Steering Shaft

I've had vibration in my steering wheel just a little above idle on my '77 Ford F250 PU for a while. I noticed the upper steering shaft bearing seemed a little sloppy and the rubber boot at the floor was shot, so I pulled the column out to examine it. When I pulled the steering shaft out I was a bit shocked to find a deep groove cut all the way around the lower end of the shaft. It seems the lower plastic shaft bushing was worn enough to allow the shaft to shift downward, and contact the metal clip that operates the reverse switch. This hardened clip protrudes slighty into the inner column tube, which rotates with the PRNDL to shift the trans. Every time the steering shaft moved, this clip was cutting into the soft steel steering shaft. Not a pretty picture. Seems to be a fairly common issue for this year truck, as the first bone yard unit I pulled out to replace it was beginning to have the same problem! I put a new bearing in a the steering wheel end, and turned a piece of UHMW poly bar stock on the lathe to replace the wimpy stock molded plastic bushing...Anyway maybe with another 300K miles and 30 more years it would have worn all the way through!

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