Steering Column Bushing Replacement
On the way to the DeLorean Club of Florida April tech day my steering column bushing broke. Picked up a replacement from a fellow owner who purchased it from DMC Northwest and never installed it. This is Tobys ‘Delrin’ plastic bushing. Bit of a pain to install, but here is the walkthrough below:
2 – 13mm box wrenches
7mm socket wrench (small)
17mm socket wrench
17mm box wrench
2 2×6 boards
Small & Large phillips screwdriver
Marker (sharpie fine point)
New Bushing (used Tobys Delrin remanufactured replacement)
A Helper (preferrably a petite person, will be needed toward the end)
(1) Jack up car, remove driver wheel, prop some wood under passenger wheel, set car down with passenger wheel up on wood and the underside supported by a jackstand on the drivers side of the front frame. This helped keep some weight on the steering rack and make the wheel stay in one place for the most part.
(2) Get on your back in the drivers footwell. Remove the seat if you want (I didn’t). Remove the steering wheel surround. Remove the kneepads. Unhook wiring from the steering column (3 plugs). You now have two brackets hanging down from where the kneepads were connected. Bend these up and to the rear of the car. They bend back, but they need to be out of the way for reinstall anyway, so make it easier on yourself now.
(3) Get back out of the car and crawl under the front/side. Look up and you’ll see where the column comes through the firewall to the u-joint. Remove the bolt that goes through the u-joint.
(4) Get back in the car, pull the seat forward a bit (if you removed the seat, your going to need help now). Remove the two bolts holding the column into the dash. Drop the column down onto the seat. Get out and start giving it a tug to begin pulling it out of the u-joint.
(5) Get back under the car, use the pen to mark where it is coming out of the u-joint. I marked where the splines were ‘open’ (not covered by the u-joint, where it compresses) so I could see them easier upon reinstall.
(6) I had to go back and fourth at this point, pounding with my palm on the u-joint connection and then in the car giving small tugs. I found it easier to use vice grips on the inner column on the inside of the car to help finish pulling it off the u-joint. Once disconnected remove the column from the car.
(7) Time to install the new bushing. I have seen comments on the board that the new bushing needs to be ‘pulled’ into the firewall. I had no problems just pounding it in place. Pushed in with my fingers, grabbed a socket and an extension, placed the socket around the bushing (used a towel as padding) and pounded it in. Took some force but popped in without a problem.
(8) Cleaned the unmarked splines off the steering column connection point and drew my marks darker. Now you’ll need help. With vice grips around the inner column where it sticks out of the outer column, put the column back in the car and have a helper sit in the seat and lift the column up. Line it up and begin feeding it through the bushing.
(9) Now start to use some force, the inner column will begin to be pushed by the outer column, but be careful not to collapse the outer column cage. I had the helper push on the wheel while I pushed on the vice grips. It fed through with some force. Go slowly at this point and hop back under the car to feed it correctly into the u-joint. If you push it all the way through you’ll need to feed it back a bit in order to get it back in the u-joint.
(10) Now that you have started to get it in the u-joint, just keep feeding it through and readjusting until it has reseated itself. It needs to go all the way in, as that ‘curve’ cutout in the splines is where the bolt holds it in place. Slide the bolt in the u-joint before rebolting the column to the dash. Give your helper some thanks and get back in the car to start the reassembly.