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Loose Steering Column???

This is a discussion on Loose Steering Column??? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; So I was driving my 98 Trans Am with 131000 miles on it today and noticed alot of up and ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member supercharged666's Avatar
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    Loose Steering Column???

    So I was driving my 98 Trans Am with 131000 miles on it today and noticed alot of up and down play in my steering column. I can grab the steering wheel and pull down on it towards 6 and 7 o-clock and get about 1/2inch of play. This is not a rotational loosness like if you had worn tie rods. This seems to be in the steering column itself.I tried adjusting the height of the steering wheel with the level to see it it still had play on different heights and it still did. I never really herd of a steering column wearing out before??? Has anyone else had this problem????

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    The bearing in the column is loose. You will have to pull the airbag and tighten the lock nut in the center of the wheel. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE NUT!! YOU WILL DAMAGE THE BEARING!!!

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    Junior Member supercharged666's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good place to start. Do you know how the airbag comes off? Are there bolts on the back that hold it on?? Or is there some special tool that I need to release it??? I herd nightmare stories of people trying to get there airbags off there steering wheel because they needed some special tool?

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    Junior Member supercharged666's Avatar
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    So I got the airbag off, there were 2 T30 torq screws holding it to the steering wheel. I found the 21mm nut in the center of the steering wheel. tried to tighten it but it was already pretty tight. So I loosened it and retightend it again. I rechecked my play and it was still there. Tightening that nut had no affect. It seems that all that nut does it hold the steering wheel to the shaft of the column. I can't see how tightening that nut anyway would cause the up and downward play in the steering column to go away??? Is there some other nut I should be looking for to tighten for the bearing you speak of????

  5. #5
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    The bearing is under the nut. Should be a cage with ball bearings in it.

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    Junior Member supercharged666's Avatar
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    So do I need to pull the steering wheel off to get to this nut??? Because the only nut that is under the airbag is the one that holds the steering wheel on.

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    Here is the scoop, I had the same problem on a Grand Am GT as well as my WS6. There are two small steel dowels. (almost a half inch around, an inch long) One on each side. They are in my terms, pivot dowels. It is probably loose somewhere in your car. The looseness in your column will mess up your ignition switch as well. I have to pull down on my steering wheel to shut off the car, otherwise it will stay running, and i can have the key in my hand. I haven't come up with a way to keep these pins in place. Hopefully someone else will chime in and tell us how to actually fix this. You may want to dissassemble the ignition parts so you understand how it works. I had many a dead battery moments before I figured it all out. Good luck bud.

  8. #8
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    I just realized I did not post pulling the wheel off and the plate beneath it. Be careful not to damage the clockspring underneath. I think there is also a plate you have to pull off as well. It has been a while since I have removed steering wheels, but I think this is all you need to do to tighten the bearing.
    Last edited by cammed goat; 01-30-2012 at 06:10 PM.

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    Junior Member supercharged666's Avatar
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    Do you need a steering wheel puller to remove the steering wheel?? Or can you just remove the 21mm nut and pull the steering wheel off?

  10. #10
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    A steering wheel puller is safer. You DO NOT want to pull on the steering wheel and by chance knock yourself out. Also look for a steering column plate puller, I think it's called.

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    I'm telling you, you guys are completely missing the problem.

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Do the dowels have torx heads on them?

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    If they do, they are recessed in the dowel. Do you know what they are?

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    It has been a long time since I dealt with tilt columns. I used to deal with my old Beretta's colum alot. Blown dimmer switch, looseness. It was a pain in the ass.

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    Member El Toro Loco's Avatar
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    i know that this thread is almost a year old, but did the problem get solved? cause i just noticed yessterday that my steering wheel has some play in it now as well and it bothers the hell out of me

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Is the play just up and down? Or up, down, left and right?

  17. #17
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Could be a loose tilt handle. Someone will assist in this thread. This thread may be old, but we can keep it going until someone actually has an answer.

  18. #18
    Member moesplace's Avatar
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    the older columns pivot on 2 pins the bottom of the head has 4 bolts they come lose steering wheel move all direction tairedown is a bitch to get to have not pulled one apart on a T/A or a camaro newer than a 199?

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    I noticed mine is getting a bit loose also. You can pull it down towards the 6-7:00 like the OP.

    I haven't fixed one on these F-bodies, but I am assuming that after you take the steering wheel off, and move the turn signal switch out of the way, there will be some reverse headed torx bits to tighten, deep in the column. That's how I fixed a bunch of columns on GMs, and I think this column would be similar. I could only get to two of the three bolts, but after tightening two it was tight and stayed that way for years. And yeah, do not allow the airbag clock spring to rotate. Tape it so it won't rotate, after you get it out of the column.

  20. #20
    Member El Toro Loco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    Is the play just up and down? Or up, down, left and right?
    the play is up and down, mostly down though doestn move if i push up only if i pull down

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