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Steering column issues

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 400hp408sb, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. 400hp408sb

    400hp408sb Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 25

    Hello all, I'm hoping someone might be able to shed some light on my problem. I have an 87 chevy with a tilt steering column. I've recently been having battery draining issues. Was at my wits end until I happened to see a puff of smoke come from the blinker switch/arm area on the column while trying to start it. I took apart the upper part of the column to check for any wire/grounding issues and found no problems, but I did find the following. I found this broken spring (1st pic) that I know hooks around the bottom screw (circled 2nd pic) and around a shaft (circled 2nd pic). Here's where I start to guess. I think a (loop) section of this spring protrudes into the area indicated by the arrow (2nd pic). The triangle almost looks like something goes inside there as well but I have no idea since this all kind of fell apart when I took the cover off. I think what was causing the smoke and battery drain was this broken spring touching one of the contacts in the column. So my first question is what does this "spring" do and is it even needed because I'm sure it's a junkyard only part at this point. My second issue is I'm not sure what this long rod is circled in 3rd and 4th pic that goes the length of the column and seats in what appears to be a spring loaded button at the bottom. Is it supposed to dead end like that up top? The top edges are kind of rough and almost indicates that someone has cut it at one point. I just don't see what it is supposed to attach to up top? Sorry for the long post with all the pics, just trying to give all the info I can to help you help me :)

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  2. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    The spring is the ignition switch slide return spring and it's placed right where you have it indicated. It's job is to assist the ignition switch and lock cylinder to return to the run position when you release it from the crank position. Can't recall the exact orientation off the top of my head (have to look at one) but once you get a replacement spring you'll see how it goes in.

    The long metal rod you're seeing is connected to the high beam switch, which the turn lever and rod remotely activates when you pull back on the lever. Looks like it's position perfectly in your pic. But a note when reassembling the column, be sure that rod doesn't pop out of the switch as you work the column housing back together. They have a habit of falling out of place and unless you check it after the housings on you won't realize it until you have the entire job finished. And then you'll have to tear it all apart again to reposition the rod. Learned that one many years ago the hard way.
     
  3. 400hp408sb

    400hp408sb Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 25

    Thanks for your helpful reply sir. The local chevy dealer had a kit that included the broken spring for $48, expensive little bugger. It sounds like you're saying the metal rod doesn't insert or connect to anything at the top end. It just sits there and gets pushed by the blinker arm for high beam. Should have this back together this weekend if all goes well, but we all know how that goes :)
     
  4. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Correct, when you disassembled the column you would have had a small plastic piece that fits in a groove and has a half round shape to the end of it. That is the part the connects the turn lever/switch to the high beam rod. That section can be a little tricky to get lined up just right as you slide the pieces together, just take your time and don't force anything.

    And once you have the upper column shroud back into place check for correct operation of the high beam switch to be sure you have it lined up and working correctly before you proceed any farther...as sometimes it's necessary to do it a couple times until everything falls into place and works correctly.