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Old 06-16-2010, 02:29 PM   #1
runtwrestlin
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Default Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

I tried to make this walkthrough extremely thorough, that way even someone who’s not too mechanically inclined can still fix something in their steering column if it breaks. When I first attempted this, I had no idea what to expect, so I wrote this up in the hopes that it will help someone else in the future. This was performed on a 1997 camaro that lacks cruise control. I’ve done my best to include pictures and have the appropriate name for the parts/tools, but if you have any suggestions/corrections, please let me know.

Tools Required
---Steering Wheel Puller
---Steering Pivot Pin Remover
---Lock Ring Remover
---Socket wrench with 8mm, 10mm, 11mm, 13mm, 21mm sockets
---Philips and Flathead screwdrivers
---Various sized star drivers
---Some sort of Hook tool (suggested)


There are several small clips/retainers that you will need to keep track of. I put mine in plastic sandwich bags (harder to lose em that way). Before you start disassembly, make sure your steering wheel and tires are facing straight, then remove the key from the ignition so that the steering wheel locks.

FIRST, disconnect the battery, then disable the SIR (supplemental inflatable restraint) system. To get to its connector you need to remove the panels underneath the steering column. They’re held in place either by bolts (8mm I think) &/or philips head screws. The SIR connector is the yellow 2-way connector under the steering column. Then remove the airbag by undoing the 4 hex screws from behind the steering wheel. Be careful not to drop the airbag, and you might as well be extra safe and place it face up away from anything important.
Remove the 21mm nut before putting the steering wheel puller on. Once removed, put the puller on using the appropriate bolts and then pull the steering wheel off. If this is your first time using a puller (like it was mine), you’re probably going to think you’re breaking the wheel before it finally pops off.


Remove the retaining ring holding the SIR coil assembly in place, then remove the coil.



You’ll need a special tool to push down the “shaft lock shield assembly” in order to remove the retainer, and I think it’s called a Lock Ring Remover, but it’s shown in the next picture. Put the tool in place and use it to push down the shaft lock shield assembly. Once it’s pushed down a fair amount you should notice a bearing retainer that you need to remove. If you have a hook tool like I did (borrowed it), it makes it easier to get part of the retainer out of the groove, then try and use a flathead screwdriver to pry the rest of it out.




Once the wave washer and the clip are out, remove the shaft lock shield, turn signal canceling cam, and the spring.




Remove the screw from the turn signal arm, and the three hex bolts for the turn signal cam. When you take the turn signal arm off, notice how the notch on the arm goes into the slot on the blinker switch.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:30 PM   #2
runtwrestlin
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

However, before you can move the turn signal cam out of place, you must undo the connector at the base of the steering wheel. While upside down under the steering column, you might as well undo the other connector for the “turn signal switch assembly.” I wouldn’t bother with disconnecting the dimmer or ignition switch just yet; instead, wait until you lower the steering column. Also remove the hazard switch at this time (it’s a smaller Philips head). Make sure you don’t lose the spring inside the hazard switch; it can be hard to find if it unexpectedly springs out…
Once you have the connecters undone, I also suggest removing the plastic shielding under the steering column (slides out the back). In the picture it’s shown with it removed. I think it’s easier to slide the connecters through with the plastic shield gone.




Before you can slide the connectors completely through, you need to remove the “pivot and pulse switch assembly” held in by three larger hex screws. You’ll also need to remove the lock cylinder. As you undo the ignition hex screw, the buzzer switch (white piece of plastic with two strips of metal on it) will be pushed out. Go ahead and just pull it out. With it gone, pull the hex screw out as well.




Remove the tilt lever by unscrewing it (I used vice grips to clamp down and get a good grip on it, then put some black paint on it after reassembly to cover any scratches). In the picture you can see the exposed wires because the cover has already been removed.




Once you remove the tilt lever, a piece of plastic might fall down from behind the “column housing cover end base plate.” This plastic piece is the “dimmer switch rod actuator.” It’s what enables you to turn your brights on, no matter how much the driver has the steering wheel tilted.
You can now remove the entire “lock housing cover and sleeve assembly” and the appropriate wires. When you do so, there will be a plastic shield on the “steering column housing” that the wires go under. It will probably fall off as soon as you move the wires. The connectors might get stuck, so you may have to work on positioning them as you slide them out. If they refuse to slide out, double check to make sure you’ve disconnected everything.




To remove the steering column housing, you must remove the pivot pins, and this requires a “steering pivot pin remover.” I borrowed mine, but I’m pretty sure you can pick it up from a parts store. You just screw it into the center of the pivot pin, then pop that sucker on out. Do the same to both sides. You also have to remove the “upper bearing inner race seat” that keeps the steering shaft from sliding forward and backwards. To do this, use the hook tool (or something) to simply pull it out.
Now, there are two ways that I know of to get the entire steering column housing off.
1) Remove the dowel pin. I inserted a small punch (see picture) and gently tapped on it until it popped through.
2) Attach your tilt lever; pull it back all the way to disengage the “steering wheel lock shoes” and tilt up on the housing to try and wiggle it free. With this method you don’t have to worry about the steering wheel lock shoes coming disengaged.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
runtwrestlin
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

IMO method 1 is easier. However, if the steering wheel lock shoes fall out, continue reading. If they don’t fall out, just skip to the next paragraph. For me, I was fiddling with the housing once it was removed and the steering wheel lock shoes fell out… So if this happens to you, you have to reposition them between the spring and the tilt lever, then get the dowel pin back in place. The 1st shoe wasn’t too difficult, but to get the dowel pin through the 2nd shoe I had to use the punch to position it while tapping the dowel pin through the other side with the hammer.




Now you should be able to pull the steering column housing off. When you pull it out the “wheel tilt spring” and the “switch actuator rack” might fall out.
If your “steering column housing support assembly” needs replacing, remove the 4 screws holding it in place and do so. Somehow mine broke where the left pivot pin is secured, thereby jamming my ignition switch so I could barely turn my car off…like WTF mate…




You can either remove the steering shaft now, or you can wait until you remove the entire steering column from the car. To remove the steering shaft now, you should first remove the 11mm bolt connecting the steering shaft to the intermediate steering shaft. Also remove the “lower bearing adapter” which is located at the veryyy base of the steering column (in the engine bay). Remove this by removing the clip and the bearing cover, then the beige plastic piece. I coaxed it out with a flathead screwdriver.




To remove the steering column from the car, remove the 3 10mm bolts at the base of the steering column, and the two 13mm bolts further up. For easier access to the 13mm bolts I removed the metal cross brace (two 10mm bolts). Now that the steering column is loose, it’s far easier to undo the electrical connectors for the dimmer and ignition switches.
However, when you lower it to have easier access to the switch connectors, be sure to support it with your arm, or something else, so that the steering column is not resting on the electrical wires.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:31 PM   #4
runtwrestlin
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

Once you remove the steering column from the car, be careful not to drop it. It would really suck to have to replace something just because you dropped it.
Now that the column is out of the car, you don’t have to be stuck upside down trying to remove the dimmer and ignition switch assemblies. So, remove them now to replace them (dimmer switch is 8mm, ignition switch is a philips head) if you feel so inclined, otherwise don’t bother.
If for any reason you separate the steering shaft from the upper shaft (that the steering wheel goes on to), MAKE SURE that you put it back on the same way that you took it off. Otherwise your steering can be 180 degrees off, and that would really suck.
For reassembly, everything is pretty much the reverse of what you just did, except now you have to try and put those parts back together so they still work… I think it’s easier to put the steering column housing back on with the steering column secured in the car. 1st though, if you removed the ignition &/or dimmer switches, get the ignition switch actuator rack properly positioned, and then attach the dimmer switch as well. Now put the steering column back in the car and secure it.


During assembly, apply lithium grease (or wheel bearing grease) to any and all load bearing joints. I went ahead and applied wheel bearing grease to any part that I thought might move at all.
Next, put the steering shaft back into the steering column and the lower bearing adapter and its retainer clip back in place.
Then, put the steering column housing back on. I think the tricky part about this is making sure that the ignition “switch actuator rack” lines up properly with the “ignition switch actuator assembly.” The end of the actuator rack should fit in a notch on the actuator assembly. This notch is indicated in the picture below. Once it’s correctly in place and aligned you can work on the pivot pins.




To put the pivot pins back in, you have to properly position the steering column housing. To do this I screwed the tilt lever back in, and pulled back on it to get the “steering wheel lock shoes” to connect the top of the housing support assembly so it would be ‘somewhat’ positioned. Once you have them locked, push in and up on the steering column housing and tap the pivot pins in with a small hammer. If they’re not going in, try pushing up harder &/or repositioning the housing. The 1st time I took my steering column apart I spent nearly 1 hour trying to get the pivot pins back in place. When I finally got aggravated enough and no longer concerned about breaking anything I forcibly pushed in & up on the housing, then I had the pins positioned in a matter of seconds…
Put the tilt spring back in. To do this, remove the spring retainer by pushing in on it with a large philips head screwdriver. Put the tilt spring in place as indicated by the previous picture, and then put the retainer back in place, pushing down and turning clockwise to secure it.



Now go ahead and put the inner race and race seat back in place. Don’t worry about trying to secure the race seat, it gets pushed back in place and secured when you press the shaft lock shield back on.


Before you put the “lock housing cover assembly” back on, feed all of the electrical connectors you removed during disassembly back through the opening.
Put the plastic wire shield in place.



Slide the housing cover back on, and be sure to position the “dimmer switch rod actuator” properly against the dimmer switch rod. Now slide the housing back on all the way and secure it with the 3 hex screws. Before testing to see if you have the actuator properly aligned, put the end base plate back on. From my little experience, the base plate actually keeps the dimmer switch rod from tilting out. So if you test it’s alignment before putting the end base plate cover back on, you’ll likely break the dimmer switch rod actuator (well, you might not, but I sure did…).
In this pic I tried to show how the little piece of plastic on the end of it goes up against the dimmer switch rod. If it does break, crazy glue is your friend. If for some reason crazy glue doesn’t like you and won’t hold it, you should still be ok. I couldn’t reattach mine the 2nd time it broke, so I properly positioned it, secured everything else and my dimmer switch has been working fine since, which was several months ago.




With the trickier parts finished, put the “turn signal switch assembly” back on and secure it via the 3 hex screws. Now secure the “signal switch arm” via the philips head screw.


Your blinkers won’t work yet (so don’t test them and then freak out), because you have to put the upper bearing spring, turn signal canceling cam assembly and lock shield back in place. If need be, refer to picture 3 of this guide to see how they go back on.
However, BEFORE you secure the lock shield, make sure you’re your steering shaft is in the proper orientation. There should be a notch in the top of the upper shaft, have it facing up. Then you use the lock pin remover tool to push down the lock shield far enough to put the retaining ring and wave washer back on. Go ahead and test your bright switch and your blinkers now, just to make sure they’re set up properly.
Put the inflatable restraint coil assembly and the retaining ring back on. When you put the steering wheel back on, the notch in the upper shaft should match with the notch in the steering wheel. Now secure the steering wheel with its 21mm nut, and put the airbag in place and secure it via the 4 hex screws.


Test everything to make sure it works, which it should, and I hope this writeup provided some help for ya!
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:41 PM   #5
ssms5411
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

Nice writup , I know on my old 1996 Camaro column with 170,000 on it in the heat had already started cracking and feel apart, then ign. key was stuck in the lock , so I had no choice to buy a 00' SS steering column off ebay for $87 shipped that came with the BCM , keys and column, wa alot easier to swap out than I thought. I could probably do it in about 30 mins. if I was helathy.
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Last edited by ssms5411; 06-16-2010 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:01 PM   #6
cam98aro
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

nice writeup, i wish i had this a few months ago, but i also became a pro at it after i forgt to do things and had to tear it back apart 3 times.

just a tip, but the tool in the 2nd picture isnt necessary if you have 2 people, one person can push the shield down while another takes the ring out.. its a bit of a pain, but saves some time/money if you dont have the tool.. for forgot to rent it
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

STICKY THIS PLEASE!!!! Steering columns are one of the few things on a car that scare me to work on, thanks for writing this up.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:09 PM   #8
ssms5411
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

The pics alone are worth the stickey, when I tried working on mine the haynes manual didn't have too much on what is what esp. in color. All black & white pics.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
runtwrestlin
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cam98aro View Post
just a tip, but the tool in the 2nd picture isnt necessary if you have 2 people, one person can push the shield down while another takes the ring out.. its a bit of a pain, but saves some time/money if you dont have the tool.. for forgot to rent it
Ya, that makes sense. I tried pushing down on it with one hand while removing the ring with the other hand...that definitely didn't work, so I called a friend and he let me borrow it.
I feel your pain when it comes to needlessly tearing it apart...I took mine apart a 2nd time because my steering rack wasn't centered and I thought I put something on backwards. Turns out all I needed was the LS1 intermediate shaft to go with the LS1 steering rack, and then everything lined up properly and I could make U-turns again. That took about 15min to fix... But then again, 2 < 3

ssms, that sucks! Man, I wish i could've tore mine down and put it back together in 30min. If I tried to move that fast, I would be guaranteed to break something, lol!
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

Best sticky ever!!!!!!
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