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Old 03-30-2009, 12:35 AM   #1
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How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

This is a picture tutorial on how to fix the wobbly tilt steering problem. There is a really good step by step write up in the tech articles that I used while fixing my steering.

http://www.thirdgen.org/steeringcolumn

I decided to do this write up because I ran into a few things not explained in the other write ups and a picture is worth a thousand words.

The most important thing about this whole project is DON’T DROP ANYTHING DOWN THE STEERING COLUMN. It’s a black abyss and you’ll never get it back. Ok, not really but it’s a pain in the butt! If you think there’s a chance you may drop a screw when you remove it, use a magnet to catch it as you unscrew it.

Step 1: Remove steering wheel using steering wheel puller.
- Remove horn pad
- Remove nut retainer clip
- Remove steering wheel nut
- Use steering wheel puller to remove wheel. (This is the only special tool you really need if you have an assistant.)

Step 2: Remove lock plate cover.
- This is just a plastic cover, use a flat head screw driver to pry the holding tabs.

Step 3: Remove lock plate with depressing tool
- I didn't have one of these and it was 11:00 pm when I started this job so I couldn't get one. Improvise.

Click the image to open in full size.

I had some aluminum flat stock in the garage, a couple of vise grips and a step bit. Bend aluminum, drill hole, trim “legs” for proper length. I just used the steering wheel nut to compress the lock plate.

If you have an assistant available you can just have them hold the lock plate down while you work on getting the little snap ring/circlip, whatever you want to call it, off.

No matter how you compress the lock plate be careful once you get the clip off so the lock plate doesn’t fly off in it you in the face.

- Remove the plastic horn switch retainer thing (white plastic doughnut with a post)


Click the image to open in full size.



Step 4: Remove hazard light switch. -Just take the Philips screw out of the center. (don’t loose the two pieces of the switch or the spring)


Click the image to open in full size.


Step 5: Remove 3 philips screws from the turn signal switch.
-You may have to move the turn signal to the right or left position to access all the screws. (use your magnet if you are clumsy to avoid dropping a screw down the steering column)

Click the image to open in full size.

-You may have to remove the metal arm that connects the turn signal lever to the turn signal switch. It’s one screw and then pull the arm out.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by JamesC; 07-03-2010 at 07:53 AM. Reason: Inserted a link
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:50 AM   #2
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

-Pull the turn signal switch over the steering spindle and let it hang out of the way. (you may need to remove the bottom panel under the dash to get some more slack in the wires. I didn’t but you might.)

Click the image to open in full size.


-Remove the ignition hold down pin. As you loosen the hold down pin the screw head will hit the plastic switch to the left and start to pull that out as well. You can just grab that switch and pull it out of its square hole.

Click the image to open in full size.


-Remove the 3 torx bolts from the turn signal housing.

Click the image to open in full size.


-Unscrew the tilt lever.

-Pull the steering column cover over the steering column. This is kind of tricky and takes some stretching of the wires but it will slide over the column. Don’t worry if the plastic part behind the turn signal lever falls apart when you remove the column cover, this is part of the dimmer switch actuator and goes back together pretty easy.


Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:01 AM   #3
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

-Remove the big spring lock using a large Philips screw driver. Push it in using the screw driver and turn it counter-clockwise and remove it and the spring. (It’ll be all greasy, don’t get it on your interior)

Click the image to open in full size.


-Now the tech article will tell you to use a tilt steering pin puller to pull the pins and gain access to the 4 bolts that we need to tighten. I didn’t have one of these pullers and it was getting late and I needed the car back together that night. I found that you can get at the bottom 2 bolts without taking the tilt steering apart. The bolts are inverse torx head bolts but you can use a ” six sided socket if you don’t have an inverse torx socket. I used a long ” drive wobble extension to access the two bottom bolts. Mine was so bad that one of the bolts had actually fallen out and was just lying loose in there.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


-Now just put everything back together in reverse order. If you are going to install a Grant steering wheel, continue below.

-Install the plastic horn switch ring and the steering wheel mount included with the Grant installation kit.

-Install the included horn switch wire.

Click the image to open in full size.


-Assemble the steering wheel and hook up the horn wire(s) according to the instructions.


Sit back and check out your new steering wheel.


Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:02 AM   #4
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

THANK YOU KIND SIR!!!! Pictures are worth a million plus words. I think a little revising with proper words would make this a new tech article. It better become a Sticky!! (JT should handle this) Thanks for taking the time to do this sled.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:39 PM   #5
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Excellent write up, I went the lazy way and paid a steering column shop to do it but I'm sure this will help many. Later.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:54 PM   #6
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

what is the wobbly tilt steering problem this fixes? I have tilt steering and sometimes the steering wobbles if I put enough force on it. Is it the same thing only worse?
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:59 PM   #7
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

It's a loose steering column at the tilt hinge. It gets loose side to side and up and down but not in and out and when it gets severe it can turn off the car when you turn. Later.
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:06 PM   #8
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

right, the up and down movement was what I was talking about. if you pull down on the wheel hard enough it'll slip out of place. other than that it seems fine. just gotta be careful not to be too mean.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:04 PM   #9
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

this is probably the best directions for tightening the tilt steering ive found. i just did everything but my ignition isnt lining up as before. ive played with the gears on the left hand side of the column with no luck. Any ideas??

Thanks
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:50 PM   #10
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

used this post yesterday and it was very helpful. had my laptop in the passenger seat and followed the steps with no problem. great post and much appreciated for making the job easier. this should be made a sticky.
Thanks again
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:24 AM   #11
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

i already have a Grant steering wheel installed. so what steps would be bypassed in this situation? also the bolts your were talking about that need to be tightened. is there any way to prevent them from ever getting loose again. perhaps thread locker?
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:49 AM   #12
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

My tilt lever is welded on so when I tried to unscrew it, I ripped the plastic coating off. It didn't need to come off in my case anyway. Wish I knew that before I screwed it up.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:25 AM   #13
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by gurkgurkgurk View Post
i already have a Grant steering wheel installed. so what steps would be bypassed in this situation? also the bolts your were talking about that need to be tightened. is there any way to prevent them from ever getting loose again. perhaps thread locker?
Once you remove the grant steering wheel (just follow my or the included installation instructions in reverse) everything is the same.

Yeah you should be able to use some loc-tite just make sure you use blue or one of the ones that doesn't require heat or special tools to remove in case you ever need to take it apart.

Don't take all the bolts out at once!!! If you do you'll drop the plate off the back and then you're screwed. Just take on bolt out and loc-tite it then put it back and repeat.

Last edited by sled_fiend; 08-03-2009 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:41 AM   #14
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

funny, i just did a similar write up

http://www.thirdgen.org/techboard/in...eel-grant.html
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:52 PM   #15
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Very nice write up. I passed up a couple of 90-92 Camaros looking for an 89 because I didn't want the airbag steering wheel. Nice to know you can swap it out if you want to.

Good job on the tilt pin removal. I didn't go that far with mine so between the two of these writes ups folks should have all the pictures and perspectives they need.

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Old 06-11-2010, 01:03 AM   #16
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

hell of a long process and finicky. Damn I wish it was easier.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:02 PM   #17
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

i just did this today. ran into problem after problem.

1. previous owner installed grant steering wheel himself and used the wrong thread pitch screws for the metal bracket behind the steering wheel. 2 of the 3 i took out snapped and im left looking for a new piece

2. ball bearings popped out of the little plastic cage once fully dissassembled. complete mess. ball bearing went everywhere. and i couldnt manage to get them all in the cage to put it together.

3. the turn signal is alittle finicky if you dont do it in the correct order, first the ignition cylinder, then the turn signal arm, then screw in the turn signal plastic mechanism and lastly the hazard. if you do it any other way youll never get that little arm bracket in.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:28 PM   #18
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by gurkgurkgurk View Post
2. ball bearings popped out of the little plastic cage once fully dissassembled. complete mess. ball bearing went everywhere. and i couldnt manage to get them all in the cage to put it together.
I had this happen and I used an old bicycle for bearings still workin perfectly
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:30 PM   #19
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanchock View Post
i just did everything but my ignition isnt lining up as before. ive played with the gears on the left hand side of the column with no luck. Any ideas??

Thanks
Anyone know a how to for this?
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:04 PM   #20
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

I wish I would have read this one before the other one I saw on here (fiero instructions). After getting stuck....and not getting the pivot pins out (snapped off a screw in it, LOL)...I just tightened the two torx that I could get to and it solved the problem!! I did end up using this thread for the reinstallation - much better pictures! I am in love with this forum!!! You guys rock!!!
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:25 PM   #21
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotaram View Post
I wish I would have read this one before the other one I saw on here (fiero instructions). After getting stuck....and not getting the pivot pins out (snapped off a screw in it, LOL)...I just tightened the two torx that I could get to and it solved the problem!! I did end up using this thread for the reinstallation - much better pictures! I am in love with this forum!!! You guys rock!!!

I found a screw of about an inch or so in length which fit into the pin (which has fine threads by the way.) I tried to just pull on it but as it did not come out with moderate force, I removed it and made (assembled) a puller tool.

I placed a correct fitting nut on the screw, followed by a washer, and then a socket (from my socket set )

I then screwed this into the pin. Next I tightened the nut down onto the washer and socket, ...which pulled the pin into the socket (chosen to be big enough for the pin to go into of course.)

Pulling these to pins allowed me to remove the part and gain access to all four screws. All of them were loose but the top ones were the worse. I cleaned them and used red thread sealant as I replaced them and tightened them down.

I wanted to say how easy this last step was because the original author stopped short of this step and only tightened two of the four bolts. I'm not sure why this sub thread author had a problem (breaking off his puller screw) but perhaps he simply tried to keep turning after he seated the screw into the pin and sheared it off. Again, I could not pull it by hand so a puller was needed, but it only takes a screw, a nut, a washer and a hollow spacer (a socket, or even a washer bent to form a square U shape) to get around this without spending money ow wasting time.

Now all I have to do is figure out how it all goes back together!

Last edited by fdavies; 10-22-2010 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Punctuation
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:17 PM   #22
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

I love these forums, makes my day soo much easier! Thanks guys
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:55 AM   #23
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Wow damn am I glad I found this thread

I'm going through the same issue right now: Tilt is screwed up. I went about removing the entire steering column and I did it blind (no write up, Chiltons... nothing).

Anyway, I'm at the point where I just need to get to the 4 screws that hold the tilt on.

I also need to find the bearing that goes right behind the steering wheel. Mine fell to pieces the instant the column was removed.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:50 PM   #24
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

stripped my trans am gta column the other day as my coulumn can be pulled down to the seven oclock position.

much to my dismay the bolts wer tight. what else can it be
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:40 PM   #25
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Might want to add to remove the locking nut thing for airbag cars. I didn't know about that and damn near broke my column trying to get that coil cover thingy off. I'll post pics tomorrow if you'd like
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:24 PM   #26
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Awesome thread. Did this to my sons 92 gta today...thought it was the torx screws....they were kind of loose but found out one of the pins on the sides was missing. Made one with a steel rod and put it on the passenger side but the one on the drivers side popped back out.....seems to be ovaled out. Any suggestions short of getting a new column or new hardware?
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Old 06-24-2011, 09:37 PM   #27
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

I'm having trouble removing my ignition lock, it doesn't have a torx screw how can I remove this, I have read 3 how to 's and all there are xamaros with the little torx screw
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:18 AM   #28
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Are you talking about the "hold down pin" identified in the picture in the tutorial above? Can you post a picture of situation so we can look at it? Similar to this:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:44 AM   #29
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Yes the hold down pin, my unit doesn't have the torx screw, if you look. At my last thread I started, I posted a pi tire of what my steering column looks like
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:16 AM   #30
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Looking at the picture you posted it looks like your hold down pin has been removed and your ignition cylinder is actually in a different position that the one in my photos above (possibly rotated and pulled out slightly). If I remember right you need to put the key in the ignition and turn it to the off position and then the cylinder should pull right out. Without the key I don't think the cylinder will come out though.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:06 PM   #31
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Well, I pulled hard on the ignition lock Cylinder, I pulled so hard that the chrome metal part came off, still no success, is there supposed yo be threads on the plastic housing for the lock pin?
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:10 AM   #32
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Wow. That doesn't sound right.

I don't remember how the hole was treaded. If memory serves the pin threaded very course near the torx head (like it would thread into the plastic) then steps down in diameter to a smooth straight pin that goes into a semi circular groove cut across the lock cylinder.

When I took mine apart i just put the key in the ignition and turned it to the correct position and it pulled right out with almost no effort. My Chilton manual says to turn the key to the RUN position to remove the cylinder. Sorry, I thought it was OFF.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:44 PM   #33
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Its OK I have a little hack saw ...
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:06 PM   #34
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Cool write up. Forgot how to do this after a while.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:16 PM   #35
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

New member here, Just wanted to say thanks Sled and Matthufham, I referenced both of your posts and got everything apart today, just needed a ignition tumbler replaced but after pulling on the the wheel and jimmying the key the tilt became really wobbly which tightening the two bottom bolts totally cured it, thinking about going a little further in to check the top bolts and pondering the locktite option. Thanks for all the photos, made the first time in easier!
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:57 PM   #36
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

I have all the right tools but the pin puller my bolts fell out too and I can't line it up I had the tool for the locking plate tool
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Old 11-24-2011, 10:35 AM   #37
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Awsome post! I don't have a steering wheel puller nor access to one. My wheel is very wobbly and I need to get this done, am I up a creek without a wheel puller?
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:17 AM   #38
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Sweet. I'll need this post for future reference.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:44 AM   #39
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

superb write-up and pictures...I would not have attempted this without this advice and instructions... now the job is done and its beautiful...
"just like a brand-new-bought one" as they say. thanks.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:50 PM   #40
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Thank you so much for the pictures!!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:45 AM   #41
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

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Originally Posted by bigdek40 View Post
stripped my trans am gta column the other day as my coulumn can be pulled down to the seven oclock position.

much to my dismay the bolts wer tight. what else can it be
its probably the pivot pins. I have the same problem in my 91 formula. although I haven't checked on that column for the 4 bolts, I know that pivot pins wearing the holes out that they go into is a common problem. And since one of the pivot pins in my column literally fell out, I'm thinking that it's probably the holes that are worn out

@ coach_b, Hey, if you figure out an answer to that, I'm all ears. I haven't been able to find anything yet, short of getting a new column. I'll let you know if I find anything out though.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:56 PM   #42
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

I took the pins out to get all 4 its real ugly
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:36 PM   #43
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

i once heard this would work for a early 90's gm truck. is the shifter going to be in the way?
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:29 PM   #44
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

I knew my column was bad... and yes. when i got it all the way down to the 4 torx bolts, they were all the way out and the metal ring that they screw into fell and is kinda cocked in there. I can see it. but I hope I don't have to try to coat hanger this thing so I can get the bolts started.... got me that far, thanks for the posts,

Well, I had to pull the shaft out to get farther down, to do that I had to drop the column after disconnecting it by the firewall, there's a spring and clip at the bottom of the shaft that held it in. Well, needless to say, I have a mess. Now it just has to go back together.

Last edited by Kevin Bosley; 08-05-2012 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Latest
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:40 PM   #45
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

In 4th pic down part #2 of this post , the plastic piece behind the blinker switch. I DONT have that piece in my 86 ta lg4 auto.
My car was stolen Before I bought it. My high beam rod connects to Nothing! Is that plastic piece what that rod connects????
Thanks any help would be great can't get Sticker for Safty no high beams
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:55 AM   #46
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Hey there sled_fiend, Helping my son with his 96 buick. I just put a "ignition switch kit" in there since he's having intermitten starting problems. (already did the starter). The photos in the second post are excellent and the column assembly is the same as the Buick's. However, for the life of me I cannot figure out how the little black plastic linkage piece (dimmer) fits into tilt/turn lever housing. It just so happens the one photo is a little dark.

Any chance perhaps explaining or posting a brighter photo of this assembly? HELP!

Thanks.

Man, I'd sure appreciate it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:11 AM   #47
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

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-Remove the ignition hold down pin. As you loosen the hold down pin the screw head will hit the plastic switch to the left and start to pull that out as well. You can just grab that switch and pull it out of its square hole.

Click the image to open in full size.
Does anyone have an extra one of those "switch thing" that is shown in the picture above? I am in desperate need of one. Or at the very least, the correct part number for it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:52 PM   #48
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

yep heres one in my back pocket... lol... problem is Im in New Zealand !.
try Hawkes, I get bits sent way down here, they are really good.
good luck.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:10 PM   #49
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

There's a ton of steering column parts on ebay.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:23 PM   #50
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Re: How to: Tighten tilt steering w/pictures

Quote:
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There's a ton of steering column parts on ebay.
Yes, but I would like a p/n so that I can ensure I have the correct part.
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