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.
---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.
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.
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…