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Old 07-29-2003, 08:12 AM
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Question Steering column question

I'm building a '46 Chevy Panel truck and I got a little problem. I'm replacing the steering column and I'm not sure how to find the right one. How do you measure for the right length? It had one out of a Olds in it(don't know what model), but it had a column shifter on it and I'm putting the shifter on the floor. I was thinking about one from a S-10. The truck now has a Must. II front end if that makes any difference. I know I can get one from Ididit or other companies but I'd rather just get one from a yard, a little cheaper that way.

Thanks folks

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Old 07-29-2003, 08:56 AM
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There is no way in the world I would do a billet item in a car of mine. Just go to Pick-A-Part with a trusty tape measure and start measuring. You have the old column to compare so just come as close to it as you can and you should be just fine. If the old one didn't fit just right just adjust your measurement to find an improved fit. Don't worry about the splines on the end of the column. There are only a couple of standard diameters and spline styles so Borgeson can fix you up with an adapter no matter which one you end up with.
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Old 07-29-2003, 06:50 PM
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Willys is such a tightwad, but he is right. I can't see spending several times as much as you need to for something like that. Any that you buy aren't going to fit perfectly. Might as well go shopping in one of the "toy" yards and find one that will work and spend the money on something else.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:06 PM
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I just received a steering column for my 34 that I bought sight unseen off the internet from one of those salvage yard search engines. It is out of an 88 Firebird/Camaro, tilt, pulse wipers, cruise, ignition tumbler with key, and no culumn shift. I paid $100 for it to my door, and it looks great. It looks like it will be a shoe in. All I need now is some expensive hardware to connect it to the Mustang rack & pinion.

Vince
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Old 07-29-2003, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by adtkart
Willys is such a tightwad....
That's true! But I also really enjoy taking an old part and making it work better than new in a custom application. It serves as my therapist. Never could get excited about buying a a part and bolting it on just to look like everyone else.
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:50 AM
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Hey Willys, you found any alternative to the expensive U-joints and intermediate shaft to connect a culumn to the gear?

Vince
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Old 07-30-2003, 06:28 AM
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Vince, for the conection you are looking at safety of yourself and your family, personally I use Boregson because of their reputation. Flaming river is also very good, I think that speedway motors also sells some joints at a lower price. the difference is price is not significant when you consider that your life could depend on it. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 07-30-2003, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 302/Z28
Hey Willys, you found any alternative to the expensive U-joints and intermediate shaft to connect a culumn to the gear?

Vince
Yes, in fact I have. I have been able a lot of the time to find stock rag joint, double-D shafts that fit both splines. Length is usually too long so I break the nylon locks between the tube and shaft on the double-D connection. Then sometimes all that is needed is to shrink the length and install. On the '42 Willys pickup, we needed to take the two apart and shorten them a lot. If you do that, just be sure there is at least 6" of overlap when the two are slid together. I actually feel safer with these than with the delicate looking joints that the after market guys sell, although I use those too. Am using a Borgeson U-joint on my '53 Chevy pickup 'cause that is all that will fit.
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Old 07-30-2003, 09:08 AM
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Sure, there's a cheap alternative. When you're out in the yeard shopping for a column, pull the universals from a couple cars too. The Ford Taurus has a couple of them in it and they use a 3/4" "double D" that will fit the GM column. Some GMs have them also. I had to trim the end of the stub shaft on the Ford joint and drill a new bolt hole, but it works fine on the GM column. I picked up a couple steering shafts with u-joints and cobbled the two together to get what I needed. The GM shaft can be pulled out with a little persuasion, then trim the tube and shaft to length desired. I used one end of a Ford shaft slipped into the end of a GM shaft. I left the spring tensioner out so the shaft slipped in/out easy, but there is over a foot of overlap between the solid and hollow portion. I figure it's a safety if I'm ever in a serious wreck -- it will pull apart. The lower joint would have to break or otherwise come completely apart and fall out before the shaft would come out, so there's no danger of normal wear causing an accident.
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Old 07-30-2003, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for the great information Willys, and Farna.

Vince
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Old 07-30-2003, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for all the good info folks. Its a hunting I will go this Sat. You guys gave me alot of info that I had no idea of on the shatfs and u-joints. I may have to use a Borgeson on the bottom to hook onto the Must II front end, the clearance is kinda tight at the cross member.

Thanks a bunch again folks.

Last edited by Bluepen; 07-30-2003 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 07-30-2003, 07:23 PM
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As far as the shafts and joints there is a cheaper way. If you know someone that works in a body shop talk to them, if you are not in a hurry. We get alot of "front cut offs". Usually they take out the engine and trans, along with the steering racks. They are cut off around the windshield posts and many times they have the steering column in them. I have seen numerous steering columns thrown away when the scrap is put out. The column may not interest you because of the style, but they usually have the shafts still on them.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:52 AM
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One thing I forgot to mention -- the connection to the steering rack. I put a late model T-bird power rack in my Rambler wagon. While I made the shaft from salvaged parts, I didn't have room to use a rag joint on the bottom. I thought about taking a rag joint apart and welding the splined section to the shaft, but that wouldn't clear the engine mount either. I bought a slip coupling from Speedway (www.speedwaymotors.com). I welded that to the shaft. It cost around $20 with shipping, but at around 1" diameter it clears! They have couplers splined for almost everything.
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