July 2015 - Sept. 2015. Steering upgrades.
The reasons for this upgrade were -
The old 1980s GM column had wear in the bearings and had other problems and so a new Iditit column was ordered.
The linkage between the bottom of the column and the steering rack also had problems and was replaced.
In 2008 a good power rack had been fitted and in 2014 a new steering wheel purchased and so these items did not need replacing.
The aim - to improve safety, drive-ability, features and appearance.
The Ididit column
Custom Ididit tilt column including column shift lever, shift indicator, key,
wiper and cruise options.
The following parts were ordered -
1. Custom tilt column with polished column shift leaver and polished tilt lever. Column finish - natural for painting.
(They do a column for the 1947-53 Chevy truck but that is just a stock column with the lower mount and dash mount included for this
truck, however, with the options which were selected a custom column needed to be selected and the 47-53 mounts added as extras)
2. Key ignition option.
3. Wiper option. (The wiper option goes into the polished lever for the turn signals)
4. Cruise control option. (The cruise option goes into the polished shift lever)
5. Acrylic shift indicator with polished aluminum housing and matching aluminum pointer.
6. Chrome floor mount and chrome under dash mount.
Reasons for this selection -
To replace the worn 1980s GM column with a new column of similar specifications but with several improvements.
A shift indicator and cruise control. Better selector lever and smoother gear selection. Better appearance.
About the column
The Iditit steering column is well know I'm the industry as being very high quality and one of the best available. It is all made in the
USA. These columns can be completely customised to your needs. The one chosen was a 30" tilt column with gear selector option
and key starting. This makes it an almost drop in repayment for the 1980s GM column which now had worn bearings. The finish
was natural as it was intended to paint it the same colour as the truck but all levers, dash bracket and floor mount were polished.
The idea behind painting it the same colour as the truck (rather than everything polished) is to make it look like it was original (even
though the original 1952 steering column would be completely different). The theory behind painted the same colour as the truck is
that does not stand out looks less like an after-market addition. It also means the polished leavers stand out against the pained column.
It is the same principle which was applied in the engine bay. The Chevy orange engine makes the chrome accessories and dress up
items stand out more than if everything was chromed. This is just a personal opinion and others may disagree. Everyone likes their
vehicle to be the way they want it and there are many differing options on that subject. It also depends on what type
of vehicle it is. For example the 1932 Ford roadster / hotrod can look fantastic with everything fully chromed.
The original column had the wipers on the turn signal and this option was added. Two upgrades were possible. The first was
cruise control. The bracket for this had been added to the Street Demon carburetor. The second was a shift indicator showing
"Park" "Drive" "Neutral" etc. The original GM column did not have this. It was probably in the dash of the car it was removed from.
Knowing which gear you were in had to be done by feel. The new shift indicator is on the top of the column and an attractive polished
cover goes round the top of it. The polished levers and cover on the indicator match the many chrome areas on the original dash like
the chrome rings around the original speedo and monitoring dials etc. Price of new column including all options - about $1600
More pictures soon.
In order to make sure the new column was fitted as high as possible (like the old one) the 2.5 inch drop on the dash support bracket
was reduced to a minimum.
Steering shaft / linkages upgrade-
New joints and shafts were fitted between the end of the column and the rack and all of these parts were renewed.
The shaft between the bottom of the column and the rack was replaced. The old shaft was worn, had some play and was not ideal as
it should have had a more flexible mounting arrangement. The new shaft contained 5 parts - the fitting for the bottom of the column, a
short shaft, a universal joint, another short shaft and finally the fitting which engages the column. The shaft needed to be held by a new
bracket 1/2 way along it's length. This was a rotate-able fitting to replace the old rigid one. Both of the shafts were stainless steel.
More pictures soon.
Steering pump and pulley-
It was also noticed that there was some play in the steering pump and so a new pump and pulley were fitted. The old pump had been a
second hand unit. The new pump was a March Performance chrome pump
($190) and a Mr Gadget chrome pulley
fitted to it. The March Performance pump is a very high quality pump and unlike other makers even the part opposite the pulley is chromed
The Mr Gadget pully was an excellent match, looked great and was inexpensive.
More pictures soon.
Road tests -
The steering on the truck can only be described as fantastic! It is precise, smooth and effortless. It is a real pleasure
to drive the truck with this new column (and the other mods below the column.) If I had to make a small criticism, it is the
turning circle is still a bit too large but this has nothing to do with the column. It is a reflection of the rack and
pinion steering and the overall steering geometry. Apart from that it steers like a modern new vehicle and that is really
what was hoped for. A very worthwhile upgrade.