EPAS Test Fit Steering Column

I’ve finally reached the point where I can test fit the new steering column and determine how to clock the EPAS motor. The first thing I noticed is that I needed to remove the driver’s side AC vent, courtesy light, and parking brake handle to make some room to maneuver the motor into place. Between all of that, the clutch pedal and linkage, and the driver’s side fresh air vent there just wasn’t enough room for the EPAS motor. While I might have been able to eventually fit everything back into place, I decided to just eliminate the fresh air vent. That would give me plenty of room for the EPAS motor, and also provide a place to mount the EPAS controller box.

Picture of the fresh air vent
Fresh Air Vent

I had no trouble removing the fresh air vent. But now I needed to fabricate a block off plate. I grabbed the lid from a cardboard pizza box and used it to make a template for the block off plate. I traced the fresh air vent onto the cardboard and marked the mounting holes. Then I cut it out and test fitted it on the car. It fit fine. Now I needed to make a more permanent plate out of sheet metal.

Picture of the cardboard template
Cardboard Template

I went to the local hardware store and purchased a small sheet of 22 gauge cold rolled steel. Then I marked the steel using the cardboard template I had made. I used some aviation snips to cut out the plate and drilled the mounting holes in the plate. My snips either aren’t very sharp or I’m just not very skilled at using them because it took me quite some time to cut out the plate. Not perfect, but it won’t be visible.

Picture of the steel block off plate
Steel Block Off Plate

After test fitting the block off plate, I mounted the EPAS control box.

Picture of the block off plate with controller mounted
Controller Mounted on Block Off Plate

I installed the block off plate using some strip caulk as a sealer. I slid the new steering column into position, tightened down the attaching strap, and connected the shaft to the motor. Clearance was very tight, but I managed to find a position that cleared the clutch pedal. If the car had an automatic transmission clearance would be much less of an issue as the clutch pedal was the biggest problem. I reinstalled the clutch linkage, brake pedal, and parking brake handle and checked for clearance again. It turns out I probably could have retained the fresh air vent, but since I have air conditioning it should be OK to leave it off. Plus, it provided a very convenient place to mount the EPAS ECU. My biggest concern at this point is that there is only the strap under the steering column holding it in position. The original steering column had the strap and a mount at the firewall. The replacement column mounts in both places but has a universal joint between the column and the firewall. This universal joint permits the column to move up and down just a little bit if you put some leverage on the steering wheel. I may need to revisit the clamp and beef it up some, but for now I think it will work. My next steps are to stake the motor to the column, wire the column up, and finish tightening up and reattaching everything I removed to make room for the new column. Then I will need to find a good place to mount the adjustment potentiometer, test the wiring, and I can call this job completed.