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 Post subject: 63 Column Rebuild
PostPosted: March 27, 2018, 4:40 pm 
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I would like to fix up the column on my 63 this spring/summer (three on tree). Shifting works fine, but the column internals seem to have some slop. If I grab hold on the wheel I can wiggle it up/down and side to side; it also has a gap between the wheel piece and the shift collar (hope I'm referring to the right part).
I haven't been able to find a rebuild kit per-se, but just individual parts. What is the best way to tackle fixing it up? Should I just pull the column and replace whatever seems to be broken/missing/worn?
Any guidance appreciated, I've never messed with a pre 65 column.

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 Post subject: Re: 63 Column Rebuild
PostPosted: March 27, 2018, 5:30 pm 
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What is wiggling is probably the shaft inside the steering box. I’ve got my column apart right now and it’s solid. I got on rock auto, set up a rebuild service for the steering box, and sent it off to Lares Corp for a full rebuild. It was like 250 for rebuild but 60 for ups shipping there. They didn’t charge to ship it back.


But let’s start simple first...
There is a bearing in the top of the column where the turn signal collar is. Maybe that’s missing or loose?

Once all the guts are in there’s, there is a large steering shaft nut that hold some it all tight. Maybe that backed off?

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 Post subject: Re: 63 Column Rebuild
PostPosted: March 28, 2018, 8:26 am 
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There are two bearings on most columns one top and one at the bottom which have a C3DZ (Falcon) part number. In addition there is a wedge shaped bearing race under the spring below your steering wheel. This was steel originally, but was replaced by a plastic piece in later years. Don't ask me why it was replaced with plastic, cheaper to make I suppose. Does not look so cheap now when you go to buy one, ridiculous price for 10 cents worth of plastic. Since the shaft in your column is attached to the gearbox I have no idea if the housing can be removed from the shaft while in the truck. In addition, since the bottom of the housing rides in a rubber boot on the gearbox this will most likely need to be replaced and I have no idea who makes a replacement. As to why you have a gap between the part whereof you speak, there may be some adjustment possible by loosening the clamp on the firewall and the bolts under the dash. Do not just get Armstrong and try to torque the nut down on the steering wheel, you may have a real problem removing the wheel if this has been done, and it will cause damage to the bearings and that wedge shaped piece I am calling a bearing race. As to the problem with that space of which you are referring, this can be caused by mismatching parts from 63 to 64 as there are some difference in length if I remember correctly. Since you are concerned mostly about the wobble from side to side and up and down, I suggest if that is your only problem ( which I doubt ) I would go the easier route and just take the steering wheel off and see what the bearing and wedge shaped piece of which I spoke look like, and replace what is damaged.. I prefer the metal wedge ( cone? ) but from overtightening this can be damaged and be hard to get off. The wedge is cone shaped and split down one side and takes up the slack between the housing and steering shaft and rides in the actual bearing race. If tightened to tight it deforms the metal and may lock it against the shaft making it hard to get off. At this point, I am going to say that you need to think about just what you want to do in regards to your steering system and how much you want to spend. As noted, steering box rebuild and column rebuild run into 300 plus range. When done, the steering box is a poor piece of engineering ( my opinion ) and it was changed in 64 and improved, and replaced in 65 with a much better system. Not certain if you have thought of upgrading your steering but now would be the time to think about it. Armstrong steering is a great theft determent, but as I get older it becomes more evident, I like things a little easier. Replacing the bearing on the top end and possibly the wedge would not be a major operation unless some P/O has forced that wedge to seize on the shaft. Bearing is about 15$ and a new plastic wedge to replace a damaged metal one roughly 10$ plus shipping. You need a steering wheel puller, which may be available from one of the parts stores on loan, rent or buy for about or 20$ from a cheap parts dealer, will be a must. I suggest you try going this route first, and also you should buy a repair manual preferably on disc so you can print off the pages you need when needed. Roughly 35$ last time I checked. Be careful who you buy from, not all are as good a quality as others. Some things can be found online and printed off, but with the greed of some people these days, it's getting harder to come up with this kind of information for free. Frankly, with a complete rebuild of the front end or replacement of worn bushings king pin, springs, shackles, tie rods etc. the trucks can be made to drive like it did new. However, these were work trucks and that includes the fact that you worked to drive one. Power steering assist was available on these trucks as an add on when new, and can still be found today. The same company that made the original systems I believe is still in business and I believe still makes a kit, but hang on to your wallet, it may cost more than you paid for the truck. It's all just a matter of where you want to be when you get done. For now I suggest taking the steering wheel off and looking to see what is damaged. If the shaft is badly worn where it has been loose on the upper bearing, then you have a real problem, and the shaft and gear box will need to be taken off so you can repair the shaft or replace it.


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 Post subject: Re: 63 Column Rebuild
PostPosted: March 28, 2018, 11:54 am 
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You're probably going to hate me for this but, I've rebuilt a little over 900 columns in the past 35 years, and I'll tell you what it USUALLY is, but nobody has ever wanted to hear it. When I look at trucks for sell on Ebay, in person, or craigslist, I usually look for that gap between the column and steering wheel. That tells me that the truck more than likely has rust in the front cab mounts, and that the cab is slowly dropping down on the frame in front.

In really bad cases you can look at the gap between the bottom of the front fender and the door, and it will have a wider gap at the bottom, than it does at the top front edge of the door at the cowl area. What happens is that the cab drops, the steering shaft stays in place because it's bolted to the frame. So when it pushes the steering shaft upward, it doesn't allow the spring under the steering wheel to push the upper bearing sleeve down into the upper bearing with the correct amount of pressure. The upper bearing sleeve is what centers the steering shaft into the bearing. That's what stops the wobbling. Also when you get a gap like that, your horn contact sometimes wont make contact with the bottom of the steering wheel until it's fixed.

But for a quick fix on the bearing sleeve you can try placing a washer (or 2) on top of the spring so that the steering wheel will push the spring down with more pressure and see if that will fix it.


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 Post subject: Re: 63 Column Rebuild
PostPosted: March 28, 2018, 3:21 pm 
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And sometimes you can loosen the column bracket at the dash,
Slide the column toward the wheel enough to get buy a while....

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 Post subject: Re: 63 Column Rebuild
PostPosted: April 9, 2018, 6:45 am 
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I haven't been able to tear into it due to crappy weather (will winter end already?)

shipwrecked wrote:
I got on rock auto, set up a rebuild service for the steering box, and sent it off to Lares Corp for a full rebuild. It was like 250 for rebuild but 60 for ups shipping there.


That doesn't seem too bad, I'll keep that in mind for a rebuild.

shipwrecked wrote:
But let’s start simple first...
There is a bearing in the top of the column where the turn signal collar is. Maybe that’s missing or loose?

Once all the guts are in there’s, there is a large steering shaft nut that hold some it all tight. Maybe that backed off?


My uncle was in the column messing around before I got the truck, so it's possible he didn't get it back together right or lost/broke a piece. The weather is getting nicer so hopefully I'll have a chance to check it out today. It would be nice if it ended up being that simple.

64F100 - thanks for the detailed response. I have a hard copy of the 61 shop manual and also 61-63 on disc. I'm hoping is as simple as the cone/wedge issue you're referring too. The truck tracks perfectly straight and everything steering related seems to function properly. Ideally I'm going to stick with my armstrong steering and stock steering setup. I'd like to keep my truck as stock as possible with the exception of dual pot master brakes, alternator, and maybe a radio setup...

oldsmiley wrote:
In really bad cases you can look at the gap between the bottom of the front fender and the door, and it will have a wider gap at the bottom, than it does at the top front edge of the door at the cowl area. What happens is that the cab drops, the steering shaft stays in place because it's bolted to the frame. So when it pushes the steering shaft upward, it doesn't allow the spring under the steering wheel to push the upper bearing sleeve down into the upper bearing with the correct amount of pressure. The upper bearing sleeve is what centers the steering shaft into the bearing. That's what stops the wobbling. Also when you get a gap like that, your horn contact sometimes wont make contact with the bottom of the steering wheel until it's fixed.


No gap at the fender, but my horn doesn't work (have a push button rigged up). I have to get underneath and take a look at the mounts. The truck did spend 20 years in the north and still has stock bushings so that probably doesn't help....


FarmMotorSports wrote:
And sometimes you can loosen the column bracket at the dash,
Slide the column toward the wheel enough to get buy a while....

I'll keep that and oldsmiley's washer trick in mind :thumright:

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'87 F150 XLT Lariat 300 3spdOD
'03 CVPI


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