Before we start the install, here are a few tips to consider. Before the first bracket or support is welded to the column, make sure of the steering-column alignment. We found that placing the steering column further away from the dash allows more wiggle room with the steering-shaft installation. The steering angles aren't as drastic when the steering column doesn't protrude as much through the firewall, so keep that in mind during the installation. We found the best policy is to mock-up the complete steering column and shaft assembly together or you might be surprised by a crooked steering column rubbing hard on one side of the dash. The steering-column support has a plate that can be moved side-to-side as well as fore and aft. This effects column placement. The support plate also raises or lowers the column at the dash.
From time to time in the past, we would see factory-installed steering columns that were placed at an angle and tight against the dash with the owners complaining that it didn't look right. When they checked with their mechanic, they were told that's just the way it is. But there is a fix. The support plate just needs some adjustment, and the column can be moved where it needs to be.
Once the column fits well and the linkage turns without binding the column, supports can be welded in place. Make sure each mounting bolt is tight before any tack welds are performed. Once the supports are in place, final welding can proceed; be careful to weld small sections and cool the area with a wet cloth to avoid overheating the stainless steel that could damage the nylon bearing supports in the column.
Assembling a correct steering linkage is very important. Make sure all the steering shafts are fully seated in the coupling properly. A collapsible steering shaft should be used when the steering shaft has a straight shot to the steering column; angled steering shafts will fold away absorbing impact in a crash, whereas a straight column can be deadly as it is driven towards you.
This is our finished column...
This is our finished column support ready to be tack welded in place. To provide crash protection, original aluminum wedges were used to allow the column to slide away from the driver in a crash. The auto manufacturers spent millions of dollars on safety items, and they should be incorporated in any installation if possible.
We had to fabricate a similar...
We had to fabricate a similar bracket for the additional column support. We mimicked the first fabricated bracket with the exception of omitting a support tab. The aluminum wedge was also used to allow column slide if necessary.
Both support brackets were...
Both support brackets were tack welded with the column bracket in place for alignment. We measured the approximate location of the original supports from the original column, then final welding takes place after the column is installed and positioned properly. Proper column position will be determined when the dash panel is in place.