Friday, February 26, 2016

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

I've been rethinking my original plan to use a few parts from my 1976 steering column when I am ready to do the swap. This approach would certainly save me a few bucks, however, it would delay the swap a bit.

Time and money considerations aside, repurposing parts would also leave me with another steering column in pieces, and that may not be the smartest approach. So I've been doing lots of research in order to purchase the parts I am missing in order to have a fully restored 1979 Corvette steering column, and have it ready to do the swap.

Some of the parts I've had to order include the steering column key lock metal plate (photo on right), the upper bearing spring, turn signal cancelling cam and the steering column upper shaft locking ring retainer.

I also found a new turn signal switch (photo below) at Amazon for $21.11 which will supposedly work for my 1979 column.
 

I have not done the math to determine how much I have invested in this project, but my guesstimate is that I should have the 1979 Corvette steering column completely rebuilt for around $400, and that includes the steering wheel. That's a bargain considering that rebuilt OEM columns retail for around a grand!

Since my steering column was abused by previous owners, I've had to smooth out a few areas with files and sanding paper. Case in point is the channel for the upper shaft locking ring retainer.

As the picture shows, the channel varies in width from one side to the other, so the retainer fits very snugly and one way only.




The retainer ring has a right angled edge, and this chamfer locks it in place. The two photos below show the edge that slides into the thinner channel.




I temporarily pressed the locking ring gently into the channel so I would not misplace it. When I have all necessary components to reassemble the column, I will press it in place fully and hope I don't have to remove it again.




One issue that may prove challenging when the time comes to swap the steering columns, is to properly align the shafts, This will be difficult since the shaft alignment markings were erased by the pounding the shafts were subjected to by previous owners.

Anyway, I will deal with that issue when the time comes.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Part Seven.