Classic Thunderbird Club International
Gil's Garage
Gil Baumgartner
CTCI Authenticity Chairman
1955/56/57 Thunderbird Steering column repair
I have recently had several Thunderbirds brought to my shop to correct a botched upper steering column hub replacement. In all cases the upper hub P/N 3511 had separated from tube assembly P/N 3509 because of poor assembly procedures. In one case the upper hub had been modified by removing material to accommodate fit into the tube assembly. Improper fit or modification can result in a separation of the upper hub and tube causing a complete loss of steering. The upper hub and tube should be press fit without removal of material. In addition the upper tube collar can be secured to the hub with roll pins.
Photo #1 Shows the upper hub P/N 3511 and the tube P/N 3509 before assembly.
Photo # 2 Shows the hub and tube properly press fit together.
Photo # 3 Shows one of three 1/8" holes drilled through the tube into the upper hub to accommodate 1/8" dia.- 1/2" long roll pins. Use caution when drilling the holes to prevent drilling into the upper hub bearing cavity.
Photo # 4 Shows one of three roll pins in place insuring a secure fit, eliminating the possibility of separation.
Photo # 5 Shown is an original stop screw for the upper steering column. This screw controls up and down movement of the steering wheel. It is a 1/4"- 28 slotted flat head with a thread length approximately 3/8" long. The head width of the screw is approximately 1/2". It must fit the slot in the tube assembly to prevent side to side movement of the upper hub and tube assembly.
Photo # 6 Shows the screw properly installed in the slot of tube assembly. If this screw is not installed the upper steering column can over extend and separate from the lower steering box tube resulting in a complete loss of steering.

Gil Baumgartner

Last modified: February 23 2014