EPAS Back to Work

Due to some health concerns, home improvement projects, and general frustration with fitting the steering column I took a long break from this install. I knew that I needed to finish up the project but wasn’t very motivated to work on it. Plus, I was experiencing some health issues that caused me to become exhausted and out of breath after very little exertion on my part. I finally got myself feeling up to completing the work required to finish up this EPAS installation.

I’ve never been completely satisfied with the clearance between the EPAS and my clutch linkage. If the car had an automatic transmission, I believe there wouldn’t be the same issues. I could just barely get the required clearance so that the EPAS motor doesn’t rub on the under-dash clutch linkage or even bind it up completely. I did eventually find a position that worked, but if you pulled down on the steering wheel the column would sometimes move just enough to cause some slight rubbing. I originally planned to reposition the parking brake lever to gain some additional clearance. I moved the lever over and purchased some washers to use as shims to drop down the lever. I wasn’t completely happy with this approach but felt it would work well enough.

Before I moved the parking brake handle and buttoned everything back up, I decided to test the turn signal switch wiring in case I needed to remove the column to fix the wiring. Upon testing the turn signal switch functions, I found that everything was working except for the front right turn signal. I did some tracing of the wires and soon discovered that the clamp that mounts the steering column to the dash had severed that wire on the turn signal harness. I was able to splice the wire and get the turn signal working properly, but needed to modify the clamp so that it wouldn’t pinch the turn signal wiring harness where it exited the steering column. I dropped the column and ground some metal off of the clamp to gain the clearance I needed.

Now that the clamp was modified, I attempted to reinstall the steering column again. I spent a considerable amount of time attempting to find the sweet spot where the column didn’t interfere with the clutch linkage. I spent about an hour removing parts I had already reinstalled and moving the column around but was unable to find the same sweet spot I had discovered before. Eventually I found that I needed to pull the column forward towards the driver’s seat to reach the same spot I had the column in before removing it to fix the wiring. This gave me the clearance for the clutch linkage but put the clamp very close to the wiring again. That was when I realized that moving the column closer to the driver was the answer to my clearance issues. I was prevented from moving the column far enough forward because of the interference between the clamp and the wiring harness. It looked like all I needed to do was grind the clamp some more so that I could move the steering column a little bit closer to the driver’s seat. It sounds so simple now, but I spent a lot of time attempting to figure it out.

Tomorrow, I plan to remove the clamp one more time and grind it for some more clearance. Then I can move the column a bit more forward and I’m hoping I will have enough clearance with the clutch linkage. It isn’t rubbing now, but it is closer than I am comfortable with, so I would like to gain just a bit more clearance. After that, I bet the floor vent would fit as well, but I’ve already removed it and mounted the EPAS ECU in its’ place. Since I have A/C I don’t think I will miss it too much. Hopefully I can get this project back on track and finally wrap things up. Once the column is securely mounted, I hope to revisit the roller clutch linkage and torque the pitman arm to specs. That should get the car operational again. I still have some other items I want to fix or update, but I think I need to spend some time driving and also work on my health before I tackle any new projects.