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Old 06-16-2010, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)

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. 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. This was performed on a 1997 camaro lacking 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 for anything, 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.
Click the image to open in full size.

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.
Click the image to open in full size.



Once the wave washer and the clip are out, remove the shaft lock shield, turn signal canceling cam, and the spring.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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…
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:57 PM   #2
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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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.

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.
Click the image to open in full size.



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.
Click the image to open in full size.

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 good job on dismantling and properly reassembling your steering column! In conclusion, I'd like to thank anyone on LS1 tech that posted and helped me out.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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wow. nice
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:49 PM   #4
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Great info. I think I need to take mine out because the wheel moves up and down when i pull it down. Its like spring isnt tight enough or its just desinged that way. Either way I dont like it.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:49 AM   #5
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99wssixm6 I'm in the same boat. I'm gonna try to take mine apart next week. Thanks runtwrestlin
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:52 PM   #6
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Cool let me know what you find and how hard it is to fix.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:12 AM   #7
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Nice write up
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:09 PM   #8
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very nice write up. Im in the same boat as a lot of others, where the dowel pin moves out of place and the tilt becomes sloppy and you can pull down on the steering when its supposed to be locked in place.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:53 PM   #9
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Amazing writeup.

I have the same problem as a lot of people here. My high beams will only click on when i tilt the wheel into the upper-most setting. Looks like i'll be borrowing a few tools from autozone in the morning now that I found this post.
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:22 AM   #10
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This write up is exceptional. Turns out that the steering pivot pin on the drivers side fell out. I popped a new one in. The pin did not seat in as well as I thought it should, but I am up and running. Thanks again.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:31 PM   #11
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Default Turn signals aren't working after repair

I pulled the column apart to tighten the bolts and when reassembling a spring popped out and I cannot find where it went but I reassembled just to see and now the turn signals don't work has anyone else had this problem.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:59 AM   #12
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That is a decent write up. Used to take these apart all the time.
4th gen F-cars where some of the last recipants of this steering column.

Should also have a note that when removing the clockspring. There is an arrow that lines it up molded in to the plastic usually.
Once removed to NOT allow it to rotate at all. Otherwise if reinstalled spun out of position, it can break from turn the wheel lock to lock after re-installation.

Last edited by wrencher; 09-07-2011 at 02:02 AM..
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:54 AM   #13
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Great write up. . . . But, it takes too much dedication.


You can get one with a matched key for a hundred bucks.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:39 PM   #14
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Default Steering Rod ignition Actuator Problems

Hi, I came across your pictures, I realize this post is really old but thought that you or someone out there might know how to get to the steering rod actuator at the top? Mine came apart and is behind the plastic column cover that I can not seem to figure out how to remove. I can't find any illustrations or diagrams on that linkage or that area, the pictures of this disassemble at this sight were the closest to it. This all started with my key turning and nothing happening, not even a *spring back* into the on position, tore it down to the internal area and can see the rod for the dimmer and the part of the actuator for the rod assembly for the ignition with the spring etc...but where the rod below connects to the top area, its covered by the shield, any ideas on how to remove that so I can see to connect the rod, OR how to pull the rod out from the front to connect it and slide it back in place...pictures would be awesome if someone has one Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:50 PM   #15
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^^^ You should take the lock cylinder out & check your gear & rack at the end of the cylinder first.
Much more common for those to have issues than the ignition switch actuator rod.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:13 PM   #16
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The cylinder is out, I was going to pull the rack and see but can't get at it from either end, how do I remove the casing to access the rack?? Seems like it has a stop inside there...I did remove the spring and stuff in front of the rack, thought it would slide right out then but realized something is stopping it, can't seem to find screws to take it apart any further...thanks for answering my question though
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:55 AM   #17
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Look at the write up above. The rack has the wheel lock pin in it also. The tilt housing has to come off to access it.
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Old 09-21-2011, 07:19 PM   #18
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I got the pivot pins out all went awesome! Pictures and write up were nice for reference, the LAST question I have that doesn't have pictures or information posted is this: Does the actuator rod just connect on the back of the actuator rod rack WITHOUT any plastic clip to keep it in place? I am asking this because my rod separated from my rack and I am trying to figure out what would have caused that, if there is a piece that keeps the two parts *Rod/Rack* joined up as a linkage??? Does anyone know how they connect or have a picture of them together as a unit so I can see if something is missing to cause it to separate? Thanks ! THANKS! Thanks
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:13 AM   #19
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There is a loop at the end of the rack to move the rod.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:22 AM   #20
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Default Thanks Wrencher!

So the loop at the end of the rod...I see a nub at the end of my rod, does that mean its broken or is it a nub type thing? I posted a picture of what I have, maybe you can tell me if its broken?
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Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)-p9222101.jpg   Steering Column Disassembly/Removal (with pics)-p9222100.jpg  
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:22 AM
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