Steering Column Paint

Last year I spent some time and effort cleaning all of the grease and grime off of the steering column and shift linkage, as well as the steering box.

Today I finally got around to painting those parts black. I wasn’t able to find a small can of semi-gloss paint, so I made my own by mixing equal parts of Rustoleum oil-based Stops Rust paint gloss black and flat black. I mixed the two sheens of black together in a cup, stirring them very thoroughly.

Then I just used a foam brush to apply the paint, starting at the bottom with the steering box and working my way up.

At the top where the column shift linkage is located there are a lot of moving parts, so I was careful to paint as many surfaces as I could access, turning the steering wheel and adjusting the shifter to reveal unpainted surfaces so I could paint them.

When I was finished the columns looked much better.

Steering Column Grommet Removal

Today the weather warmed up a bit and I was able to get outside and do some work on the truck. I pulled the steering column grommet out of the firewall. Mine is in really rough shape and I’d like to replace it, though I haven’t had much luck finding a replacement part.
Here’s the engine bay:

The steering column grommet is a boot that mounts into a cone-shaped hole in the firewall and has two holes; one for the steering column and another for the shift linkage column. I’ve seen pictures of some of these in decent shape. They angle downward parallel to the steering column outwards an inch or so. Here’s a close-up of what remains of my grommet. The bottom lip part that mounts into the firewall is intact, but the boot section that encloses the columns is gone.

I used a flat head screwdriver to pry the grommet from the firewall opening.

Clearly the grommet wouldn’t come free without removing the steering and shifter columns, so I cut the rubber with a pair of scissors.

Then I was able to pull it off.

Here are some detail shots of the top and bottom of the steering column grommet.

Here is a close-up of the profile of the grommet where it mounts to the firewall.

Engine Bay Clean-Up

The final thing I did today was to clean up some of the areas in the engine bay that have been exposed as a result of removing pieces to clean-up, paint, repair, and/or replace.

The timing chain cover, now accessible with the radiator and fan removed, was covered in 50 years of dirt, grease, and road grime.

I wet the area down with a spray bottle, and then sprayed it with some Simple Green, which I have found to be a really good de-greaser. Then I scrubbed it with a stiff brush.

I also used a blue, coarse scouring pad and a lot of elbow grease to scrub away a lot of the dirt. There was some corrosion underneath, but not too much. It came pretty clean.

Next I spent some time scrubbing the steering box, which was also caked with greasy grime.

I also spent a lot of time scrubbing and cleaning up the top section of the exhaust manifold.

Here is a look at the engine bay after tidying up a bit. Still a long way to go.