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Technical Steering column Question..

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Al, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I have a 37 Ford Tudor. It has a 350/350. I had a GM column in it, but it was for a floor mounted shift. I want one with a column shift instead. I have a 32" column, with a 2" tube. I first thought of a junkyard column, but I have had bad ones before. I bought two different ones threw a online Big name company. Both were Chinese made, and were junk. Who would be a good company to go threw for a column?? I want a 32" with a 2" tube. I also want the key in the column with tilt. Has to have a shift indicator. I also need the GM hookups on the tube, along with the neutral safety switch included.. Though I don"t want to spend big bucks for all of that.. Thanks..
     
  2. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Sorry.I forgot that I already had a thread started..
     
  3. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,032

    alchemy
    Member

    Shorten one of the millions of GM columns made. Some careful measuring, cutting, and welding on the bottom end. Presto-chango! It's basically a couple tubes, one inside the other.

    This thread won't last long, so read this quickly.
     
  4. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,838

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    1. Has to have a 'tilt'.
    2. Must have key in column.
    3. Has to have shift indicator.
    4. Has to have G.M. hookups on the column.
    5. Neutral safety switch included.

    MUST look like it came from somewhere other than original Ford, be as large as possible, cheap, and require a saddle to ride it.
     

  5. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Can I trust one from the scrap yard??
     
  6. clswoodworking
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 1

    clswoodworking

    Try RPM motorsports Michigan
     
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,160

    squirrel
    Member

    if you take it apart and inspect it and replace any worn parts, and then reassemble it properly. If you're not up to that, then you probably can't trust it.
     
  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,011

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Mid 70's C-10. if you want used GM. Last of the half way clean without a lot of crap on them columns that while not being HAMB friendly aren't so damned ugly and cluttered with all the bells and whistles that Hambers point and laugh.
    You already figured out the aftermarket thing. There are only two aftermarket columns worth using the Ididit brand and Flaming River. Both are spendy but half the guys on here know someone who bought the cheap one because they didn't want to pay the price and ended up throwing it in the junk and buying one or the other of those.
    Outside of being beat up on the outside the only non electrical thing that goes wrong with stock GM tiltcolumns is that someone uses the wheel to pull themselves up to reach the shifter or for another reason and the tilt mechanism gets sloppy and the wheel flops a bit. Then you have to take it apart far enough to tighten up the three screws that hold the thing together and put it back together. My wife and I have battled over that for the past 30 years and I have fixed who knows how many tilts she messed up that way.
     
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,160

    squirrel
    Member

    The key on the column thing is a problem, as far as looks and availability with a built in shift indicator. The 67-72 type column has a shifter with a built in indicator, the 73-up truck columns do not. But the vans from 71-80s do have the indicator, but no key switch.

    You really don't want the ignition switch on the column, you just don't realize it yet.
     
    RICH B, lothiandon1940 and Andy like this.
  10. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,644

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Up to late 70's 1/2 & Heavy 1/2 t vans should work. Check the length.
    Opps... Squirrel's right, types faster. :D . Forgot key wasn't in column.
    Marcus...
     
  11. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I saw one on Johnny Law Motors. Are they a reliable place to work with?? It is a Helix column??
     
  12. ..........Steer clear.......pun intended.
     
    RICH B, pprather and mgtstumpy like this.
  13. .....................That's classic! Listen to squirrel.:)
     
  14. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,523

    BJR
    Member

    Search the Hamb for the threads on Hoffman companies. That is what Jonny Law motors is and they have a long track record of screwing people and selling crap parts.
     
  15. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Thanks. Anyone know of a place I should look??
     
  16. If you need to buy new, I'd look at Ididit or Flaming River or Borgeson/Mullins. Companies that specialize in steering.
     
  17. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Thanks. I might have to bite the bullet and buy a Flaming River one for $790.
     
  18. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 16,148

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Somewhere NOT affiliated with The Hoffman Group!!!
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  19. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Who makes up the Hoffman Group??
     
  20. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,765

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Bought one from a 83-6 I think Chevy van. Had everything he wants on it.
     
  21. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,115

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    Do a HAMB search as I recall a post that listed all the affiliate names to steer clear off. I would be wary of anything manufactured off shore insofar as safety and quality control is concerned and never skimp on brakes, suspension or steering; someones life may depend on it including yours! Nothing wrong with OEM, manufacturers spent $M on R&D so take advantage of their expertise. As Squirrel alluded to, replace any work components (Bearing/bushings) and you should be right provided you have no parts leftover.
     
  22. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    You are right. Don't skimp. If I can't find OEM at a good price. Then get one made in the USA..
     
  23. ...$800 for a steering column,...you guys must be made out of $,...always use used ones, never a problem...
     
    46international likes this.
  24. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I called the junkyard. They don't have what I need..
     
  25. doug3968
    Joined: Sep 13, 2014
    Posts: 38

    doug3968
    Member

     
  26. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,160

    squirrel
    Member

    I think the last time I found a tilt van column in a junkyard was 1998
     
  27. doug3968
    Joined: Sep 13, 2014
    Posts: 38

    doug3968
    Member

    about the only column that I would use is a Saginaw tilt that does not use a chip key. use to be a real trick to stop the wobble in well used columns, it was hard find any female torx sockets. Had to buy a whole set for the one size I needed. Try a pick-a-part for a column. So, while the tilt is in the car, give it a good shake, if there is ANY sloppiness, pass on it. Unfortunately this list only goes to 76, I'd bet it might go to 86 or so. Have 5 vehicles here, all with tilt, when the old school 31 is done, it will have a tilt that is well disguised.
    1964-’76 AMC
    1961-’76 Cadillac, including
    1963-’76 Eldorado
    1964-’76 Buick and Pontiac full-size cars and Riviera
    1973-’76 Regal
    1975-’76 Skyhawk, Seville, Monza and Starfire
    1965-’76 Chevrolet full-size cars
    1967-’76 Camaro and 1968-’76 Nova
    1964-’76 Chevelle, Cutlass, GTO, Grand Prix, Lemans, Ventura and Tempest
    1971-’76 Vega and 1975 Pontiac Astre
    1960-’76 Oldsmobile full-size cars including 1966-’76 Tornado
    1971-’76 Jeep Cherokee, Wagoneer, Gladiator and J-series pickups
    1972-’75 International Scout and Traveler
     
  28. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,586

    goldmountain

    I'll go back to what I said the last time. Since your current column is from a '78 Grand Prix and the GM intermediate body of those years is basically the same, they all use the same columns. These are the cars: 1978 to 1986 Grand Prix, Grand Am, Malibu,Monte Carlo,Cutlass Supreme and Buick Regal. Find a car with column shift and a key. Other than the shift lever, it is the same in every other aspect as the current column in the car. Buy the column. Go look in a similar vintage Mopar product with a tilt column. These use a similar GM column but have a gearshift indicator. Buy the PRND2L thing and make a pointer out of plastic or wood to glue onto the column after you hook up the linkage to the transmission. About the only things that go bad with these columns is what everyone else has mentioned. The 4 bolts under the tilt knuckle get loose. If you find the correct column and if it is loose, take it to someone who knows how to take it apart to tighten up the bolts, and it should be fine.
     
  29. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,937

    LM14
    Member Emeritus
    from Iowa

    Ididit or Flaming River are the only 2 aftermarket columns with metal in the tilt mechanism, all the others are plastic. Both use GM wiring. I prefer Ididit and that's all I will buy now. You get what you pay for. I have had horn wire issues with a new Flaming River (honked when you tilted the column or turned right, stripped wire from original assembly process) and when I talked to them about it they didn't seem surprised or any too excited to make it right. I feel Ididit is a better company.

    Forget the key in the column and it gets a lot easier. Think you will find most aftermarket columns are 2-1/4 or 2-1/2" with shift.

    The last one I bought (Ididit, tilt shift anyway, have bought non tilt since then) I found the part number I wanted and found the exact same one on Amazon for $385 less than the name brand catalog I got my info out of. I gave $520 for the column, turn signal shift and tilt arms and flasher knob and that included shipping. Almost half price. I bought paintable steel but you can also get them powder coated, stainless or chrome. Only thing to watch out for is how they measure length compared to how you measured it and some don't include the tilt or turn signal arms (several options on styles is why). For almost any of them you will need to buy the gear indicator that matches your trany.

    SPark

    100_3761.JPG 100_3887.JPG 100_3907.JPG
     
  30. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 671

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I already have my wiring all plugged up for the connectors used on the GM column. I want the key in the column. Getting old now. Can't remember how to wire a ignition switch. My Brother told me ididit, or Flaming River. Nothing off ebay, and nothing from a junkyard. You can't see what is going on inside the column. Besides. I would have to pull the column from the donor car or truck. As far as tilt goes. When I put the column in the first time. There was no floor there. I had to kind of guess where it needed to go. I bet it is not in the right location. In order to get it to fit right. I could just go with a lower drop. As far as the junkyard goes. There are no signs on the cars as to what year they are. I did find that blemish column at Flaming River. Only bad part is. No returns, and no warenty with it. I could see if there are any deals at ididit. Whatever I do find. I will need to know. How do you hook up the Neutral Safety Switch??
     

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