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Questions and Answers

Dodge Caravan Steering Column

Q. First Question: I have an 1989 Dodge Caravan that was stolen from me and I need to change the steering column. It shifts on the column with tilt wheel. Any tips?

Second Question: I have a 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager that I need to change the C.V. boot on, no idea what I'm getting into. I have a book but it doesn't say much but to buy a replacement kit. The parts store says there isn't a kit, you can only buy the boot itself.

Dodge Caravan Steering Column

Any info you can give me on either of the subjects would be greatly appreciated.


A. First Answer: Replacing a steering column is a lot of work and a job I recommend to one who has an intermediate to advanced skill level. Here is the procedure, if you think you're up to the challenge, go for it.

  1. Disarm air bag system.
  2. On vehicles with column shift, disconnect cable rod by prying out of grommet in shift lever, then remove cable clip and disconnect cable from lower bracket. A new grommet should be used when rod is disconnected from lever.
  3. On all models, disconnect electrical connectors from column jacket.
  4. Remove steering wheel center pad assembly, then disconnect horn wire(s) and remove horn switch, if used.
  5. Remove steering wheel using a suitable puller. Do not attempt to remove steering wheel using a hammer as damage to the steering column and shaft will result.
  6. Remove instrument panel steering column cover and lower reinforcement, then disconnect bezel.
  7. Remove indicator setscrew and gearshift indicator from shift housing.
  8. Remove steering column support to instrument panel support nuts and lower the support bracket. Do not remove roll pin to remove steering column assembly.
  9. Grasp steering column assembly and pull rearward to disconnect lower stub shaft from steering gear coupling. If vehicle is equipped with speed control and manual transmission, use care to avoid damaging clutch pedal speed control switch.
  10. Reinstall anti-rattle coupling spring completely into lower coupling tube, making sure anti-rattle spring snaps into coupling slot.
  11. Remove steering column
Fig. 4 Steering column installation. Front wheel drive. INSTALLATION:
  1. Insert steering column through opening, then align lower stub shaft with lower coupling and insert stub shaft.
  2. Raise column into place over the five studs, then loosely install five stud nuts. Use washers on the breakaway capsules.
  3. Pull column rearward and torque the five stud nuts to 105 inch lbs.
  4. Using needle nose pliers, pull coupling spring up until spring touches universal joint flange.
  5. Connect gearshift cable rod to shift lever by snapping rod into grommet with pliers, then adjust linkage. A new grommet should always be used when rod is disconnected from lever.
  6. Place steering wheel on shaft with master splines aligned, then on models with automatic transaxle, place damper assembly inside steering wheel. Install retaining wheel retaining nut and torque to 45 ft. lbs . Do not drive onto shaft, use retaining nut to draw it down.
  7. Install horn switch components and connect horn switch wire.
  8. Connect electrical connectors at steering column jacket, then reconnect battery and check operation of lights and horn.
  9. On vehicles with automatic transaxle, connect gearshift indicator pointer in its approximate original position, then slowly move gearshift lever from Low position to Park position, pausing at each position. If necessary, align pointer correctly.
  10. On all models, install instrument panel steering column cover.
  11. Rearm airbag system.

Second Answer: You'd be better off replacing the whole axle. By the time you buy the boots and grease and the time involved in replacing the boots, it's more cost effective to install a rebuilt axle. They run about $80.00 from Autozone.

The procedure varies depending on if it's Front Wheel or All Wheel Drive and if it has ABS or not. You can get the procedure from the Chiltons or Haynes manuals

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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© 2005 Vincent T. Ciulla

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