Steering column rebuild question

Discussion in 'Tips On Using The Board' started by GsProf0176, Jul 1, 2021.

  1. GsProf0176

    GsProf0176 Member

    Have a tilt column out of 71 GS, went through replacing upper mid, lower bearings, horn contact, sector shaft gear etc. Made mistake of collapsing lower column removing intermediate shaft, which led to I have it apart might as well replace 40 yr old parts. Was able to extend the shaft with light hammer taps to length specs menti0ned on another thread. Have a Helm Buick assembly and service manual from the mid 70's.
    Problem #1 after final assembly the screw holding the turn signal lever is lightly hitting the horn contact when I spin the shaft, enough to feel in the wheel. This column has a 1 3/16" nut at the top of the upper shaft. The manuals show no nut but use the spring under the horn contact to preload the shaft. I did some research I think GM used the 1 3/16" nut on 70 and earlier tilt columns and must have changed to the spring in 71 ??? Why this style column was in an unmolested 71 that I stripped back in the early 80's? It appears the nut pre-tensions the shaft against upper and mid bearings. But its not an interference thread to prevent it loosening, they didn't use lock-tite back in those days. what locks this adjustment down ? I have adjusted nut so I can spin steering shaft with no drag but I have about an 1/16 -1/8"" side to side wobble at the top of shaft. Tightening nut to eliminate free-play starts restricting turning the shaft. Shaft showed no wear when had it out. When I use puller to remove snap ring, I really have to crank down that last 1/8 of a turn to get enough clearance to remove snap ring. I've done plenty of R&R turn signal switches so i'm familiar but this seems a little much. It seems the upper shaft has to come up a tad more which will give clearance for the screw and take out that 1/8" turn. I'm sure upper and intermediate races were seated having replaced plenty of front wheel bearing races, but leaning towards this is part of problem. These are flimsy and i used old races to drive them into place. Anybody older than dirt like me know these columns.
    Last question, the shifter arm usually has a spring between the lower bearing and shifter lever. This tilt column doesn't have a spring? Whats the spring do ? Thanks for any help .
  2. emoore

    emoore Active Member

    there is as mid bearing??? i just did my 72 tilt. 2 on top and one at bottom dam it. i know the use to use a punch in 3 spots on top of a nut then put it on. it was basically there locktight. i still do it some times. a 2 oclock angle with a sharp flat type (screw driver tip) punch, big hammer, and watch nut flyoff sometimes. look at your rear axle nut( pinion nut behind your rear u joint) should have the markings, asked my uncle about it 30 years ago and he showed me how,
  3. buick64203

    buick64203 Just plum crazy Staff Member

    There are three bearings- the two that the upper stub shaft rides on that the nut keeps the preload on and the lower. Yes, the non tilt has a spring, tilt doesn't.

    The upper nut has plastic in it that keeps the adjustment.

    I've rebuilt plenty of tilt columns so I'm pretty familiar with them. Not sure why your having an issue with the lock plate. I'd consult with the 70 manual and double check everything

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