How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Completed

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How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Completed

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:45 am

I’m going to rebuild my steering column before installing it for my build so I thought I’d start a thread, take some pics, and put it up for future reference for anybody needing to do it themselves. My replacement column is from a ’71, automatic transmission, power steering donor truck. I’m working with the column removed from the truck and on my workbench. The horn pad was already missing, and I’ll be replacing the steering wheel with an aftermarket one, so I don’t have any info for removing the horn pad. I’m assuming the rubber piece just pries off. Let’s get started!

First, remove the nut for the steering shaft that is under the horn pad/button. I used an air impact and it came right off. If you’re using a regular ratchet, you’ll probably need to have someone hold the bottom of the steering shaft because of the torque on the nut.
mms_img-1981155278.jpg

After the nut is off, you’ll see two threaded holes on either side of the upper end of the steering shaft. I used my steering wheel/harmonic balancer puller and made short work of removing the wheel. Once off, slide off the wheel tensioning spring.
mms_img1248458055.jpg
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Last edited by sargentrs on Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:50 am

Once the wheel is off, you’ll see 3 philips head screw holding the turn signal switch retainer. Remove these screws and slide the retainer plate off the steering shaft. You may need to switch the turn signal back and forth to get to them.
mms_img2112250088.jpg
mms_img1135587401.jpg


Remove the turn signal lever and, while pushing up on the end of the wiring harness, ease the turn signal switch out of the shift collar and remove it from the end of the steering shaft.
mms_img2080927844.jpg
You’ll see 2 nuts that hold the shift collar tube flange in place.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:01 am

Remove these nuts and wiggle the tube flange to get the upper column bearing sleeve to work loose. Slide the bearing sleeve off and then slide the tube flange over the end of the steering shaft also.
mms_img-636208608.jpg
Now that you have the tube flange off, it’s time to remove the shift collar. The wiring harness threads through an indention in the column housing, under the shift collar, and exits from a similar indention at the bottom of the column.
mms_img-1503834402.jpg
The plug on the end of the wiring harness will not fit through these indentions so it must be removed from the end of the harness by either cutting the wires or removing the pins from the plug. There’s a special tool available for pushing these pins out but I don’t find it necessary to buy it. Looking into the end of the plug, you can see the pins are held in by a prong bent out from the side of the pin.
mms_img-1295159516.jpg
I used a pointed “pick” to ease those prongs back alongside the pin and carefully push the pin out of the plug while keeping tension on the wires.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:05 am

Pins removed from the plug...
mms_img-739242862.jpg
Once the plug is removed, you can ease the shift collar off and pull the wiring harness the remainder of the way out.
mms_img1846334738.jpg
Be careful sliding the collar over the indention where the wires exit or you'll nick or cut them.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:09 am

With the shift collar off (or you could have done it first), and the wiring harness removed, we need to remove the shift lever from the shift collar. It’s held in place by a roll pin through the collar boss and the lever.
mms_img-1801767633.jpg
Using a punch, carefully drive the pin out. The collar’s just some kind of soft metal casting so be gentle with it or you’ll break it.
mms_img-232741934.jpg
There’s a “plunger” under the shift lever and a tab on the end of it so you’ll have to turn it while applying leverage against the plunger to get it out.
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Last edited by sargentrs on Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:13 am

Once out, remove the rubber insulator from the end of the lever.
mms_img-1559210951.jpg
At this point, you can now slide the steering shaft out the bottom of the column. There’s a plastic lower column bearing retainer on the bottom that keeps the shaft centered in the bushing that’ll work out with a little wiggling and then it’ll come right out. There’s also a rubber washer/seal that keeps dirt out of the column bearing. Once the shaft is out, slide these off also.
mms_img18553748131.jpg
On the auto column, there’s only one lever on the bottom of the column. Standard transmission columns have 2 levers and some spacers, thrust washers and such. If you’re doing one of those, pay close attention to the location and orientation of these as you remove the levers. Remove them all as a “pack” and then I’d recommend running a piece of wire through them or duct taping them all together so you don’t get them mixed up later if you replace them. On the auto column, the shift lever just wiggles right out.
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Last edited by sargentrs on Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:23 am

The automatic column has a neutral safety switch positioned at the bottom of the column. This is operated by a lever sticking up out of the column. This bracket is just clipped, by tabs, in holes in the shift tube.
mms_img-1043114295.jpg
Before removing the shift tube, remove this lever. I stuck a "pick" behind it and pried it out gently.
mms_img-326915832.jpg
Once the brackets off, slide the shift tube out of the housing. Be careful and don’t lose the spring on the bottom.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:27 am

Now to remove the column bearings. The upper column bearing is pressing into the tube flange and the lower column bearing is pressed into the bottom of the column housing. I’m going to work the bottom first.
mms_img-379070893.jpg
I stuck a screwdriver into the inside of the bearing and under the bottom lip and pried up gently just to see how tight it was pressed in there. The center popped out and little ball bearings flew everywhere. My lower column bearing was toast.
mms_img-101689206.jpg
Fortunately, my steering shaft showed hardly any scarring or wear at the bearing surface so no damage was done. Commonly, when this bearing fails, the shaft starts wearing and is often badly damaged/worn. This is a real problem because the shafts are not available as replacement parts from any vendors I know of. Now to figure out how to get the outer sleeve of the bearing out of the housing. I can see a thin line where the outer bearing sleeve is pressed into the housing but how to tap it out when you can’t get to the back side of it?
mms_img1768413211.jpg
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:40 am

In between times, I cleaned up my housing, shaft and shift tube. More to come....
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby flyboy2610 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:20 am

Nice write up! I like the pics! Regarding removing the lower bearing: Can you take a long steel rod and insert it from the top like a long punch and tap the bearing out that way? Also, most jaw type pullers are reversible so the hooks could go behind the bearing, but I don't know what you'd pull against for leverage. Looking forward to seeing how you figure it all out! :thup:
"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:34 pm

Thanks flyboy! You know that tool you bought ages ago and only used once then put it away and doubt if you even know where it is? Well, I tried sticking a screwdriver inside and under it and tapped a little, that obviously wasn't going to work. I dug around in the shop and found an old, long "down rod" from a ceiling fan, that wasn't long enough. So I sat there and scratched my head a minute and then (hallelujah chorus) I remembered the blind hole pilot bearing bearing puller I bought years ago when I changed out the 3 spd tranny in my truck. I hunted for about 10 minutes, found it, opened it up and TaDah! it had a large adapter that would open up to about 1". I slid it in, cranked it out to just bigger than the ID and a couple of jerks later it popped right out.
mms_img1877324104.jpg
Cleaned up the bearing seat
mms_img-1586635030.jpg
and turned my attention to the upper column bearing in the tube flange.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:42 pm

Stared at it awhile, flipping it over and over and trying to remember how the bearing goes in and finally laid it, back side up, on the bench, grabbed a punch and hammer and gave it a couple of light taps around (what I thought) was the edge.
mms_img1800336626.jpg
I saw it budge just a smidgen so I repositioned the punch and gave it a couple of taps around the perimeter and it dropped right out.
mms_img103019663.jpg
A few minutes with the wire wheel on the bench grinder, some 220 grit sandpaper and a little degreaser and I'm calling this piece done.
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:47 pm

I had ordered my rebuild parts this morning so I figured I'd strip the paint and clean up the shift collar, then pick up my toys, clean up and spend the rest of the day lounging around the house. So, I fire up the wire wheel on the bench grinder and start stripping the paint off of the shift collar. A couple of passes later, about half way up, I'm holding it and applying moderate pressure against the brush when I hear this sickening "click" and feel something give under my thumb. SHAT! Walk away, Sarge, walk away... :doh: :x
mms_img1145327612.jpg
Anybody got a spare laying around before I go buy aftermarket? :help:
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Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.

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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby flyboy2610 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:16 pm

Got ya covered, Sarge. $10 shipped. It's even cleaned up good. Looks ready for paint to me. I'll PM you my info.
"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
Red Green

If you're going to live like there's no hell...............
you'd better be right.
http://theworldasiseeit-flyboy2610.blog ... ee-it.html

Image
1969 F250 CS, 360, C6 Auto, 3.73 Limited Slip Dana 60

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sargentrs
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Re: How to rebuild an automatic steering column - Disassembly

Postby sargentrs » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:49 pm

PM sent. Thanks, flyboy! You're a life saver. :fr:
Randy
1970 F100 Sport Custom Limited LWB, 302cid, 3 on the tree. NO A/C, NO P/S, NO P/B. Currently in 1000 pcs while rebuilding. Project thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=59995 Plan: 351w, C4, LSD, pwr front disc, p/s, a/c, bucket seats, new interior and paint.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500. 289/Cruise-O-Matic, A/C, P/S.


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