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65 Riviera tilt column issues.


Dusty barns
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Hi all,    I’m trying to sort out an issue with a 65 Riviera floor shift, tilt column. It appears that the u-joint just behind the upper steering column bearing is broken causing an excessive amount of play in the steering wheel. It binds and clunks while turning and the upper portion of the steering shaft that is visible wobbles off center as the wheel is rotated. Yikes

 

I have the wheel off, upper column cover removed, and the upper bearing retaining nut + related hardware removed as well. I have searched high and low for a diagram or write up of the proceedure to get to the u-joint but have had no luck.

 

Anyone with any experience in this issue have any insight in how to remove the upper portion of the column that houses the turn signal mechanism, bearing, horn contact etc?

 

thanks for any help/info someone might have.

 

JB

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I love it when someone says you can’t fix something ;) that makes me more interested in doing so. Besides, the only column I could find close to me is $400.... no can do. I have used universal joints for hotrod  builds in the past that seem like a good solution to the issue.  $45 plus some fab and swear words ought to be worth an attempt if a solution can be found.  

 

I'm hoping someone has insight as to how the cast aluminum housing at the top of the column is removed. It’s not obvious to me but admittedly I haven’t disassembled any gm tilt columns like this before, only standard ones.

 

 

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JB,

 

   The columns DO come apart.  Your best friend is the chassis manual.  IF you don't have one GET one.  Can save LOTS of time & heartache & $$$$$.

Most common is the bolts that hold the joint together loosen up over time. IF you find that this is the problem take them out one at a time & put some Red Loctite lightly on the threads & snug down.  You DON'T want to go to tight & break one as that can open up another can of worms. They ALSO say the '63 & '64 heater valves CAN'T be rebuilt as they are supposedly non rebuild-able, BUT I've worked out a solution.  In actuality it takes more time than one could charge for, BUT IF you can't find one there is a solution. I do the same as you, "what do you mean it's not possible"????

   The tilt columns DID NOT have a bushing at the bottom from the factory.  I take a piece of Delron & cut to fit in a lathe until if fits then install two small screws positioned so they can't or are hard to see to hold it in place.  I don't have the slightest idea why GM decided not to use something.

   This ALSO keeps engine compartment air from entering the column & making the column hot to the touch if driving for long periods of time.

 

Tom T.

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 In my shop the labor rate is 100.00 per hour, so if I can't tear it down and repair it and put it back together in 3 hours I'm wasting

my customer's money, since I usually buy used columns for 150.00. I tend to forget that some hobbyists find  such challenges to be fun

and don't care if it takes 30 hours to fix it if they can save money.  My mindset is to get it fixed in the least time consuming way in order to save my

customer's money and get their car back to them quickly. In your case it sounds like you are willing to spend many many hours on it to save 400.00

so my advice doesn't apply to your situation. Good luck with your project, and I hope it is indeed just some loose bolts..

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25 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

 In my shop the labor rate is 100.00 per hour, so if I can't tear it down and repair it and put it back together in 3 hours I'm wasting

my customer's money, since I usually buy used columns for 150.00. I tend to forget that some hobbyists find  such challenges to be fun

and don't care if it takes 30 hours to fix it if they can save money.  My mindset is to get it fixed in the least time consuming way in order to save my

customer's money and get their car back to them quickly. In your case it sounds like you are willing to spend many many hours on it to save 400.00

so my advice doesn't apply to your situation. Good luck with your project, and I hope it is indeed just some loose bolts..

 

I hear you on the difference between approaches.... if you are a shop or a diy guy there will definitely be different schools of thought. Although I’m not a shop I am being paid so I also want to make it cost and time effective. If I could find a good condition 65 tilt column in perfect working shape for $150 I would be going that route for sure. I can find a standard column for around that  but owner wants to keep it tilt. 

 

If I used a $400 used column that took me a couple hours to pick up plus an hour or so to swap then discovered it had issues as well...   for that number I will check into repair options before spending the money.

So far 20 minutes to tear into it but stuck on the removal of the tilt head (think pins need to be pulled out) then have a look at the issue. If just loose bolts, great!, if damaged beyond repair then a new universal might work. If no hope then plan b, find a different column 

 

where are you finding nice condition working 65 tilt columns for floor shift for $150?

 

no disrespect to you Seafoam65, thanks for the info!

 

now that’s an option I would look into.

If someone has a good working tilt column for a 65 they want to let go for 150 that’s in SoCal then let me know.

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3 hours ago, telriv said:

JB,

 

   The columns DO come apart.  Your best friend is the chassis manual.  IF you don't have one GET one.  Can save LOTS of time & heartache & $$$$$.

Most common is the bolts that hold the joint together loosen up over time. IF you find that this is the problem take them out one at a time & put some Red Loctite lightly on the threads & snug down.  You DON'T want to go to tight & break one as that can open up another can of worms. They ALSO say the '63 & '64 heater valves CAN'T be rebuilt as they are supposedly non rebuild-able, BUT I've worked out a solution.  In actuality it takes more time than one could charge for, BUT IF you can't find one there is a solution. I do the same as you, "what do you mean it's not possible"????

   The tilt columns DID NOT have a bushing at the bottom from the factory.  I take a piece of Delron & cut to fit in a lathe until if fits then install two small screws positioned so they can't or are hard to see to hold it in place.  I don't have the slightest idea why GM decided not to use something.

   This ALSO keeps engine compartment air from entering the column & making the column hot to the touch if driving for long periods of time.

 

Tom T.

 

Flying blind is futile at times.. I do love good manuals, I’ll check out the chassis manual. I tried finding diagrams or references to disassembly but nothing out there that I could find on the net, it’s one of gm’s odd duck tilt units.

 

Interesting to know about the unsupported end of the steering shaft. Maybe GM figured it allowed the shaft to float a bit when the chassis and the body flexed? To keep the firewall from cracking around the hole for the column?  Nahhh, to save a buck;) 

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I don't think so as the non tilt columns have a bushing/bearing there. AND, it's not an odd column as MANY of the GM & other makes of the 60's used the same setup. I ALWAYS make up a bushing for there.  I haven't had an early Riv. column apart in MANY years & I don't remember any difficulty's. I seem to remember needing a tool to thread into the tilt pins on the sides of the column & use a slide hammer to remove them. ALSO the chrome cover needs to come off.

ALL of this is located in section 8 & there's a separate section for the tilt wheel assembly with tools needed. It's around page 50-55 in the 8 section.

   There's a rag joint between the steering shaft & the steering box so it wasn't put there for flex as the steering shaft doesn't really "Float"..

 

Tom T.

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  • 1 year later...
On 11/16/2019 at 3:07 AM, BMac said:

I have three good tilt columns, but unfortunately I am in Ohio. 

I may be in need of a column for my 65. Think the u joint in mine is gone let me know if you still have one you would part with j

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