Non-Tilt to Tilt Steering Conversion

NON-TILT TO TILT Steering Column Conversion
(posted by Jason Edge, Updated Nov 14, 2005)

You will have to replace quite a few items to convert from non-tilt to tilt. The Tilt steering Column is a different diameter and requires tilt specific pieces from bottom to top. 

There are basically 16 main items you will need:

1> Complete core tilt steering column for correct year (63 and 64 are different)

2> Steering wheel itself  (They are different from non-tilt!)

3> Tilt steering adjustment lever (short 3rd lever that allows you to adjust steering wheel)

4> Tilt gear shift Lever (tilt lever has a bend)

5> Chrome horn wing and and horn button. (Horn button that attaches to under side has three screws vs the four screws for non-tilt and is of different design) 

6> Steering column to dash upper bracket (due to larger column diameter)

7> Steering column to floorpan/firewall lower bracket (due to larger diameter)

8> Steering column to floorpan/firewall rubber grommet (due to larger diameter)

9> External Turn Signal Switch (mounted on outside of column near bottom, see picture at bottom)

10> External Turn Signal Switch short jumper wiring harness. (wiring harness about a foot long or so that plugs into dash harness where wires from non-tilt switch wires would connect.)

11> Neutral Safety Switch (1964 only) -a 653 Nuetral Safety Switch instead of the non-tilt 652 NSS for Turbo Hydramatic equipped cars or a 651 vs the 650 NSS for Hydramatic equipped cars.

12>The steering column shaft to steering gear connector (the rag joint)

13> The lower instrument panel cover. This is the metal pan below the steering column that has the row of screws across the top and the three 7/16" bolts on the bottom. There is also a special star screw right below the steering column. On the tilt unit, the neck that fits up to the tilt steering column colar (the round main part below the tilt section) is considerably shorter than the non-tilt lower instrument panel cover.

14> The steering column to gear shift linkage rod (Steering Column Transmission Shift Shaft Lower Lever) inside the engine compartment. It is shorter (4 3/16") on the tilt unit than it is on the non-tilt (4 3/8").

15> The dash piece below the instrument panel bezel and above the steering column.  See picture below for comparison:


16> The instrument cluster bezel on tilt units have a plastic tab on the right side that is made into the plastic shift indicator casing so that it will attach to dash piece seen above. The non-tilt instrument cluster has a metal tab that is actually part of the chrome instrument cluster bezel.   To complete the list of all tilt specific pieces you need the tilt style instrument cluster bezel, and the plastic shift indicator casing.  The tilt unit can be installed without the bezel and shift indicator case, however, you will need to grind the little metal tab off.  This will still leave you with 4 contact points that hold the little dash piece in places.  See picture below of example tilt instrument cluster bezel with plastic tab:

You can use the non-tilt instrument cluster bezel but you will need to grind off the metal tab on the non-tilt instrument cluster.  This tab connects to the dash piece just above the steering column that contains the wiper switch to left of column and ignition switch to the right of switch. 

Here is a pic after the tab was ground off:

*If you pick up a tilt steering column unit be sure and pick up everything you will need...else you have just bought yourself an expensive and bulky paper weight!

So there you go. I think that just about covers what is needed to go to tilt.

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Comment by Jason Edge on February 18, 2019 at 9:22pm

I added a picture and length specs for the lower shift rod (Steering Column Transmission Shift Shaft Lower Lever) on the non-tilt to tilt conversion Help Topic. I had the 2 side by side and have known the tilt is shorter for 2 decades but had never taken a measurement with the caliper.  I took the measurements and the tilt  lever is 4 3/16" long and the non-tilt is 4 3/8" long, or 3/16 inch longer.  Here is the picture I included in the Help Article above and a couple more I took for measurement references.

Comment by tim sparks on March 1, 2015 at 5:15pm

guys an u put a 64 tilt into a 63 non tilt

Comment by peter white on December 28, 2013 at 4:52am

Thank you

Comment by Jason Edge on December 27, 2013 at 7:57pm

Hi Peter, I never received an email. I do have the retainer ring, washer spacer, 2nd retainer and other loose items below that top retainer ring I can pull from a parts column for say $20.  Shoot me an email to and get provide total with payment info. Basically, I can ship everything we have talked about so far for $15 parcel select, or $25 for priority.  

Comment by Jason Edge on December 26, 2013 at 12:55pm

It takes a good hard tap. I've never had to soak one. By the way I just posted some older video to our YouTube Page and embedded here at this link showing the movement of the actuator yoke:

Email me at and I will give you payment details and shipping options to the UK.


Comment by peter white on December 26, 2013 at 12:50pm

tried pushing it cover off, without too much force, but it has now been soaked in wd40 for 2 weeks, so will give it another go this weekend.

Comment by peter white on December 26, 2013 at 12:47pm

What ever parts that you have for steering (tilt) column I will have. If you message me with total cost, shipping to UK, I can pay with paypal or work something else out.

Comment by Jason Edge on December 26, 2013 at 12:39pm

The Tilt Column Addendum to 1963 Cadillac Shop Manual link on our on our Help Topics Page indicates you need to make a holding block and use a cover puller per the illustration, however, I have been able to remove tilt and turn signal lever and gently bump the cover at the bottom to push it off the actuator housing.

I do have a nice Turn Signal Actuator Yoke Assembly and detent spring for $25. I also have a nice Bowden cable that runs from actuator yoke to external turn signal switch if that is missing.

I don't believe I have the retainer ring,washer,collapsable spacer,rubber washer but will double check.

Comment by peter white on December 26, 2013 at 6:09am

I cannot get cover off,is there a tip to get it off. Retainer ring,washer,collapsable spacer,rubber washer,retainer are MISSING from my steering column. I would also need turn signal actuator yoke (mine was just glued in, turn signals are on a 3 way switch,but I want to put them back onto the column if possible.

Comment by Jason Edge on December 26, 2013 at 5:47am

If you look at the exploded view of the tilt column above (double click to enlarge) there are many parts and have never heard of anyone selling a complete rebuild kit. Is there a particular piece that is worn out? Moving items such as the turn signal actuator yoke, centering sphere, steering column to steering gear coupler (rag joint..not pictured) often break down but can often be found in VG used condition.


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