When servicing any components on the steering column, should any fasteners require replacement, be sure to use only nuts and bolts of the same size and grade as the original fasteners. Using screws that are too long could prevent the column from collapsing during a collision.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATIONSteering Column Without Air Bag
See Figures 1, 2 and 3
The following procedure requires the use of the GM Lock Plate Compressor tool No. J-23653 or equivalent.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Refer to the Steering Wheel, Removal and Installation procedures in this section and remove the steering wheel.
- If necessary, remove the steering column-to-lower instrument panel cover. Disengage the electrical harness connector from the steering column jacket (under the dash).
- Using a small prytool, insert into the slots between the steering shaft lock plate cover and the steering column housing, then pry upward to remove the cover from the lock plate.
- Using the GM Lock Plate Compressor tool No. J-23653-A or equivalent, screw the center shaft onto the steering shaft (as far as it will go), then screw the center post nut clockwise until the lock plate is compressed.
- Using a small prybar, carefully pry the snapring from the steering shaft slot.
If the steering column is being disassembled on a bench, the steering shaft will slide out of the mast jacket when the snapring is removed.
- Remove the GM Lock Plate Compressor tool No. J-23653 or equivalent, and the lock plate.
- Remove the multi-function lever-to-switch screw and the lever.
- To remove the hazard warning switch, press the knob inward and unscrew it.
- Remove the turn signal switch assembly-to-steering column screws.
- Lift the turn signal switch assembly from the steering column, then slide the electrical connector through the column housing and the protector.
If the steering column is the tilting type, position the steering housing into the Low position.
- To remove the harness cover, pull it toward the lower end of the column; be careful not to damage the wires.
- To remove the wire protector, grab the protector's tab with a pair of pliers, then pull the protector downward, out of the steering column.
When assembling the steering column, use only fasteners of the correct length; overlength fasteners could prevent a portion of the assembly from compressing under impact.To install:
Install the turn signal switch electrical connector:
- On the non-tilt columns, be sure the electrical connector is on the protector, then feed it and the cover down through the housing and under the mounting bracket.
- On the tilt columns, feed the electrical connector down through the housing and under the mounting bracket, then install the cover onto the housing.
- Install the electrical connector to the clip on the jacket, the turn signal switch-to-steering column mounting screws, the lower instrument trim panel, the turn signal lever/screws and the hazard warning knob.
With the multi-function lever installed, place it into the Neutral position. With the hazard warning knob installed, pull it Outward.
- Onto the upper end of the steering shaft, install the washer, the upper bearing preload spring, the canceling cam, the lock plate and a new retaining ring (snapring). Using the GM Lock Plate Compressor tool No. J-23653 or equivalent, compress the lock plate and slide the new retaining ring into the steering shaft groove.
- Torque the multi-function switch-to-steering column screws to 35 inch lbs. (4 Nm) and the steering wheel nut to 30 ft. lbs. (41 Nm).
- Connect the negative battery cable and check operation.
EXCEPT 1996 MODELS
See Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7
- Properly disable the SIR (air bag) system, then disconnect the negative battery cable. For details on disabling the air bag system, please refer to Chassis Electrical of this information.
- Matchmark and remove the steering wheel.
- Remove the SIR coil assembly retaining ring, then remove the coil assembly and allow it to hang freely from the wiring. Remove the wave washer.
- Push downward on the shaft lock assembly until the snapring is exposed using the shaft lock compressor tool.
- Remove the shaft lock retaining snapring, then carefully release the tool and remove the shaft lock from the column.
- Remove the turn signal cancelling cam assembly.
- Remove the upper bearing spring, inner race seat and inner race.
- Move the turn signal lever upward to the "Right Turn'' position.
- Remove the access cap and disengage the multi-function lever harness connector, then grasp the lever and pull it from the column.
- Loosen and remove the hazard knob retaining screw, then remove the screw, button, spring and knob.
- Remove the screw and the switch actuator arm.
- Remove the turn signal switch retaining screws, then pull the switch forward and allow it to hang from the wires. If the switch is only being removed for access to other components, this may be sufficient.
- If the switch is to be replaced, cut the wires near the top of the switch and discard the switch. Before cutting the wires, verify that the wire color codes are the same. Secure the connector of the new switch to the old wires, and pull the new harness down through the steering column while removing the old switch.
- If the original switch is to be reused, attach a piece of wire or string around the connector and pull the harness up through the column, while pulling the string up through the column and leaving the string or wire in position to help with reinstallation later.
- After freeing the switch wiring protector from its mounting, pull the turn signal switch straight up and remove the switch, switch harness, and the connector from the column.
On some vehicles access to the connector may be difficult. If necessary, remove the column support bracket assembly and properly support the column, and/or remove the wiring protectors.To install:
- Install the switch and wiring harness to the vehicle. If the switch was completely removed, use the length of mechanic's wire or string to pull the switch harness through the column, then engage the connector.
If the column support bracket or wiring protectors were removed, install them before proceeding.
- Position the switch in the column and secure using the retaining screws.
- Install the switch actuator arm and retaining screw.
- Install the hazard knob assembly, then install the multi-function lever.
- Install the inner race, upper bearing race seat and upper bearing spring.
- Lubricate the turn signal cancelling cam using a suitable synthetic grease (usually included in the service kit), then install the cam assembly.
- Position the shaft lock and a new snapring, then use the lock compressor to hold the lock down while seating the new snapring. Make sure the ring is firmly seated in the groove, then carefully release the tool.
The coil assembly will become uncentered if the steering column is separated from the steering gear and allowed to rotate or if the centering spring is pushed down, letting the hub rotate while the coils assembly is removed from the steering column.
- Make sure the coil is centered, then install the wave washer, followed by the coil and the retaining ring. The coil ring must be firmly seated in the shaft groove.
- Align and install the steering wheel.
- Make sure the ignition is OFF , then connect the negative battery cable.
- Properly enable the SIR system.
Instead of the long time used steering column found on most older GM vehicles the 1996 Astro and Safari vans are equipped with a new column that uses a multi-function combination switch mounted at the head of the column (below the steering wheel) and an upper/lower shroud assembly. The combination switch performs such functions as the wiper switch and the turn signal switch along with any other duties of the multi-function lever. For removal or installation of the multi-function switch assembly, please refer to the Combination Switch procedure found in this section.