Out With the Old, In With the New

A New Steering Column, That Is

With all the modern advancements in Nova performance, it's likely that OEM and aftermarket parts aren't interchangeable. But if you stop and think about it, its no surprise, because as the saying goes, "out with the old, in with the new." And that's exactly what Nova enthusiast have been doing for years.

This Nova is no different. A couple of months ago you might remember Total Cost Involved swapping out the stock OEM front clip for one of their own on this '65 in our annual Nova magazine. The problem was, the TCI setup was no longer compatible with the Nova's OEM steering setup, so then what do you do? Well you look around for something that adapts to the TCI clip, and odds are you're going to run into Flaming River.

Flaming River makes quality steering columns, U-joints, basically anything you need for a steering setup for all makes and models. Knowing this, we here at SC decided to see what its like to install a Flaming River steering wheel, steering column, U-joints, and steering shaft to our TCI-equipped Nova.

The Nova is a manual steering car with rack-and-pinion so we didn't have to worry about a lot of confusion. The install was straightforward and easy to follow. By just mounting the Flaming River steering column, then cutting the steering shaft and attaching the U-joint the install was over. However, we did run into a slight problem when it came to the OEM steering column floor mount. (Kind of goes back to the "out with the old, in with the new" thing) Therefore using our keen since of geometry and artistic skills (Haaa . . . that's a knee slapper) we crafted our own floor mount, and to be honest with 'ya, it was nothing more than tracing and cutting. The entire install can easily be finished within 4 to 6 hours, and besides the slight fabrication needed, any do-it-yourselfer could handle the job.


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Jason Scudellari began by removing the Nova's OEM steering column and floor mount.

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Immediately we were able to see the OEM floor mount was not going to work for our new Flaming River column. Therefore we made a floor mount out of a 1/8-inch aluminum plate. We started off by tracing the outline of the OEM mount to our plate, and then Jason cut it out.

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Next the diameter of the Flaming River column was measured. DON'T drill the same sized hole as the OEM plate.

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The outer edges and inside of our circular hole where sanded down to ensure a clean look.

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Jason then bent our newly crafted floor mount to the same angle as the Nova's OEM mount.

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Holes were then drilled in the mount so it could be fastened down.

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The plate was bolted to the firewall.

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For a little more support ,we added another bolt and nut to the top of our floor mount by drilling a hole in the upper corner, the OEM mount didn't have this.

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Before we went poking around trying to figure out the perfect fit in the Nova, we covered our Flaming River steering column in duct tape to prevent any unwanted scratches.

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Jason then placed the FR column in place to see how it would fit. We decided to add an L-bracket at the base of the FR column and floor mount, and it was at this time that Jason marked where the holes needed to be drilled on the clamp and column.

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By drilling and tapping our FR column we were able to secure our L-bracket.

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It was time to install our new Flaming River tilt column. Jason secured the column in place by bolting the L-bracket to the lower floor mount bolt, and then he fastened the upper U-mount.

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The new Flaming River universal joints were placed on the steering column shaft, and the rack-and-pinion steering shaft. Then by using a tape measure we measured the distance between the two joints.

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We cut our Flaming River steering shaft to the measurements we got from the distance from U-joint to U-joint.

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The universal joints were then snugged up.

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After we knew our FR column was in place for good, we then installed the turn signal, light, and other Flaming River steering column accessories.

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Next our new Flaming River steering-wheel adapter was put on.

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And for our last chore, we bolted on our new Flaming River D-shaped steering wheel.

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There you have it, the new and improved Nova steering.