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Post by crice63 on Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:27 pm

I have a nice tilt column, guess it's time to put it in with the new dash. It came out of a blue interior car, so it needs to change to black. I was thinking to powder coat it to make it uniform and more scratch resistant. Anybody ever done that? Would I need to remove all the tilt mechanisms? Can that be done? I haven't broken it down yet. The S10 columns can be broken down to all metal, so I was just guessing it could be done for these as they are pretty similar.

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Post by Tom Kochevar on Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:54 pm

Do it. I used a paint product that is usually for rust preventive for frames and other undercarrage stuff, but you could see brushmarks. I was mostly worried about scrapes from the keys and ignition, but if you have it powder-coated, it will look great! I would go with a satin black.

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Post by crice63 on Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:13 pm

I called a place today and he said they'd do it if the column was down to metal only. $60. I was thinking a satin black too, don't want it too shiny, but not dull either. I'll get it out tonight it Thursday to see about breaking it down.

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Post by Mcarlo77 on Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:36 pm

I found this great tutorial several yrs ago on Olds forum that detailed how to disassemble a tilt strg column.  Might come in handy.

http://www.buickperformanceclub.com/tiltsteeringcolumnwobble.htm
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Post by crice63 on Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:56 am

Very helpful link. He shows how to remove the lower bearings, which would be good to do before powder coating I think. I have some experience with steering columns because a few years ago I built my S10 tilt column out of about 3 different columns. Also when I first got the Elco I had a I blinker problem and swapped out my blinker switch for an S10 one I had. They were identical, even down to wire colors, except for a 1/4" difference in the two plugs at the bottom. So I unpinned the S10 plug and swapped in the Elco plug, no problem.

I started tearing my salvage column down tonight, there is more rust under the bottom collars than I thought, so I hope it will still be good.

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Post by SSTOOLMAN on Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:24 pm

I work in a facility with a very large powder paint line that runs 3 shifts. The only problem you might have is if they go too thick.  Check the clearance of the rotating parts/gear shift to the tilt action, if its close to touching it might rub with the powder paint. Our typical part has 2mm to 4 mm (on the high end) thickness of paint.
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Post by builtnotbought on Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:10 pm

I disassembled all the column and colormatched it to body. The hardest thing was to take off the upper ring that holds everything together and after rebuild to compress everything back together without spec tools =)
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Post by crice63 on Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:08 pm

I've got everything apart except the shift tube. How did you get it out? It looks like the shift arm needs to come off but I don't see how.

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Post by crice63 on Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:11 am

Well, I figured it out. You can tap the tube out at the top. I'll give a fuller report later.

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Post by builtnotbought on Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:58 am

I have non tilt column so may be system is slightly different. Everything goes apart, may be some extra effort needed.
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Post by crice63 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:58 pm

Updates and questions:

I managed to tear the column all the way down to constituent pieces, a little challenging to this non-engineer. To summarize, the color parts look powder coat-able, but the long exterior shaft is not--it has nylon holding the two pieces together for collapsability, as does the shift tube.

question: I somehow, and I still don't know how, seem to have flattened one side of the lower bowl.

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You can see on the right of the top view the slightly flattened side, and it's also clear when I partly reassemble the shell, that it looks distorted. I did not put this part in a vise, I did not drop it, sit on it, or step on it. In my earlier pic of the column it does not appear distorted at that point (With the closeup view on Flickr I can see the slight flaw there but not a flattened area). WTF? Anyway, I'm wondering how to reshape this before coating it. I banged on it with a hammer and dolly for a while but didn't get anywhere I don't think. I can't get any leverage because I don't want to put the thing in a vise. Or maybe it's supposed to be flat there? But I doubt it.

My other casualty was the parking pawl. It was stuck in the slot by corrosion, and I bent it while beating it on the bottom. I got it out by beating down on the top. I went into my S10 part supply and found a pawl--it's the non bent one on the left (of course). They are nearly identical--S10 has a slight ridge about half-inch down and a slightly smaller diameter below that. It fits into the hole just like the stock one, though, so I'm thinking it will work. If anyone has one they can part with, PM me, I'd pay the postage on it. If the tilt and non-tilt pawls are the same, I will just use my existing one. Also, 73 columns may be different from 74-5. Lots of similarities, but I can see at least the the 73 has the metal cover that screws on and 74 up has the plastic cover that snaps on, so one difference at least. Maybe I will take the 73 nontilt apart to compare internals.

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Post by crice63 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:43 pm

Here are some pics. First of all, once the key cylinder, starting gears, parking pawl and tilt spring are removed, just a sharp downward blow on the top of the center shaft brought it out.

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Then you can unscrew the 4 E9 torx bolts and lift the top bearing housing off the tilt ball. The internal race for the top bearing came off when I tapped the shaft out, and the internal race for the bottom bearing stayed on the shaft, looks like it might not come off and I didn't try. Luckily there was enough grease in both mine that the nylon holders didn't fall off and release any balls. Despite the grease everything is pretty grungy in there so I will try to clean and regrease before reassembly.

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From the bottom view you can see two black rubber pads at the top and a round clear/white pad at bottom left. Those had to come out. Also since the bearings had nylon parts I tapped them out--getting them back in will be fun. That should have been all the non-metal parts, but just to be complete I tapped the roll spring from the tilt lever (and removed a small spring under its far end) and the pin for the tilt locks, and the springs under them. The tilt locks are also within a millimeter or less of being identical to the early S10 ones. I can derust that tilt lever.

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The base for the deal, in the lower shift bowl, is held in by a clip. After it is removed, the flange there is loose and can be maneuvered off by some clever geometric imaginings, like one of those puzzles. Once it was off I could see that the internal shift tube was held in basically by an indentation that snaps into place. A couple sharp blows downward brought it out. Then I could see that probably one could bang it out without having removed the puzzle piece. But that separated all the remaining parts.

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The two parts of the lower external column are held together by a nylon shim, so that part can't be powder coated. Considering the amount of trouble it has been so far, especially with the bearings, I would suggest painting as a better alternative. Now that I've come this far, though, I am taking the parts to the shop and see what can be done. Plus, a complete rebuild should last better in the long run.

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Post by crice63 on Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:59 pm

A question: What grease should be used to repack this column when the time comes. I've got three kinds on my shelf now--I'm thinking the bearing grease is right?

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One addition: On getting the parts together to take to the powder coater, I noticed a small removable part that had paint on it. So I removed it and put it in the box to go.

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I took them all in and he said he will just blast and prime the two columns with nylon in them, round out my little flat spot, and coat everything else. We will see!

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