Making an Old School Steering Column Mount
There are a lot of things you can do to save yourself money and fabricating your own column drop is just one of them.
Back in the day, before commercially available billet column drops people used to make their own. Many times it was a simple but functional design that was made from stuff the builder just had lying around the shop. This was especially true when it came to hot rods as opposed to street rods.
Since this 32 is a hot rod rather than a street rod I chose to do an "old school" style column mount. Because I build my own engines I have a lot of "extra" parts laying around and an early hemi connecting rod seemed to fit the bill. It's old school, looks cool, and is one of the things that was done back then.
I did all the positioning and measuring for the column when I had the seat installed so I didn't have to do mess with all that stuff. All I needed to do was design a rotating mount for the connecting rod and make a "bearing" insert to fit the diameter of my steering column. Here you see the result.
The "bearing" insert was made from pieces of the 9" rear end I had left over from the narrowing process. The diameter was too large but the thickness was just about perfect. So... a little time spent reworking the curve from a 3" diameter to fit the 2" diameter of the steering column did the trick. You can see in this picture that it just looks like a large bearing insert... but it does the trick. The fit is tight and the column does not move once the connecting rod bolts are tightened.
I also needed some kind of a mount that would allow the connecting rod to adjust to the angle of the steering column. The simple solution was to use some 3/16" steel scraps I had laying around to make an adjustable mount.
The mount is securely bolted to the steel reinforcement that supports the lower section of the dash so this system firmly mounts the column but is still adjustable should I wish to move the column in or out for final fitting once the seat is back in place.
This project took about 5 hours and cost me nothing. A billet column drop will set you back at least $50 and most are in the $80 range. The result of this project is a column drop that has the right old school look and one that was well worth the time and effort involved.
Over the next couple weeks I'll be finishing up some minor modifications to the chassis made necessary because I moved the emergency brake handle location so check back soon.
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