Steering - steering rack, steering column, steering arms

The steering set-up on the standard Fury is entirely conventional kit-car fare. The upper column's from a Sierra, the rack's from an Escort MkII, there's an intermediate column between them, and at the top of the upper column there's generally a steering wheel. Originally, I had planned to do exactly this on my car, but I was then inspired by the marvellous work done by the Beardmore Bros and the home-made steering column on their hill-climb Morris Minor. This was made using straight CDS tubing, a mil-spec UJ and some off-the-shelf bearings.

Prodding me in the direction of DIY was my desire to have a paddle shift *and* steering wheel mounted buttons *and* stalks for the indicators and lights. Trying to get the gear paddles and light stalks to play nicely together was going to be hard - getting it all working while having a length of flexy wire wrapped round it would be something else entirely. So I decided to make it myself, having a CDS inner column, and an outer column with provision for mounting light stalks (with auto-cancelling indicators) and a gear paddle.

This is the outer column. It's made up from three parts - the end pieces that the bearings go into and the middle part which is simply a length of ali tube turned down inside and out. The ends are an interference fit on the tube although I ended up welding the bottom one into place as it wasn't quite as secure as I wanted it to be.

The bottom part (to the left) has M8 tapped holes for mounting the column to the scuttle tube on the chassis. The part at the top has mounts for the stalks (the ones with the tapped holes), and also blocks for the gear shift paddles to be mounted onto. The hole in the tubing is for the indicator cancellation bit of the column stalk to poke through.

  This is the top part of the inner column in the process of being made. The column itself is made of 7/8" CDS tubing, and the sleeves are 1" stainless tubing which the 1" ID needle bearings go around. At the business end there's the QR boss - this is a Lifeline unit which comes pre-wired with an 8-way electric connector, which will allow me to have the steering wheel buttons fitted without the hassle of flexy curly wires wrapping themselves round everything.

Most of the column I TIG welded rather than MIG'd (it's neater) and any mission critical welds (like the QR boss onto the steering column) I pinned as well. I pinned the joints by drilling a small (3mm-ish) hole through the two parts, and then hammering a nail (easy source of thin bits of hardened steel) through, chopping the ends of the nail off, and welding the ends over.
This is the trial fit of the whole thing before painting the column. On the larger version of the picture (click on the small picture on the right) you can just about see the orange rubber seal of the UJ. This will be held in place by 4 M5 bolts, two on the top half of the column and two on the bottom half. The bottom of the intermediate column is joined to the steering rack via a Grp IV steering knuckle, a section of splined shaft from Rally Design and a machined sleeve to go around the slined shaft and inside the CDS tubing.

I've now painted the steering column sections. The last thing to do is make up some dust guards for the bearings, and fit it. Of course, it'll have to come off again once the bodywork has arrived and it's time to fit that, but that can wait for now.