Steering coupler installation on steering column

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. AussieDart

    AussieDart Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    Appreciate any tips you might have regarding the installation of my steering coupler. Long story short I had some work done on the steering column for my 68 Plymouth Valiant. Unfortunately what I didn't expect was that the guys carrying out the work would remove the steering coupler from the column. I already have a rebuild kit for the coupler as this was my next job, and it seems fairly straight forward. However as I didn't remove it I don't have any markings or points of reference on where it was before it was removed. So before I dive down the coupler installation rabbit hole can anyone give me some advice on how I might make it easier for myself in reattaching the coupler to the column? Thanks.

    coupler 3.jpg
     
  2. Frnknsteen

    Frnknsteen FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    There shouldn't really be any issues of "Where it is". As long as they didn't press the cross pin out of the column shaft, it should still be pretty centered in the column shaft. Check the shoes fit on that cross pin to ensure there isn't excessive wobble though. Most don't, but mine did so I was forced to press that pin out and replace it.

    All you need to do is put the new "Shoes" (don't know the real name) on each side of the cross pin with the spring on the inside of them (See picture). Biggest thing here is getting them the right direction before inserting them into the coupler body. They are slightly wider in one direction and narrower in the other. You want them oriented so the wider side mates into the coupler body, otherwise you will have excessive wobble in the connection leading to play in the steering wheel.

    Trying to determine how to explain it, but might be easier to make a quick sketch. I exaggerated the difference in height and width of those shoes to help make it more clear. Test fit them into a dry coupler so you can see the orientation that gives less wobble. Then, when you are ready to install. Stretch the new seal over the pin. If you didn't replace the pin, you won't be able to get the new cover on, so use the old one.

    I filled my coupler body about 3/4 full of high viscosity suspension grease, then slid the column shaft with shoes installed into the coupler body. Excess grease will squirt out when you do. I packed that grease back into the coupler and slid the seal down in place, then the cover plate. I didn't want to mess with trying to get those crimps back in place so I bought one of the retainer springs shown in one of my pictures.

    Steering gear input shaft should be keyed so the coupler will only go on in one place.

    Shoe Orientation.jpg

    Steering Coupler.png

    Steering coupler retainer.jpg
     
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    • RedFish

      RedFish Well-Known Member

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      If the box gets put on 180 degrees wrong the steering wheel will be upside down.
      Should be a small V notch in the outer edge of the coupling that marks the master spline location inside. This needs to be lined up with master spline at steering wheel end of shaft.
      If the wheel, etc., is still on the shaft, you can't see master spline that end... Wheel straight ahead, V notch in view through the wheel.
       
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      • AussieDart

        AussieDart Well-Known Member

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        Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it.
         
      • AussieDart

        AussieDart Well-Known Member

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        Thanks for that I will check it out today.
         
      • mderoy340

        mderoy340 Well-Known Member

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        Here's a good reference for coupler assembly.

        coupler.jpg
         
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        • dgibby

          dgibby Well-Known Member

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          Just did mine and have no idea how anyone could get the cap crimped back on. Used the spring and called it good.
          Not sure if you have headers but mine was close enough when I used the spring it hits the header. Dent it or shim the drivers motor mount to cure..
           
        • Daves69

          Daves69 Well-Known Member

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          I had a lot of practice time on my '77 Ramcharger way back with that damn retainer, Lol. So far the Barracuda retainer hasn't come off on me.
          So YMMV on this.
          Not that this is any guarantee but I've had some luck working the cover tabs such as this (if this makes any sense to y'all)..........
          To start, these tabs on the cover (green) all need to have a hook on them. I doubt they'll even hold for one turn of the wheel without.
          I "over curl" the cover tabs inward (A) on one side and under on the opposite sides (B) so it just fits over the can.
          The crimp points shown in the lower image. As the pressure is exerted to side B it pulls the cover towards the center. Side A tab creates holding tension as it is forced outward.

          upload_2018-2-19_8-45-52-png.png
           
        • AussieDart

          AussieDart Well-Known Member

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          Hello Everybody, Firstly I would like to thank everyone that has posted on this thread all the information has been really helpfull. I have one silly question. As per the picture supplied by Mderoy are all the coupling bodies supposed to have a dowel pin at the top near the seal. Mine does not. Would this have been a later update from the factory?
           
        • mderoy340

          mderoy340 Well-Known Member

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          If the hole is there someone forgot to put it back That pin prevents everything falling apart.
           
        • AussieDart

          AussieDart Well-Known Member

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          There isn't a hole which has me puzzled.
           
        • dartfreak75

          dartfreak75 Restore it, Dont part it! FABO Gold Member

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          This is very helpful Iv been looking for the same info!! Thanks
           
        • dgibby

          dgibby Well-Known Member

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          Some don’t have the dowel pin hole. Mine doesn’t and the extra one I have doesn’t.
           
        • AussieDart

          AussieDart Well-Known Member

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          Thanks for letting me know. I was scratching my head over that one.
           
        • AussieDart

          AussieDart Well-Known Member

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          wood working 1.jpg
           
        • AussieDart

          AussieDart Well-Known Member

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          It has probably been done before but this is how I made my life easier with reattaching the new seal and cover. Once the body was snug on the column I used 3 of my wood working grips to hold the cover as tight to the body as possible then I went around with a cold chisle for a first tightening followed by a small screw driver to tidy it up. The grips are nice and flat so there was plenty of room to work around them.
           
        • dgibby

          dgibby Well-Known Member

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          I like your clamp set up.
          There is a spec when you assemble it onto the gear that the top of the coupler should be 3/8 from the weld. I had to work my column to get it pushed in far enough into the coupler.
           
        • str12-340

          str12-340 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          That spring clamp is a god send. They didn't come with it from the factory, but enough dealership mechanics had trouble with the system that chrysler came up with that fix. 2 notes - the "legs" go in the roll pin that secures the joint to the steering box, and you can't get the spring clamp on with the column on the box (it's even difficult to get it on with the joint on the steering column). So spring clamp on column shaft, then install the joint , then get the clamp mostly in place with the legs out close to the roll pin hole, then install column and joint on steering box, drive in the roll pin, then insert clamp legs in the roll pin (whew), I got out of this sequence twice putting a column back in 2 weeks ago (($&@%%*& #$%)) and had to start over...
           
        • AussieDart

          AussieDart Well-Known Member

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          It does sound like a good investment. I have seen them on E-bay and think I will get one. As I understand it Chrysler introduced them because the seals and caps kept failing and the poor mechanics were constantly fixing them. Thanks for info will make a note of it when I get mine.
           
        • RedFish

          RedFish Well-Known Member

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          Long long time ago... A well seasoned Chrysler service tech pointed out this coupling cover, describing as a "bottle cap" like crimp. "If you distort it only enough to get it off, like a bottle opener does, you can put it back on like the bottles cap".
          Loosen only 3 tangs just enough to get under the cap. It will jump off and jump back on again even though its not a spring tempered material.
          Without that tidbit of knowledge I might have went all the way around it, bending every tang outward, then struggled to install the new cap.
          I've rebuilt 6 or 8 of these coupling since, reinstalled the original cap every time.
           
        • str12-340

          str12-340 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          There are 2 sizes of these spring clamp devices, based on the length of the coupler,,, does anybody remember which one is used on our A bodies???
           
        • RedFish

          RedFish Well-Known Member

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          Either could be a-body. Earlier models had a shorter fatter coupling box.
           
        • dgibby

          dgibby Well-Known Member

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          Just measure your coupler. It’s either 3 inch or 3 1/2
           
        • Cuda Al

          Cuda Al Well-Known Member

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        • jcmeyer5

          jcmeyer5 Token Ford Guy FABO Gold Member

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          So when the steering wheel is at center, the notch goes up? Do I have that right?
           
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