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I have a rattle in my steering - sounds like a clicking that is coming from inside the cockpit...  The steering is good - but the rattle is annoying.

I think it might be wear in the steering column - do these cars have a collapsible section in the steering shafts?

I don't want to disassemble things until I have a better idea of where the noise might be coming from.  Is there a way to either remove any slop in this joint, or to check the steering U-Joints?

Has anyone had this issue before?


Any recommended sources of the "Shaft - Steering Column Upper" (P/N DIY-3524-A) - if that turns out to be the issue?



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Original Post

There is a slip-joint in the upper steering ass'y- part of a 'safety factor' built into an impact-collapsible steering column. The outer part has flat sides that originally used a thin shim-strip of slippery polyethylene (or something similar). These strips apparently evaporated soon after delivery, leaving the slip-joint a bit loose. There is no way to grease the movable parts or add a home-made shim-strip except by hand during total disassembly.

Owners that are bothered by rattles or slight play in their steering caused by the collapsible section, either squeeze the flat sides of the outer sleeve together with Vice-grip pliers or a big c-clamp to remove some/most of the slop in the slip-joint. Or they drill a 1/16" hole thru the inner AND outer parts of the ass'y and insert a small OD cotter pin- not a screw. This locks the two parts together and eliminates that rattle. In a serious crash, the soft steel cotter pin should shear, thus maybe restoring a rudimentary 'safety' factor against being speared by the steering shaft. Threaded fasteners will require too large a hole, weakening the steering shaft  Other less patient owners tack-weld or braze the slip-joint together and eliminate it's safety factor.

Note- if you do this, it is YOUR responsibility. Don't come to me if you wind up being punctured by a part of your car that YOU modified!   (Std disclaimer)

Since all this is done in place under the dash while upside-down, it's only for the excessively limber. When slipping a cotter pin thru the drilled hole, try to arrange it so the sharp ends don't snag your pant leg (or bare skin) in turns.

Check for play in the slip joint by holding the lower section and moving the steering wheel side to side. If there is play in the joint I usually remove the slip shafts (requires loosening the u-joint under the front trunk) and take a torch to them and beat them back into submission. I don't favor the cotter pin approach as if it is not an exact fit in the hole you haven't solved the problem. Some folks put a little tack weld between the two, but that renders the collapsible function non functional.

There are also plastic bushings in the top and bottom of the steering column sleeve, these often fail and allow some lower movement, replacement bronze bushings are available. 

The Pantera steering column is not very difficult to work on.  Four bolts attach it to the dash infrastructure.  Once the bolts are removed, the entire column drops towards the driver seat.  Then the plastic covers, turn signal, and ignition switch can be removed.  Finally, the u-joints clamp near the pedals can be loosened and the column comes out.  You will find 50 year old dried up grease.  There may be slop in the collapsible joints as described above and you can address it as you see fit.  I have seen both clamps and welds used to fixed the slop.  I like the weld best.  Once the slop is fixed and the column is cleaned and lubed, the column will be like new.

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