Ididit Steering Column Install
I purchased a custom built Ididit steering column with ignition delete and the companion installation kit. I really needed their install kit as the OEM steering arm and linkage would not work since I was changing from a column shifter to a floor shifter model and I also wanted to mate the column directly to the Lee gear box which is a newer style 12:1 RATIO Saginaw box with 30 tooth spline. The OEM gear box on my 70 El Camino was 16:1 ratio and 36t spline on the output shaft.
The Elky restomod features a Digital Guard Dawg Keyless ignition system with push button starter button. It also has the PCS electronic shifter with paddles connected to a TCI Streetfighter, TH400 transmission. So, I wanted this steering column to complement those components. Of course the column is powder coated black and that matches well too.
I am very pleased with the overall package. I replaced the steering column in about 8 hours. This includes some extra time spent on wiring and troubleshooting. With this install I also added a tilt lever with push button for the headlight high beam dimmer. I also installed the turn signal cruise control lever from Dakota Digital. I will complete this install later. Right now, I just wanted to route the wires while the column was out of the vehicle.
Ok, so here is the photo install. I wanted to take the time to describe the steps for this install as there was a lot that I learned including some things I omitted that made the removal of the old column much harder than necessary.
STEP 1 - Remove old steering shaft from steering column and gear box.
Ididit Steering Column Install-1 Here are parts to the installation kit. My kit included the Double D linkage arm, a 30t rag joint that connects to the Lee gear box output shaft and a Borgensen U-joint that connects to the steering column 48t shaft.
Ididit Steering Column Install-2 Here is a loose fitting. The rag joint slips into the large D and the u-joint slips into the smaller D shaft. This shaft will need to be cut to length, once everything is installed and locked down. I describe this step later. The joints also feature allen set screws with locking nuts. Each joint has two set screws. These require red thread locker as well. I will paint the shaft black, later on but not the joints.
Ididit Steering Column Install-3 Here is a photo of the OEM shaft. You can see that this is a D to spline shaft. The rag joint here is custom from Lee. It converts the gear box output shaft of 30t to the 36t spline on the linkage shaft. The upper end has a clamp and connects to the steering linkage for column shifting. As you can see, I already had this linkage removed. So, I wanted a new steering column and setup that was nice a clean without these linkages that I am no longer using.
I ended up pulling the whole column with Double D shaft attached through the interior, because of this mistake. Be sure to remove the bolt completely from the rag joint and the steering column. Both of these bolts are indexed into the shafts for additional safety. So, when I loosened them I could not separate the parts and ended up pulling the entire column with shaft installed. It took me twenty minutes to figure out that I had to remove the rag joint bolt before I could be free from the gear box.
Ididit Steering Column Install-5 Here you can see the shaft coupler, clamp and transmission linkage arm. Do not remove the spring clip. This does not release the parts. The bolt on the clamp is indexed so you cannot just loosen the bolt. You must remove it completely then you can separate the shaft from the steering column. You need a pry bar. The steering column and gear box should be separated at this point. If not, then like me, just move forward and you can pull everything out from the inside of the car. Bolt in rag joint must be out to do this. You may need to use this method if the rag joint or shaft coupler is rusted on.
Ididit Steering Column Install-13 Here is the bolt removed from the rag joint. By looking down into the bolt hole I can see that the gear box output shaft is indexed. So, the bolt must be removed, not loosened to separate the D shaft from the gear box.
Ididit Steering Column Install-6 This is the Double D shaft that has been painted black and has been indexed for the shaft set screws. This is the large end that connects to the rag joint. Please note that the long set screw is designed to lock into the inside of the shaft. This requires a larger hole drilled all the way through to let the set screw pass. This is a safety feature. The other set screw is shorter and locks into the outer wall of the shaft. A smaller drill but that just cuts an index is all that is needed here. You only need to index the larger side at this time. The smaller shaft will be cut to length and the indexing can occur later for that end of the Double D shaft.
STEP 2 – Remove steering wheel and steering column from inside the car. Start with wheels straight and steering wheel in perfectly straight position. Try to retain this position throughout the installation to prevent steering wheel misalignment at the end.
Ididit Steering Column Install-7 I removed the 6-bolt Momo Jet steering wheel from the NRG adapter and set aside. For removing the adapter plate, I highly recommend using a steering wheel puller. You can do it the old-school way by removing ghe large nut and reattaching the steering wheel and ricking and pulling it until it flies off. But, I have trialed a bunch of wheels and invested in the tool since I knew I would be doing a lot of horn button trials and other configurations. Nonetheless, I used the proper tool for this job, You also need that tool if you plan to remove the horn cam, which is spring loaded and you need the tool to remove spring tension. No way around that.
Ididit Steering Column Install-8 Another view
Ididit Steering Column Install-9 Steering wheel off and set aside with care to prevent any mishaps with the wiring, adapters or screws.
Ididit Steering Column Install-10 Now, disconnect wiring harness for signals and lights. Don’t worry about the ignition wires yet. Too hard to reach right now. Then remove the two large bolts from the steering column clamp. Let the column drop down and be prepared to support it on the seat or with other methods. Once the column is down, remove the ignition wires and neutral safety switch wires.