Classic Performance Products 378 E Orangethorpe Ave., Placentia CA 92870

Classic Performance Products

Tri-Five Steering Column Install

By Dakota Wentz
Those big and bulky steering wheels may look cool mounted in front of a '55-'57 dash, but climbing behind the wheel of one isn't exactly ritzy. The problem is that we're spoiled when in comes to jumpin' behind the wheels of cars these days. Most cars now have tilt columns, some have telescopic columns, and some even have power telescopic columns with pedals that adjust to your height. People have grown out of squeezing behind a steering wheel with elbows perched up like Yao Ming trying to squeeze into a Mini Cooper. Longtime steering column manufacturer ididit has a variety of steering columns for Chevy classics. From tilt columns, tele-tilt columns, straight, and other styles, ididit has it all. For a consumer looking to save some space, they have the perfect combo. For the tilt column that takes up too much space, ididit offers a straight column shift. By removing the tilt portion of the column, the straight column is a full 2 inches shorter than a standard tilt with a column shift. Taking it one step further, ididit offers the Shorty Adapter. The Shorty 9-bolt adapter is unique; it moves the bolting surface of a steering wheel 2 inches closer to the dash than a standard adaptor. The ididit 9-bolt pattern adaptors will bolt right up to many aftermarket wheels, including Lecarra. One way to look at it is either bolt up with ididit or suit up and try to shed a few pounds. Instead of opting to drop some pounds, we went with a setup to shorten the shaft. We figured it would be easier to squeeze behind the wheel of a new ididit straight column shift with a shorty adapter and Lecarra Mark 10 steering wheel. Now that we've created some room up front, there's still something missing-the agility and responsiveness. Driving a Tri-Five is sort of like dialing on a rotary phone. Classic Performance Products has come up with a new and improved steering box that will give Tri-Five steering both a modern feel and good response time. Classic Performance Products has combined experience with cutting-edge technology to manufacture a new 600 series of steering gears that provide directional control of the vehicle. The 70mm piston provides better road feedback and a more stable feel to the driver. The new CPP power steering box is designed around a modern Saginaw steering box. The power recirculating-ball gears feature low friction and quick response. An open-centered, rotary-type valve provides smooth and quiet operation throughout the steering range, while retaining road feel. The integral rack piston converts hydraulic pressure to a rotation force that moves the steering linkage left or right. The steering system and hydraulic fluid also acts as a cushion to help absorb road shocks. The new 600 box features a steering ratio of 14:1, input shaft is 3/4-inch 30-spline (same as 605 box), sector shaft is a 1-inch 36-4 tapered spline (same as the OEM '55-'57 pitman shaft), 7/16-inch pressure fitting, 3/8-inch return fitting and is made with all new components. If your ride isn't equipped with power steering, CPP has all the necessary get up to hook ya up.

To save some room, we ordered an ididit straight column shift column and shorty steering wheel adapter.

The ididit adapter is compatible with many aftermarket steering wheels; we went with a Lecarra Mark 10 wheel.

To tighten up our steering, this new 600 box was acquired from Classic Performance Products.

The old steering box pulls out pretty easily; it's just a few bolts here and there. The removal process is also the same process as installation, just reversed.

Can you guess which is which? The one on the right is the new CPP box. Although similar in looks on the inside is where the difference is made.

The CPP box comes with its own mounting hardware, but one thing it doesn't come with is a rag joint. We used the old one and it worked just fine.

When it comes to mounting the new ididit column, there are a few brackets that hold it in place. Remove the old column and bolt up the new ididit column.

Along the column there are several wires that need to be hooked up. Make sure each wire is hooked up accordingly.

At the top of the column the turn signal and other knobs need to installed.

Here's what this swap is all about-the ididit shorty adapter. The ididit adapter is on the right; to the left is a standard steering wheel adapter. Although similar in height, it's where the steering wheel mounts to the adapters that matter. By looking at the blue arrows you can see that on the standard adapter the steering wheel mounts at the top, and on the shorty adapter the wheel mounts at the bottom. All in all, the adapter moves the wheel 2 inches closer to the dash.

When installing the adapter, you first need to hook up the horn.

Next, install the adapter on the column. Slide it over the shaft in the column then bolt the adapter down.

When installing the Lecarra Mark 10 wheel the first order is to install the wheel on the adapter.

Then, install the top portion of the ididit adapter.

Not a bad looking setup is it?

In case you were wondering about how much room we saved check it out. Above is the old setup, the bottom of the steering wheel was roughly 9 1/2 inches from the seat.

This is the ididit setup, which is a just about a full foot from the seat! Now for those of you who are saying, "That's it, 2 1/2 inches?" think of it this way: imagine waking up and your waistline has shrunk a full 2 1/2 inches. Quite a difference, huh?