Steering Column
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The best way to restore anything is to first take it all apart and the steering column is no exception. I dissembled the parts and then cleaned and painted the ones that needed it and then laid it all out for reassembly. The outer shaft is painted in black suede paint from MoPaints and is the correct texture. For those of you with different color interiors, MPpaints makes exact matches for all the trim colors. They are listed in my links page.
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I got the steering coupler rebuild kit from Mopar and it included all the parts with the green arrow. The fit and finish of this kit is very good except the original rubber seal was black not orange like supplied in the kit as show by the purple arrows. Since my original seal was in perfect shape I was able to re-use it and all was well. It is a good idea to lay out all the parts to speed up the reassembly.
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The main shaft slides through the nylon sleeve at the bottom and then through the outer shaft up to where the wheel will mount to it. A little grease here will make it smooth as butter. When it is all aligned and seated screw the nylon collar to the outer shaft and this end is buttoned up.
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Here both the collar and the turn signal ring have been treated to MoPaints suede finish and are now ready to re-install to the shaft. The lower collar locks onto the shaft then the upper ring bolts to the lower and the entire assembly is secured. It takes a few times until you figure out what the Hell they were thinking when they designed this system as it sure seems more difficult than necessary. Before you snug down the bolts make sure your turn signal wire loom is passing through in the correct position and will not get pinched.
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After twisting the lower collar tight then slip the top ring onto the collar and make sure the "T" bolt heads catch the slots in the lower shaft as pictured by the arrow. Before this step I also cleaned and lubricated the turn signal switch and verified that it functioned correctly. Tighten up the bolts and this is ready to go into the car.
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The collapsible section of the steering column is covered with a plastic sleeve that is held on by three wraps of electrical tape. Pretty high-tech isn't it?
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Slip the mounting plate over the lower column then the foam gasket and have someone pass it through the firewall and slip the rebuilt coupler (purple arrow) over the input shaft on the steering box. A word of caution here that it is important to note that the coupler and the steering box are indexed with a thick tooth on the shaft and coupler. Any attempt to hammer it on will result in a damaged spline. To ensure that this does not happen just rotate the steering box end stop to end stop and find the center place the box at center and look at the splines. The larger tooth on the box's shaft should be centered in the up position. Now check the coupler and you will see the larger space for this larger tooth and they will line up and slide right in then. After the coupler is seated, drive the drift pin through the coupler seating it on the shaft and you are done.
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After the coupler is assembled and seated then bolt the firewall plate on and bolt the lower support up and the column is finished. Make sure to run the ground wire from the column to the dash to ensure the turn signals work.
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A trial fit with the restored steering wheel showed me everything is good so it is on to another fun task in the resto.