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John D
John D, Worked on everything from RR to VW
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 80
Experience:  Over 20 years as shop owner/mechanic w/10 yrs specializing in Elect Ignition TurnSignal AirBag Locks
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1984 Olds Cutlass: steering column..V..small metal connector..gearbox

Customer Question

I have a 1984 Olds Cutlass that was recently broken into and the would be theives broke into and smashed the left side of the steering column to peices, rendering the column useless. Now, to give you an idea of what modle I have, it has the transmission selector on the floor in the middle of the car, rather than on the column, and has a 5.0 V-8 309 (I believe the original engine was a 307 and was replaced) and I have purchased a salvaged column to replace the one that was destroyed. After purchasing this column, I notices that there is a gear selector on the column, which basically has a small metal connector on the end where the column goes into the gearbox. Will this cause a problem if I leave it alone? Also, The original gear shifter that is mounted on the ground has been stuck since the break in and desctuction of the steering column.   Do these olders automatic transmissions lock up without the key? And can I get a 309 to put out high HP?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  John D replied 8 years ago.

HiCustomer my name isXXXXX and I can help you with this.


I've been waiting for a question like this ever since I joined Just Answer.


My ads use to read, "Fix all Column and Ignition"...


Nickolas you either have a Saginaw Tilt or a very similar Non-Tilt.


Which is it?


Either way, your floor shifter is/was hooked to your column using a cable that worked a lock rod that runs along the left top of the column or it operated thru the action of twisting the lower collar on your column when you shifted the gear. This rotated the lower bowl, locking or unlocking the ignition shift rod.


I can give you blow by blow but you won't need it if your replacement column is in good shape internally.


Your new column (used) will work fine for you as long as you can bolt it up to the fire wall and still connect it to the dash hangers under the instrument cluster.


As far as removing the shift handle on the replacement column goes, just drive the pin out and pull the handle off. It will only operate the shifter if it is connected at the transmission shift rod near where it passes thru the firewall.


About your 309.


I never had any luck making my old 307 put out lots of power, I had more luck with old flat head Fords.

Because most of the speed shops today focus on Japanese import I don't even know where to send you for answers you need.


Hotting up an old GM v8 isn't a popular hobby anymore.


If you are planning on keeping your car, do yourself a favor and get yourself a Steadfast Security Collar for your steering column.


This will make it very hard for anyone to steal or tear up your column to steal your car.


They use to cost me $119.95 and they are fairly easy to install, just make sure the inside of your replacement column is in good shape because removing one is harder than putting one on is.


Also, it is very easy to install a Kill Switch, just hook up a toggle switch between the ignition wires going to your switch and put it someplace where a thief isn't likely to look. Like in the fold of the seat or next to the transmission hump next to the drivers seat, or under the seat. Never put one under the dash, they look there first.


Unless you replace your steering column with the same type that was damaged, it will be impossible to shift on the column and lock the transmission with the key.


Sorry, the designs don't match.


I hope all this helped you figure things out. If you found this info helpful accept my answer, if I didn't help you enough, ask for clarification.


If you have any further questions or need clarification, just ask.


Thanks for using Just Answer, we're here to help


John D

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Okay... I guess I was not too clear.. I was wondering if the original floor gear selector was locked due to the ignition not functioning. I don't plan on using the gear shifter on the steering column, as there is no way to hook it up and it is of a different design. It will be redered useless, and I will continue to use the original on the floor. THe car is not the cutlass supreme, but the '84 cutlass caliait. If I connect the electrical from the new stering column, will the original gear selector unlock? I live in Tennessee, where hot parts are abundant for GM V8's and are actually more common that jap upgrades. I simply cannot remember if the auto gear shifter locks when the key is not in the ignition and I am afraid the transmission has somehow ceazed. Also, Do you know anyone who carries those metal covers for the column you mentioned?