How many times do you need to fit the pedal box and steering column until you get it right? I’m not too sure, I can’t count that high…
I’m sure some people just get this right, but this one took an absolute age. I started off by stripping down, cleaning up, wire brushing my reclaimed E34 (with air bag) column. I won’t go through all of the different times I fitted this and the reasons why it was wrong, but will try and summarise the correct steps to take instead!
Prepare the steering column.
Make the decision whether or not you want to relocate the ignition cylinder. I wasn’t going to, but then on a trial fit of the column I noticed how tight the key is to the dash, not ideal if you’re building your perfect car! So, to the workbench. There is an excellent guide on Bimmerboard for removing the ignition barrel and steering lock that I’ve summarised below (original post here):
- Remove the steering wheel by undoing the bolt at the centre of the wheel, holding it to the column.
- Disconnect the airbag wiring (if you have an airbag version)
- Remove the ignition barrel (another guide here and video here scroll to the end for a tip with the wire removal key)
- Squeeze the black tabs and slide down the stalk controls, the whole thing should come out together.
- Unscrew the grounding screw and the two red grub nuts and remove the ignition switch.
- Grind DEEP slots into the top of the security bolts and with a large screwdriver undo the security bolts. This was not easy as they are secured with thread-lock so its all too easy to chew up the top of the bolts. Remove the cover piece.
- Now remove the cap ring, locking ring and bushing. Push the column back away from the end you are working on and you can then remove the plastic space ring with some fine nose pliers. Keep all these bits in order so you can put them back in the right place!
- Put a screwdriver into the space where the ignition barrel was, push and turn to simulate turning the key, this will release the steering lock. You should now be able to remove the whole ignition/steering lock mechanism.
- To remove the steering lock itself, turn the mechanism upside and give it a shake. The align piece should drop out leaving the locking key exposed. You can then slide the locking key sideways to remove it. I then used a universal cutting tool to cut through the shaft and remove all of the elements of the steering locking mechanism.
- Not put the mechanism back on the column, reversing the steps 7 upwards.
- Order a new ignition switch and starter button from CBS or eBay.
- Now you need to grind off a section of the black mounting bracket to allow the column to sit at the right angle.
Fitting the Steering Column
There are three positions to bolt the steering column to the chassis, two under the dash and one further down into the footwell to connect to one side of the steering column.
- Loosen the clamp nut on the end of the steering column so that the spline shaft can slide in and out of the column. Leave it loosely in the column. If you’re using the AK bulkhead grommet, fit the nylon section over the spline shaft (takes a hammer and vice or similar), make sure you put the nylon section on the right way around, its not easy to get off! Check that you can get the stainless alignment piece over the spline shaft and nylon section, it took a bit of dremel grinding to fit for me.
- Use M10 bolts and penny washers fitted loosely to the two top fixing positions. Align the spline shaft with the hole to the left of the pedal box and then align the black column bracket and pull forward onto these two bolts to hang from the top bracket.
- Bolt the third fixing point, this may also need some spacer nuts/washers to align the column with the opening in the bulkhead correctly.
Fitting the Pedal Box
- Fit brake servo and master cylinder. Some people seem to have more space between the pedal box and the front wheel arch, mine was so tight the brake master cylinder is tight against the stainless cladding of the arch. This proved hard work getting it in place and I had to seriously work the tips from the forum. The best of which included:
- Grind down the four fixing studs to a more sensible length to get through the bulkhead and pedal box
- loosen the master cylinder from the servo
- Offer up the pedal box, loosely bolt the pedal box to the servo studs. Check the pedal clevis aligns with the pedal. Check the steering column does not clash with the pedal box. Mine did quite badly so I ended up grinding a small section from the return flange of the pedal box. But in retrospect you can just remove the nut!
- With the help of a friend, bolt the pedal box to the bulkhead with four M10 bolts and washers and then bolt the clutch master to the pedal box, again aligning the clevis to suit.
- Check clearance of the steering column again.
- From the engine bay, fit the stainless alignment piece over the column and bolt