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I was at Dennis Quella's Pantera Performance shop this Spring. While touring the facility, I inquired if he had any of the original nylon parts that take up the slack in the column. He replied, "Probabaly and why would i want them?" Getting to the point; Dennis said that he welds the shafts together so as to eliminate all play. He reminded me that the column was not Pantera specific and showed me how the column is not physically able to collapse it the Pantera application anyway. Thus by welding, there is no safety feature being compromised.
Unfortunately, I do not recall the design specifics he pointed out; although, his demonstration convinced me that he was accurate.
Many years ago I was in the same camp as Dennis and JT, however I changed my mind after being challenged to think about it more.

The collapsible portion is designed to provide some reduction in movement of the steering wheel toward the drivers chest in a full frontal crash where the frontal body (and steering rack) is forced rearward. Agreed that would be a hefty impact and one might be worried about other issues, but I do believe it would do what it is designed to.

Although the steering column was borrowed from a Capri, it served exactly the same function in that vehicle, so to discount it for that reason is a stretch IMO, Ford certainly believed the slip joint would offer some crash protection.

I have tightened up a number of these by removing them from the car and taking a blow torch and hammer to them to caress the flat section back to minimal side to side play.

Like David suggested, I used brass shim stock to take up the slack from worn or disappeared nylon shims. You can 'adjust' the tightness with shims by squeezing the outer section with big vice-grips. I have also (if requested) drilled a hole thru for a mild steel cotter pin (or even a bent nail!) This locks the sections together but will shear if a big enough impact happens that would have made the collapsible section work.
I am going with the clamp, but do you really think if you hit that wheel hard enough to make it collapse you would survive??? come on, you would be better served by investing in a 5 point harness and a roll bar. I would be far more anxious about a tire through the windshield or a tee-bone by a S.U.V, the only thing collapsible is you against steel. Surprise you are driving a fast and dangerous ride, "Danger Ride" You want to be safe? Buy a Volvo
Late 80`s and early 90`s Mazda 626 has the exact same collapsible parts they are made by TRW. The company that made Capris parts was bought by TRW!
And do not weld the parts together!!! If you are in an frontal collision it is made to collapse just a little when the steering rack is forced backwards and then the steering wheel move upward instead of in to your chest.

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