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Discussion Starter #1
Hi and thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Can not remove old or install new steering column mounting plate since flange (near rag joint) is too big. Is there a way to remove the flange from the steering column? This is the plate at the firewall where the steering column passes through. Need manual plate to upper clutch rod can pass through as well in the correct way with the boot and all.

I am converting an automatic 66 gto to a manual and wish to change out the steering column mounting plate. I already purchased a one piece steering column mounting plate. I was able to remove the column in one piece. Had remove the upper control arm out of the way to allow flange room to move since the headers were in the way.

Now I have a steering column with the old automatic column mounting plate and wish to change it to a manual column mounting plate (Plan A). Have searched the web with no answers. Also, searched for complete disassembly of column but no luck there either. I see there's a 2 piece manual column mounting plate but it looks bulky. But that's plan B should it be too difficult to swap the mounting plate (manual for automatic).

Please help with a solution for plan A. Thanks
 

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Not sure what you are describing. Pictures would help us. On my '68, the steering column for a floor shift or column shift is the same.

The column goes through the floor/firewall which is a 2-piece plate that acts as a clamp that goes around the base of the column to hold it secure and 3-4 screws that hold the plate down to the firewall. There is a plastic cover that goes over the 2-piece plate to make it more attractive and you don't see the 2-piece plate.

The rag-joint flange remains with the lower steering shaft, but could be removed if needed, but you should not need to do this. The plate removal is what you want and then pull the column up though the firewall and out.

The 1966 Factory Service Manual should show all this I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi PontiacJim, Seems the 2 piece plate you have is an after market. That's my plan B. I am hoping to install an original looking plate. Please see photos showing steering column with old automatic plate and other photos showing a manual plate I hope to install once I gain that knowledge. Thanks Lee
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Below are photos of the manual plate I hope to install
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Discussion Starter #4
PS. So how do I go about removing the flange. Is it possible. There is no bolt on the flange. Is it threaded on, pressed on or other? Do I have to take entire column apart from the top?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
PS2. I do have the 1966 Service Manual and it does not describe how to disassemble the steering column to remove the shaft or how to remove the flange. And the diagrams of the steering column do not seem to show the manual column that I have (page 9-6) since it has a bolt on flange. My column does not have a bolt on flange. So I am lost.
 

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OK, different thn my '68. Here is a photo of the base of the steering column where I see the shaft has the bolt/nut and clamp. The shaft is splined on my '68.

The first photo shows how the '68 lower steering shaft is attached with a swivel joint, but you can see how it clamps on, similar to yours. The second photo shows the '68 splined end on the left where the clamp/swivel joint attaches. The right is an aftermarket tilt column I am installing which uses the Double-D steel shaft.

So I believe you should be able to loosen/remove the bolt and then tap the lower shaft off and pull the firewall plate off/slip on.

Let me know if that does it. If not, I'll dig around in my books and see if I can find something. 03.JPG 04.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I did remove the clamp around the shaft near the firewall but that did nothing. And under the clamp was just the shaft so it seemed the clamp was only used to position the shaft length. Photos 1 and 2 show the clamp. I will take more photos tomorrow of the clamp area and with clamp moved away from original location. Your column seems straight forward to disassemble. It's driving me crazy since I do not want to damage the column. Thanks for your help with this so far.
 

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I did remove the clamp around the shaft near the firewall but that did nothing. And under the clamp was just the shaft so it seemed the clamp was only used to position the shaft length. Photos 1 and 2 show the clamp. I will take more photos tomorrow of the clamp area and with clamp moved away from original location. Your column seems straight forward to disassemble. It's driving me crazy since I do not want to damage the column. Thanks for your help with this so far.
No photos show up if you included any? I looked through my Restoration Guide which shows the column in its exploded view. It does not show specifically, where the lower steering shaft separates.

It does show the rag-joint flange, and in my diagrams, the rag-joint is splined on the inside which fits over the splines on the lower steering shaft, and the rag-joint has a bolt/nut that tightens to keep it clamped. So in this case, the rag-joint would be the piece removed to allow your firewall plate to slip off.

In my diagrams, it does mention the clamp/bolt you speak of to be used to get the needed steering column dimensions.

Another diagram shows the column and looks more as yours, but doesn't show a good enough diagram as to where the lower steering shaft releases. Look up inside the column where the clamp/bolt is. Is there a spring clip of any kind? You may have to clean it up real good to see it. I think I recall a member finding this, but can't recall what year it was - and my memory may be off, but look around to see if that is it.
 

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As you have found the Flange on the '66 shaft is welded on and the lower firewall cover is a slip fit that requires removal of the Steering Wheel, Singal Lever, Signal Switch,
Switch Assembly Cover (CUP) with these parts removed the collar/plate can then be slid over onto the column tube.
I choose to leave all this off while re-installing the column back into the cabin.

Your cover appears to be missing the rubber insulator which makes it a tight sealed fit around the lower column.
Using your 1966 service manual will be advised if you have not removed the parts outlined before.
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Here is the Exploded Schematic of the Column showing all the parts.

The second view highlights the parts related to what you'll need to remove.

Cheers.
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Discussion Starter #11
WOW. Thanks. That makes sense. Thought the flange may had been welded on. Seems like a lot of disassembly that may be fun. But in the process there's a risk of breaking something that I can not get a replacement for. If my column had a problem I may go that way. But my column works great other than needing the manual plate since I am converting to a 4 speed car. Think I may just go with the 2 piece plate. And I did buy a new seal already.

Related question. Seems the firewall hole is not big enough for the plate I purchased. Seems clutch rod boot will not fit. Should I be using a different plate (3rd photo posted yesterday)? Do I need to cut the firewall? Or am I just wrong and plate and boot that I have will fit. Been searching on line for a clear photo of a 66 manual car that shows that area. I have posted a photo of my firewall below. My car was originally an automatic.

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Using a split cover is a less intrusive way to go and/or cutting/slicing just the bottom of an OE should allow you to twist it enough to work it past the flange.
As far as the stamped/punched opening in the firewall there is no variation AT to MT its just a close fitment, so your good.
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Thanks GTOJUNIOR for the help. The confusing part is seen in the diagram, the rag-joint flange has a splined fit with bolt/nut. Never seen that on any cars. The other diagram looked like it may have separated at the large cylinder like collar above the firewall plate. Not clear and somewhat confusing. My '68 was straight forward and easy to separate the lower steering column section.

If it was me,because the plate will essentially be covered by the plastic cover inside the car, I would have pulled out my die grinder/cut-off wheel and sliced a cut in the firewall plate to get it off the lower shaft. Then cut a slice in the new one to install. Once bolted up, run a bead of epoxy on the cut, let dry and sand smooth, then paint to hide. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks GTOJUNIOR and PontiacJim for your valuable information. I was lost without it!!!

Think I am 1st going to try to cut the clutch rod hole into the auto plate while on the column. If that fails then just cut it off and they try cutting manual plate just enough to go over the flange. If I mess that up then I will go with the 2 piece plate. At least now I understand what needs to be done and know the firewall hole is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
SUCCESS!!! Was able to cut existing automatic steering column mounting plate from while on the column to make the hole for the clutch rod and boot. I clamped the boot plate in place and sprayed painted the part to cut with white paint. Then I was going to use a drill and drill starter holes but decided to use my dremel 4300 with metal cutting blade to cut various spots so I could insert my jig saw. I just took my time and the hole was opened and pretty clean cut. Then a file to clean up any rough edges. A little more minor clean up and then paint and install column back into the car. Below is the photo of the mounting plate after cutting showing the clutch rod boot retainer plate in white; over spray.

This forum is the best!!! Not only did I get GREAT advice, it gave me time to pause and think of other options.

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