intermediate shaft different for tilt and non-tilt steering columns?

Tokyo Torquer3

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2003
2,187
NJ
Guys,

Any of you know if the intermediate steering shaft for 1973 camaro tilt and non-tilt steering columns are different? I did a thorough archive search and could not get clarity on this.

My original non-tilt steering column and shaft has the column to pot joint coupling bolt going vertical at the 3 o'clock position. That is, the recessed groove cut in the end of the splined column shaft for the coupling bolt is in the 3 o'clock position from the driver seat perspective.

I just got a rebuilt tilt column from NPD that looks correct in every way, except now the groove in the splined end of the column is in the 12 o'clock position (coupling bolt would be horizontal in the 12 o'clock straight ahead position).

I also just bought a new OEM replacement intermediate steering shaft that is supposed to fit all 70-early 78 power and manual steering Camaros, and it did not mention any distinction between tilt or non-tilt steering columns. However, the coupling bolt on the pot joint end is oriented 90 degrees different from my original intermediate steering shaft. This should work good with the new tilt column. However, I want to confirm that there are different intermediate steering shafts for early 2nd gen tilt and non-tilt steering columns.

mike
 
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Tokyo Torquer3

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2003
2,187
NJ
Is there anyone out there that swapped out a non-tilt for a tilt steering column that did or did not run into the same issue?
 

dale68z

Veteran Member
May 14, 2009
1,407
Peoria Arizona
I looked at my 73 with out tilt and my 71 with tilt. The intermediate shafts look the same but are clocked differently. 90 degree different. You will need a tilt intermediate shaft.
 
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Rene Melten

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Sep 22, 2007
4,117
Blind Bay, B.C.
I swapped a '73 non-tilt for a '74 tilt that's in the car now. The intermediate shaft info escapes me ...but the coupling bolt is vertical at 3 o'clock..I just looked.
 

Tokyo Torquer3

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2003
2,187
NJ
Thanks Rene.. then perhaps there are two types of tilt columns w/ splined ends and corresponding two types of intermediate shafts for the 70 to early 78 cars. Either that or the guy who put my tilt colum togther put the shaft in 90 degrees off (if possible) and the intermediate shaft vender sold me a mis-made shaft that has the orientation also 90 degrees out. I am thinking there are 2 different types.

Some of you guys may have heard of Jim Shea on some of the boards. He was a GM engineer at Saginaw, Michigan about 40 years ago working on steering systems for these GM cars. The following is a quote from him that suggests all GM tilt columns of this period should have the steering column input shaft coupling bolt in the 12 oclock position;

"The indentation on the very end of the upper steering shaft (steering wheel end) is always at 12 o'clock when the column is on center. (The column needs to be on center so that your turn signals cancel equally and correctly.) The steering wheel hub should have a matching indentation. The horn tower sticking up from the column into the hub should be at roughly 11 o'clock. When the indentation on the upper steering shaft is at 12 o'clock you should be able to look down and see that there is a cross notch at 12 o'clock on the steering shaft sticking out the end of a tilt column (all tilt columns up through 1978). This means that the detachable flange or the pot coupling will have a clamping bolt that is horizontal and passing through the notch. With the (steering) gear on center, the flexible coupling (rag joint) stop pins should be at 6 and 12 o'clock. The attaching pinch bolt should be vertical, passing through the 9 o'clock position with the bolt head pointing straight up. With the steering gear on center, the flat on the input shaft will always be at 12 o'clock. With the gear on center, the pitman shaft will always be pointing right along the centerline of the car (it could be pointing forward or rearward depending upon the system design.). With the roadwheels pointing straight ahead and the gear on center, the left and right tie rods should be roughly of equal length. These are some basic guidelines for nearly all GM passenger cars from 1969 through the late 1970s."

mike
 
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Tokyo Torquer3

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2003
2,187
NJ
I am documenting this because it doesnt seem it was ever cleared up on this site. I am answering my own question after a lot of research, but apparently there are 2 different intermediate steering shafts for the 70 to early 78 cars and if you mix the columns/ shafts, you will be 90 degrees off at the steering wheel. Here is a thread from another member with the same issue;

http://www.nastyz28.com/forum/showthread.php?t=148895&highlight=intermediate+shaft

Some other points that should be helpful;
-Pitman arm should be facing straight back and parallel with the centerline of the car when the front wheels are straight
-Rag joint clamp bolt should be vertical on the side closest to the frame rail with the head facing up
-The two holes that bolt the intermediate shaft to the rag joint are different sizes. The big hole goes on the engine side and the small hole goes on the frame rail side.

Hope this helps someone.

mike
 
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81Z4ME

Veteran Member
Dec 1, 2000
376
Chesterfield, VA, USA
Mine is an 81 Z28 with a manual transmission. I used a tilt steering column from a Berlinetta (not sure of the year but it had the same color interior as mine). I took mine loose at the steering gear box and just bolted it all back up with the tilt column.

I do remember the "switch" on the bottom of the column had to be "repinned" as the car would start when I pushed in the clutch if the key was on. The rod that connects to the lock in the column "pushes" the switch in the fixed column but in the tilt columns it "pulls" the switch down on the side/top of the column.

Something to keep in mind if the other 2nd gens are like the 81's.
 

Italstalyon

New Member
Mar 21, 2011
25
San Jose, Ca.
I just did a 1973 Camaro that had a non tilt and I got a tilt from a 1971. The intermediate shafts were different at both ends. I tried to make them work but wound up getting the steering box from the 71 as well then it all fit fine. Too much drama trying to make all this work otherwise. Now the Saginaw box fits fine with the shaft and the column is in. BUT I need an upper bearing. I have ball bearings all over the place and the cage is broken. Anyone know where to get a bearing or the number of it???
 

Tokyo Torquer3

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2003
2,187
NJ
Italstalyon said:
I just did a 1973 Camaro that had a non tilt and I got a tilt from a 1971. The intermediate shafts were different at both ends. I tried to make them work but wound up getting the steering box from the 71 as well then it all fit fine. Too much drama trying to make all this work otherwise. Now the Saginaw box fits fine with the shaft and the column is in. BUT I need an upper bearing. I have ball bearings all over the place and the cage is broken. Anyone know where to get a bearing or the number of it???

Sounds like something was not original on one of the cars if both ends were different. The one difference I did find between the tilt and non-tilt for the 1970 to early 1978 camaro is the steering column shaft is clocked 90 degrees different between the tilt and non-tilt splined end, requiring a different intermediate shaft.
 
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71RS/SS396

Veteran Member
Aug 26, 2008
2,640
Wake Forest NC
Italstalyon said:
I just did a 1973 Camaro that had a non tilt and I got a tilt from a 1971. The intermediate shafts were different at both ends. I tried to make them work but wound up getting the steering box from the 71 as well then it all fit fine. Too much drama trying to make all this work otherwise. Now the Saginaw box fits fine with the shaft and the column is in. BUT I need an upper bearing. I have ball bearings all over the place and the cage is broken. Anyone know where to get a bearing or the number of it???
You should be able to take the numbers off of the bearing ( usually on the inner race) and go to a bearing supplier like Motion industries or McMaster-Carr and get a bearing. Here's an exploded drawing of the column. http://www.nastyz28.com/tech/e-tiltcol.html
 
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