Together the new chrome ididit...
Together the new chrome ididit tilt steering column and a Grant wheel make a huge improvement in the look of the Hot Rod Hauler’s interior—and they make it much nicer to drive to boot.
From the outset we’ve had a variety of goals for the Hot Rod Hauler, some were established for practical considerations like mileage and load capacity, while others were for cosmetic and comfort reasons.
At this point we have a confession to make—there was a time when we scoffed at all those cushy accessories that were becoming common in trucks (mainly because nothing we owned had any of them), but we’ve changed our tune. We’re going to add a number of features to our ’73 that it lacked, and one of the first is a tilt column from ididit and a leather-wrapped steering wheel from Grant.
The obvious advantage to a tilt column is the ability to change the angle of the steering wheel to accommodate different driving positions (and in our case it meant we could get rid of the sloppy shifter and a turn signal switch that wouldn’t cancel after left turns) and the addition of a new, smaller, more comfortable steering wheel would be a welcome replacement for the big, cracked plastic original.
Thumbing through the ididit catalog we found direct fit columns for ’47-’78 Chevy and ’53-’79 Fords in straight, tilt, column or shift designs as well as a host of universal designs. For our particular application we could choose between bolt-in column shift and floor shift columns in steel, chrome, black powdercoated and aluminum versions in two different styles—Ford or GM. For the Hot Rod Hauler we chose the direct fit, chrome tilt column shift, GM version.
Why did we choose the GM-style column in a Ford pickup? The simple reason is this—when using an aftermarket wheel and an adapter with this column the gripping surface of the new wheel will be in the same location as the original. Aftermarket wheels and adapters can move the steering wheel closer to the driver, and we didn’t want that.
For those who want to use the stock steering wheel, ididt offers all Ford columns that are also a direct bolt-in. Standard features of these columns are Ford top shaft and wiring, ’73-’79 columns come standard with four-way flashers.
Choosing a steering wheel from Grant’s huge number of offerings is simple enough, they’ve got a style to suit any taste. We went for a contemporary look and chose their Club Sport wheel, part number 452. This wheel uses a combination of matte black smooth leather-look vinyl and diamond grip textured vinyl separated by metal bands and polished spokes for a cutting edge look. A Grant Installation Kit is necessary to mount this wheel to a vehicle. This wheel will work with Grant Standard 3000 or 4000 Series, Billet 5000 Series, or Euro 6000 series installation kits.
Installing the ididit tilt column and Grant wheel made a real improvement in the Hot Rod Hauler’s interior and it’s certainly more comfortable to drive. Another of our goals can be scratched off the list. CCT
As the ididit column comes with a GM plug on the wiring, a matching plug has to be added to the Ford’s harness—but it’s not hard to do.
The GM plug is lettered as follows:
|Letter on plug
||to brake switch
||right rear stop/turn
||left rear stop/turn
||to turn signal flasher
||to hazard flasher
||right front turn
||left front turn
The original plug on our ’73 Ford F-350’s column had been damage and all the wires were spliced. However, the wire colors were as follows. (Colors on other trucks may vary, consult a manual or identify with a test light.)
|brake light switch
|right rear stop/turn
|left rear stop/turn
|from turn signal flasher
|from hazard flasher
|right front turn
|left front turn
|not used-shift indicator light
The original ’73 steering...
The original ’73 steering wheel was huge, full of cracks and it wasn’t comfortable when new. Like many Ford pickups of this era, the shifter was loose and vague. As we would be working under the dash we elected to remove the column for easier access.
Before removing the steering...
Before removing the steering column, we identified the function of all the wires with a test light.
The new ididit column comes...
The new ididit column comes with a GM-style plug that is added to the Ford’s wiring harness—it has one less wire than the Ford wiring harness. The extra wire is for a shift indicator light the Ford column had but the GM lacks.
We removed the power booster...
We removed the power booster and master cylinder for a better view of the firewall side of the stock column. Removing the plate bolted to the firewall reveals a hole large enough for the shift arm to fit through—the complete column is removed from inside the cab.
Note the two-hole mounting...
Note the two-hole mounting plate on the stock column; it attaches to the lower lip of the dashboard.
At the bottom of the stock...
At the bottom of the stock Ford column is a connector that hooks to the steering box that is commonly called a rag joint. It absorbs a certain amount of vibration and allows for movement between the body-mounted column and the chassis mounted steering box.
As the column portion of the...
As the column portion of the original rag joint is welded to the shaft, a new replacement is required. We used part number 3000053434 from ididit with ¾-inch-36 splines on both sides.
The column we chose was the...
The column we chose was the chrome, column shift, GM style. Note the mounting bracket is welded in place. This column is a true bolt-in that requires no modifications to the truck.
ididit supplies offers everything...
ididit supplies offers everything required for installation, including a new horn relay (although it was not necessary for our installation).