Monday, January 4, 2016

1976 Corvette Steering Column and the "Vega" Wheel
Part Two

Jim Shea mentions—in one of his C3 steering column articles—that the 1978-1982 T&T (Tilt and Telescoping) column shroud, must be trimmed so it will fit the instrument panel of 1976 and earlier Corvettes.

So I decided to go ahead and get this out of the way, thinking it would be an easy and quick project.

It was neither.

I started by measuring the 2.2" down from the shroud's lip (approximately 2-3/16 inches), made several markings around the shroud, and then used masking tape to have a straight reference line.

I was planning to use a Dremel tool to cut the plastic, but since I was worried it may melt some of it, I opted to use a hand saw. I used one with a rough blade in order to score the plastic, then used one with finer teeth so I would have a clean cut.

I thought that the shroud would be a thin layer of plastic based on the bottom edge of the part. This was not the case, as it is molded and thickens in some areas, one of them right in the spot I was making the cut.

Since i was sawing not really knowing how far I could safely go, I took my time and, at one point, used the Dremel with a small cutting disc, to remove a chunk of the shroud so I could see what I was dealing with.

It was not pretty, but at least, I now had an idea of what to expect as I trimmed around the shroud.

So, after about two hours (that really felt more like four), my 1978 Corvette steering column shroud modification was complete. I trimmed excess plastic pieces that I thought might interfere with the installation, then sanded the shortened shroud.

Thanks for following my 1976 Corvette restoration and/or modification adventures, and stay tuned for Part Three of this article sometime in the near future.