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Easy bolt-on ways to upgrade the steering in your classic Chevy

Full Tilt Nova! Classic Performance Products and ididit bring you close ratio power steering and cool tilt-wheel comfort

Jim Smart Jun 2, 2017
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We’ve become spoiled by the availability of great aftermarket parts that make it possible to get into the groovy lines of a classic Chevy Nova while enjoying the benefits of late-model technology. It’s called “restomod” and it is becoming more mainstream all the time. Enthusiasts like the classic styling coupled with fun-to-drive technology, be it an LS V-8 or a simple one-day, bolt-on install.

The Chevrolet Nova had humble beginnings as an affordable compact automobile when it was introduced in 1962. Old-timers may remember the sitcom My Three Sons and the corresponding Chevrolet commercials. It was a great time to be alive. These Chevy IIs sold like hot cakes as a result because they offered big Chevy comfort in an affordable, easy-to-park compact. There was a Chevy II redesign in 1966-’67—surely handsome and loved by many. In 1968, Chevrolet came out of left field with a slippery aero Nova that was hugely successful well into the 1970s before the name began to slip away. We love the Nova along with all the things you can do with it.

Prior to 1968, the Chevy II/Nova had a shock tower front suspension system on a par with what Ford was doing with Falcon, Comet, and Mustang. It wasn’t much to write home about, offering the handling characteristics of a covered wagon. With the Camaro’s introduction in 1967 came a new, innovative subframe-conventional front suspension system that quickly found its way to the Chevy II/Nova line for 1968. And this is what we like about 1968-’72 Nova: great lines and a vastly improved suspension system.

We’re working with a 1969 Nova coupe on its way to becoming a fun-to-drive cruiser. The next phase of this Nova build is an ididit tilt steering column and a close-ratio 500 Series power steering box from Classic Performance Products (CPP) to weave comfort and control into Chevy’s enduring Nova. The steering column replacement is quick and easy. You can do it in an afternoon. When you add the CPP close-ratio power steering gear it takes up the better part of a day. Let’s get started.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 001 2/19

1. The steering column removal involves unbolting the collapsible slide at the dashboard and disconnecting the electrics and rag joint. The steering wheel removal comes first. Did you remember to disconnect the negative cable at the battery?

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 002 3/19

2. Ididit wrote the book on retrofit tilt steering columns for the Chevrolet Chevelle, Camaro, and Nova, among many others. We’re not surprised by this latest innovation from ididit: a bolt-in, factory-style steering column that includes the locking ignition switch and all of the electrics.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 003 4/19

3. This is the Classic Performance Products 500 Series power steering conversion kit (PN 69PSK) for the Chevy Camaro and Nova, which includes the steering gear (shown) along with the pump, hoses, Pitman arm, rag joint (coupling), and mounting hardware.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 004 5/19

4. The ididit tilt wheel retrofit column is a direct bolt-in you can install in an afternoon. It arrives with an ididit-specific keyed ignition ready to go. For safety, it’s designed to be collapsible, a feature you’ll hopefully never need.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 005 6/19

5. The steering column includes the turn signal switch and related installation hardware. Other features include four-way flashers and return to center turn signals.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 006 7/19

6. The stock steering column is held to the dash by way of this mounting bracket.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 007 8/19

7. The bracket was removed from the stock column and bolted to the new ididit tilt column.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 008 9/19

8. Included is the ididit steering column relay adapter package (PN 500719).

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 009 10/19

9. This is the original Saginaw power steering box and hoses tied to the factory steering column. It was built for performance but had a slow, sluggish feel to it.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 010 11/19

10. A Pitman arm removal tool is used to remove the factory Pitman arm. Two bolts secure the Saginaw power box to the Nova’s subframe. The CPP 500 Series box will be bolted to the subframe in the same location using factory boltholes and fasteners.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 011 12/19

11. Time to put the vintage Saginaw power box out to pasture.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 012 13/19

12. The new CPP 500 Series close-ratio power steering gear weighs less and takes up less space than the Saginaw box. With a ratio of 14.7:1, it will give the Nova a much better feel on the highway without being overly “twitchy.”

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 013 14/19

13. The ididit steering coupling—also known as the rag joint—is a fail-safe piece engineered to fit a variety of applications, including our Nova. The rag joint enables wiggle room when the column is installed and adjusted. Use a thread locker on the Allen screw (arrow) and set screw once tightened.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 014 15/19

14. These are the original GM steering column-to-firewall flanges. You may use them or opt for the ididit pieces included in the kit. The choice is yours.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 015 16/19

15. When you look at the ididit steering column-to-firewall flange, it begs the question why you would use the GM original. This is a nice stamping designed to bolt right in.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 016 17/19

16. The ididit steering column glides right into place and is bolted at the original attachment points on the dashboard. The ididit steering column-to-firewall flange is secured. The connections are made via the relay kit provided.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 017 18/19

17. The CPP 500 Series power steering gear is secure and tied to the ididit column. The beauty of this install is its complete demeanor. The column and steering gear are one and have dovetailed together nicely. It all fits and works perfectly.

1969 Nova Steering Ididit Tilt Cpp Close Ratio Box 018 19/19

18. Inside, the ididit column is stealthy in nature thanks to its factory appearance and perfect fit. Topping it off, and adding to the modern feel, is a leather half-wrap and billet steering wheel from Eddie Motorsports.

Photography by Steven Rupp

Sources

Ididit
517-424-0577
www.ididit.com
Eddie Motorsports
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
888-813-1293
www.eddiemotorsports.com
Classic Performance Products (CPP)
Placentia, CA 92870
800-522-5004
www.ClassicPerform.com

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