Rebuilding the Steering Column

The rust in the drivers kick board and firewall extended up to just below the steering column hole. I needed more room to work so I decided to remove the steering column tube. Whilst doing this I found a possible reason the horn didn’t work. Loose screws and connectors in the turn signal assembly!

The wheel was removed and then the steering shaft nut. Then the Grant horn plates & adapter hub before cutting (and labelling) all the wiring from the column. After removing the U bracket (holding the shaft to the bottom of the console) I was able to slide the entire tube up and out.

I then removed the two screws which allowed the ‘cup’ to be removed before pulling the cables up and out of the top of the column. I’m replacing the entire mechanism but will probably keep the under dash wiring. The inside of the shaft had grease and the remains of the old column seal which I removed before using a wire brush to get the worst of it out.

You can see the bushing in the picture above. It seems ok but as I’m this deep in I will replace it also. I’ve noticed that the two bolts have square heads which seem to lock the cover in place.

After sanding the column & cover I coated everything in rust inhibitor before a coat of primer and finally a few coats of Antique Heirloom & clear gloss.

Installing the turn signal assembly went a lot smoother than I thought. The new cables slide easily through the tube and out of the opening. I did forget to put the ‘cup’ on the shaft first so I had to remove the wires but they went through easily the second time also.

The upper bracket and the main bracket were sanded and painted. I then used a thin strip of the sound deadening material inside the bracket so that the main column wouldn’t get scratched to pieces.

I was able to install the rubber firewall gasket and the metal securing bracket with three screws (slightly different locations than stock) before sliding the column down the steering shaft and through the firewall gasket. The main bracket was reinstalled and hey presto the column is back in the car!

Reconnecting the wiring was a bit of a headache but with a bit of trial and error (no one wants the horn to sound when indicating right!) and google I was able to reconnect all the wiring correctly. I was very pleased to also be able to connect it back up using the correct wire connector blocks which I had ordered from VP. I also tidied up the wiring by covering it all in cloth wrap.

I’m now dealing with the horn. What a pain in the ass!

I have a Grant (no comment!) steering wheel & horn assembly. If you google this you will find loads of people cursing these. Not only are they extremely difficult to get working they can also be dangerous!

I realised I had some sort of problem when I hooked up the battery and could hear clicking which I believe were the flasher units under the dash. Even though the horn wasn’t hooked up, the two spring connectors (you can see these in the right hand picture above) were shorting against the steering column cup. I tried to adjust this by pushing the column futher through the firewall, which seemed to work. But as soon as I put the steering wheel on the horn would sound if I turned the wheel to the left!

I’ve ordered a new horn assembly off of ebay (same make) just to see if I can get this to work. If not, I’ll have to fork out a load more cash on a decent wheel & horn assembly. To get it to the point where I could at least use the steering wheel I used electrical tape and taped up both connectors.

Update: The new adapter plate arrived but I had the same issues with clearance and the horn sounding when moving the wheel. After more research I found that a lot of people have used a GT Performance 3 bolt hub kit to resolve these issues, so I have one on order.

The new GT Performance hub arrived and right away I can see the advantages over the original Grant type. There is an outter piece that allowed me to alter the distance between the touch plate and the turn signal posts. I had hoped that my original horn button would work but soon discovered that I needed a new one so I ordered a GT Performance one.

Once it arrived it didn’t take long to fit it and after a few minor tweaks the horn is now working well. This is the first time the horn has worked since I have owned the car.

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