This week has been difficult as I was poorly and wasn’t sure Mustang Maniac was going to happen on Saturday. Being the hero that I am, I talked myself into my weekly homage to Mustang Maniac, it was a very short conversation mind you. With that in mind the duties were going to be a little lighter than normal. Adam was busy moving large mounds of dirt to somewhere that obviously needed the large mounds of dirt. We broke away from the guys to discuss what was going to be the plan for the day. We decided that the steering column is constantly being moved from one side to the other of the car and is just asking for damage and was causing a little concern. So the plan was – fit the column. Not a heavy job but a delicate due to the paint work involved. The parts I had were all there except the mounting screws and some special square ended bolts that cleverly hold the top to the column. Adam send me on a mission to his stash of engines and components where there was a scrap ’67 column still attached to the steering arms. I was allowed to pinch the difficult and rare parts to make mine fit.
The steering column is just a tube that goes over the steering box bar and also holds the steering wheel in place with the turn indicator fittings.
At the steering box end there is a rubber grommet that seals the column from dirt and grime and is just a press fit into the end. This grommet also helps to hold the column in a central position. There is a metal plate and a gasket that fits to the fire wall that is a draft and grime gasket. When the column is slid over the bar and gets to the end make sure that you don’t press the gasket through the firewall, it’s a tight fit. The column also has a rubber gator that sits on top of the firewall sound insulator and presses in place. Simple but an effective idea. Just slide the column over the top of bar. thread the end through the gasket and onto the steering box. There will be resistance here as the box fitting is quite tight too.
The column can only fit in one position which is held in place by a bracket. The bottom part has a key-way to hold the column in position and the top part of the bracket goes between the column and the bottom of the dash. The brackets have a coating of a rubber to protect the column from any damage.
The next part is to fit the business end of the column is in two main parts, a block that fits to the top of the column and a sleeve that fits behind it to hide the wires routing to the bottom. In order to protect the paint I used a sheet of paper that wrapped around the column as I slid the neck over the column.
The top part of the column collar slides over the centre bar and fits inside the column tube, this holds the bar in the centre at the top. Make sure the bearing in the middle has enough grease in place. The two special square retaining bolts are slid from the back into the cut outs at the top of the column. With the bolts showing place the corresponding nuts in place to screw the collar down. The collar will only fit in one place as the indicator stalk fitting is recessed out. Don’t tighten all the way up yet as the centre of the collar has a position ring that sits inside the bearing.
Next part is the fun bit. Threading the turn signal mechanism wires down the inside of the column. To be fair it’s not to bad with the technique I have for it. Inside the column is a separate tube that holds the wires to the side of the column. I take a couple of wire and tape them together, move up an inch or so and tape the next couple. Repeat for the rest of the wires are taped up then thread down the top opening until the wires poke out the bottom. undo the tape and pull the wires through evenly.
With the wires almost pulled out then position the turn indicator onto the collar and gently do up the three screws evenly. Do not over tighten the screws as it will distort the plastic mounting. Ensure that the horn ring connectors are free to move up and down. Slide the bottom part of the collar up and insert the two long screws into the remaining holes and tighten up. Remove the paper from the column to leave no scratch marks on the paint.
With the steering mechanism all in place screw in the indicator stalk. Now you are ready for the steering wheel to be fitted, but more of that at a later date.
It doesn’t look much but I was taking my time to complete this task. A very visual part of the car and an important to get right. The main bean headlight switch from the American AutoWire kit comes out about five inches short to ten inches if you want to have a nice routing. So with the column in place in cut the supplied wires fittings and added around a foot of extra cables colour coded the same as the AAW ones. I attached more correct style fittings and refitted back into the connecting block. That took up the rest of the time I was down there.
Next week we are aiming to fit the door seal rubbers to the door weather strips, that will show some progress on the car with any luck that is a bit more visual.