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Project #Backpay Part: 2
Upgrading the Steering Column
BY Jason ChandlerPhotography BY THE AUTHOR

roject #backpay is the latest truck to go under construction from the guys at AMD. In the last article, we covered the install of the Classic Performance Products (CPP) power steering conversion. It went in with ease and is something you should definitely check out. Here we will be addressing the top end of the steering equation: the steering column.

Now, the original steering column wasn’t in bad shape when we started. However, it did need some work. With the cost to rebuild the stock column compared to the cost of the CPP column, plus the added benefits to the new unit, we chose to swap it out.

The classic trucks we love are more than transportation. The feeling you get rolling down the street is hard to explain to the uninitiated. They differ from their modern counterparts and the nostalgia they bring it second to none. They do have their limitations but with the help of companies like CPP, you can make up those limitations with each product CPP offers. The original steering column, for example, doesn’t allow for tilt and can be a bit crowding to the driver. Doing a swap to CPP’s Premium Classic Fit Tilt Steering Column for GM trucks was a no-brainer. CPP offers a huge selection of steering, brake, and suspension solutions for classic GM, Ford, and Mopar trucks.

We start the second part of this install with the fresh steering box ready to go. Follow along and see how easy it is to do this all on your own.

brand new steering column out of box
1. Following up with the complete power steering box and pump install last issue, this month we finish things off with CPP’s Premium Classic Fit Tilt Steering Column for first-gen C10 trucks.
steering wheel with white paint thats been flaking off
2. We’ll get started on the inside for the initial R&R. The once-restored steering column is showing signs of poor prepwork when it was repainted. Let’s get it out of there.
old parking brake handle
old rusty parking brake handle
3-4. Removing the parking brake handle will make room to get to the column bracket; lay the parking brake handle to the side for the time being.
inner firewall heat shield
5. Although often already discarded, the original inner firewall heat shield will need to be removed if still present. With the heat shield removed, this gives you full access to the firewall cover plate.
removing large cover plate and clamp
6. Remove the large cover plate and the clamp that secures the column to the dash. It’s best to leave the bolts in the column clamp loosely in place until you are ready to remove the column.
bolt on column clamp
7. Now, let’s move or focus out underhood to remove the bolt on the column clamp.
inner firewall plate
8. Next, remove the inner firewall plate and unplug the harnesses from the stock steering column.
aged metal steering wheel
9. With the column free, we remove the cover plate and lower the column with the steering wheel resting on the seat.
bolts holding column
column removed from firewall
10-11. Remove the bolts for the column support bracket on the firewall, then push the steering column firewall gasket through and rotate the steering linkage arms. Remove the column and set aside.
steering wheel removed
12. While it is handy, we remove the steering wheel from the original column as we will be reinstalling it on the new column after we’ve installed that in the truck.
brand new steering column
13. The CPP kit comes complete with everything you need to install it; it even arrives in a custom hard case to prevent damage during shipping.
close up of u-joint
tightening u-joint with small wrench
14-15. First, install the CPP-supplied U-joint on the new column. Tighten the setscrew on the U-joint now as it will be more difficult to get to once installed.
new rag joint
16. As mentioned, the CPP kit comes complete: a new rag joint made just for this application is also included.
tightening rag joint with wrench
17. Install the rag joint onto the supplied intermediate shaft. Tightening now is much easier than under the truck.
installing shaft assembly
18. Then install the shaft assembly onto the steering box input shaft and tighten the 12-point bolt.
wires and column in firewall
19. With the new column slid in place, we reinstall the upper firewall column bracket; be careful not to scratch the new column up on the firewall hole (using painter’s tape on the end of the column tube is a good preventative measure!).
new column fitted into place
20. With the firewall clamp in place, you can install the new firewall gasket. We secured the retainer using sheetmetal screws.
column cover plate
21. After a quick cleanup and coat of paint, reinstall the column cover plate.
factory harness
22. The factory harness doesn’t match the new column harness as it is for a ’67-72 C10. We reached out to American Autowire for a plug-and-play solution.
close up of adapter
23-24. The new adaptor plugs directly into the column harness and the truck harness perfectly.
measuring space between shaft and column
measuring metal rod
25-26. With the column in place, we need to measure the length for the new double-D connector shaft. It will need enough distance to collapse in case of a collision. Our shaft should be right about 8 inches for proper clearance.
cutting metal rod with grinder
27. After transferring your measurement to the new shaft, a cut-off wheel makes quick work of the task; clean up any burrs before final installation.
dd shaft and u joint fully connected and assembled
28. Slide the DD shaft into the new intermediate shaft and lead the new shaft into the U-joint and set the setscrews using an Allen wrench. For added safety, remove the joints and using a drill dimple the areas where the Allen setscrews contact the shaft; reassemble and tighten accordingly.
column fully assembled
29. The new CPP column comes complete with turn signal cam, horn button, and all the hardware. Torque the steering wheel back to spec.
Fully assembled with steering wheel
30. With the steering wheel installed, check the alignment and adjust as needed. The tilt feature is going to be a great addition. Double-check your clearance by cycling the steering wheel several times before reinstalling the dust shield. After that, this job is done!
Classic Performance Products
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