1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade - Chevelle Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions & more.

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 20, 4:27 PM Thread Starter
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Tom
 
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1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

One of my winter projects on the car is to replace the current stock steering setup with all new components, from the gearbox upward. I finally got the car back on the road last fall after four years and what struck me most was how bad the steering was. Very light, with little effort to move the wheel. I felt like at speeds nearing 50mph, if I had to react suddenly (car, deer, etc.), I may very well lose control. Anyway, I think there is enough information within the threads here for me to get that all worked out. But it doesn't seem so for a '66 column...

Has anyone installed an aftermarket collapsible steering column in their 1966? Floor shift. Key in the dash. 1966 was the last year of the solid steering shaft. I want to move to a collapsible column that is a bolt in replacement. Not looking to do any fabrication of my current setup. Flaming River, Ididit, etc? I have checked out their websites, but haven't been able to find anything mentioning collapsible.

And terms like slip shaft, DD, Borgeson, well...I'm still trying to educate myself on!

I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this conversion and can give me some guidance in where to look.

Thanks,

Tom

1966 Chevelle SS, 355 V-8, TH-350.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 20, 5:03 PM
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Eric
 
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

While the collapsible steering column is a good mod, I'm afraid that it will not cure your steering issue. It sounds more like needing a front end alignment problem.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 20, 6:03 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

Probably adding some positive caster to the alignment specs will get you better road feel.

As for a collapsible column, that will require some fabrication on your part. I doubt that anyone makes an aftermarket column that is intended to be compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 203. Those columns were tested in the vehicle that they were design specifically for. The mounting of the column to the vehicle has a breakaway slip joint that allows the column to come loose from its mountings when hit by the test dummy (or driver). Then the column is ready to be crushed. Your car does not likely have that type of column mounting hardware.
In my dark past I did the job of hitting those columns with a dummy in the Impact Lab at Chrysler, so I was somewhat familiar with the hardware.
There I an alternate if you wish to pursue it. Chrysler made some cars with non-crushing columns; they had crushable steering wheels or steering wheel mountings. The Barracuda and Challenger had the crushable can between the wheel and the column and the Omni/Horizon had crushable steering wheels. The upgrade "sport " steering wheel of the TC3 is crushable and looks nice, too. It is a soft rim 4 spoke design. I put one of those in another car I had.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 20, 7:00 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

So the Flaming River and Ididit aftermarket columns are not collapsing type columns? If not, that sucks!

Joe

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 20, 10:17 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

The intermittent shaft that you build for your new column will be the collapsable type. I would go with a direct fit from Ididit and they can set you up with everything.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 20, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

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Originally Posted by Chevys#1 View Post
The intermittent shaft that you build for your new column will be the collapsable type. I would go with a direct fit from Ididit and they can set you up with everything.
Yea, no worries on the steering feel. I'm going to be replacing the gear box with a quick ratio firmer feel one, most likely the one from Borgeson (see the Jeep gear box sticky thread).

From additional reading I've been doing, I think that yes, the intermediate shaft is where you get the "collapsible" aspect of it. Adding two U-joints, and getting rid of the old rag joint looks to be the fix. None of the Flaming River and Ididit columns for my car say "collapsible", but maybe that's just because that is taken care of elsewhere in the system. I have an email in to Borgeson and Flaming River about details of their columns.

Oh, and I did find a PDF that detailed that these USA made aftermarket columns from reputable manufacturers use the specs from the OEM and sometimes refurbished units, so that they adhere to some standards out there. Now, I'm driving a '66 so I'm not needing to be compliant with all the new modern safety features out there...just trying to reduce risk where I can!

Thanks,

1966 Chevelle SS, 355 V-8, TH-350.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 20, 1:32 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

I know that Ididit columns are a direct fit that is what I am going to install on my 1967 Chevelle.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 20, 1:40 PM
 
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I believe the steering feels "touchy" because of the stock ratio. I went to a jeep box and it felt much better.
I work in collision industry and have also wondered about a collapsible column for my 66. Have you ever seen the old impala vs new impala collision on YouTube? Not pretty. I've even thought about converting everything to 67 (dash column pedals)?
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 20, 1:50 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

I put an Ididit in my 66, floor shift, key in dash. Was easy, toughest part was getting it out of the box. I have a Trans Am quick ratio steering box in mine, also. It bolted right on.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 20, 2:56 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

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Originally Posted by busterwivell View Post
I have a Trans Am quick ratio steering box in mine, also. It bolted right on.
I did not know about the Trans Am box! Can you enlighten me, busterwivell? Like what year and any other mods needed to install in a '66?


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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 20, 4:11 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

The Trans Am box in my 66 came from a 78 Trans Am. I had to change the pitman arm, and now I don't remember what one I used, but that shouldn't be that tough.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 20, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busterwivell View Post
I put an Ididit in my 66, floor shift, key in dash. Was easy, toughest part was getting it out of the box. I have a Trans Am quick ratio steering box in mine, also. It bolted right on.
Is yours collapsible, or just a replacement with solid shaft?

And I thought from what I read, the Trans Am gear box doesn't have the same angle range. Like we need 87 degrees but the Trans Am was like 78 or something...

Thanks,

1966 Chevelle SS, 355 V-8, TH-350.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 20, 12:49 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

When I installed the Ididit tilt column in my Ď67, I used the thread below as a guide for the shaft joints and telescoping Borgeson steering shaft. This shaft acts like a collapsible column. It looks like most of the pics are gone but the part numbers are still listed.

https://www.chevelles.com/forums/56-...installed.html
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 20, 1:16 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunn317 View Post
Is yours collapsible, or just a replacement with solid shaft?

And I thought from what I read, the Trans Am gear box doesn't have the same angle range. Like we need 87 degrees but the Trans Am was like 78 or something...

Thanks,
It's supposed to be........I put the Trans Am box in about 20 years ago, hasn't caused me any trouble.

66 Malibu

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 20, 4:53 PM
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Re: 1966 Chevelle Collapsible Steering Column Upgrade

Being collapsible is a really good thing for the intermediate shaft. That keeps the column from being pushed back into the driver. The factory columns also collapse and absorb energy, too. That reduces the impact load on your chest if you hit the wheel.
The compliance test is done with an 80 pound torso dummy ( no arms or legs) that hits the wheel at 15 mph. The maximum allowable load (vector sum) is 2500 pounds. Where I worked we would not approve anything that made a load higher than 2000 pounds.
The best plan is have a collapsible intermediate shaft and a good set of lap & shoulder belts to keep you away from the wheel.
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