Building hot rods or customs can be an exercise in packaging sometimes, getting everything to fit and work alongside other components. One of the areas where this is often tricky is the steering/exhaust/brake booster/pedals relationship, as two or more of them often seem to want to occupy the same physical space. While my Project '49 Chevy presented some steering-to-header challenges, I faced a different scenario with my '46 roadster pickup. I'd used the front clip from a Caprice with some swap meet headers designed (I think) for a Camaro. Coupled with the stock Caprice steering column, these presented no interference problems, as the column was up and away from the engine, which is mounted offset to the passenger side in the Caprice, and therefore in my truck.

I'd fabricated a mount under the dash for the stock GM column mount and fabricated an offset brake pedal, meaning the booster could be mounted to the left of the column on the firewall. But I'd never been happy with the GM column and its big ugly shroud at its upper end, which also housed the column shifter that wasn't required, plus the stock rag joint near the steering box was now operating at an angle and was already old and worn. All of which meant that when I decided to swap the GM column for a Limeworks stainless version, it had to mount in the stock GM location, clear the brake pedal and its mount, clear the booster, and exit the firewall through the oversize hole I'd cut for the GM column, as I'd painted the firewall and didn't want to take too many backward steps in the build. It also had to leave the steering wheel at a comfortable angle, as the Limeworks column isn't a tilt unit.

Some planning, along with some luck, meant I found a comfortable wheel position and the column cleared all the components, despite being very close to the booster and me having to enlarge the hole in the firewall slightly at its top edge. I also had to fabricate a couple of spacer plates to drop the column at the upper mount to get a column angle I was happy with. Flaming River make a nice aluminum column drop to mount a 1-inch column in the stock GM location, which proved ideal and saved a lot of fabrication time, while I used Borgeson's neat swivel floor mount at the firewall, though I had to fabricate a plate to cover the large hole I'd already cut, sandwiched between the swivel mount and the firewall. Ignoring the fact that I was fitting all this in a '46 Ford, the Flaming River top mount makes an easy job of swapping GM columns for aftermarket versions in stock vehicles.

As mentioned, part of the reason I wanted to change the steering components was to eliminate the GM rag joint on the end of the intermediary shaft near the steering box and replace it with a Borgeson vibration reducer, which is actually combined with a universal joint. I also sourced a Borgeson double-D shaft and U-joint to connect it to the splined Limeworks steering column, as recommended by Limeworks. With the exception of fabricating the firewall plate, the whole job was a bolt-in affair and I now have smooth steering and a much more comfortable driving position.

Flaming River
800 Poertner Dr.
OH  44017
LimeWorks Speed Shop
187 Commercial Blvd.
CT  06790