There are several reasons someone might want to upgrade the steering column in their hot-rodded car or truck. For instance, maybe the factory unit does not have a tilt provision. Maybe they’re building a car and the column is actually missing. Another possibility might be the column needs a complete rebuild or the original car has a steering box and is being converted to a rack-and-pinion-mode of automotive direction. So, why not get a new unit? Whatever the reason, upgrading can be a great option for those building their dream car.
When it comes to aftermarket steering columns, why not get one that’s built as well as a modern unit with all the available features? IDIDIT has traditionally been recognized as a street-rod-oriented company, but we’re here to let you know that is a misconception. The company supplies steering columns to fit virtually any classic car or truck on the road. What’s more, IDIDIT columns are designed to work with any type of steering system: stock, aftermarket, or rack-and-pinion. Whatever angles your front tires, the sky’s the limit.
For years, the company has been a leader in universal-fit steering columns. However, many enthusiasts have the notion that installing anything other than a stock part can be a daunting task. Honestly, we’ve installed several throughout the years, and the universal fitments can require some fab work. But, in case you didn’t know, this American company also has direct-fit columns for several Chevrolet muscle cars, Corvettes, and trucks.
If we do not offer an application-specific column for you, we can build you a custom column. – Kelly Tuttle, IDIDIT
If your application does require the use of a universal column, we understand some questions might need to be answered. That’s why we’re here—to help answer some of the more frequently asked questions with the help of the folks at IDIDIT.
If a universal column is in your future, the first thing you will need to do is know the measurements of the column you need. “We measure a steering column from the top edge of the column housing down to the bottom of the output shaft on all columns, except for the tilt/telescoping columns,” says Kelly Tuttle of IDIDIT. “The tilt/telescoping columns are measured from the top edge of the column adapter down to the end of the output shaft when the column is in a fully collapsed position. The top edge of the column adapter is the edge that meets the steering wheel.”
Regardless of the vehicle, IDIDIT likes to think they can build the column you need. “There is always a column for your vehicle,” quips Kelly. “Our inside joke is, if you can dream it, we can build it! If we do not offer an application-specific column for you, we can build you a custom column. We’ve created custom column “build” forms for our universal-series steering columns as a guide to help you determine what measurements you’ll need to make your custom column the way you want it. You can visit our website to find these custom column forms or you can always call and speak with our friendly and helpful customer service staff.”
Keeping It Wheeled
Another question that many ask, is ‘do I have to use an IDIDIT steering wheel’? “Most of our column applications are made for use with GM-style wheels utilizing a GM-splined top-shaft,” says Kelly. “We make this option available for most of our applications because most aftermarket steering wheels are made for a GM-style spline. There are many more options in the GM style than there are of the Ford style top-shafts. We do sell Ford style top-shafts for those who wish to still use a Ford style steering wheel.” Theoretically, that means you can have an upgraded, American-made column and still use a factory wheel.
Here’s what you need to know when fitting your original GM steering wheel to an IDIDIT steering column. Because the company’s universal and most retrofit steering columns are GM based, most any 1969-94 GM passenger-car steering wheel will bolt directly onto the columns.
You will, however, need to use an IDIDIT horn kit with a ring in order to fit 1955 through 1968 stock wheels to an IDIDIT column. The company has two kits available. The 1955-68 horn kit (part number 2612100040), is used to adapt most ’55-’68 GM stock steering wheels and part number 2612100240 is used to adapt a stock ‘65 Impala and Chevelle wheels as well as a stock ’66 Nova wheel.
Once you find out what column and steering wheel you will be using, you then need to make a decision about accessories. Some of the required items you might need are a steering-wheel adapter for an aftermarket wheel, dash-mount bracket, floor-mount bracket, and the shaft needed to tie the column into your gearbox or rack-and-pinion.
“When purchasing one of our column-shift models, you might also need the cable shift linkage and a shift indicator,” states Kelly. “Other available options include adding cruise control on the column, dimmer switch, steering wheel quick-release hubs, and turn-key or push-to-start ignition systems.”
A Ragged Connection
Once you have your new column installed, you will finally need to connect it to the steering box or rack. Finding your connection is easy, as IDIDIT has a comprehensive list of the most-common steering boxes used on the market, along with its manufacturer and input-shaft sizes. Simply locate your box or rack and you instantly know what U-joint or rag joint to use.
When your new column is completely installed, you will then be able to enjoy an American-made product from a company that has been building them for decades. “We have specialized in the steering-column business for nearly four decades—longer than anyone else in this business,” affirms Kelly. “All of our columns and accessories are manufactured with the highest quality materials, right here in the United States.
“Our paintable steel is hand-prepared-and-smoothed so that it really is ready for paint. Our chrome is triple-plated nickel-chrome—there is no substitute. Our black-powdercoat finish is second to none. We are extremely selective with our powdercoating finish and have diligently worked to dial in our process, so you get a uniform finish that is free of orange peel or blemishes. Finally, we have an in-house customer service team and tech support that is unrivaled when it comes to knowledge and passion for the industry and our products. IDIDIT is so sure of the quality and durability of our columns, that we offer a lifetime warranty”!
The next time you’re ready to upgrade the steering column in your classic hot rod, you now have the complete story about why an IDIDIT column should be your first choice.