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When building a street rod or muscle car the steering columns many used decades ago came from salvage yard sources. The most popular application has been the 1969-1994 GM steering columns for their availability, tilt function, and ease of install/compatibility. Today there is no need to go used and deal with broken tilt heads, brittle wiring, and other issues common to used GM steering columns when there are numerous options available in aftermarket steering columns. We offer the popular GM tilt steering column in several lengths and finishes with all new tilt components, wiring, and more in both column shift and floor shift for your street rod or muscle car along with the GM steering column parts necessary to install in your ride.

Why Use an Aftermarket Steering Column?

A steering column takes a lot of abuse. Quite often it is used as an aid for entering/exiting a vehicle, plus the steering column sees a lot of stress in hard driving as well. This all puts a lot of wear on the steering column bearings, which in turn creates play, or slop, in the steering. Additionally, the factory steering column will often become incompatible with updated steering and front suspension system upgrades, necessitating replacement with a universal steering column that is smaller, lighter, and has industry universal steering shaft specs to allow connection to your new front suspension/steering. This also opens the fitment of aftermarket steering wheels as well for appearance and functionality use. Of course, we cannot forget the age factor. When you are working on a 50-plus-year-old vehicle you are most definitely dealing with aged wiring that is brittle, undersized, or may not even have modern functionality like column-mounted turn signals or a hazard warning light switch.

What Are the Parts of a Steering Column?

The obvious part of the steering column is what can be seen, and that is the outer portion called the steering column tube. The tube can be aluminum or steel depending upon manufacturer and is often vehicle specific in its mounting. Inside the column tube is the actual steering shaft. The shaft may or may not be collapsible, depending upon manufacturer design and age. Older steering columns we generally are referring to as found in pre-war, post-war, and muscle car era vehicles are not, meaning the steering shaft is a one-piece design. The steering shaft is machined (usually splines) to accept a steering wheel on the interior end of the column and may be splined or have a welded flange on the exterior end of the column. The steering shaft is set in one or more bearings or bushings to support the shaft within the column tube. Some, but not all, original steering columns will have a column mounted turn signal switch with associated wiring that runs down the column and exits under the dash. Again, this will be year specific, as many pre-war cars did not have turn signals and most vehicles up until the mid-1960s did not have column mounted hazard warning light switches as well (more reason to upgrade your column!).

What is a Tilt Steering Column?

A tilt steering column allows the upper portion of the column tube, sometimes called the bell, or the head of the column, to pivot up or down from the straight position via a spring-loaded universal joint-like mechanism. The joint is locked into position via detent pawl assembly that utilizes a manual release lever on the side of the steering column. Moving the level unlocks the detent pawl and allows the tilt function of the steering wheel. There is no physical disconnection from the steering shaft, so adjusting the tilt of the steering wheel can be accomplished both while driving and stationary (though we do recommend you adjust the wheel for comfort before driving begins for obvious safety reasons). The main function of the tilt steering column mechanism is for easier entry/exit of the vehicle, which is a must for small, tight street rod interiors, and to provide driving position comfort for the driver. Generally tilting the steering wheel all the way up will help with entry/exit, while tilting the wheel down provides a better driving position. All our universal steering column options provide five positions of tilt function.

How Hard is it to Install a Universal Tilt Steering Column?

A universal tilt steering column is not only a great upgrade for your classic street rod or muscle car, but they are also relatively easy to install as well. We have GM steering column lengths of 30-, 32-, and 33-inches in both column shift and floor shift configurations. These are available in a bright chrome finish or brushed bare steel ready for painting. All columns feature a GM-spec turn signal switch with pre-terminated wiring connector that connects to most any aftermarket chassis wiring harness brand. These columns also feature a built-in hazard warning light switch as well, providing additional modern safety to your classic ride. We even carry a couple of vehicle specific applications that makes things easier for you Tri-Five Chevy and pickup fans. Many applications will bolt right in using the stock mounting brackets thanks to the slim 2-inch diameter of our steering columns and we spec a true 1-inch DD output shaft configuration that works with numerous steering joint styles while the 1969-1994 GM steering wheel mount is retained for ease of steering wheel adapter options. Lastly, do not let the “GM” term in our GM steering column descriptions confuse you, as we use that to refer to the steering wheel spline and turn signal wiring specs. A universal steering column will work in just about any street rod or muscle car, GM or otherwise.

Will I Need Other GM Steering Column Parts to Complete the Installation?

Besides our new steering columns for sale Speedway Motors can certainly help you with all your GM steering column installation needs. We offer a huge selection of steering column parts including steering column mounts, drop brackets, lower column brackets (sometimes referred to as firewall mounts), steering U-joints, steering shaft in multiple lengths to help connect you to your steering rack or steering box, steering wheel mounting adapters, and of course steering wheels. So, no matter the application or design aesthetic, we have the Chevy tilt steering column parts you need to get your new steering column installed and ready for your next road trip in comfort and safety with column mounted turn signals, tilt function to provide plenty of room for your legs and a comfortable driving position, and smooth steering function.

Popular GM Steering Column Applications: