I just rebuilt the steering column in my 77. Not really because I wanted to but mostly because I didn't have a choice. The nylon pins were sheared during disassembly and the only way to get that deep into the steering column to replace the shaft is to dismantle it. I found a little info on the internet on how to take the tilt column apart but there were a lot of things that were unclear so I decided to post what I had done since I figured it would prevent a little aggravation for some of you.
Anyone with some mechanical skill and a few hand tools as well as some specialty tools can tackle this job all you need is a decent work bench to work on.
With the column on the bench firs thing I did was to remove the steering wheel. Since mine was a T/A it had a formula style wheel so I just removed the 6 allen bolts and popped the horn button off.
After the horn button is off you will see a snap ring and a nut down inside the horn switch. Remove the snap ring as well as the nut and horn switch assembly.
Once the nut is removed you can then pull the steering wheel hub from the steering column shaft. The threads are 5/16 UNC so I used a puller and some threaded rod with washers to pull the hub. My puller has seen better days but thats what you get when you buy junk
Once the hub is removed you will see a plastic cover. This is fairly easy to remove by prying with a flat screwdriver through the slots on the front.
The picture shows prying from the side which is NOT the way to remove this piece.
Once the plastic cover is out of the way you will see the lock plate. There is a snap ring that will have to be removed before the plate will come off. This piece is spring loaded so be careful when removing it.
I made a tool from a piece of flat bar I had sitting around the shop but you can buy a tool to do this job as well.
Don't compress the plate too much or you will end up bending it. Just enough to remove the snapring that is holding it to the shaft.
Once the snapring is removed carefully back the nut off the tool and release the spring pressure. The lock plate will come off as well as the cam.
I took pictures during assembly and disassembly and I'm using both here so thats why its so clean in some of them.
With the lock plate, spring and cam removed you will see the seat and inner race. Remember how these come out so you can put them back the same way. You can remove the turn signal lever at this point by removing the phillips head screw.
You are now looking at the turn signal switch. Remove the hazard light knob from the side of the column by removing the phillips screw that holds it on (78 and up shown).
There are three phillips head screws that need to be removed and the switch can be pulled away from the column. The wires will still be inside the column so just move the switch out of the way.
The ignition lock and warning buzzer switch will be removed next.
To remove the ignition lock you will need a thin blade flat screwdriver. The ignition cylinder itself has a spring loaded tang which locks it in the housing. You will need to depress this with a thin screwdriver inserted in the slot while pulling the ignition cylinder out from the steering column housing. See arrow in picture for the location of the slot. Make sure the ignition is in the run position before trying to remove it.
To remove the buzzer switch carefully pull it from the housing with a small pair of pliers. Be carefull not to lose the small spring that will come out with it. See arrow.
The tilt lever can be removed next by unscrewing it from its housing.
You will now see three larger phillips head screws. These screws hold the housing onto the tilt assembly. I had to use an impact driver to remove these because they were very tight.
Now you will have to remove the signal switch and wiring from the column assembly. Remove the connector from its bracket on the column and remove the plastic cover shown by the arrows in the following picure.
Carefully slide out the harness towards the front of the column. Use a small screwdriver to help position the plastic connector to pass throught the housing.
Now we are left with the tilt assembly. To remove the spring for the tilt away you can use a screwdriver to depress the spring and turn the cap 1/4 turn. This will release the cap from the housing and allow the spring to be removed
Now the small cover and spring holding the sector to the lock shaft can be removed. Just pull the small cover off. It is just sitting in place over the rack. Remove the screw and the spring shown in the following picture. Make a note of how the spring attaches the sector to the lock shaft.
Be careful not to lose the spring under the rack. It is installed with the bow facing the rack (see arrow in picture below for orientation)
You can remove the sector by prying it off the lock drive shaft. Apparently some columns have a snap ring holding this to the lock drive shaft but mine was just press fit on both the 77 and 78 columns I have.
Once these components are removed you are ready to remove the tilt pins. These are press fit into the tilt away housing and you will either have to buy a special tool ot make your own to remove them. I just made my own from a piece of pipe that had a little larger ID than the OD of the pins and an 8-32 capscrew, nut and some washers. I ground part of the pipe away on one side so it would sit flat on the housing during the removal process.
Thread the screw into the tilt pins and tighten the nut against the washer. Make sure you have enough of the 8-32 screw engaged with the pin so you don't strip the thread. Now you can tighten the nut with a wrench while holding the 8-32 screw which will pull the pin from its housing.
With the pins removed you can then remove the tilt housing. You may have to reinstall the tilt lever and reposition the housing to get it out.
The following picture shows the lubrication point for the tilt away and the bearing during reassembly.
During reassembly it may be tricky to keep the rack and the ignition rod properly engaged with each other. The following photos shows how they are supposed to align with each other.
The steering shaft will pull free at this point. Make sure to clean and regrease the ball joint before reassembly. The shaft should come out as one piece as shown. If the nylon pins are sheared I believe there are replacements available to repair it. I had a steering column from a '78 so I used that shaft when I rebuilt my '77
If you haven't removed the ignition switch yet. you can remove it and the actuator rod from the housing.
If your column was sloppy then usually these 4 torx bolts are the culprit. Neither of mine were an issue but a lot of columns have had these screws back out over time. It is a good idea to loctite them when reinstalling.
With the top end disassembled you can remove the bushing on the bottom end and repack it. There is a snap ring which has to be removed and then the seal and bushing just slide out. Clean and repack before installation.
Assembly is just the reverse of disassembly, except for a couple things. To reinstall the pivot pins all I did was use a large enough c-clamp and some small washers. Be careful not to scratch your new paint job
Make sure to line up the mark on the steering wheel hub with the mark on the steering shaft. The one on the shaft is hard to see in this picture but it is there.
Be sure to clean and lubricate all wear points with good quality grease during reassembly and your steering column should last another 30 years. I hope this information is useful for some of you out there.