Does your G-body project need a floor-shift column? Have you considered an aftermarket solution in this situation? I did, or rather Ididit – A universal G-body steering column is certainly a viable option and is worth checking out. Since most stock G-body steering columns are reaching the 30+ year old mark and are increasingly difficult to find in salvage yards, some choices needed to be made for continuing progress on the project Hot Rod Regal. Keep reading to determine if this option, and my installation, will help you in your build!
If your like me, you consider all options before a purchase. If one considers looking at a good quality, used floor-shift column with no slop in the tilt, and includes a key; it is easy to freak out about the price! These things use to be cheap and could be had very readily… but that seems to be all G-body parts anymore. So, if one can not find a good quality G-body tilt / floor-shift steering column at a swap meet or salvage yard, it is off to the internet for a scavenger hunt. This is not a bad thing, but what is the condition of the part one obtains? My idea of “no slop” in the tilt may be different than the guy selling it. How many duty cycles / miles are on the used part? Does it have a key? How worn are the internal bearings? Will it need rebuilt? How much time and money is this total investment after all is said and done? I researched the steering column company Ididit and decided that using a brand new column would be a better option than a rebuilt or questionable stock part. This saves time, money, and gives me peace of mind knowing there are new bearings, a new tilt mechanism, a serialized key, a warranty, and multiple finish options (plus they look pretty cool).
Ididit steering columns are known for their superior quality and striking good looks. Also, it is worth noting that the all steel housing and subsequent column construction is made here in the USA. They have many options for function and finish to facilitate your needs in the build. Their customer service and tech help are excellent. The Ididit website has videos of installation and tech data for reference if you have questions during your installation. (These are a huge help – click on the highlighted text throughout the article)
The removal of the old column and installation of the new column was straight forward, but here are some tips if you consider performing this swap.
First, I removed the stock G-body column from the car and measured it. A very accurate description of how to perform this measurement can be seen by clicking here. The stock G-body column measures 33 inches. Ididit offers their Universal column at 32 inches. This actually works out better for me due to the fact I have the Flaming River intermediate shaft which is approximately 1 inch longer than the stock intermediate shaft. If you still want to use the stock intermediate shaft with a rag joint, a custom column with a length of 33 inches can be ordered. Actually though, Ididit can pretty much make any column you request!
Once I knew the column length, and the options I wanted on the column, the parts were ordered. I went with a 32″ black powder coated, tilt, floor-shift column with a keyed ignition ( part # 1520320051). It requires a 2″ GM 1969 or newer underdash mount (part # 2310000040) to mount the column to the dash structure in the G-body. To allow the aftermarket engine management system (Holley Dominator) to stay powered up when the key is between crank and run, the FAST/Mast relay pack (part# 3100038100) is also required. When this set up was ordered, I upgraded with the wiper kit (part # 3100050030) for on/off function of the wipers at the touch of a finger. I forgot to add the high beam dimmer kit (part # 3100040030) on the tilt lever for control of the high/low beams though. So the column was not shipped with the dimmer kit installed. I will be adding the dimmer kit in this article though to illustrate how easy it is to upgrade this column. This brings up a great point, these columns can be easily customized with different options at any time! The last bit of info here, is what type of output shaft to order. Again, since I already have the Flaming River intermediate shaft, I ordered the 1″ double D end.
For the next procedure, I removed the firewall close-out panel located at the base of the stock,G-body steering column. This can be performed with a cheaper, column-shift column vs a typically more desirable floor shift column. Plus, the column shift columns are easier to find in salvage yards. To remove the firewall close-out panel located at the base of the steering column, a cut off wheel was used, but a hacksaw will also do the job. This firewall close-out panel performs several functions. It locates the column in the correct position on the firewall. It closes the large hole in the firewall without having to make a custom panel. Finally, it may serve as an anchor for the column (depending on how you choose to anchor it). I cleaned and painted this panel prior to installation on the new column.
Once the firewall close-out panel is removed from the old stock column, it’s time to assemble and install the new Ididit column.
It’s a very good idea to read through the instructions Ididit provides with the column before getting started. (Yeah, I know, who needs directions right?) Alignment of the wheels, intermediate steering shaft and the column in relation to the steering wheel centerline needs to be performed during this part of the installation – so save yourself some irritation and read up. The column with the firewall close-out panel is placed at the base of the firewall. (I reversed the hardware, added lock nuts and washers to complete this step)
Also at this time, the column is attached to the G-body dash mount support structure with the 2″ GM 1969 or newer underdash mount (part #2310000040).
Do not tighten any bolt completely until all parts are connected and aligned to center.
Once the column is loosely located, it is time to connect the column output shaft to the intermediate shaft and coupler (Flaming River).
The Ididit column 1 inch double D output shaft does not have any holes or any other type of securing device when sent out. Watch this video to see why! It is not necessary to drill a hole to securely join the 2 pieces. Simply use set screws with counter tightening nuts to lock them in place. I used a small button head screw with thread locker for clearance issues and appearance. If one chooses to drill a hole, make sure it’s straight and run a tap through both parts. This would only need to be performed for space constraints or style though.
With the front wheels straight, the steering box zeroed out, the intermediate shaft connected to the steering box and the column, and the column assembly loosely installed; the depth and center-line can now be set. The depth of the column can be adjusted depending on how far you want the wheel from the driver, but it may be a good idea to have the intermediate shaft slightly compressed. If you have another type of steering intermediate shaft, and if it’s possible, it’s probably a good idea to not max out the length. This will allow for any minor flex and keep the intermediate shaft from “bottoming out” or “pulling” internally. Since I am using a Flaming River intermediate shaft, it is spring loaded and will simply compress to set the depth. I chose to compress this spring approximately 1/2″ by simply pushing the column in towards the firewall and then tightening the 2″ GM underdash mount bracket to hold it. As for the column rotation, its a personal preference, but I tried to locate the column in the stock location with the turn signal at the horizontal or a 90 degree angle to a vertical line. Once you have the column where you like it, permanently locate it by tightening the alan head cap bolts in the Ididit 2″ GM underdash mount bracket. Also, to keep the column at center-line and prevent rotation, the small alan head set screw will be tightened against the column (see red arrow in the next picture).
Ididit suggests the column be secured to the firewall as well. After speaking with them at their tech line (517) 424-0577 and watching their video on column installation (here), a clamp was added to the lower end of the column to secure it to the firewall. I used a T-Bar style clamp obtained from a aftermarket parts store, but modification was necessary to make it fit. Another option is to simply weld the firewall plate to the column or to run small sheet metal screws through the firewall plate and into the column.
Now that the column has been secured in 2 places, I moved on to the finishing details of the install. I stated earlier that a high beam dimmer kit (part # 3100040030) would be added. Obviously, it is easier to install “Add on” parts while the column is out of the car. Since I ordered this part after the initial order though, it works out here to show how easy it is to install if you want to upgrade later. To get started with this upgrade, I used some more 0.032″ lock wire and worked it through the column from the opening port to the top. I twisted together the lock wire and the high beam wire, covered it with tape, and then pulled it through. Before pulling the high beam wire tight though, it is necessary to coil this wire around the tilt lever several times. The tilt lever is a screw in item, so coiling the high beam wire around it is done so the final install of the high beam wire is not twisted inside the column. In other words, as you screw in the tilt lever, the wire will uncoil. The next 3 photos show pulling the wire and the final install of the tilt lever
The next operation is the installation of the horn button and the Ididit steering wheel adapter (part #220232005). Their are other options for steering wheel adapters but the Ididit 6 bolt adapter is solid billet. I ordered mine in black to match the column and the MOMO Tuner steering wheel, but can be ordered in natural or polished.
Nothing difficult here, slide the billet steering wheel adapter in place, aligning the plastic horn post on the column to the hole in the billet steering wheel adapter. Wiring up the horn button and torquing the nut to hold the billet steering wheel adapter to 35 ft lbs will be next.
The MOMO Tuner steering wheel has an included horn button with all the necessary wires, a ground plate, and a spring tension ring. The horn button requires 2 wires – the wire that attaches to the column (yellow) and a ground wire (green and yellow) that attaches to the horn button and the ground plate. The ground plate is sandwiched between the billet adapter and the steering wheel. The spring tension ring fits between/inside the plastic tabs on the back side of the horn button. The horn button simply presses in from the front side of the MOMO Tuner steering wheel and is covered by a billet cover ring (also included with the steering wheel).
The included billet cover ring with the MOMO Tuner steering wheel has black oxide countersink screws. The Ididit billet steering wheel adapter has stainless steel countersink screws that are longer in length. I chose to use the longer stainless steel countersink screws.
Hopefully this installation article has shown an easy alternative to a junkyard/swap meet/or online purchased GM floor shift column. While the stock piece is a very good part to use, they do wear out over time. I personally like the Ididit column better than the stock piece because of the warranty, design, available options the column has and the added physical security. I suggest contacting Ididit Inc. and discussing options for replacing your column if yours is feeling a loose, or if you are switching from a column shift to a floor shift like I have.
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