View Full Version : Stock type steering wheel on a Flaming River column
04-07-2008, 12:38 PM
We've been discussing in another thread what it takes to make the horn and turn signals work on a Flaming River column with a stock or stock style wheel, such as an Impala wheel, or one of the 15" diameter repro wheels.
Here's the pieces I've gathered up for this.
The part on the left is a part that FR sells to connect a horn with an aftermarket steering wheel. All this does is connect a wire to the horn switch supplied with the aftermarket wheel, and it's not what we want with a stock wheel.
At the top center is a Motormite 83233 cancelling cam/slip ring/horn contact stalk. To the right of it is the similar part that Flaming River supplies. As you can see, the stalk is taller on the Flaming River part. The detail on the backside of the part is different too, so it doesn't sit down on the turn signal mechanism correctly. You can also see that my Flaming River part is cracked, but that doesn't seem to impair its function.
The part at the lower left center is a horn contact for a 1955-1960 steering wheel. It's not much use with the FR column.
The pieces at the lower right, except for the brass part, are a Motormite 83230 horn contact kit. The steel contact pin is held into the stalk by the black plastic retainer, and the contact spring pushes the pin outward.
The horn contact kit would have worked except for 2 things. First is the contact pin supplied was too big to go in the hole in the stalk of the cancelling cam. Second, it's probably made for a shorter stalk such as the one on the left, so the spring or the pin is too short.
So what I did was I made a brass contact pin, shown in the middle of the contact kit pieces. The big end is 0.240" diameter and .280" long, and the small end is .182" diameter and .750" long. It differs from the steel piece in the kit in that it's small enough to go inside the stalk, it's long enough to get the spring to work right, also the small end is shorter.
You have to remove the sheet metal cancelling cam from the back of the steering wheel if it has one. You also have to drill the steering wheel for the horn contact stalk at a 10:30 position. The 10:30 position correctly orients the cams to cancel the turn signal correctly, and at the same point whether turning right or left.
Gidaver, do you know of stock parts that will do this job?
04-07-2008, 02:22 PM
Can you show a picture of the lock plate that goes over the cancel cam? Personally I would rather modify the lock plate by opening up(radially)the hole for the stalk on the cancel cam rather than drill into the steering wheel if the hole in the steering wheel is not clocked to where the cancel cam stalk comes through the lock plate. It could easily be done with a die grinder. I ran into it once before with mixmatched wheel/column(stock) combo's and the mod to the lock plate worked flawlessly.
It looks like the only difference in the stock versus F.R. cancel cam is that the stalk is longer(where the spring loaded horn wire attaches to the cancel cam). I'm assuming this is to compensate for the use of a wheel adaptor? The spring loaded wire is a later model item, and I not sure what the horn contact terminal looks like on the '59-60 wheel;. Could you take a pic of the backside of the wheel for the horn? I have some old standard ignition parts catalogs that I use to reference for original part numbers for pigtail sockets, ign. switches, solenoids, etc... for older cars. Catalog goes back to 1949 cars and trucks.
If you could show me some of the above mentioned pics, I'm sure I can come up with a solution and/or valid part numbers to help you get the job done.
P.S. Sorry for taking over the 15" steering wheel thread; we went off on a tangent a little.
04-07-2008, 04:28 PM
There is no lock plate on a Flaming River column.
"I not sure what the horn contact terminal looks like on the '59-60 wheel"
For the Impala wheel, as well as a stock one, the horn contact shown in the photo goes into a hole in the wheel that is counterbored for the big diameter of the part shown in the photo. The contact sticks out of the wheel 1/4" to 3/8", front and back.
The horn contact kit I bought at the auto supply covers 65-80s models. The instructions say to cut off the smaller diameter to the correct length for the application. According to those, all 69 up are the same.
I also have a mid 60s wheel on hand; it will work directly on the column with the pieces I have w/o re-drilling.
The re-drilling is not a big problem and is not going to hurt anything.
04-07-2008, 05:08 PM
For some reason, I thought the older steering wheels had 3 brass(or copper) rings around the spines for the horn contact. I thought a 64 impala I worked on about several years ago had this setup. I have no experience with the flaming river column, so forgive my lack of knowledge on it. If there is no lock plate, I guess there would also be no snap ring and no spring that goes under the cancel cam. What keeps tension on the upper portion of the steering shaft to keep it from falling down the tube when you pull the steering wheel? Or is it a 1 piece shaft instead of a collapsible 2 piece? Just curious.
Anyway, I remember there being a horn contact that might be what you're looking for. It is spring loaded on both ends, plastic tube in between that slides into the stalk, and it might have the length you're looking for. I'll dig into my catalogs and see if I can't come up with a part number. If I remember correctly, it's for an older G.M. pickup(I'm thinking 68-72, but let me check). I'm currently not online at home, but if I find it I'll have it posted by tomorrow.
04-07-2008, 07:53 PM
"If there is no lock plate, I guess there would also be no snap ring and no spring that goes under the cancel cam. What keeps tension on the upper portion of the steering shaft to keep it from falling down the tube when you pull the steering wheel? Or is it a 1 piece shaft instead of a collapsible 2 piece? Just curious."
You're right, no snap ring or spring under the cancel cam. There is a spring that goes OVER the cancel cam to force the slip ring to contact the plunger in the turn signal mechanism.
The steering shaft is one piece. FR does offer a collapsible column (they only recently brought it out) but I don't know the details of how they do the collapsible shaft - never seen anything but a photo. I assume it's done the same way as a non-tilt late 60s column where the shaft is a friction fit - but I don't know how this interacts with the tilt when it's added.
Remember also that most of these columns don't have a key switch either.
04-08-2008, 05:58 PM
Well Rick, I looked through every electrical/ignition catalog I have and could not come up with a part number. I also have a stash of steering column parts and I thought I had the piece that would work for you. At the very least I was going to take a picture of it for you to help in matching it up, but I cannot find it. Today was a busy day, so hopefully tomorrow I'll get to the parts store and invite myself behind the counter so I can look through the catalogs and find the piece/part number. I think I may have used it in another vehicle many moons ago.:( It may not even be a G.M. part, but I'll keep searching-I'm going to have to find the solution for me as well if I'm going to run the same setup. I'm thinking about the ididit tilt paintable column, but there will probably be the same issue.
04-08-2008, 06:08 PM
Did you see dlsnfl's post on the original thread for the 15" wheel. Shows how to do it from Ididit. It does not mention part numbers but I think you can get the ones you need from Ididit.
Myself, I don't need any parts. But for others who may need to do this in the future, buying the parts is the way to go. It didn't end up being much to make the part once I knew what to do, but getting there was a problem. The right parts are going to be inexpensive.
04-09-2008, 08:37 AM
Ididit was incredibly helpful on the phone. Emailing me directions,
because I had broken off a part, sent another free. Then I told them
I was doing the Impala Wheel install and they knew all the right parts,
horn kit, and including of course the beauty ring needed on Ididit Columns.
04-09-2008, 12:41 PM
Steering, Steering Column Components
Item Number Description
83230 Kit contains 1 each of the following: spring, eyelet and insulator, located inside the turn signal cancel cam, horn will not work when broken
Type: Horn Contact Kit
Make: GM 1989-65
OE #: 474102
Brand: Dorman - HELP!
Please select Detailed Applications for Application Note information.
This isn't the piece I was referring to, but it might work. Dorman and motormite are now under one roof(so to speak), and their online site has quite a few interesting things for old cars. It would certainly save a trip to the parts store "HELP!" aisle. For some reason it wouldn't copy the image of the part, but check it out on the dorman website.
04-09-2008, 01:45 PM
Jay, that's the exact kit I bought (see my first post).
The contact is for a "short stalk" cancel cam. That why I made my own contact, longer on the portion that goes inside the stalk, and shortened as necessary on the portion outside the stalk - per the dimensions I posted.
As I originally said, it works just fine with the new contact.
04-09-2008, 02:21 PM
Woops. I guess should've jotted down your info before re-posting the same info. How did you make the brass piece? Mini lathe?
04-09-2008, 04:20 PM
I have an 8" South Bend lathe. I think that's bigger than a mini-lathe, but it's no maxi lathe either.
If a guy had the contact pin from the Motormite kit and wanted to make it work without the use of a lathe - you'd have to reduce the diameter of the big end from about .275" to .250". You could do this with a drill press and a file or sanding block. Then you'd need to make a spacer from brass or some other conductive material that is .240" diameter x .250" long. You could make this from .250" brass round bar. Just saw it to length and clean up the rough edges. Then do what you could to get it to fit in the stalk by either filing/sanding the diameter down, or carefully opening up the inside diameter of the stalk.
One reason I made a new brass pin is the one in the kit is zinc plated steel. It will eventually rust on any surfaces you machine.
04-09-2008, 04:44 PM
Cool. I thought, due to the fact that I save just about every oddball car-related item when I get my hands on it, I had just the fix for ya. I think I save so much stuff that I forget what I have and what I give away or use.:o
I wonder if the same issue will arise with an ididit column.
Well, time to get to work on the chassis! Thanks for sharing the info Rick.
04-09-2008, 07:50 PM
It looks like Ididit has the parts to do it for their column. What I'm now curious about is whether they use that "short stalk" or if theirs is the same as Flaming River's.
Kind of sad that Flaming River doesn't have the answers. They'd be simple to offer.
04-10-2008, 01:29 PM
Very sad indeed. It certainly influences which brand of steering column I'll be going with. Quite a few people on this forum have spoken very positive about ididit in terms of customer support, and their prices are lower than flaming river. I hope the quality is there.
TIme for me to get back to the chassis work.
04-14-2008, 09:19 AM
I can speak to the Ididit quality, and the Customer Service!!!!
And the horn works with their horn kit. Beep Beep.
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