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First off I'm not saying you should do this to your truck. This is just something I wanted to try and see if it would work. I am fully aware of the dangers of modifying steering and braking systems on vehicles from their original design.

Anyways, I've been through several lower bearings, tried the hose clamp, tried a better hose clamp, tried the muffler clamp. Nothing would last more than a few weeks and my truck stays on fairly smooth pavement 95% of the time. It is not abused by any means. So I was driving to work one day and thought "Why didn't GM use a better bearing to begin with instead of this crap housed in plastic?" So I had an old steering column laying around and I took some measurements and ordered a couple of sealed bearings.

The closest thing i could find to match the ID of the steering column and the OD of the steering shaft were metric bearings with an OD of 47mm, an ID of 25mm and a height of 12mm.

IMG_20190819_150654792.jpg
47mm OD

IMG_20190819_150742576.jpg
25mm ID

IMG_20190819_150754165.jpg
12mm Height

Excuse the .02mm error in my measuring device.

The OD of the bearing fit the steering column decent but the ID of the bearing was just a little undersized because the steering shaft is actually 25.4mm or 1". So I took a die grinder with a carbide deburring bit and opened it up a little. Ended up at 25.7mm ID

IMG_20190819_150811848.jpg

I had to file some of the sharp edges and imperfections off the steering shaft to get the bearing to slide on smoothly.

IMG_20190819_150903205.jpg

Installing the first bearing

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Both bearings installed

IMG_20190819_161002146.jpg

IMG_20190819_161006400_TOP.jpg

With both bearings installed there is 24mm of surface area to support the shaft in the lower portion of the column.

IMG_20190819_150819298_TOP.jpg

There is a dimple in the column that will stop the bearings from going any further.

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Obviously the steering column has to be completely removed from the vehicle to do this. With the bearings bottomed out there is still room for one more. It may not be needed, but if I were to do it again I would install three simply because there's room for it.

So far it has been 8 months since I did this and I haven't had a single rattle or bump and has not caused any issues with drive-ability, comfort, or noise.

The only negative I see is once these are installed they aren't going to be easy to replace, but they shouldn't need replacing for a VERY long time.

If any one has any comments good or bad I'd like to hear them.
 
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