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09-Mar-01 Steering Column Mounting Part 4

Never throw anything away



ImageThe location of the first hole in the toe board was to accommodate a Flaming River column floor mount. It's a gorgeous piece but it looks like I won't have the room needed between the brake arm and the column to use it. I was forced to come up with a different idea of how to hold the column securely at the floor.
ImageIf I can pass any words of wisdom down to future generations it would be "Don't ever throw anything away unless it will spoil or stink". After digging around the shop looking for ideas I came across a piece of 1 1/2-inch black ABS drain pipe from a plumbing project years ago. I knew it would come in handy some day.

The inside diameter of the pipe is 1 1/2-inches with a 2-inch OD. I guessed there would be enough material to drill it out to 1 3/4-inch ID for the use I had in mind.

I inserted the plastic tubing through the proper hole in the toe board and hung the top with the column drop and some wire. While mocking up the column I decided to go with a 6 1/2-inch column drop instead of the 5 1/2-inch that I originally ordered. With this in mind I measured the gap that the 2-inch plastic pipe made as it tried to fit in a 1 3/4-inch hole and loosened the column drop mounting nuts to allow it to hang exactly 1-inch lower to simulate the longer column drop.
ImageI left some of the pipe sticking out on the engine side of the toe board and used the clear packaging tape to cover all the "extra" holes so I can fiberglass them shut.
ImageIf you're wondering what the masking tape line is for on the floor, it's so I can tell if the column is square in the car without guessing. The shape of the car makes it hard to tell what's really straight. I measured across the floor by the front door jam and it was 36-inches wide. I measured across the floor in the door opening and it was 40-inches. I simply marked a spot 6-inches from the outside edge at the front and 8-inches from the outside at the door opening and laid a tapeline down. This allows me to site down the top of the column to line it up with the tapeline. For the numerically impaired - 40 -36 = 4, half of 4 is 2, 6 + 2 = 8. If you still don't get it, never mind.

Oh yeah, back to the photo... the first layer is fiberglass cloth to give it strength. This will be followed by 3 layers of fiberglass mat (nasty messy stuff!) to build it up to proper thickness and strength. The glassing was done with the panel screwed in place to get the exact shape.
ImageI know this is exciting stuff so here's a photo of the first coat after I washed my hands good enough to use the camera without it becoming permanently attached. Too bad you can't smell on the web. After taking this picture it was time to ditch out and get some fresh air.
Image"Look Ma, no column drop!" After all the layers were applied and had time to set up solid, the column drop could be removed and the plastic tubing was still nice and solid. That's a good sign.