Tilt column install in an Early Bronco

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Tilt column install in an Early Bronco

Post by john » Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:01 am

Tilt column install in an Early Bronco
(Compiled by Tony Nokes)


Usually the tilt columns in E & F series are found in the Camper Specials, Trailer Specials, Club Wagons and other top-end models. 1978 and 1979 are the only years from this era in which a tilt column was available, and the ignition key is still on the dash. There is a tilt column for a floor-shift manual transmission truck but they're extremely rare. If you ever find one in a salvage lot, GRAB IT! The E series Column is about 6” longer and works better in the early Bronco than the F-series.

'78-'79 steering columns are the same for 2WD and 4WD. The steering box end of the shaft is splined and there is a yoke for a rag joint on 2WD installations or the short shaft with U-joint for 4WD. The F-Series steering column in this picture has the 2WD adapter installed

If you are using an aftermarket Grant wheel you will need to purchase a different adapter kit as the wheel hub has a larger diameter. The Ford part number for the tilt turn signal switch is D8TZ-13341-A with a list price of ~$140. Also, aftermarket outlets like NAPA have this switch, but they do not know it. '73-'79 FoMoCo tilt columns use the exact same direct bolt-in replacement as a '75-'86 Dodge van without a tilt column. The Ford pickup tilt column shares the same bearings as the Ford van tilt columns
If just the turns signal cam is broken a generic replacement one is available from Motomite AKA “HELP” for about $15. The quality is not great but they work. The '78-'79 non-tilt column's wiring and harness is supposed to be the same as the tilt version, except for the horn circuit. Also, the van and pickup tilt column turn-signal switches all the way to '86 (and possibly up through '88) will fit the '78-'79 tilt columns. The wires may not be the same, but it's not too hard to figure out.

The hazard lights are integrated into the column. You might also have to rewire the neutral safety switch as it changed in '78 from the column to the transmission.

Used tilt columns normally go for about $150 (plus shipping) on E-bay.

Joe L., BC Bronco’s and others on BroncoFix and ClassicBroncos.


Parts List:

1. 78-79 E-Series column (with both sides of the electrical connector)
2. Shift rod from the 78-79 E-Series
3. Shift rod to transmission adjuster/pivot bolt
4. Early 90’s E or F-Series shift lever with OD cancel switch on the end.(optional)
5. Appropriate steering wheel adapter


The top column in the above image is the E-series and the bottom is a stock 66’ Bronco. Note: the length similarities


Above is an F-Series column which is about 6” shorter, but otherwise nearly identical.


Installation instructions:

1. Measure distance from steering wheel to dash for later reference.
2. Remove original column (with the wheels pointed straight a head.)
a. Remove dash cover plate
b. Unplug wire harness
c. Remove four small screw retaining fire wall seal
d. Disconnect any existing shift linkage
e. Remove pinch bolt at lower end of column
f. Remove clamp on firewall plate
g. Remove firewall plate
h. Remove the two under dash bolts holding the column up.
i. Remove column
3. Modify tilt column
4. Modify shift lever for OD (Optional)
5. Install tilt column
a. Place column in place and loosely install the two under dash bolts
b. Install the fire wall seal with the four small screws
c. Loosely install the firewall plate, slide plate as far up as it will go and tighten the three bolts.
d. Install and tighten clamp
e. Tighten under dash mounting bolts
f. Connect wire connectors
g. Install lower steering shaft, tighten pinch bolt
h. Reinstall dash cover plate.
i. Install steering wheel


Modifying column:

1. Remove original mounting brackets from both columns by carefully drilling or grinding out four spot welds.
2. Remove firewall seals from columns. You can destroy the one from the tilt column as you won’t be reusing it. The Bronco firewall seal will be reused so either carefully cut it the steel and rubber so you can work it off around the lower shift arm on the column or disassemble both columns to remove the seal and reinstall in one piece.
3. Temporarily install the tilt column in vehicle, get it positioned how you want it fore and aft. Mark the bracket location on the new column. (You may want to reference the measurement you made before removing the original column.) Remove for welding.

Note: it may be possible to use the tilt columns mount spacers instead of swapping them. I would be concerned about the strength of the mount however.

Wiring instructions:

1. Cut original wire plug off old column with ~6” of the wires
2. Disassemble the male electrical connector that you picked up with the tilt column
a. Remove the red piece of plastic from the center of the connector
b. Use a small screwdriver to release the pins and pull them out from the back
c. Use a small screwdriver to uncrimp the electrical terminals and remove the remaining wire
3. Solder the tilt column terminal ends to the pigtail cut from the original column.
4. Using the wiring diagrams plug the terminals back into the gray connector in the appropriate places. Reinstall the red piece of plastic in the center of the connector
5. Plug pigtail back into the column.

Insert wiring table

Modifying the shift rod (for a 4R70W trans AOD/E may be the same):

1. Shorten shift rod 9” (remove a section from the lower straight part of the rod)
2. Cut and turn the upper end 180’

Modifying the auto column for stick applications.

1. Remove steering wheel and rag joint
2. Unscrew turn signal lever
3. Remove two screws that hold the turn signal switch in place.
4. Unplug light from back of gear indicator
5. Gently work turn signal switch up and over the end of the steering shaft.
6. Remove the four small Phillips screws that hold the plastic collar in place
7. Slide cover off end, and set aside
8. Remove the three screw that hold the
9. Remove clamp from the very bottom of the steering shaft, slide of bearing retainer and plastic bearing.
10. Remove three Allen head bolts from under the shift collar. (the face away from the steering wheel.
11. Slide outer tube off the end off the shaft. The lower shift are may fall out, and there is a large spring in the bottom of the tube that may fall out.
12. Slide the shifter tube and collar off as an assembly.
13. Ensure that the pin the tilt cog pivots on is properly centered (the seem to work there way out over time.
14. Ensure the pin that the tilt cog catches on is properly centered (the seem to work there way out over time. Causing the wheel to not firmly lock in position.

At this point you can either cut the PRND12 indicator off or keep disassembling the column to unscrew it. If you are happy with the condition of the pivot joint and steering shaft U-joint you can now put the column back together with out the shifter tube/collar/lever, lower shift arm, and spring. You will need to figure out how to cover the back part of the column so it looks nice.
1. To continue disassembly release the tilt catch and allow the head to snap into the fully tilted position.
2. Remove the snap ring from outside the upper most bearing out the shaft.
3. Carefully pry the tilt spring out of the head. It is under quite a bit of pressure so put on the safety glasses and gloves.
4. Thread a small screw into the threaded pivot points on either side and pull the pivot pins out. Using a jam nut and washers you can make a “puller” to get these out.
5. Now you can separate the head pieces and side them off the steering shaft.
6. As you can see the U-joint is held together with a nut this can be tighten to remove some slop from the joint. You can also disassemble clean and regrease it…
7. At this point I suggest you clean and regrease the bearings and pivot points. You can also remove the PRND12 indicator now if you wish.
8. Reassemble using lots of Lock-tite.



Note: Pins are not properly seated in below image (see arrows)


Modifying Shift lever for Electronic OverDrive:
1. Remove shifter lever from column, Drive the pivot roll pin carefully from the shift lever collar. Slide the arm straight out. Slide the rubber isolator off the end of the shift arm. Retain parts for reuse.
2. Pop cap off OD switch, slide overdrive label and switch straight out together, work switch base and wires out of arm.
3. Cut later model arm off a little below the wire outlet
4. Cut early model arm off at about the same distance from the pivot point.
5. Weld the two pieces together paying careful attention to the orientation. (You want the OD label to face the driver).
6. Grind smooth spot putty and paint
7. Reinstall, wires, plug, switch, cover and rubber isolator
8. Grease the tip and pivot hole, then reinstall in column.
9. Drill small hole in shifter collar to allow wires to pass through. Route wires with main column wires.



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Replacement Turn Signal Switch

Post by robbmax1 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:05 pm

I just went thru my Tilt Column and had to replace the Turn Signal Switch.
The Ford Dealer does not carry, and can not get anymore the D8TZ-13341-A . Napa could not find the repalcement switch. Kragen says they can get one made by AC Delco for $240.00, CarQuest says they can get one for $184.00. Autozone shows one for $140.00, but when I went to order one they said they were not available anymore. Autozone did tell me to look at LMC Trucks website, which I did, and they DO have them for $70.00. I bought and inatalled and it works perfect.

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Bfix "What's a Bronco?"
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Post by margaret » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:54 am

hello mate thanks for this thread. i am looking for the auto parts and the replacement it. had to replace the Turn Signal Switch thanks for those information. lucky found this site.

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Bfix "What's a Bronco?"
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Post by chloichina » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:33 am

I know it is old but thanks for the info.
Newbie with 72 Bronco project

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Post by TonyNokes » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:08 pm

[quote=chloichina post_id=1093927 time=1323527580 user_id=10243]
I know it is old but thanks for the info.

I am glad it was helpful!

Regards, Tony

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