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Old 11-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Idaho
Posts: 33
Steering Column Issues

Truck Information:
1989 Chevy 2500, 350 motor, 5 speed, ext cab, 4x4, tilt steering, flatbed (Bradford I think), cruise, wiper delay, 30 gallon gas tank

So with the troubleshooting I did on the issue with my blinkers I found that the turn signal switch in the column was bad:

At the same time I got an email from the university where I work that they were looking for electrical problems. I figured I would let them replace the switch for me since I didn't have time for the next 2 weeks to do it myself and the labor is cheep... Bad mistake.

About 6 weeks later I get my truck back. It is in worse condition then when I sent it in, but the turn signals worked...for about 6 miles. It all started with the "mechanic" told me that it looked like the previous truck owner replaced the turn signal and didn't do a good job, which compressed everything incorrectly and caused the turn signal switch to go bad. So that cause issued with him trying to get the new switch in, later he told me the lower bearing was bad and needed replaced because everything inside wasn't compressing. So I say ok, a week later he says he couldn't get it in and went to the chevy dealership and showed them my bearing and they told him it was from a 1979 steering column. So he ended up getting a 79 bearing and said it was going to work. A week later he says it's ready to be picked up. I was in Salt Lake City, so I paid over the phone and that night got back and hopped into my truck, hoping for the best but knowing it wasn't going to be good.

The student had left a voicemail telling me the steering issues were better and only made a little noise when turning and it was driveable and working.

What I saw was I could move the steering wheel forward and back about 1-2 cm at least. When I would rotate the wheel I would feel bumps in the wheel every so many inches turned. Maybe 1-2? I was disappointed but if it was true my steering column had a bunch of 79 parts in it, it could have been just as bad if I tried to work on it.

I head home and then use it to go back to work the next day. As I am coming home I notice a metal against metal clang as I turn one way on my way home. I am one block away from my house, with two right hand turns left to go and on the first one my horn starts honking, so I rip off the horn button (I broke the connector from the horn button ). It doesn't stop honking, so I hurry and turn my second turn right and then straighten out the wheel and then it stops honking and I park the pickup.

I get a steering wheel puller and pop off the steering later that night and see a long metal clip about 3-4 inches that look like it went to the turn signal and it was wedged into the steering wheel lock mechanism. I think it went to the turn signal because when I turn the signal to go up or down it doesn't stay in that position and is very loose from the very top to the bottom.

After removing that clip my horn does not go off by itself, which is a good thing. I saw that the steering wheel jiggle also moves the bolt the steering wheel bolts to. And on top of all of this I broke my windshield wiper switch before I took this in, so I have to have my wiper fuse pulled out otherwise my wipers go non stop and I can't shut them off.

Should I try to find a steering column that has been rebuilt or used and just buy one and replace? Or should I try to dig in and fix it? I know the wiper switch I think was around 70-90 and if I could get a new/used column for around $100-200 it might be worth it on time/parts.

The bad part is finding a steering column with tilt, wiper delay, and no shifter (manual) is a little tricky. I found one for $240 on ebay but no junk yards nearby have one in stock.

Any ideas what would be best?
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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Location: Santa Maria, Calif.
Posts: 447
Re: Steering Column Issues

It seems to me that your truck isn't a show truck. You can use an auto steering column and remove the shift lever for now. Later on you can swap the collar that retains the shift lever for the manual trans collar on the column. I'm not sure if you have to worry about a neutral safety switch on an '89 (?). It seems you just have to get the truck back on the road for now.
1989 K1500 Chev. EC
Original owner; some of the aftermarket parts I've installed are Borla headers, Hypertech chip, Edelbrock water pump, and a Stillen rear disc brake conversion kit.
2009 Hummer H3T 3.7L 5M.
1997 K2500 Chev. EC 7.4L/ 4L80E
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: Steering Column Issues

Thanks, I wasn't sure that an automatic would fit or not. I know locally I can find a steering column for an automatic.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
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Location: Idaho
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Re: Steering Column Issues

So is there a good article on removing the steering column? I know there are two bolts under the dash that let the steering column drop, I assume there are a couple of bolts in the firewall, and a bolt holding on the steering column on the shaft by the steering gear box, but a video or step by step instructions would be great
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