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steering column rebuild

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flyamerican View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flyamerican Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: steering column rebuild
    Posted: Dec/09/2009 at 12:55am

I have a '74 tilt steering column to put in my '70 Javelin.  I have rebuilt it except for the lower end where the collapsible column housing mechanism is.  This one has been dropped or hit so that the plastic "shear pins" are broken, letting the inner housing slide easily within the outer housing.  Does anyone know of a way to restore this to its original, tight condition?  I think the column would work fine without this fixed, but don't know if the looseness would cause a rattle, put undue pressure on the gearbox, or cause some other unsafe condition.  I appreciate any thoughts.

1970 Javelin SST 360
1985 Eagle wagon, 5-speed
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Wrambler View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wrambler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/09/2009 at 1:52pm
Are you talking about the nylon pins in the double D shaft or the pieces up in the housing?
For the double D you can align the holes and fill them with hot glue from a glue gun. then shave them smooth again.
  
I'm not sure how you would go about replacing those plastic bits up in the column itself. Mine are every so slightly loose, you can feel it when the car is off and you rock the wheel, but with the car running the P/S makes the effort so light you don't get that play at all. You might be able to use a Hot glue gun again to make a filler. If you need a backer, the metal HVAC tape is pretty good for this kind of thing.

I think the factory did not supply anything to repair those as they intended the column to be replaced if collapsed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jeremy0711 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/09/2009 at 3:39pm
If it were me then I would just put a burr of one of the shafts. These things are usually pretty tight. I think as a safety factor then yours would be safe. I have rebuilt a few of these things and have not had a wobble. I have replaced bent sections and they are a very snug fit that would require some firm taps of thehammer to get them apart or together. If you don't have a wobble then that is what I would do. Just enough to cause some tension is all you need. If you have a wobble then I would compress the larger OD to make it tight with a vise or something. I would think this could eventually cause some wear with the repeated back and forth motion of those surfaces. That plastic has an extremely low melting point and wasn't put in for strength. It looks to me as poured in from a melted state. If you make it too tight then that steering wheel could end up in your face or chest with the steering box up in the front of the car.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hassyfoto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/10/2009 at 6:37am

I have used the plastic trim from car model kits ( shaved down to the right diameter) and inserted the plastic into the holes were the nylon was removed or lost due to rebuilding the shaft.

Since the original pins were made of plastic ( never knew what type of plastic) I simply used an alternative plastic that I found at home.

How I did it;

1. Take some leftover plastic from a model car/airplane kit. I used the tubular frame work that holds the plastic parts for the model kit. It is much easier to work with a 2-3 inch section of this while you file the plastic down the correct diameter.

2. Using a model kit file ( 1/4 inch wide), I slowly filed the plastic down until it was a snug fit into the guide pin hole on the steering column shaft. I made this section about 1 1/4 inch long. Remember I needed multiple replacement plastic pins.

3. Once the correct diameter was achieved I cut off 3/8 inch long sections for each pin hole on the steering column.

4. Align up the pin guide hole, insert a small amount of glue on the replacement pins and insert into the pin guideline hole on the steering shaft. I used a pair of needle-nose pliers to hold & insert the replacement pin. A super glue sold to body shops ( about the same as any super glue sold in stores) was used. I don’t think it really matters what type of glue as long as it holds up. I could see hot glue working just as well.

Since the pins are there to hold the steering column shaft in place until the time of a collision, I don't think the type of plastic is really all that important. The force of an impact that hits the car hard enough to move the frame rails, steering box, etc.. that would force the steering column to collapse will not have an impact of the type of plastic used for the pins.

Alternative methods that I have seen;

1. Wood dowels used as pins. The type you see at home centers or wood working shops. Again consider the force of impact to bend metal and I believe even wood dowels ( as small as the dowel used for the pin replacement on the steering column) would work as well.

2. Use a plastic welder, the type used by body shops and melt one of the plastic repair rods into the pin guide holes

3. Soft metal rods (similiar to welding rods, super soft). This was seen on a street rod I worked on. The owner had another shop repair the steering shaft and inserted the metal rod. Again, the thought behind the owner, the metal was soft enough to shear if the car was hit that hard. I personally wanted plastic on my own cars, but to each his own.

It all depends on how close to original you want to go and how you feel about the strength of the replacement pin used on the steering column. If you wanted to complete some research you could consider what they call the "shear" or "tear" strenght of the original plastic pin on the car and find an alternative material to find the "shear" or "tear" strenght to match up as close as possible.  Although the force of an impact to the car to move a steering column is great which means almost any soft material close to the strenght as the orginal, be it plastic, wood or metal would work closely the same way.

Murphy's Law:

Any given mechanical job you decide to solve alone will imminently require a third hand, at its most critical moment

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FuzzFace2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/10/2009 at 11:01am
I dont think the pins hold any thing after column is in the car. I believe the pins where used to hold the 2 shafts together till the column assy. was installed like the bolts on the rear drums. As said the 2 shafts are pretty tight and should not have any play when turning side to side and once in the lower shaft can not slide out.
I would not put any thing in the holes that would not shear easy if you hit some thing, as said you dont want it coming up at you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flyamerican Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/13/2009 at 10:41am
Thanks guys!  You've given me some good ideas and now I feel good about using the "new" tilt column.  As to why, it's because I installed Dodge Ram seats with integrated seat belts in the car as my original buckets were too shot to save.  Sure is nice to have the shoulder belts without stuff hanging from the roof or laying on the floor.  Only problem is it's difficult to see how fast I'm going without the tilt column because seating position is about 1.5" higher.
1970 Javelin SST 360
1985 Eagle wagon, 5-speed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72Javelin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/13/2009 at 3:41pm
will the Ram seats tilt forward enough for rear passenger access?
Jeff Reeves
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72 Javelin SST

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flyamerican Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/15/2009 at 12:25am
The Dodge Ram seats do fold forward but are thicker at the seat back, so are not as easy to get behind as the originals.  I don't know if I've ever had anybody back there since I installed the seats.  I'm sure if slid them forward and folded the seat back forward, there would be enough room to really pin your passengers back there.  Maybe I could take some pictures of the seat folded forward when it thaws out around here someday.
1970 Javelin SST 360
1985 Eagle wagon, 5-speed
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