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Steering column underside plastic cover

18 July 2009
Hi Prime,

I noticed the underside plastic cover of my steering column has come detatched. The plastic around the screws holding it on has deteriorated, and the cover has separated from the screws holding it on the the frame under the column.

I went to pull this piece off, but there seems to be some kind of strap holding this piece in place way in the back.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

I am having a devil of a time getting to this strap. Does anyone have a clue how to get to this thing? Do I need to start removing under-dash pieces like the knee bolster?

I'm thinking about trying some rubber washers to hold this piece up. It shouldn't take much to secure this piece on to the column without having to dig into things.

If needed I can upload pics later.


On edit, I'll read these first...

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This is moderately fresh in my head from cleaning my turn signal switch this summer. Both the foot well panel and the knee bolster have to come off before you can remove the lower panel. A couple of pointers about the removal of the bolster and the lower steering column cover.

In addition to the lower screws, the bolster pad is held in place at its top by two clips on either side of the panel. (part #8 on the attached picture of the bolster from the parts manual - right clip isn't shown). On my car these were the mother of all clips to release because there is very little to grab on to on top of the bolster. You have to release the panel by pulling straight back on the bolster. If you try rocking the panel up and down you risk breaking the plastic bits holding the clips. A hooked trim removal tool might be of use.

The trim piece covering the steering column adjustment is held by three screws which are easy to remove. However, at the back of the cover are three wiring loom clips. Two of these clips are orange and hold wiring looms that run up either side of the steering column. These clips are push in style and can be released by squeezing the ends of the push in part with needle nose pliers. The end of the push in part of the clip is accessible from the bottom of the trim piece. The third clip is located in the center of the trim piece and holds a connector for a flat ribbon cable for the air bag. I think that is the strap you are referring to. This clip can be released in the same way as the orange clips. I did not pull this connector apart. I just released the connector from the panel which allowed the trim panel to swing down so I could access the bottom steering column cover.
With the column adjustment cover removed, you can access the 6 screws that hold on the bottom steering column cover. The shop manual does not mention that there are two clips at the very back of the cover that fit into the top cover. You need to pull the bottom cover straight down to release these clips. In order for this to happen, you need to have the steering column fully extended (pulled back towards you when sitting in the seat). <O:p</O:p