate compressor to depress lock plate and remove the
> circular spring steel lock plate retainer from around column shaft.
> Directly under the lock plate is a horn tower/turn signal cancelling
> cam, remove and lay aside in the order it came off and it's relative
> position although finding the correct position for reassemble is more
> than simple.
> There is a large column tension spring under the lock plate, it sits
> on a metal cap, not how it goes, it does not sit in the cap, it sits
> on top of it, make a note of it's position, it is essential that it be
> the same when reassembling.
> Remove 5 Phillips screws which includes 3 turn signal screws, 1 turn
> signal bridge screw and 1 from emergency flasher.
> Pull upward on turn signals, if harness doesn't have enough slack,
> remove lower column service panel, locate turn signal harness, unplug,
> feed upward while pulling on turn signal assembly.
> Remove key buzzer actuator with good needle nose, grab spring steel on
> bottom and pull.
> Remove ignition lock retainer, can be a T20 Torx, a common hex head or
> a Phillips screw. Sits just under lock in the middle, to the right of
> key buzzer contact.
> Remove 3 T30 bolts, 12 o'clock, 4 o'clock and 7 o'clock.
> Place tilt in full down mode.
> Pull upward on column lock housing over center column shaft and allow
> to hang. If wiper harness wire is tight, disconnect as you did for
> the turn signals.
> Remove the tilt arm from hell, you will receive 100 points if you
> remove it without gouging it, GM uses a thread locking compound on it.
> If they also used a thread locking compound on the 4, quarter inch
> star headed bolts that keep the column together, I would not be
> posting this. They use nothing.
> The lower plastic housing cap, the part that your tilt arms goes into
> will come off and a 2" link that sit atop the rod that controls the
> dim/bright function may fall out. This piece is important and it is
> also easy to reassemble so don't freak out, it is all logical. We'll
> get to that on reassembly, lay it aside and have some good orange
> grease for reassembly.
> Put the tilt in the full up position, with a large bladed Phillips
> screwdriver will remove the tilt tension spring that sits at 6 o'clock
> in the metal housing that you are looking at. The cap is shiny, it
> has a square hole in the center, put the Phillips blade in the square
> hole, the blade should be large enough that it will not actually go
> into the hole but the idea is to use the tool to depress the spring,
> twist to the left (counterclockwise) and relax. The spring will come
> out.
> Create an area where you can lay the tilt tension spring and
> everything else that comes off after this point, do it in stages, have
> everything in neat order. You have just begun another very important
> stage.
> Use a quarter inch driver to remove the fastener that is on the left
> of the metal housing, this fastener holds on the locking pin and keeps
> tension on it, note where the end hooks, it goes around the cut out
> portion at the lower tip of the locking pin. Also note how the curved
> part of the spring sits in the black plastic gear, either take a
> digital photo or draw a diagram of the position of each piece.
> With a small screwdriver, pop out the black plastic gear, remove the
> lock pin and remove the metal link that goes into the black plastic
> gear. Lay them neatly aside.
> On each side of the metal housing there is a tilt column pivot pin
> that is threaded in the center, they are simple to spot. Snap On
> sells a pivot pin remover for around $15. The thread in the pivot pin
> is exactly the same as the fastener that holds the locking pin
> tensioner in place, machine/fine. If you are careful and the pivot
> pins are not screaming tight, you can screw in the lock pin fastener,
> screw in about 7 or 8 threads, not tight, never tight, use a small
> carpenters claw hammer along with a flat bladed screwdriver and work
> each pin out. I have done this method hundreds of times befoe I
> purcased the pin puller but it's really good to have the right tool.
> Do not screw the locking pin fastener in tight because if it breaks
> off, it could be hell to remove, if you leave it loose then a simple
> awl with a good point will run it out. You can also make a puller
> after examining the situation. Lay the pivot pin neatly aside.
> Replace the tilt arm.
> Grab the tilt arm and pull backward releasing the gears from the steel
> position pin, pull rearward on the metal housing and slide it up and
> over the column shaft and allow to hang. If the metal housing does
> not want to come upward and off, gently tap the center shaft, this
> will free the outer bearing race from the upper column bearing pack.
> There are two bearing packs, each contain 14 bearings in a teflon
> cage, if everything is done correctly these bearings will remain where
> they should be but if they spill, use good grease to put them back
> together. If a bearing pack does fall out (rare) after repacking,
> notice a lip on the teflon cage, the lip goes in first contrary to
> what one would think.
> With the metal housing removed, you will notice a light metal gear,
> this is the rack gear, it needs a lot of grease on reassembly, fact is
> these gears break from lack of grease and when used on a loose column,
> they tend to bow and may slip off the rod that goes to the electrical
> ignition switch. In a pinch they can gently be straightened but the
> dealer sells them in a kit. The dealer at one time sold them for
> $2.75 just for the rack but when they decided to be creative, they put
> two new bearings, an outer, upper bearing race, a black plastic gear,
> a locking pin return spring and a locking pin return spring fastener.
> Sells for somewhere in the area of $20.
> Now that the metal housing is out of the way, you can see all 4 of the
> quarter inch star headed bolts. Once these bolts have been cleaned,
> coated with a good thread locking compound (blue) on the last quarter
> inch of each bolt and tightened down, not only will your column remain
> tight but other problems will disappear as well, such as the vehicle
> dying when you are driving and yank on the wheel and other simple
> things.
> The reason I had you turn the steering wheel 90 degrees before
> beginning is now you can tilt down the center shaft and remove it
> completely, lay aside. (after marking it at the top so you don't get
> it back on wrong; otherwise you would be driving with your steering
> wheel upside down) You really don't have to remove the center shaft,
> I do because then everything is totally out of my way and the bolts
> are not partially blocked, your option.
> Tighten the bolts using a good quarter inch socket with a quarter inch
> drive, trust me, this is the correct tool, if you purchase a quarter
> inch star socket, you have more money than you know what to do with
> and you wouldn't be reading this, you would take it to a column
> specialist.
> NEVER remove all 4 bolts at once because there is a hardened steel,
> threaded plate that the bolts go into and if the plate drops you may
> take a short trip to hell. Fact is, once the bolts are exposed,
> tighten the upper right bolt but not tight, just firm, remove the
> remaining 3, clean the last quarter inch of each, put the thread
> locking compound on each, replace and firm down. Then remove the
> upper right bolt and do the same. Now tighten each bolt very firmly,
> leaving the upper right bolt a little looser than the others as there
> is a design problem with the inner pot metal housing will crack in
> this area.
> Once the bolts are tightened, take a needlenose plier, grab the rod
> that the rack gear contacts and pull upward, we are doing this to make
> sure that the bolts are not too tight, check it by this method then
> see if the shifter works smooth with no restriction or tightness.
> Once this is done, reassembly is the reverse. If you laid everything
> out and in order, clean and neat, there should be no major problems.
> Inspect the center column shaft, you will notice that it is grooved,
> that there also is a double wide area which corresponds to a double
> wide area on the shaft. In other words, upon reassembly, it would be
> difficult and require undue force to get the lock plate on wrong and
> once the horn tower/cancel cam is in position, then the steering wheel
> will only go on the correct way unless you are unfortunate enough to
> be stuck with one of them dangerous aftermarket, fancy looking
> steering wheels that cost tons and can cause the death of anyone near,
> then just put the wheel on anyway you want and say a prayer everytime
> you drive. There are a few good aftermarket wheels out there but not
> many, race car drivers use them but the garden variety, you basically
> have to give up your horn function and ever being able to tighten down
> the steering wheel nut. The good thing about these crappy pot metal
> wheels is that when you need to pull one, just remove the little horn
> ring, use your finger to remove the nut and then simply lift the wheel
> off. This can save a tehcnician a minute or two of job time but
> frankly they are extremely dangerous.
> The above was the long method of tightening a loose Saginaw tilt
> column of your vintage, it is the correct procedure but in a pinch
> there is something that you can do that will help until you find the
> time or the means to do it the correct way:
> After the locking plate has been removed and the upper turn signal
> assembly pulled out of the way, you can, using a flashlight look down
> where the harness wires go, you can, by changing tilt positions see
> the right lower quarter inch star headed bolt and with an extension,
> just tighten it firmly, you will see your column being drawn back
> together and driving your vehicle will allow you to smile once again.
> Several notes: As usual there are methods that can get you by if you
> do not have the correct tools, for instance if you do not have a
> steering wheel puller you can, no matter what size you are, vibrate it
> off. Loosen the column nut but do not remove it, leave enough of it
> threaded so that when the wheel pops up, it will not hit you in the
> face. You have been warned. Find a good brace position with your
> legs and back, grab the wheel at 3 o'clock and at 9 o'clock but any
> opposing position will work. Begin by pulling with one hand and then
> pulling wiht the other, a rocking motion... then with the same amount
> of strength make your motion shorter and shorter, like a vibration,
> start off big and go smaller and if the wheel does not pop, change
> hand position and do it again. Usually the wheel will pop no matter
> what the year or make, no matter how long the wheel has been on. I
> have done this many times when in a hurry, seldom will it fail but
> then I am shooting myself in the butt because it will not work on a
> loose tilt so get a puller.
> As for the lock plate, without the compressor, you can use a sharp
> icepick or awl to start the retainer then work it up and off with two
> flat bladed screwdrivers, try not to bend it but it can be put back
> into shape if need be.
> To replace it, put the lock plate in position, start the retainer, a
> helper is good, use two large flat bladed screwdrivers to compress the
> plate then slide the retainer into position. I did it this way for
> several years and a few were tough but it can be done. I then bought
> some flat aluminum stock, heated it and bent legs, drilled a center
> hole and then used the column nut to compress the plate. That was a
> long time ago, now I use a Snap On plate compresser, it's one hell of
> a tool.
> As for the horn tower/cancel cam part, if the upper portion on the
> tower happens to break and the horn pad wire will not plug into it,
> use a knife file to create another slot on the opposite side at the
> same height, the repair will be stronger than the original, you just
> have to install the horn pad wire by turning in the opposite direction
> than normal but no consequences at all.
> Hope this helps, you may want to hire the job out depending on your
> mechanical ability. If I were to repair your particular vehicle,
> tighten the column it would take me between 25 and 30 minutes from
> start to finish. When I first started doing them over 20 years ago
> it took a bit longer.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:42 PM
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I'm having trouble with my column and have had several folks say that buick performance link shows some good pics but the link just takes me to the Buick homepage. How can I get that link to work right? The reason I need the pics is my Luv


has a column out of an '82 Cavalier and needed a new turn signal switch. As I pulled the column apart, a small clip came out that I've never seen before and I obviously need to know where it goes back in. I can take a pic of the clip later if need be. Thanks again for all the help!
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:18 PM
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A quick google search turned up this


Save it while it is still up.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey626
I'm having trouble with my column and have had several folks say that buick performance link shows some good pics but the link just takes me to the Buick homepage.
Well that really sucks. That Buickperformance website was THE best for showing how to fix this problem. Should have downloaded the photos when I had a chance. Apparently someone let his URL lapse and GM snagged it right up.
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