How to Replace the Steering Column in a Ford F150

by Chris MooreUpdated July 11, 2023
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hand on steering whell image by Andrzej Borowicz from

The steering column on your Ford F150 truck is connected to both the steering wheel and the intermediate shaft. If you need to replace the column, use extreme care or you may damage the steering system. The exact method of removing the steering column can vary depending on the year of your F150 truck. Check with your mechanic first.

Things You'll Need:

  • Socket wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Two-jaw puller

Removing the Steering Wheel

  1. Park the truck with the wheels pointing straight ahead and then disconnect the negative cable from the truck battery. Wait at least 2 minutes for the air bag to lose power and be disabled.
  2. Pry out the small covers on each side of the steering wheel, unscrew the bolts for the air bag module, lift it off the wheel and unplug the electrical connectors.
  3. Remove the steering wheel--unplug the electrical connector on the clockspring, remove the wheel’s retaining bolt, mark the wheel’s position to the shaft if marks aren’t already there and lift the wheel off the shaft.

Removing the Column

  1. Turn the ignition switch to the Lock position to keep the steering shaft from turning.
  2. Remove the knee bolster under the steering column by unscrewing the screws at the bottom and releasing it from its clips at the top with a flat screwdriver.
  3. Detach the lower steering column panel by removing its mounting fasteners with a wrench.
  4. Take off the steering column covers by removing the fastener from the lower cover, separating the two halves, removing the lower cover and unfastening and removing the upper cover.
  5. Unplug the two electrical connectors to the steering column harness and detach the harness from the bracket. If the truck has automatic transmission, detach the shift cable and transmission range indicator cable.
  6. Remove the pinch bolt for the intermediate shaft coupler, then remove the mounting nuts to the steering column.
  7. Lower the steering column, pull it to the rear and check that nothing else is connected. Separate the steering shaft from the intermediate shaft and remove the steering column.

Installing the Column

  1. Guide the replacement steering column into position and connect it to the intermediate shaft. Install the mounting fasteners, install and tighten the pinch bolt and then tighten the mounting fasteners.
  2. Reconnect all the electrical connectors, then attach all the panels and steering column covers.
  3. Connect the steering wheel, making sure it is in the same position on the shaft as before, then apply the retaining bolt and connect the electrical connector.
  4. Install the air bag and reconnect the electrical connector.

Tips and Warnings

If the steering wheel won’t come off the shaft, put the bolt back on finger-tight, loosen it by a few turns and break the bond between the wheel and shaft with a two-jaw puller--make sure the puller screw bears down on the bolt so it won’t damage the threads in the steering shaft.

Some cables on the steering column are thin and can be damaged easily, so you must use care when disconnecting them. This is especially true of the automatic transmission cables.

Video: How to Replace Steering Column Cover 97-04 Ford F-150

Helpful comments on this video:

  • Thank you for your 97-03 Ford F150 videos. They have helped me greatly in keeping my 2002 F150 up and running.
  • Simple and to the point. Thank you.

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