Installing A Tilt Column Shift Steering Column
We’ve been chipping away at our 1955 Bel Air build – primarily under the car. One piece of the puzzle that needed to be installed to make moving the car around easier was a steering column. We reached into our pile of new parts and found our steering column from Classic Performance Products.
If you’ve been following along, we’ve installed just about everything CPP has to offer for this car. Upper and lower control arms, front and rear high-clearance hollow sway bars, 25 Gallon fuel tank, rear leaf springs, all the steering linkage, and even the complete LS Swap Kit. Everything has fit great with basically no modifications to get it all to fit perfectly. We’ve been nothing but happy so we are sure this column install will go in just as easy.
Unboxing The Column And Assembly
One thing we noticed right away is the cool case this comes in. The case forms to the column perfectly to ensure nothing happens to it during shipping. We couldn’t really find a use for this case after installing the column – it was almost a shame to toss it out because it’s so nice. But inside the case we found the assembled column, wiring harness adapters, neutral safety switch, all the knobs, and the instructions.
Before we went to putting this column in the car, we needed to assemble a few things. To start, we worked on the knobs and the shift lever – this is a column shift car and we want to keep it that way. The turn signal lever attaches with one screw, while the tilt and four-way flasher knobs simply screw right in. The shifter knob was pretty basic as well. Inside the column there’s a hole that a spring rests in – we added some grease to hold it there. Then we slid the shift lever into place and then installed the pivot pin.
Next up was the neutral safety switch. On the column there’s a piece of metal that the switch straddles. Once it’s sitting there, then tighten down the two screws. These screws also have adjustability for when the column is in the car.
Test Fitting And Installation
Now before we just slapped this column in, we wanted to test fit everything to make sure it was all going to jive and be happy. We started by slipping CPP’s micro rag-joint onto their steering box, then sliding the column in place. We looked at the location of the arm on the bottom of the column that attaches to the shift linkage. Before moving forward, we wanted to get the shift linkage installed so we had a better idea of how everything fit together.
The shift linkage we had also picked up from CPP. This is a straight linkage, not a cable. The process for this was almost too easy – we started by installing the billet arm onto the transmission. We then installed the long rod to see how that would look coming from the transmission to the column arm. The steering column comes with two arms as well – a flat one and an offset one. Upon installing one we noticed that the column didn’t seem to extend out into the engine compartment far enough. The steering column lever was hitting the firewall.
The fix was simple – the Double-D shaft coming out of the column, we trimmed that down approximately 1″. There was still room left for the shaft to engage completely into the rag-joint. By doing this, this put the shifter arm out far enough away from the firewall to clear. We ended up installing the flat arm, but we did put a little bend in it for extra clearance. The offset arm we felt would have been too much.
With the column installed we then finished up the shifter linkage which required installing a rod end to the end of the column shift arm, then trimming the rod down before tightening down the set screws.
We didn’t work on wiring up the column quite yet – but there’s very clear instructions, a wiring diagram, and an adapter to make that an easy process. All in all the entire install took a little over an hour and went smoothly. Shifting into gear is nice and smooth and the tilt column works flawlessly as well. Next up is to install a steering wheel!
For more information on this steering column or to order yours, hop on over to ClassicPerform.com or give their friendly techs a call at (800) 522-5004