Editor's note: Pacific Coast Customs, owned by Robbie Azevedo, is a pro shop in the wine country region of Northern California that builds some awesome custom classic trucks and cars. You may recall Robbie designed and built the '48 Impression we featured most recently in the May '06 issue.
Pacific Coast Customs (PCC) recently purchased a 1971 C10 pickup to convert into a shop truck to cruise around, run to the parts store, and promote our shop. On the 30-mile journey home in the truck, the steering column was so worn out and sloppy we barely made it home. We knew we had to swap it out for a rebuilt unit before we did much more driving.
Since we were going through all the work of removing the old steering column and installing all-new and rebuilt parts, we thought we would swap it out for a tilt unit. With factory tilt columns getting harder and harder to find, we pulled out our old column and trekked to the local salvage yard (right next door). At Pacific Auto Salvage, they rebuild and repair steering columns and have an aisle full of parts and pieces. We came away from the yard with a '78 Chevy van column.
When compared side by side with the original C10 part, the van column looked like it would work fine with a few modifications. The housings were the same length, but the shaft needed to be shortened. Other than that it was a bolt-in job, with a few other parts being replaced along the way and all-new switches and bearings installed to provide years of solid steering. To give that occasional middle rider a little more legroom, we hooked up the column shift linkage. Fresh out of the CNC machine at Billet Accessories Direct, we topped the column with a new leather-wrapped steering wheel. So follow along with us on a journey to see how you too can install a new steering column without your bank account going tilt.