Pontiac GTO Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1966 LeMans manual steering. I need to remove the steering shaft between the gearbox and firewall. I loosened the clamp on the shaft where the column comes through the firewall and a dozen or so ball bearings fell out so apparently I need to replace the bearing at the end of the column as well. I referenced my chassis shop manual but it’s no help and even the exploded view of the column leaves a lot to be desired. Part of my being stumped is not understanding how this shaft is connected (I’m assuming) to another shaft in the column.

Can anyone tell me how to remove the under hood shaft without removing the complete column? Also what is the name of the bearing that came apart so I can order a replacement?

This picture shows the clamp I loosened and slid down the shaft. The bearing race is sitting on top of it. You can actually see a few bearings that fell out on top of the frame below.

TIA for any assistance.

Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Automotive exterior Automotive tire Vehicle
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You need to unbolt the rag joint at the gearbox input shaft and remove the whole column as a unit from inside the car. Then you can address the bearings, etc. Not really doable in-car.
Ugh. Not what I was expecting or wanted to hear. It sounds like I’m going to be doing a first-time project. Any words of advice for a novice at this? It’s a 4 speed stick so no transmission linkage is involved.
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
If you are dead set against removing the column, you can LOOSEN the bolts that secure the gearbox to the frame in order to get enough "wiggle room" to separate the rag joint and maybe then separate the joint you were trying to get at originally. Looks like you loosened the bolt that holds in the bearing race instead the one you should have been working with (the bolt the race is now resting on), but you wouldn't have been able to separate that one without first disconnecting the rag joint anyway. IF you can find all the little balls, you might be able to put it back together by cleaning them and the race, then "sticking" them onto the race after smearing them and the race with some heavy grease. Could be tricky because since you pulled the race out you'll have to put it back in so that it's secure enough to hold the balls in but not so much that it creates a bunch of drag on the bearing. I don't know if the bearing with balls is available as a separate part.

Bear
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
If you are dead set against removing the column, you can LOOSEN the bolts that secure the gearbox to the frame in order to get enough "wiggle room" to separate the rag joint and maybe then separate the joint you were trying to get at originally. Looks like you loosened the bolt that holds in the bearing race instead the one you should have been working with (the bolt the race is now resting on), but you wouldn't have been able to separate that one without first disconnecting the rag joint anyway. IF you can find all the little balls, you might be able to put it back together by cleaning them and the race, then "sticking" them onto the race after smearing them and the race with some heavy grease. Could be tricky because since you pulled the race out you'll have to put it back in so that it's secure enough to hold the balls in but not so much that it creates a bunch of drag on the bearing. I don't know if the bearing with balls is available as a separate part.

Bear
The only bolt I loosened was the one on the clamp, which is the same one the race is resting on in the picture. There aren’t any other bolts at the top of the shaft. The clamp was holding the bearing in place and it came apart when I moved the clamp down the shaft. I found a replacement bearing at both Ames and OPGI.

I realize I need to disconnect the rag joint. I was starting at the column end first to see if I could see how to disconnect that end of the shaft with the clamp removed. I still can’t see how things are assembled to separate that end and have started researching it.

All of this is caused by having to replace the starter! The car has headers that need to be loosened to provide room for starter R&R and the steering shaft is preventing access to one of the header bolts on the #2 cylinder. A real PITA situation.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
There are threads on here dealing with this

Got mine from OPGI and it is about a 1/16 to small and takes a snap ring , called them and the guy said they don’t make the ones that mount with 2 bolts

Depends on how handy you are but the one they sell can be made to work
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There are threads on here dealing with this

Got mine from OPGI and it is about a 1/16 to small and takes a snap ring , called them and the guy said they don’t make the ones that mount with 2 bolts

Depends on how handy you are but the one they sell can be made to work
Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll do my due diligence before ordering.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
If the ball bearings fell out then the bearing assembly has fallen apart. That's what happened to mine and the replacement piece retained the bearings. I purchased a replacement unit off ebay from a guy marketing an Oldsmobile piece that was an exact duplicate for the one that was in my Pontiac steering column. The one sold by Ames Performance was different and for a later model and did not fit well.
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
The only bolt I loosened was the one on the clamp, which is the same one the race is resting on in the picture. There aren’t any other bolts at the top of the shaft. The clamp was holding the bearing in place and it came apart when I moved the clamp down the shaft. I found a replacement bearing at both Ames and OPGI
.
My bad, I just assumed...

I realize I need to disconnect the rag joint. I was starting at the column end first to see if I could see how to disconnect that end of the shaft with the clamp removed. I still can’t see how things are assembled to separate that end and have started researching it.
All of this is caused by having to replace the starter! The car has headers that need to be loosened to provide room for starter R&R and the steering shaft is preventing access to one of the header bolts on the #2 cylinder. A real PITA situation.
Aren't headers fun?
Once you get the starter out, it might be a good time to consider switching to an aftermarket mini-starter. I love the one I have, from RobbMC, and I can R&R it with without having to mess with the header. Another plus is that the solenoid is fully 'clockable'. I have mine rotated down and close to the side of the oil pan to get it as far away from the header heat as possible.

Bear
 

· Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
I just went through my steering column. If the ball bearings fell out, then your race is no good and I dont think you can just put them back and hope for the best. I think your only solution at this point is to take the whole shaft out. If the white housing is good, then the bearing recommended by GTOJunior is the one you want. The one that Ames sells will not work, it isn't even a bearing. I've seen used ones on Ebay also. I was able to clean mine up and regrease it, so if you find a good used one, you may be OK by just cleaning it up.
 

· Premium Member
Cameo Ivory 1967
Joined
·
5,311 Posts
All of this is caused by having to replace the starter! The car has headers that need to be loosened to provide room for starter R&R and the steering shaft is preventing access to one of the header bolts on the #2 cylinder. A real PITA situation.
Congratulations. You passed the initiation. You now know the joys of Pontiac ownership.

Ive had leaking header gaskets, since 1989... you're not the only one who cant get at those bolts.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I really appreciate everyone’s comments and guidance. I’m going to pull the column and get it on the bench. Googling part number 7802845 in GTOJunior’s post shows the reproduction bearing available from a number of sources but haven’t found OEM or NOS yet, which I’d greatly prefer. While the column is out I’ll tackle the headers and starter. I had already begun looking at the option of a mini-starter.

Thanks again and don’t be surprised if I’m back with more questions!
 

· 64-67 Expert
Joined
·
9,659 Posts
The only bolt I loosened was the one on the clamp, which is the same one the race is resting on in the picture. There aren’t any other bolts at the top of the shaft. The clamp was holding the bearing in place and it came apart when I moved the clamp down the shaft. I found a replacement bearing at both Ames and OPGI.

I realize I need to disconnect the rag joint. I was starting at the column end first to see if I could see how to disconnect that end of the shaft with the clamp removed. I still can’t see how things are assembled to separate that end and have started researching it.

All of this is caused by having to replace the starter! The car has headers that need to be loosened to provide room for starter R&R and the steering shaft is preventing access to one of the header bolts on the #2 cylinder. A real PITA situation.
You never have to move the steering shaft to work with header bolts or headers. You should ALWAYS remove the motor mount cross bolt and simply raise the engine up with a padded floor jack. 5 minute job.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top