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7/17/17 2:12pm - Original Message: 'Steering column splines to rag joint - won't insert'
persico Gold Member
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Long Valley, NJ - USA

1972 454 Coupe, 4 speed, Targa Blue with blue interior, luggage rack

Joined: 3/21/2007
Posts: 265
Took out my steering column to do some work on dash.  When trying to re-install I cant insert the splines into the rag joint far enough for the bolt to clear the flat spot on the splined shaft.  Looking at the shaft head on it seems a bit out of round, I'm wondering if that can be the issue?  (See 11 o'clock and 5 o'clock positions in picture) Can I "massage it back into shape without damaging the splines?  Should I heat the metal first?  Any ideas welcome!

Update 7/18/17 Well I got the steering column back in enough for the bolt in the rag joint to engage the shoulder on the splined shaft  I tightened the bolts that hold the column to the firewall fist to see if that would pull  the shaft in further but no luck.  Wondering if my column could be collapsed a bit?  I believe they are collapsable in case of a crash?    Hope to replace one day with a tilt and tele anyway. PS anyone know where to find one of those for a 72,   they are rare and expensive from what I see!

|UPDATED|7/17/2017 12:12:09 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|

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7/17/17 9:22pm - Reply: 'Re: Steering column splines to rag joint - won't insert'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 19535
The center of the shaft WILL move in/out if hit, or pushed hard enough. It is definitely part of a safety thing, making the column "collapsible". If the shaft has moved up into the mast jacket a little too far, you can pull it back out, but it's usually not super easy to do. The two parts are held in tension by nylon in grooves between the two parts. Just standing the column on it's shaft end can push the center up into the mast jacket. If you have the rag joint on the shaft properly, you can try to pull out on it, or use a small rubber or plastic mallet to tap it back out to the length needed. This is best done with the column out of the car, but if you've already got it back in, a little patience, and a few well placed Censoreds can do it too....

Joel Adams
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7/21/17 10:50am - Reply: 'Re: Steering column splines to rag joint - won't insert'
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1969 350 4 spd drop top 1972 350 auto coupe

Joined: 5/2/2016
Posts: 61
I have been able to drive the column down by using a large brass rod I have here. I bolted on an old rag flange and a couple of shots with a hammer did it BUT you are swinging near the windshield so be very careful. A come-along might be able to be rigged up to pull it out as well.
Common thing to find, I did my 72 and didn't even know I collapsed it until I went to install the box and rag and saw the gap.

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