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steering column help


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I have my steering column out of the car. I want to check everything out. Grease, etc. In the manual it says bearings can be serviced where the circlip is. The bottom column slid right out. Up top where the circlip is (steering wheel end) seems to be stuck. I don't want to force anything. Any info or help? 71 240Z Yhank you very much, TimsZ

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I don't think you're "really" supposed to mess with it. That said:

Start with this:


Slide the mount off exposing three screws that hold upper half to lower half:



Take out three screws and separate upper and lower:


This is the steering wheel end with retainer clip still installed:


Pull off the steering wheel taper shoes and the retainer clip:


Once you remove the retainer clip, the upper shaft comes out the bottom end of the housing. The spring will probably push it out, but it might require some gentle persuasion in addition to the spring:


Tap the bearings out of the housing if you dare. There is one at the top and one at the bottom:


Bearing disassembled:


There are thirty balls in the bearings so you can count what you have to make sure you didn't drop any:


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One thing that I forgot to point out is that the process and pics above are for 240 only. In 74 they changed the column design and I've not taken one of the newer "steel ball" styles apart.

I'd love to mess with a new one (since that's what I have in my 77) but since the only one I have is on my car, I can't take risks with it without a backup plan.

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  • 1 year later...

Once I had the shaft out of the center, I tapped the bearings out using a long wood or brass rod tapping from the far end. The bearings are press fits into the column tube, but it's not a very tight press. Work your way around the perimeter tapping gently and you can walk them out.


Then once you get the bearing assy out, you  can pop the retaining ring and lose the balls.


So new bearings still available from Nissan?

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Thanks Cap'n O! I was hoping I could get the bearings from Nissan, but no. After some research, I believe these 1/8" ball bearings are the right replacements:




My top bearing was dry and I believe the ball bearings are now out of round. Even after adding grease, the top bearing is still noisy. I'll let you know how it works out.

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I wouldn't hold out great expectation that dropping generic balls into an existing race would be trouble free. I also wouldn't hold out great hope that the balls in the original bearings are imperial dimensioned either. I haven't measured one, but I would expect them to be metric.


I still have the bearings that I pulled out of that steering column. Most of the rest of the column is gone by now, but I saved the bearings for just such an occasion. I was planning to put one of the two into the top of my 280 column, but I'll still have one spare after doing that and you're welcome to it if you wish.


So I'll measure the balls from my bearings and let you know what size they are, and failing being able to find a suitable replacement, I'll hook you up. You gonna be at Carlisle again this spring?

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Good point wrt metric vs imperial. 1/8" would be 3.175mm. I'd appreciate it if you could measure the ball bearings and let me know the size. McMaster-Carr also has metric ball bearings in 3 and 3.5mm sizes (+-0.0025mm).




If my ball bearing swap doesn't work, I'll take you up on the bearing offer.


I'd like to attend Carlisle again in the spring, but it depends on work.

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Well I'll be... I just measured a couple of the balls and came up with my (uncalibrated) mic in the shop and came up with just under .1250 for the ball diameter. So it seems they are 1/8 and NOT metric.


I won't attest to the sub thousandth accuracy of what I measured, but it's clear that they are NOT 3mm or 3.5mm.


One of the things I noticed when messing with these bearings a while ago is that they are not packed with a full complement of balls. I bet you could get at least one additional one ball and maybe more packed into the race if you wanted to. I assume Datsun left it a little loose because they didn't want drag there and it's a low stress/speed application. But the point is, if you get some 1/8 balls from McMaster and they're a tiny bit bigger than stock, they should still work.


So it sounds like a plan! Order a baggie and let us know how it turns out!

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