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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to install a tilt column designed for console shifter to replace the fixed column with column shift currently in my car. There appear to plenty of places to buy the refurbished steering column. Any advice, special things to look for or tricks to ease the install?

Thanks
 

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1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu
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If the new column doesn't come with the ignition switch on it make sure you get one for a tilt column they are different than a standard column. Their really not hard to change. You have to unbolt the column under the MC power booster. That bolt should have a rounded head on one side and a nut on the other. You have to remove that bolt completely. There is also a lever down near that bolt that will have a rod running down to the transmission that has to be disconnected too but if your car has headers on it this linkage is probably already removed. Next go inside and down near the firewall there will be a plate that bolts to the firewall and around the column remove that from the firewall and column. You should also purchase a new foam seal for behind that plate. Unhook any electrical connectors from the column there should be 4. The connectors that go on top of the column are normally easier to remove after you remove the 2 nuts that hold the column to the bracing under the dash and lower down the column a bit. You don't want to just let it hang so try and support it with something. These 2 nuts are under the plastic piece that is part of the dash under the column. Now you have to just pull the whole column out but you have to make sure the column is releasing from the pot joint or you will wreck the rubber boot. You may have to spray some penetrating oil in that area and spread the pot joint a bit where the split is in it.
 

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If the new column doesn't come with the ignition switch on it make sure you get one for a tilt column they are different than a standard column. Their really not hard to change. You have to unbolt the column under the MC power booster. That bolt should have a rounded head on one side and a nut on the other. You have to remove that bolt completely. There is also a lever down near that bolt that will have a rod running down to the transmission that has to be disconnected too but if your car has headers on it this linkage is probably already removed. Next go inside and down near the firewall there will be a plate that bolts to the firewall and around the column remove that from the firewall and column. You should also purchase a new foam seal for behind that plate. Unhook any electrical connectors from the column there should be 4. The connectors that go on top of the column are normally easier to remove after you remove the 2 nuts that hold the column to the bracing under the dash and lower down the column a bit. You don't want to just let it hang so try and support it with something. These 2 nuts are under the plastic piece that is part of the dash under the column. Now you have to just pull the whole column out but you have to make sure the column is releasing from the pot joint or you will wreck the rubber boot. You may have to spray some penetrating oil in that area and spread the pot joint a bit where the split is in it.


I just did this swap myself and everything above is spot on for the removal.

Before buttoning everything up with the new column in place, do a quick check to make sure the turn signals, horn, flashers, etc work correctly.

I bought a refurb on eBay...tilt console, shift column...to finish off my console installation. The flasher got stuck in at some point and every time I used my blinkers the flashers were going off instead. I had to disassemble the top end of the new column to get to the turn signal switch to sort everything out. It was a minor headache but not something I checked until I finished everything up.


Freddy & Lucille
 

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Make sure you get one for the transmission you have. Automatics and manuals have a different back drive lever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, so the mechanicals of this swap are pretty straight forward, the key seems to be getting the right column. A quick search gives used at a low of $100, refurb for about $300 and some as expensive as $900. I would lean toward the refurb but I keep seeing 2 versions, 32" and 30". The compatibility charts show these GM columns to fit almost every GM car ever built which seems strange. I realize I need to specify automatic, floor shift, tilt with ignition & key. Anything else?

Thanks again for all the help.
 

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I think you've got it down, some refurbs come with the lock/key, others don't. Just factor that in when making your choice. I've never tried taking the lock cylinder out of a column but I've read that it can be a bear. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress, we'll be happy to walk you through any obstacles!


Freddy & Lucille
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Freddy,

I have determined most of what I need to be sure when I order a tilt column online I get the right one, tilt, console shift, automatic - but I still see 32", 30" and 28" columns that all claim to fit my 1970 Chevelle/Malibu but I can not find anywhere a definitive answer of which length I need or if there is some adjustability which will allow any of them to be installed. As you have done this swap do you recall the length aspect of the column you installed?

Thanks
 

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I purchased the refurb tilt floor shift column that Ground Up sells. Changed from non tilt column shift. It wasn't cheap but nothing is. It has worked fine, however I find the paint on it to chip real easy. Sort of wished I looked into some aftermarket columns, but wanted it to look stock. I remember the only thing to get swapped over was the ingnition (key tumbler). That spline on the column to steering shaft can get locked up. Clean it well and anti seize it. So just be sure to tape up which ever column you get, cause it will get scratched. I used a light weight aluminum jack stand to support my column with a microfiber towel zip tied to the jack stand pad. Worked pretty well and you can adjust the height.
 

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Freddy,



I have determined most of what I need to be sure when I order a tilt column online I get the right one, tilt, console shift, automatic - but I still see 32", 30" and 28" columns that all claim to fit my 1970 Chevelle/Malibu but I can not find anywhere a definitive answer of which length I need or if there is some adjustability which will allow any of them to be installed. As you have done this swap do you recall the length aspect of the column you installed?



Thanks


Mine was a refurb and can't find the length on any refurb I've found. I'll keep looking and let you know what I find out.


Freddy & Lucille
 

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I purchased the refurb tilt floor shift column that Ground Up sells. Changed from non tilt column shift. It wasn't cheap but nothing is. It has worked fine, however I find the paint on it to chip real easy. Sort of wished I looked into some aftermarket columns, but wanted it to look stock. I remember the only thing to get swapped over was the ingnition (key tumbler). That spline on the column to steering shaft can get locked up. Clean it well and anti seize it. So just be sure to tape up which ever column you get, cause it will get scratched. I used a light weight aluminum jack stand to support my column with a microfiber towel zip tied to the jack stand pad. Worked pretty well and you can adjust the height.


X2 on the paint being very delicate and on the covered jack stand to support the column. That was a huge help!


Freddy & Lucille
 
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