08-01-2009, 07:23 AM
Broken Steering Column Shift Tube Replacement
This evening while running errands, I put my F250 into drive and heard a pop in the steering column. I could not shift into park or reverse. The shifter was all loose and had no tension anymore. I only had drive and neutral to get me home. I discovered I had a broken shift tube.
Fortunately I had a spare column sitting in the garage to examine how it worked and figure out how to take it apart. I have spelled it out here. if you have the new tube in hand, I would guess it to be a 45 minute to 1 hour project.
1 Disconnect battery.
2 Remove lower dash panel below steering column.(2 hex/torx screws)
3 Remove tilt lever (if equipped) by unscrewing from left of column.
4 Remove lower section steering column shroud. (3 philips screws)
5 Remove ignition cylinder-insert key, turn to ON position, depress button on outside of cylinder housing with an 1/8 punch or equililvant.
6 Unhook shift indicator string from shifter tube post. (located on right side of column)
7 Remove shift indicator assemble from column and let hang. (1 very small hex screw)
8 You may want to disconnect large wire harness connector from the left side of the steering column. It may have one hex screw in the center of it. I didn't disconnect mine. It came apart by itself.
9 Remove the 4 nuts from the bottom of the column that hold the steering column to the dash board. Your column should almost rest on the front seat. You can support it with something if need be.
10 Now remove the top shroud of the steering column. It should come off quite easily if you waited till this step. (remember to replace it in reverse order at this spot. It is much easier to do with the column down, resting on the seat.)
11 Now you should be able to see the shifter tube and possibly see the break in it
12 Disconnect your overdrive button wire connector if equipped.
13 Remove shifter boot from column and slide onto the shift lever a bit. There is one clip on the bottom right of the boot and a friction type post on the left. I used flat screwdriver and gently pried from underneath the metal tab.
14 With the column lowered, there should be enough room to reach to the very back of the column and pry the linkage cable from the column linkage post. (A flat screwdriver worked for me)
15 Remove the 2 brackets that hold the shift tube in its position. (4 torx screws with a 1/4 drive ratchet worked pretty well.
16 Remove the 2 torx screws (same size as the last step) that hold the indented shift positioner. On mine, I left the solenoid on the left of the bracket in place, and lifted the right side of the bracket enough to free the column tube.
17 The shifter tube should now be able to be removed.
18 Remove the old shift handle from the existing broken tube (1 pin) and install shift handle in new tube. Make sure you install the shift handle the right way. The wrong way will not produce enough throw to allow you to shift into park or low gear! I spent a good 20 minutes before I figured that out!
19 Reverse order gets you back together.