Chevrolet Truck Steering Column Removal

by Chris Moore
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Removing the steering column from a Chevrolet pickup truck is a difficult process. It will require a couple of special tools, like a puller tool for the steering shaft, and there are a lot of electrical connectors you must deal with. You have to deal with the steering wheel and the driver's airbag on that--the airbag must be handled with extreme caution.

Disabling/Removing the Airbag

Make sure the truck is parked with wheels facing forward, then disconnect the negative battery cable--loosen the clamp nut for the black cable. Before you disable the airbag, turn the steering wheel so it's centered and the front wheels face forward, then tun the ignition switch to the Lock position. Open the fuse box located at the left end of the instrument panel and remove the airbag fuse, and then wait at least two minutes to deplete the backup power. Remove the driver's knee bolster by removing its screws so you can disconnect the airbag connector at the steering column. The pins securing the airbag to the wheel are in the back of the wheel on opposite sides. Turn the wheel 90 degrees in one direction and insert a screwdriver in the hole to release the pin, then turn the wheel in the other direction for the other pin. Once you remove the the bag from the wheel, pry up the connector lock and unplug the yellow electrical connector.

Removing the Steering Wheel

Turn the wheel so it is centered again. Unplug the horn's electrical connector by pushing it in and turning it counterclockwise. Remove the retaining nut in the center and then mark the wheel's alignment with the shaft--there may already be marks for you. Use a puller tool that bolts to the hub of the wheel to remove the wheel from the shaft. Don't hammer the wheel off or you'll damage it.

Steering Column

With the wheel off, turn the ignition key into the Lock position to lock the steering shaft. The knee bolster should still be off, so remove the steering column shrouds by removing their screws. If the car has a tilt column, unscrew the tilt lever; if it also has a column-mounted shifter, detach the shift cable from the shift column. Disconnect the electrical connectors to the steering column's harness, then pry out the retaining clip that secures the harness to the column. Remove the Body Control Module and bracket from underneath the column by removing its four screws, then trace the path of the yellow wiring harness from the airbag clockspring and unplug it from the BCM. Unscrew the shaft coupler nut and remove the bolt connecting the steering shaft to the upper intermediate shaft (don't unscrew the bolt, just the nut). Mark the relationship of the two shafts, then remove the column's lower and upper mounting nuts, lower the column, pull it to the rear and separate the intermediate shaft from the steering shaft to remove the column.

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