1957 Steering Column / Steering Wheel - What is missing

Joined
May 2, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1957
I pickup a 57' Tbird that is going to need a lot of work, and one of the things I want to focus on is the steering.

The car was stripped, sitting in black primer. It runs, drives and stops, but the steering wheel pulls all the way out, saved only by the horn wire stop. I have the adjustment sleeve, upper hub and tube from a pile of parts in the trunk, but I am not sure what further parts I will need. The seller advised me all I would need is the steering shaft bearing, but I think I am going to need a few other things to get it right and safe. I ordered a new 15" "American Retro" steering wheel, but based off the parts I highlighted in the diagram, is there anything I am missing or needing?
The large disadvantage I have is that the car came already dissembled, so I am not sure how things go back together or what is missing still.

This is my second car restoration, so I am very new and limited. I appreciate any insight, advise or help to getting this bird back on the road.
Thanks

20220502_165327.jpg20220502_165336.jpgsteeringColumn.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jan 1, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1955
You're missing everything for the upper steering column. The diagram is pretty much self-explanatory. You should start by going online and browsing Tbird parts catalogs. Doing so will tell you how many of the missing parts are being reproduced. Also, some suppliers should have any used parts that are no longer being reproduced.

The Restoratio Manual has a section on assembling the steering column, which includes instructions for "pinning" the upper column to prevent separation. The manual is available from Tbird suppliers, but you'll be looking at about $200 for the manual/w all addendums.

Once you've acquired all of the parts (and manual), let us know how it's coming along.
 

knuckle47

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
Hey @Ward57. I was Land Cruising…and, landscaping….but it was @doug7740 who guided me thru the entire process and the plan is 101% the way to go. My column was a bit more complete bu the real culprit is the screw at about the 7 o’clock position below the hub. I have a few pics of my job. @doug7740 advised the 1/8” roll pins which is a brilliant move. Apparently this problem is well-known in the thunderbird world. I did not discover the 7 o’clock screw until I had replace the column 3 other times and the darn thing still pulled out of the splines down in the engine bay. Also, be sure the head of the screw does not protrude above the slide tube or you will not get the adjustment collar to screw back on. Also be sure your screw head nearly fills the space on each side of the slot it fits in

4ABFC0ED-6401-4CCD-81AB-19C694D597E9.jpegF0D824F3-CCDB-4EA7-A12A-9C611CB5714B.jpeg3858243C-6ADF-4ECB-8CFF-535577A2125A.jpegC5F1CD8C-45EC-409F-AEF0-D20C5D4FEE74.jpegE0483914-0F0C-406D-A13E-3DD9CFC159E3.jpegD1CBB468-A484-4BE8-8912-E6DADBFEED83.jpeg054A1D40-7DE1-4AD4-B568-9CD27B16E15F.jpeg5183E3C3-1C47-4734-9CF5-50A16F2D1C89.jpeg5C3DECB6-54D3-453B-B080-507DB8D8B01F.jpegAAFDD323-7DDF-4453-B19B-847E42843A92.jpeg

These roll pins are drilled at 1/3 intervals around the hub. Careful not to go into the hub bearing. You can even file off any protruding roll pin tops but be sure you get them into the hub. The “slide out prevention screw” at 7’ o’clock is seen in photo 6. This allows movement of the column and the screw prevents it going in too far and out too far.
BY THE WAY; the slide out prevention screw may not be exactly a 7 o’clock….
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 2, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1957
Knuckle47 this is helpful with the provided pics you posted. I am finally starting to try and get my steering column/steering wheel put together, but still running around lost. I went on NPD a and CASCO and purchased the parts I needed..
So now I have the hub, collar and seal, snap ring, bearing, horn ring, horn spring, horseshoe collar bolts...amazing, that little bit of parts $180!

steeringParts.jpg

I got the original steering wheel off, and the steering shaft just pulls right now. Nothing holding it in but the horn wire.
I purchased a smaller 15" steering wheel but of course can seem to get that to go on. (problem for later)

Why in the #6 picture your steering column has a long chrome tube and in picture #10 it doesn't?

knuckleColumn.jpg

Where did you get that chrome tube cover from?
Maybe I need to just take the whole steering column out to see what is what.

knuckleChrometube.jpg

Are your pics from a 55' or 56' as the dash is different than my 57'.
I appreciate it

Are there any GOOD videos that show how to put together and install the steering column? One that steps you through it all and now just" hey look at this, let's take out the steering column.. (cut to) ok now that's done, let's put in a new one (cut to) wow doesn't that look beautiful"

Or "we just put in a brake booster and look at how great our work is and how beautiful this car it" and they show nothing on how hey did it.

I tell you I can not seem to find any good youtube videos on the Tbird. I just did my first restoration on a 74' SB and there are a ton of great how-to videos. Even a parts distributor like Jbugs puts our wonderful videos. They step you through just about every process you can think of in great, well edited detail for the most part. But it seem like on the Tbird there is slim to nothing that really shows a full process without being over 40mins of wasted time, just showing off beautiful cars, or jump cuts through the whole process. There are a few I have found but there are very few that can really help (bummed)

Forums are great sometimes, but it's hard unless someone gives great details in pictures and illustrations or creates a great instructional. It's hard to show and explain everything in a picturs and that can sometimes be confusing when you don't know anything.
And of course on forums you get a lot of great opinions "make it black, make it red, don't do that, Yes, you should do that.."

I appreciate it and any help
 

knuckle47

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
the chrome tube is a standard ford shaft cover that runs from the steering box thru the firewall and thru the hub at the dash. This creates the column assembly. If you did not see the chrome column …something would be amiss the hub supports your directional signal switch and in turn, the telescoping adjuster nut…this was a 1956 column repair
 

knuckle47

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
This flat fingers on the right side of the column cover in the last photo, are the components of the pressure plate that grips the column in the telescoping wheel. The short and long extension …as you have labeled it, it only a photo as I was extracting the column from its fully nested position
 
Joined
May 2, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1957
Hmm, do you have where I can get this shaft cover?
All I have on my steering column is what you see. That is how I got it. I can steer the car, but like I said if you pull on the steering wheel the whole rod comes out.

It was fun trying to drive the bird off the back of the loading trailer. Once I backed down the 45 degree ramp the steering wheel pulls off and the gas pedal comes loose. I am left with one foot on the brake, one on the clutch, and the hardtop sliding off.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
the chrome tube is a standard ford shaft cover that runs from the steering box thru the firewall and thru the hub at the dash. This creates the column assembly. If you did not see the chrome column …something would be amiss the hub supports your directional signal switch and in turn, the telescoping adjuster nut…this was a 1956 column repair
The chrome tube was part of the engine dress-up option that was on most T-Birds. Nice and shiny when looking down over the battery.
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
The chrome tube was part of the engine dress-up option that was on most T-Birds. Nice and shiny when looking down over the battery.
I have to agree with knuckle47 that the chrome tube was a standard Ford shaft cover. The engine dress-up kit included a chrome air filter cover, chrome oil filler tube cap, finned aluminum valve covers and in 1955 and early 1956 a 3-bladed chrome fan.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue

Dress up kit.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 2, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1957
Thanks. So is this chrome steering column tube not something they sell online or a repo product?
BTW.. once you have the steering wheel on .. what part keeps the steering shaft from pulling out?
 

Attachments

  • Steering-Gear.png
    Steering-Gear.png
    52.4 KB · Views: 2

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
The locking screw in the elongated slot keeps the steering shaft from pulling out.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue

Locking Screw.jpg


Locking Screw.png
 
Joined
May 2, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1957
The locking screw in the elongated slot keeps the steering shaft from pulling out.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
..Thanks Doug, you are always very helpful. So, once I have the column together, I put the steering wheel on... then place the bearing (3517) and snap ring (3521) on? Or before the steering wheel goes on?

Anyone have or know where I can get the trun signal switch components that goes in the steering wheel hub?
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
I have to agree with knuckle47 that the chrome tube was a standard Ford shaft cover. The engine dress-up kit included a chrome air filter cover, chrome oil filler tube cap, finned aluminum valve covers and in 1955 and early 1956 a 3-bladed chrome fan.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue

View attachment 24381
Thanks, I thought I read somewhere several years ago that it was part of the option. Thanks for the information.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
..Thanks Doug, you are always very helpful. So, once I have the column together, I put the steering wheel on... then place the bearing (3517) and snap ring (3521) on? Or before the steering wheel goes on?

Anyone have or know where I can get the trun signal switch components that goes in the steering wheel hub?
CASCO has all those parts. My switch was still good but I had to replace the cancelling cam mechanism and check the split cancelling ring on the wheel. If it is worn it can be removed and flipped over exposing a new smooth surface.
 
Joined
May 2, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1957
CASCO has all those parts. My switch was still good but I had to replace the cancelling cam mechanism and check the split cancelling ring on the wheel. If it is worn it can be removed and flipped over exposing a new smooth surface.
Thanks Ward. Between NPD and CASCO I was able to order the parts I am needing for the steering column and turn signing switch (I think). I am waiting for those to come in. In the meantime I looking for the modifying instructions to install the 15' "American Retro" steering wheel, and I am working on installing a new gas tank.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Thanks Ward. Between NPD and CASCO I was able to order the parts I am needing for the steering column and turn signing switch (I think). I am waiting for those to come in. In the meantime I looking for the modifying instructions to install the 15' "American Retro" steering wheel, and I am working on installing a new gas tank.
I have seen many reports that the splines on the replacement wheels are a little snug and need to be opened just a tad with a rat tail triangular file. test fit, file and repeat.
 
Top