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Steering Column Freshen Up
 
I got a really good deal on a tilt steering column the other day. These things usually go for like $200-300 depending on where you get them from and what new parts it has. So, as I said, I got it for a good deal, $90. The only issues were it didn't have a key for the lock cylinder, it didn't have a turn signal switch or lever, and finally it was loose in the bottom where the lower bearing sits.

All of these items are easily replaced and can be done with simple hand tools. This setup did not have a steering wheel on it and to top things off; it had a grant aftermarket adapter for a steering wheel on the shaft, which also would have to be removed. There are a couple of special tools that make life easier when "Freshening Up" a steering column, and you will see these below. I have never done a column without them, so I am not sure if you can or not, but they are cheap and I have used mine quite a few times to fix mine and others steering columns.
 
 
For those of you who are keeping track, a turn signal switch, lever, new bearing, and finally the lock cylinder is going to set me back around $83 and change. I ordered up all the parts off eBay and I awaited their arrival at my house.

While I waited for all the parts to come in, I figured I could strip it down to make the reassembly easier when the parts got here. First off was to remove the firewall bracketry as well as the upper mount bracket. This isn't necessary for internal work, but I want to throw them in the parts cleaner and then give them a coat of black spray paint as they are rusted and look crappy. With those parts off, I moved onto removing the adapter. I simply just put it in the vise and tapped the shaft with a hammer and punch. 2 light taps and it came out.
 
 
With the adapter out of the way, you can remove the plastic cover (which has a metal one underneath it), by simply using the tool shown, compressing the cover and removing the corresponding clip that holds everything in place. With that out of the way, you can remove the spring and then finally move onto the lock cylinder. This is removed by taking a screwdriver, pushing down on the tab and removing the whole assembly. BTW, if you have an older setup, sometimes there is a screw in the way that needs to be removed first.

I want to point out one thing here as you see the pictures. The turn signal switch is missing, so that means the lever that connects to it is missing, as is the hazard button. These will all be put back in when reassembling this setup, but I would have had to remove all of that first before getting the lock cylinder out. Also, if this is still in your Jeep when you are working on it, DISCONNECT the BATTERY before you remove the steering wheel, the horn cup will give you a nice nasty shock if you touch it with a screwdriver...
 
 
With the lock cylinder out of the way, I remove the 2 screws (should be 3, one is missing) and I am able to take the cover off. As stated before, you also have to remove the hazard horn button if you wanted to get this off. I didn't NEED to take this part off;e I just wanted to see how clean/dirty it was inside there and if everything sounded OK. Everything looks good at this point. When I get the parts in, I will put it all back together.

For around $175.00, I should have this thing back up and running with all new parts inside and a coat of paint on the outside. It will look nice and then I can look for a steering wheel. A nice CJ sport wheel should run more then $25.00, so for $200.00 this is something you can do yourself and give yourself tilt steering in your rig.

cb (04/09/07)
 
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