Adding telescopic adjustment to the 124 Spider Steering Wheel

steering column2

New column is in background, and is just 0.6 lb heavier than the old column in foreground; Photo and recent content, courtesy of bircken

[UPDATED 5/26/2019, after bircken’s installation was successful.
GREAT NEWS – Thanks for sharing!  As mike says, @bircken you da man!]

Since it doesn’t appear that Fiat will be offering telescopic steering as an option, mike34 in the Fiat 124 forum has been researching the substitution of our Mazda tilt steering upper column assembly (part # NA1J-32-100; shown above) with new column assemblies (Mazda part # ND6N-32-100) that have a tilt & telescoping feature, incorporated into MY 2019 Miatas.  He discovered that Mazda had already written a TSB (reprint courtesy of Long Road Racing), so that the substitution could take place in a GMX-5 cup car.  Realizing that the additional parts listed were directed at a race car, and may not be a complete and accurate accounting of what’s needed (ie fire bottle line might not be applicable, bircken worked with a Mazda Parts Specialist to determine that it is pretty much a direct replacement, by using the following additional parts (approx. $340).

  • Lower Column Cover – Mazda (ND6N-60-230A)  (not necessary to replace after all)
  • Upper Column Cover – Mazda (ND6N-60-220)
  • Clamp bolts – Mazda KA01-66-154 (qty. 2)  (new shear bolts, or 8 x 1.25 x 20 mm)

PROCEDURE

bircken’s recommended process goes like this:

  • Disconnect negative battery post and wait a couple of minutes
  • Remove steering wheel (releasing the airbag was a 20 minute deal as it took me a while to figure out the angle of the screwdriver to engage the retainers). Be very careful with the airbag plug retainers (black center piece*) they’re flimsy
  • Disconnect the white plug on the bottom of the wheel center before pulling the wheel
  • Remove the column shroud
  • Remove the turn signal and wiper switches
  • Remove the shear bolts that secure the switch block; after heads (intentionally) broke off, I used a flat screwdriver and small hammer on the round edge of the bolt head and after a quarter turn each the came out using needle nose pliers
    steering column3

[The Mazda manual instructs another alternative for the bolt removal:
♦    Make a groove on the heads of the bolts by punching them with a chisel using a hammer, and remove by rotating counter-clockwise]
steering column5

  • Unplug the wiring
    steering column4
  • Remove the start-stop unit

[Here’s how the Mazda manual instructs the start-stop unit removal:
♦    Remove the start stop unit from the steering shaft by pulling it in the direction of the arrow shown in the figure]
steering column6

  • Remove the bolt securing the intermediate shaft
  • Release the wiring loom holder from the steering column
  • Remove the four nuts holding the steering column in place
  • Carefully draw out the column out

That’s it!

Assembly is the reverse process using the new pieces.

*    canada17 had this advice that might be helpful:

You can see the white front of the plug, at the top end there is the black “bar-like thing” that comes across it. Wedge your fingers in the space at the top under the bar and pry/pull.  It acts as a lever and pushes the white plug out.  When you put it back in, the black bar must be up, insert the plug, then push the bar down.


SPECS FOR UPPER TELESCOPIC COLUMN

Steering Wheel Tilt Range:  3.3 in. (84 mm)
Steering Wheel Telescopic Stroke:  1.18 in. (30 mm)
Steering Column Weight: 5.8 lbs. (vs. 5.2 lbs. for non-telescopic column)
steering column1

 

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