Another steering column question

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. Demonx2

    Demonx2 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I'm working on my 71 Demon 340 console shift auto car's steering column. Getting it cleaned up for paint and whatnot before reinstalling it in the car. I've read most all of the threads on here and watched lots of videos but I still have a question.
    When I pulled the column out, I found no lower column bearing. OK, no big deal...either get a ball bearing as described numerous times or get the Mopar plastic bearing. I'll install it after cleanup/paint of the lower column area.. But I believe you are supposed to pull the shaft out of the top of the column to install it.

    I'll pull the lower shaft cross pin but would then foresee simply lightly tapping the bearing into place from the bottom. Anything wrong with this? I know you have to hold the shaft or you will break the little plastic pins that allow the column to collapse but other than that, I'm wondering why this may not be feasible? And after getting the bearing into position,, what then holds the bearing in that position?

    I do not plan to disassemble the column completely but just want to add the lower bearing and get the lower column all cleaned/painted up nicely. Thx for the help!!

    20211122_205255.jpg
     
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    • RedFish

      RedFish FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      If you look closely, the bottom piece of the shaft is welded. I doubt a bearing will pass that weld. Pull entire shaft out the bottom, the way it was assembled.
       
    • CFD244

      CFD244 These pretzels are making me thirsty. FABO Gold Member

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      You know, Every single floorshift column that I have seen from that era has NEVER had a bearing or bushing. I've questioned if there ever was one there? And, although it looks like a great fix, I've also wondered if that metal bearing would hang up during a frontal collision and push the steering column tube into your chest?
       
    • Demonx2

      Demonx2 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Interesting that you say you've never seen one with a lower bearing. Appreciate that input. This car is an original Demon 340 with the console shift for the 727 and I do know this is the original column in the car. Yet it did not have any lower support bearing/bushing at all. It obviously has the upper bearing by the steering wheel but then it was just connected to the steering gear box via the standard coupler. So I wonder if it ever did come with any type of lower support bearing/bushing?
      The 71 FSM shows some type of "Retainer w/ seal" but does not really show what that may be. From the pic of my column, you can also see the little wire "spring clip" that goes around the outside of the column tube near the bottom. I don't see that in the FSM either except for the column-shift cars.
      upload_2021-11-23_10-26-20.png

      From the VIN of my 72 Demon (avatar), it was a factory 318 car. It does not have the fender tag nor do I have the build sheet for it. So I don't know if it was a floor shift or console shift car. And being it was a drag race car almost from the day it was born (and I'm the 3rd or 4th owner), there is no way for me to know if even the column is original to the car. But when I did the build on it, the floor pan appears to have the stamping features and holes for the floor shift console but those may have been there on all cars in case they were to get the console. But interestingly enough, the steering column has the lower plastic bushing that slides in the tube and has the spring and bullring around the shaft to hold that bushing up in the column tube.

      You gotta just love working on these 50+ year old cars and trying to unearth how they were built or intended to work! It may just have to get cleaned/painted and go back together just like it came apart - without a lower support bearing or bushing. Or I may try one of those "split bushings" sold for this type of purpose.
       
    • mopowers

      mopowers Well-Known Member

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      A good alternative is a delrin bushing. RMS used to sell them - not sure if they still do though. It may worth a call.

      upload_2021-11-23_7-58-33.png
       
    • 67Dart273

      67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      I don't understand why you NEED a lower bearing. If the coupler is not sloppy it will support the shaft
       
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      • Demonx2

        Demonx2 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        That looks pretty nice! But who is RMS? Is there a website or ???
         
      • Demonx2

        Demonx2 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        I agree - just trying to learn more about how these were made from the collective minds and get ideas on how others have dealt with it. But I also think some type of nylon retainer or bushing would look more "finished" than the open hole mine has. The one from @mopowers above looks great.
         
      • mopowers

        mopowers Well-Known Member

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        Sorry! I got that one from Reilly Motorsports. The folks who make the Alterktion front end systems. I bought it years ago though, so I'm not sure they're still making them. Keep in my they're different sizes depending on the year. Mine is for an early A body.
         
      • Demonx2

        Demonx2 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Thx...I'll check them out.
         
      • RedFish

        RedFish FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Yep, evidently the bean counters contacted the engineers and determined that floor shift builds didn't need the lower bearing. Column shift got them to keep shift tube and every in line. What they failed to acknowledge is the moisture and fumes that could climb the floor shift column.
         
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