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Old 08-30-2006, 03:46 AM
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Need Help Changing Steering Column Angle!

I'm working with a vehicle that has undergone several rebuilds of varying degrees in the past. Most of the steering components have been altered and I am left with many kinks in the setup. My steering column angle was changed to accomodate a new steering box. But the box was set in the frame too close to the cab, and the column angle is pretty extreme. It causes some issues with the range of the tilt, and obstucts the brake pedal. I am wondering if U joints can be used to correct this problem. Moving the steering box is not an option for me, as the fabrication involved is not something I'd like to tackle. Also, the previous build was done by my grandpa and I'd like to restore the vehicle as close to 'as built' by him as possible. The two newest entries in my project journal contain detailed pictures explaining the problem. Any help would be really appreciated!

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...15&action=view

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Last edited by OKSoda; 08-30-2006 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 08-30-2006, 06:49 AM
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Moving the column looks like it would be a good thing. Borgeson and Flaming River both make double u-joints to help you re-route the steering. It looks like one double at the top and a single at the bottom would do the trick but you need to measure the included angles to verify them. The doubles will work up to about 70*'s so your angle of attack needs to be less then that. You will also have to include a stationary bearing on the intermediate shaft to keep it from wrapping around the double u-joint.
If you could shorten the column an inch or two on the engine side of the firewall that would help the angle also.
Mark
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:49 AM
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Everything astroracer said is correct but I think you will run out of room real fast unless you shorten up the column a bunch.
Most of those trucks need a 5 or 6" column drop. Move the hole in the floor down, drop the angle of the column, and cut the wide brake pedal pad down or replace it with a little round one. You could also bend the pedal over to the right and move your gas pedal a little if you have to.


One of those offset drives might help also. check this out.
http://www.wizardsteerclear.com/index.html

I thought that mullins or flaming river made one also, but I couldn't find it.

In one of my customers projects I am doing a stub column with 2 double u-joints and 1 single. It really clears up the floor and makes the position of the steering wheel alot more comfortable. I'll put a pic later.

One thing you want to consider also is the safety aspect of your design

A steering column needs some way to collapse in the event of a head on, either with a slip joint coupling or designing the shafts/u-joints configuration to have some angles built in so it will accordion up instead of acting like a spear with the steering box as its anchor.

The borgeson website has a good page that describes how to do that.

later, mikey
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Last edited by powerrodsmike; 08-30-2006 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:49 AM
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Steering Column

Another option that I just thought of is, if you take a look in most current model minivans, the steering rack is right below the firewall. What they use is a short column and just connect the steering shafts through the firewall/floor. Take a look at some of the minivans in a junkyard. I also remember looking at a Fiero, same thing, small short steering column and the steering shaft and joints go through the floor with a boot. Give that a shot. Ought to fix your problem and could be done for less than the aftermarket steering joints!
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:20 PM
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Thanks everyone; great advice. I got another good look and I think I exaggerated the angle the U joints would need to make. If I cut the column off immediately at the firewall I'll just need to make a straight drop down to the steering box.

The Steer Clear looks super trick! Out of my price range, but that is super nice. When I get the coulumn fixed up I'll get some pics. If anyone does find some useful pics I'd like to see them.

And thanks for the safety information. It's something I would have negleted to think about.
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:01 PM
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Here is a pic of a stub column I made up in a 33 ford pickup. It incorporates the brake pedal hangar and firewall mounted master cylinder mount also.

The u- joints angles are less than 60* total for each pair. The thru tube has oillite bushings supporting the first intermediate shaft and there is a support bearing on the frame to support the second shaft.

A column set up this way is alot more comfortable to drive, and clears up the floor.

(I did not make the welds on that firewall. Helpers always leave something to remember them by.)
Later, mikey
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:35 PM
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Bryan
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:59 PM
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Whoa, It's safe to cut the column that short and use U joints in the cab?? That completely changes what I thought I was going to need to do. This has been a major help, thank you! I'll probably use those shots as a reference for what I'll do.
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:13 PM
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RE:Need Help Moving Steering Column!

A fiero column is about that length. It will also have the joints you need to get through the floor and also have the boot to cover the opening in the floor. Take a look at one at a bone yard, or a mini-van!
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:21 PM
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Ididit sells the stub column, Or you can cut down your own. Some dissassembly of your column ,and some welding is required to do it, but it is not a big deal.

If you use flaming river U-joints you can get a little more angle out of them than borgeson.

You need to brace up the cowl a little better because the column won't be supported at the floor anymore.

I have seen self aligning flange or pillowblock bearings to go through the firewall. Those are cheap in the surplus catalogs or mcmaster carr.

I'll tell you, sitting in this truck , it is the most comfortable pre48 car or truck I think I have ever sat in.

Sonicweb- this setup is similar in design to what you had mentioned. The difference is that the minivans and MPV's have weird coupling sizes that won't fit the steering box OKsoda has. And the minivan columns are a nightmare to install in an older vehicle. The plastic covers don't go well with the old styling of the truck either. IMO.

Hope this helps, mikey
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:55 PM
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The weird steering box is out of a 60's burban according to his project journal. Should be standard gm spline. Agreed on the weird coupling on the MPV's however the fiero has a GM column, stub lenth, and most likely a 1"DD shaft out of the column (I am using a 90's blazer column with aftermarket u-joints to a 3/4DD shaft to my rack in my 51 Dodge. The point was to look at the minivans, and get an idea. Your's is the same exact thing, however the MPV's have the rubber boots and the retaining plates for the floor opening without heavy modification. All in all great ideas, just giving options for those of us who may not have extensive fabrication skills at hand to make something as elaborate that you have done, but simply able to go to a boneyard and spend $50.00-$75.00 to get similar results!
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicweb
The weird steering box is out of a 60's burban according to his project journal. Should be standard gm spline. Agreed on the weird coupling on the MPV's however the fiero has a GM column, stub lenth, and most likely a 1"DD shaft out of the column (I am using a 90's blazer column with aftermarket u-joints to a 3/4DD shaft to my rack in my 51 Dodge. The point was to look at the minivans, and get an idea. Your's is the same exact thing, however the MPV's have the rubber boots and the retaining plates for the floor opening without heavy modification. All in all great ideas, just giving options for those of us who may not have extensive fabrication skills at hand to make something as elaborate that you have done, but simply able to go to a boneyard and spend $50.00-$75.00 to get similar results!

Here is what I think..

All gm boxes are not the same spline size/ count. Many spline size/counts that fit R&P's are different from the old steering boxes. The box on that 3100 panel truck is a side steer, no GM 2 wd trucks of the 60's used side steering. I think some spline measurements are in order before any assumptions of standardness are made.

The columns in minivans and mpv's are covered with ugly plastic (IMO)and what is under that plastic is just as ugly..
I don't imagine that a fiero is near as clean looking as a early GM tilt or aftermarket. I could be wrong, I don't look at fieros, so I don't know. A fiero rack is a .670 DD. so he will definatly need a new u joint to use the fiero stuff.

When OKsoda finds the column and steering linkage that will work,and is able to adapt it to his early GM box, he still needs to build a framework to mount it, I am positive that the minivan parts or fiero parts won't just bolt in.

Also I think that the newer columns articulate at a point under the dash instead of just above the shift collar. That will narrow down the mounting options some.

OKsoda will also have to figure out a way to blend the plastic column cover into his dash, if he wants it to look good.

The things that I build could be built by anyone with a good set of hand tools, a sawzall, drill with some bits and hole saws and welder. A torch and grinder is good too. As OKsoda has taken the initiative to ask the right questions, I will assume he is intelligent enough to do a little fabricating.


You will need the same fabrication skills and tools to mount the junkyard stuff as you do the aftermarket stuff.

I personally, have taken the "cheap" way many times only to have it cost more than if I bought the right stuff the first time.


I wish everyone the best of luck in their endeavours, whichever path they choose.

Later, mikey
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Last edited by powerrodsmike; 08-31-2006 at 01:26 AM.
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