Finished the steering column



An early-morning hardware store run produced two fine-thread bolts that fit the steering wheel hub.  So it is puller time.  The holes were a little too close together to use the opposite holes.  But this worked and the wheel came right off.


Now I can test the switches.  The switches work, which is excellent news.  But the horn contact does not work so the switches will have to come out.



Well this looks like a problem.  This contact rubs on a copper ring on the bottom of the steering wheel.  The wire on the left used to be riveted on the end of the copper contact rod.  The rivet corroded off.  Then someone tried to wedge that rusty screw and nut under it to make it work.  Which did not work so well.  I will have to get creative here. I could solder the wire onto the pin but that would very likely damage the plastic/rubber bit.


Here is what I came up with.  By drilling a hole in the pin  I can solder the wire on the end of the pin.  I carefully centered the drill bit and put about a 3/16″ deep hole in there.


Well, I did a crap job with the centering but this will still work.


I tinned the hole with solder then clamped the pin in a pair of forceps so I would not burn my fingers again.


Now here is the clever bit.  Since I am soldering in the end of the pin I can push the parts up the wire.  I stripped and tinned the end of the wire as well.


Then I soldered the pin on the end of the wire and let everything cool.


The riveted connector used to keep everything together.  Instead of that I put a bit of heat-shrink tubing on the end of the pin and melted it down.


Good as new.  Now we have good contact.  I am really pleased with how this is working out.


I put the switches back in and carefully routed the wires.  Then I tested all the circuits again just to be safe.


The turn signal lever is a mess.  I better clean that up before I put it back on.


Well, that is not perfect but it is a hell of a lot better.  I wire-brushed the metal then polished the chrome and plastic.  Everything then got a good waxing.


While I was at it I cleaned the steering wheel, horn ring, and center button.


Here is the contact ring on the steering wheel after cleaning.  You can see the cracking in the wheel.  Someday this will need some work but it should work fine for now.

Time to fix the mess at the other end of the steering column.  Somebody put fuses on every single circuit coming off the column connector.  That is ridiculous.  There are only three ways for power to get into the column.  It can come from the brake light circuit or the supply wires for the hazard lights and turn signals.  So that is THREE fuses, not six.  And the brake light fuse will be under the hood.


Here is the cleaned up supply line for the turn signals.  All splices are soldered and insulated with heat shrink.   I put a female spade connector on the end of the wire and insulated it with heat shrink.  This will be connected to the flasher for the turn signal.  I did the same thing to the pink supply wire for the hazard lights.  All the other fuses will be removed and the wires spliced together.


Just like this.  All the splices are soldered and insulated with heat shrink.


Here I bundled the wires up and zip-tied them together.  I also connected both supply wires to the flasher.  I have another flasher on order.  When that comes I can hook the turn signals up to accessory power like they should be.


I am almost ready to test the lights.  First I put the driver’s side tail light in.


No problems here.  I put the lenses on and hooked up the wire for the fuel level sender.  I went around the car and hooked up all the wires then hooked up the battery.  No smoke came out so that is good.


Success!  Backup lights and hazard lights are on here.  The horn even works.  I am really pleased, this kind of turned into a big project and everything worked out very well.  I still want to put relays on the headlights and horn but that will be later.  And the right-turn signal indicator on the dash is not working.  Probably that is just a burned-out bulb.


This attractive pile is all the wiring I removed from the car.  Very little of this was replaced, most was simply wrong or unnecessary.  Crazy.

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