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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After 2 years of not being able to see the top of the speedo due to my height (6' 1" with a long torso), I have finally fixed the visability problem without sawing off the top of the steering wheel ala rambler dan.

and now I'm doing the happy dance; this bugged the @$#%& out of me for the past 2+ years.

It ended up being very simple; I modified the steering wheel tilt mechanism to allow the wheel to tilt up slightly more. The mechanism is incredibly basic consisting of a arced slot, a bolt, and the tilt adjust lever. simply mill, dremel, drill, etc the slot longer and the wheel will tilt higher. There is approximatley 3/16" or so of clearance above the steering column bearing at the tilt mechanism. When the steering column can tilt up that 3/16" or so, it allows the rim of the steering wheel to be raised another 5/8"-3/4" or so (since the steering wheel rim is about 10" or so from the tilt mech, basic trigonometry), making all the difference in the world.

If you look at the clearance between the guage trim rings and the top plastic steering column cover, that's the limit that the wheel can tilt up to, since the plastic cover will run into the trim rings if it went any higher. It turns out that the tilt mech will only accommodate about the same extra tilt as the trim ring clearance so all is good.

I can post some pics if needed be but I'll describe the process here.

DISCLAIMER: DO THIS MOD AT YOUR OWN RISK, IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH MODIFYING YOUR STEERING COLUMN, DON'T DO IT. This mod may void your warranty, result in death or disfigurement of you or your loved ones, blah blah blah

These are the steps that I used to reach steering wheel nirvana:

Disconnect the battery (In case the airbag wires are disconnected accidentally you won't have to reset the airbag light)

Remove the plastic access panel below the steering column

Remove the upper and lower plastic steering column covers (three screws hold the bottom cover to the column, the covers then unsnap from each other.

Remove the 2 screws and 2 nuts that hold the steering column to the underside of the dash.

At this point, the entire assembly should be able to descend down and out about 3-4" so that it can be worked on. I left all of the wires connected for ease of reassembly.

Remove the extension spring (on the passenger side of the column/tilt mech)

Remove the 10mm screw and retaining clip that prevents the head of the tilt mech bolt from turning. It is on the passenger side of the column. Unscrew and remove the tilt pinch bolt from the tilt adjust lever. At this point, tilt the column up as far as it will go (or tilt the sheet metal top plate down) and you will see how much additional slot will be required to allow for the extra tilt. If you have gotten this far, then you are probably capable of Modifing the slot as required and reassembling. I used a big C-clamp to hold the mechanism at it's max tilt height and drilled and milled the slot longer (taller).

Reassemble, and adjust the tilt lever preload by tightening or loosening the tilt bolt; when you get it right, reinstall the retaining clip and 10mm screw.

reinstall the column to the underside of the dash, replace the plastic covers and check for proper operation of the tilt mechanism. According to the manual, torque the 2 screws and 2 nuts to 144 in-lbs or 16 newton meters (this appears to be the collapsible feature for the steering column)

A little bit of extra tilt at the mechanism goes a long way at the rim of the steering wheel.
 

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Nice Job!!

I'd like some pics to go with the description, but the clear and concise instructions should be enough for me to get into trouble.

I'll put this on the "when it warms up" list.

Thanks.

HS
 

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This exact mod has been on my to-do list for a while now. Thanks for going first and paving the way. Pics would be great.
 

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I am 6' 4" and have the same problem. It's odd they made the car so tall inside (antler room as one automotive reviewer put it) but the top of the windshield and the steering wheel are so low. I would like to see a photo if you have one. I looked at the Service Manual and the picture for the tilt mechanism isn't very detailed. I wonder if adding a shim under the rear of the steering wheel mounts would help? I guess if the screws were 6" apart the shim would need to be 1" for 10°.
 

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Disconnect the battery...
Crap, that's where I draw the line! :-D

I've done at least 20 mods involving the electrical systems without ever disconnecting the battery! :twisted:

The "proof" better be in the pictures! :mad: :cool:
 

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Hmm...odd...I'm 6'3", and I've never had trouble seeing my speedometer...

My seat is lowered into the earth's crust, though...all the way to the bottom of the lowering range.
 

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*high five*

Awesome! Another annoying Element trait fixed. And another mod to add to my to-do list... :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I just took some pics, I'll post in the morning....

I also noticed that The max upward tilt will probably be limited by the clearance of the tilt mech, not the clearance between the upper plastic column cover and the guage trim rings. I still have clearance at the guage trim rings and the steering wheel is plenty high for me. I may also have a little clearance left in the tilt mech.

Gambling Element-Yes, shimming the rear mounting screws for the steering column (where it bolts up to the underside of the dash) looks like it will also give more vertical tilt at the wheel, I don't know if it will affect the column u-joints......probably not. Since this appears to be part of the column collapse feature, modify carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Here are the pics:

First pic shows tilt pinch bolt in modified slot

Second pic shows steering column fully lowered without the pinch bolt in place (steering wheel is practically resting on driver's seat) You can also see one of the nuts that fasten the tilt assy to the underside of the dash.

Third is the tilt bolt mechanism and retaining clip thingy

Fourth is the retaining clip on the head of the tilt bolt (in-place)

The first 2 pics show marks where I C-Clamped the slotted arms to facilitate drilling/milling. I also clamped the steering column vertically with a giant C-Clamp to hold it in the full "up-tilt" position while machining.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Slightly taller than your oval. I didn't have to modify much. The original slot ended at about the center of the bolt dia, so I made the slot about 1/2 bolt dia taller. If you are really tall, you can probably go a little more before you run out of tilt mech travel.
 

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Grannysmuncher said:
Hmm...odd...I'm 6'3", and I've never had trouble seeing my speedometer...

Long torso vs. short torso. I take it you are all legs..:p
 

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Hey there Boy Wonder,if you see this,thank you for posting your cool mod.Although I didn't have an need for your mod,your excellent pictures really helped me out when I had to figure out how to tighten my tilt lever,which was entirely too loose.
Thanks
:)
 

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Hmm...odd...I'm 6'3", and I've never had trouble seeing my speedometer...

My seat is lowered into the earth's crust, though...all the way to the bottom of the lowering range.

I also has a lot to do with how you sit.

If you tilt the seat back even a couple notches you get a better veiw of the gages. I'm 5'11" and I have the seat all the way upright and even I miss a tiny bit of the top of the speedo. Even if I wanted to tilt the seat back a tad I can't. My son's baby seat is right up to mine.:oops:

If I was an inch or two taller I'd be all over this Mod.
 
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