Ok, so this is my first attempt at a real write up on removing/replacing the steering column in a 1995 F150 with a 5sp transmission.
Symptoms of the problem before tearing into the steering column was that I could start the truck, but not shut it off. The key was easily turned without any “normal” resistance/spring to it and all accessories had power with the key in any position.
Full pics here: http://www.supermotors.net/registry/21166/74067-2
Borrowed some pictures from mashori and his write-up on clock spring replacement: Clock Spring Removal and Installation
Borrowed from steve83 :
Some special tools that you will need, or will find that will make the job easier are:
The one my finger is on (90* bend) is what I used.
Steering Wheel puller
Torx bits, mainly T20, T25, and T30…
Other basic hand tools will get the job done though.
***Remove the positive battery cable for at least 15 mins to allow the electrical charge to dissipate in the air bag if so equipped***
Next, start by removing the headlight switch knob, dental pick will help, but a screwdriver will work fine. There is a notch and you must pull back on the metal clip inside:
Afterwards, remove the two long skinny pieces of trim, which will reveal two screws:
Carefully remove the dash bezel/trim by popping it off. Work your way around and work it up and off of the steering column.
The lower dash piece is also held on by two screws, each on the lower corners. Carefully remove that piece as well.
Next, remove the airbag by removing 4 nuts. These are located on the backside of the steering column.
Carefully remove the airbag and disconnect the power feed, and set it aside.
The connector with the bright yellow is for the airbag:
Now disconnect the horn connection:
To remove the steering wheel, loosen and remove the bolt.
Find the correct bolts to fit into the two threaded holes meant for using the steering wheel puller. Puller setup:
Tighten the steering wheel puller and the steering wheel should come of with little effort. Be careful to feed the wires and connections threw the steering wheel
I used a puller from harbor freight…cheap and effective. You can also rent one from most auto parts stores.
Afterwards you will be left with this:
Next, remove the tilt lever. Pliers or vise grips work great. If you don’t want to take any paint off, I’d suggest using some cloth to keep from marking the paint up.
To remove the steering column’s plastic trim covers, there are 4 or 5 screws to be removed on the underside. There is also a screw near the back of the covers on the passenger side which is hidden by the dash trim, which with it removed makes getting to the screw easier.
Once the bottom cover is removed, you have to take the key cylinder out as well. Put your key in, and while turning the key to the run position, insert something into the pin hole to push in the key cylinder retaining pin. Then gently remove the key cylinder…or you may have to replace it.
Then you can remove the top cover after removing the key cylinder.
After the covers are removed, the clock-spring needs to be removed. For my year/setup, there where 3 places that the plastic clips onto the metal tilt piece of the column. Carefully pull/pry on them and it should pop freely off. You will also have to remove the brown plastic piece seen here at the key cylinder:
Along with these connections on the lower part of the column and the clips that hold the wiring harness to the steering column body.
After that is out of the way, you can remove the Multi-function switch (controls wipers, hi-lo beam ect). A few torx and electrical connection and its easily removed.
Sorry no picture for this process. Just pull the harness out of the way so it doesn’t get caught while removing the steering column later.
To remove the tilting section of the column, you must remove these set of pieces:
There is a black plastic piece that sits in front of all those pieces, it is the turn-signal clearing/cancel piece. This took some fiddling around with to get it off, just try not to break it
You need a set of snap ring pliers and the rest of the pieces will come off easily.
Remember the order, which is easy enough. The spring has some tension on it so be careful!!
***Now this is where I messed up, but it didn’t matter since my column was broken anyhow, This steps should be followed if you don’t need to replace the plastic actuators otherwise you WILL be replacing some parts***
The next to last setup is to remove some of the pieces from inside the column where the key cylinder inserts:
Using a dental pick, as gently as possible, you have to get behind the green piece of plastic and pry it out. It has little “hooks” that clip around the piece behind it, but you cannot rotate the metal piece behind it without removing this green piece.
Pry carefully, and it should come out.
Then the metal piece behind it, when removing it, note which way it was removed. Otherwise it’ll cause you headaches later.
Then the gear behind that. Note its position as well.
I don’t have any pictures but these pieces can be seen in the diagram here:
The parts are 74, 72, and 70 respectively.
Now for the dangerous part, the tilt spring. This spring is located on the right hand side of the column…I am not sure on the actual method for removal, so you’re on your own, however, I will explain how I removed it…
Using a large screwdriver, pry the spring out of place, it will take some effort, and watch out, it goes flying!!! When I re-installed the column, I attempted to put the spring back it, but failed to multiple times. I just left it out, as all it does is help push the column up when the tilt lever is released…you will have to be the spring if you cant put it back in, but the column will still tilt.
To remove the tilt part of the column from the main body, you need to remove two torx on each side of the column assembly. I couldn’t get a ratchet in, and my screwdriver handled torx wouldn’t allow me to get on straight, so I used a wrench and socket together like such:
Then you will have to fight the jaws on the underside of the column to remove the tilt piece. You will be left with this:
Next step is to remove the electrical portion of the ignition switch seen here:
It is the white box w/wires going to it.
To remove this, you will need to remove two torx head bolts and push the connection and switch to the side. (If you are changing the ignition switch out, you must loosen the bolt that connects the harness to the switch. There is a bolt head in the mass of wires)
With that removed, you can move on to the ujoint that connects right before the firewall.
I removed the ujoint with the steering column, but you don’t have to. Loosen and remove the bolt on the lower connection of the ujoint and remove it, because there is a detent in the steering shaft that the bolt slides thru. And you won’t be able to separate the shaft from the ujoint.
Lastly, check for any wires or connections that you may have missed. If you don’t see any, you are ready for the last step. That is to remove the 4 nuts that mount the main steering column body to the dash/frame of the truck. This can be seen here:
With those removed you’ll be removing the column completely:
Now, on to replacing the actuators, which in my experience, the pin that connects the two popped out, which was odd because the fit of the pin was quite snug, but since I’d gone this far I was replacing them.
To remove the lower actuator, you must remove the steering shaft from the column completely. To do this, you have to remove the pieces on the lower end of the column seen here:
Just remove the ujoint, spring an assorted pieces and make note of the order. Which even if you forget, it isn’t to hard to figure out.
Then pull the shaft out from the top of the steering column. Afterwards this will allow you to remove the lower plastic actuator.
Heres a picture of the old vs. new actuators:
The metal column locking piece has already been swapped over to the new piece.
I applied the old grease or lube from the old pieces on the new ones. To assemble the column, connect the two actuators together so they look like this:
Make sure the gear section of the upper actuator points towards the floor if the column was situated in the truck.
Then re-install the shaft, which is the reverse of removal.
***To replace bearings in the tilt part of the column, tap the old out, and carefully install the new ones if you have to, as I did because my upper bearing was bad.***
***Much of the installation is the reverse of the removal***
There are a few difficult parts to putting the column back together.
The main problem is when you attach the tilt piece to the main body of the column. Here is what I did, and don’t let it fool you, it’s pretty difficult…
When you try to put the tilt piece in, you are faced with the jaws that control the position of the tilt. With using screw drivers, and prying the jaws down, “walk” the tilt piece over the detents for the tilt.
To install the torx bolts, I used to screw drivers to pry the jaws on the column down and maneuvered the tilt piece into place to tighten the torx bolts.
Just don’t force the torx bolts in, as you risk pushing the bushings out of the tilt part of the column.
Be patient, I got it and so can you
One other problem is the getting the snap ring on in this part when re-assembling this part
If your snap ring pliers are larger, it will help, but mine are multi use and slightly smaller than I should have had. Couple of tips:
--Make sure all the slack is out of the column steering shaft, make sure it is pulled up as high as possible.
--Use a board against the ujoint near the firewall to press up on the steering shaft while you try to push the spring/snap ring into place. (I had to keep slight pressure on the wood while working the snap ring into place.)
--Be careful as that spring can fly off, make sure the snap ring is in the groove on the steering shaft
The rest is pretty simple though. All reverse of installation.
Hope this helps.