Installing the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the Hot Rod
The build of the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod is progressing well. Now it is time to install / mount the steering column that I removed from the 1986 C4 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible into the 1929 Ford hot rod. The Corvette is an outstanding car to use as a donor vehicle. So much of the car can be easily used in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. It was like the GM Corvette engineers and designers had hot rodders in mind when they designed the Corvette.
In my quest of keeping the build cost of the hot rod to a minimum, I made a list of all parts that could be used or would like to use. Many years ago, I came across a deal that I could not resist. It was a Model T Ford steering column with a steering wheel in perfect condition. The Model T steering column was complete but needed to be restored. That was no problem for me. After fitting the Model T Ford steering column inside the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, and comparing it to the fit of the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column a decision was made. I decided to go with the Corvette steering column as it would go more with my theme of having a C4 Corvette disguised or cloaked as a Model A Ford. What I liked most was that the Corvette steering column has a telescoping and tilt features. Since I am 6 foot 4 inches tall, these features cannot be overlooked, as they will make it easier to get in and out of the hot rod. Not wanting to keep parts that I do not currently need, I sold the Model T Ford steering column for a tidy profit. I’m not sure how this happens all of the time, but I have been extremely lucky with a net gain in the sales of car parts. I believe it’s all due to my honest marketing techniques.
Below are the steps I used to install or mount the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.
Step 1: Floor mount brackets for the Corvette steering columns are fabricated using 0.125 inch plate steel. One will be welded to the bottom or the steering column and the other will be mounted on the bottom side of the front floor panel. The bracket mounted to the bottom side of the front floor panel will also have three 0.25 inch threaded inserts attached to it. To attach the threaded inserts, a special tool is required. I have worn out two of these tools using it for various jobs on the hot rod. With the outlet that sold me this threaded insert replacing the tool every time it wears out or breaks, I am finding it difficult to spend more money on a much better one.
Step 2: A new bracket for the upper end of the steering column is made. This bracket will also get welded to the Corvette steering column. I decided to use the original top steering column mounting bracket on the 1928-31 Model A Ford fuel tank.
Step 3: A trial fit of the newly made brackets temporarily mounted to the Corvette steering column is necessary. This will ensure the proper position of the steering column in the 1929 Ford hot rod. As they say, measure twice, cut once.
Step 4: The 1986 C4 Corvette steering column has a few different diameters of metal tubing along the length of the steering column. To tidy this up, I decided to fit a piece of 2.5 inch exhaust tubing over the Corvette steering column. This was a tight fit, and a bit of a job to slip it over the Corvette steering column.
Step 5: The upper and lower steering column bracket are now welded to the Corvette steering column. It is very important to make sure the brackets are in the same position as found in step 3.
Step 6: The newly modified Corvette steering column was cleaned, primed, and sealed. As expected, the steering column fit perfectly in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.
Step 7: There are a number of wires that exit the top of the steering column. These look rather unsightly and need to be hidden. I discovered that slicing a section of 1.5 inch square steel tubing would cover the wires. What I was interested in doing was to hide the wires from a line of sight view when standing beside the roadster or while sitting inside the roadster. This worked out much better than expected. I used a 0.25 inch bolt to attach this new wire cover to the steering column.
Step 8: This was the most frustrating part of the entire job. I found that having so much of the steering column dismantled, that the inner shaft inside the column started moving around on me. This movement resulted in several small ball bearings inside the steering column to fall out. Fortunately I found all of the ball bearings. Using a bit of grease to hold the ball bearing in place, and after a few choice words, everything was successfully reassembled. What was most frustrating about all of this was that the manuals I used to disassemble and reassemble the steering column had very poor diagrams of the entire assembly. This also included the official GM Corvette service manual. In the end it all worked out.
In my next post, I will show how I converted the keyed ignition switch, to a keyless, LED backlit engine start switch for only a few dollars and a bit of time.
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This entry was posted
on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 at 7:13 pm and is filed under A Steering Column for the Hot Rod.
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