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 FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement

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BMD
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 7:43 pm

I don't have any fresh info Mark, but when I got that deep into the dash I dont think I had to remove the dash pad, the A pillar moldings or the steering wheel. IIRC, I removed the knee bolster, the black trim panel above the gauges, the dash and the collar around the tilt mechanism. I wasn't a member when I did that so I didn't get any pics, perhaps you will be able to do a write up out of it ( if you have the patience wink ), either way I hope you you find a solution to this problem!

EDIT: I see Randall beat me to it.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 8:20 pm

99Rivman wrote:
WOW!
A question I can actually answer!
lmfao

Thanks for your quick replies, guys. My brother (the real mechanic) called just after I posted, and here I've got two replies by the time I get off the phone!

Well, since you both agree, I guess that I must have just slavishly followed the manual when I removed the whole sequence so that I could pull the radio to replace the tape deck. I would have sworn that (like the knee bolster) the upper screws for the dash panel were inaccessible without removing the dash pad...

Now if only the SOB's hadn't used 'reverse' E-Torx screws to hold those column covers on!!
I wonder what size those suckers are...
.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:08 pm

I can't remember what size they are, but I can say that my steering wheel is sloppy as hell. Tore it apart to replace the pins, found out that the upper steering column is worn, not the pins. FYI, they don't make that part anymore, and the dealers that have it (which was 2 in the country), it's about $500. I'm going to have to pull it out, fill it, and re-drill the holes. It's an easy job to do those pins.....
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:17 pm

Eldo wrote:
Now if only the SOB's hadn't used 'reverse' E-Torx screws to hold those column covers on!!
I wonder what size those suckers are....
If I remember correctly I used a six point 5MM socket on them. study
A real pain to get to with the size of the hole in the covers.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:41 pm

Abaddon wrote:
I can't remember what size they are, but I can say that my steering wheel is sloppy as hell. Tore it apart to replace the pins, found out that the upper steering column is worn, not the pins.

Are you saying that the holes in your "inner ears" are worn?
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:44 pm

Eldo wrote:
Are you saying that the holes in your "inner ears" are worn?

Yep! I put the new pins in, and they just slid in. They damn near "fell through". That entire Aluminum piece (upper) needs to be replaced or "fixed".
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:49 pm

This may sound dense, but I was going around with my brother on this... Would you say that this correct:

The pins have 2 steps, and they fit tight to the outer ears (with a shoulder to limit insertion), and the inner ears are the ones that pivot on the smallest section of the pins?
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:50 pm

maybe someone should CNC some of those and sell them on here happy
i believe my pins are in place but the holes have worn larger over the years giving me the slight wobble.

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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:54 pm

Eldo wrote:
This may sound dense, but I was going around with my brother on this... Would you say that this correct:

The pins have 2 steps, and they fit tight to the outer ears (with a shoulder to limit insertion), and the inner ears are the ones that pivot on the smallest section of the pins?

Not sure which pivots on which. I just know it's worn out, and it sux puke
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 9:56 pm

99Rivman wrote:
Eldo wrote:
Now if only the SOB's hadn't used 'reverse' E-Torx screws to hold those column covers on!!
I wonder what size those suckers are....
If I remember correctly I used a six point 5MM socket on them. study
A real pain to get to with the size of the holes in the covers.

A 12-point might even be better, but that's the hell of it... it takes a skinny, dedicated nut-driver-type unit to get in there. I just tested your 5mm theory with a socket, and it could only fit into 1 of the holes on the bottom.

Again, headbutt
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 10:02 pm

Abaddon wrote:
Eldo wrote:
This may sound dense, but I was going around with my brother on this... Would you say that this correct:

The pins have 2 steps, and they fit tight to the outer ears (with a shoulder to limit insertion), and the inner ears are the ones that pivot on the smallest section of the pins?

Not sure which pivots on which. I just know it's worn out, and it sux puke


Sounds like it's your outer ears that are worn... I'm planning on using some red Loctite when I put the pin back, and maybe a spring-punch to peen over some of the aluminum to help grip the pin.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 10:16 pm

Eldo wrote:
Sounds like it's your outer ears that are worn... I'm planning on using some red Loctite when I put the pin back, and maybe a spring-punch to peen over some of the aluminum to help grip the pin.

Already beat the Aluminum in once lol.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Tue May 25, 2010 10:23 pm

Abaddon wrote:
Eldo wrote:
Sounds like it's your outer ears that are worn... I'm planning on using some red Loctite when I put the pin back, and maybe a spring-punch to peen over some of the aluminum to help grip the pin.

Already beat the Aluminum in once lol.

Maybe Loctite, Crazy Glue and Marine-Tex! freak
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 8:32 am

Abaddon wrote:
Eldo wrote:
Sounds like it's your outer ears that are worn... I'm planning on using some red Loctite when I put the pin back, and maybe a spring-punch to peen over some of the aluminum to help grip the pin.

Already beat the Aluminum in once lol.

I don't think thats gonna hold for too long. In an earlier post I indicated how a shop had tried to mushroom the soft metal around the pin and although it was stiffer at first, the wobble returned shortly after.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 8:47 am

Believe me, I know that. The trim (interior) tech at the Buick dealer I worked at is the one who did it (about 4 years ago). So that piece has been long worn out.....
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Does anyone have a picture of these pins or what they go into? Would it be possible to get a shop to machine larger pins if where they go is worn? My wheel has the play in it too and am dreading running into this problem.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 1:29 pm

moldymac wrote:
Does anyone have a picture of these pins or what they go into? Would it be possible to get a shop to machine larger pins if where they go is worn? My wheel has the play in it too and am dreading running into this problem.
There is a picture of it on page 5 of this topic, and lots of diagrams too.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 1:30 pm

Possibly someone that is a machinist, machine the hole in the brackets larger and then install a brass, or something similar, bushing into the hole for the pins to fit into? Even though there would still be a potmetal bracket the bushing would not let it wear as much and maybe keep it from breaking?

Looking back Iím not sure if keeping them from wearing would help or not, just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 1:47 pm

Randall,
I was going to suggest the same thing, but having not seen the coupler in person i wasn't sure. But generally any Pot metal piece can benefit from a bushing being made to replace the worn or elongated hole.
Stellite, not sure of the correct spelling any more, is a brass stock with graphite lubricant embedded in it for the life of the bushing.
Sounds like it would be perfect for this installation / repair.
It is used in industry where a constant amount of lubricant is required in a space that you cannot reach to lubricate.
If someone has the equipment and skills, I'm sure you can make some money repairing peoples shaft's, not only on this sight but all the other GM sites out there.
If you were to set-up you could have a quick turn around time.
Or just identify a machine shop you trust and ask them to have the bushing material in stock before bringing in the shaft and you'll minimize downtime.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 1:59 pm

There are a few ways to do it I spose, but all require dismantling the upper steering column completely. I was just going to have my father fill the holes with aluminum and re-drill them to factory size (he works at a machine joint). Hell, he could even make the bushings you speak of as his shop has almost every metal on the planet. If I ever get around to fixing it, I'll absolutely take pics and such.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 2:47 pm

99Rivman wrote:

There is a picture of it on page 5 of this topic, and lots of diagrams too.

Speaking of pictures, I forgot something in my first post last nite... Before getting involved in the various dash-disassembly procedures, I mentioned that I couldn't figure out how Okiedrifter was able to get the column covers off without pulling his dash apart - at all. But, I forgot to reference the photo!

Take a look at page 2 of this thread, and it sure looks like the impossible... The whole upper column is opened up, yet the dash panel is in place - you can even see the end of the Unleaded Fuel Only plaque... ?
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 3:07 pm

In the case of one of the ones that I have worked on, when it had been worked on previously they left the last two screws out that hold the covers together! Since all of the screws that hold the covers together are put in from the bottom, if the ones that are only accessible with the knee bolster removed are left out you don't have to remove everything to separate the covers and remove them.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 3:17 pm

99Rivman wrote:
In the case of one of the ones that I have worked on, when it had been worked on previously they left the last two screws out that hold the covers together! Since all of the screws that hold the covers together are put in from the bottom, if the ones that are only accessible with the knee bolster removed are left out you don't have to remove everything to separate the covers and remove them.

Brilliant!

And you just gave me another possible explanation - perhaps after one of his previous jobs, Okie left out the 2 screws for the bolster that are hidden by the dash panel...

Well, I'm going down right now to start the job, but I'll be using the laptop to check back now & then (especially if anyone knows where to get that stupid E-Torx nut-driver.) confused
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 3:42 pm

Good Luck Mark!!!
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Steering Column Slop, Problems & Replacement   Wed May 26, 2010 4:00 pm

Thanks BMD - I may actually catch a break for once!


I don't want to get too excited before I get the panels off for clearance, but you guys can scratch that last request I made... Turns out that a common 3/16" nut-driver fits those stupid E5-Torx screws in the lower column cover perfectly!!

yay

While kneeling next to the car to pull the cover off the left side of the dash (fuse-box area), I decided to try my old American nut-drivers for the hell of it, because those are the only things I had that were even small enough to fit into 2 of the 'wells' that the screws are recessed into. Voila! I got down to the smallest one in the set, and it gripped with no slip, and 'cuz they are those coarse, self-tapping plastic-screws, all 3 easily spun out in about 30 seconds...

Please Lord, let the rest of the job go like this! jesus


(FYI: Just in time, I found another change from '97 to '98... My eFSM for '98 says to just pull the tilt lever straight out of the column. But in my paper '97 books, confirmed with a flashlight, I found that it is held on with a 'normal' Torx screw. That would've been a big OOPS!)
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