PAS installation completed

Well, it’s in and working.  I got the hydraulic lines back and installed them to make sure that no dirt could enter the steering box.  With them in place, I cleaned up the P38 lower steering column and remove the three pinch bolts from the splined sections, making sure the slip joint for length adjustment was free to move easily.  The column was offered up in approximate position under the wing for me to mark out the hole needed for it to pass through the inner wing panel.  The corners of the hole were drilled with a step cutter bit to give large diameter rounded corners to prevent cracking of the panel and the edges were cut with the grinder.  The column was fitted with the upper column locked (steering lock) with the steering wheel straight ahead and the steering box centralised by its indicators on the input shaft collar.  The bottom end was fitted to the steering box first just because access was more difficult at that end.  Fitting the top end was a bit of a job as the column was just a little too long to slip over the end of the upper column easily.  In hindsight, the leeway on the upper end is greater than on the bottom, so I should have engaged the upper end first, sliding all the way up, and then the bottom end, but it doesn’t really matter.  The pinch bolts were all fitted (the end ones first to get them through the securing grooves in the splined shafts, followed by the middle one on the length adjustment section).  Finally, the whole engine bay was hosed down to get rid of all the swarf and grinding dust from the whole job and the system was filled with Dextron III ATF, running the engine and pump, turning the steering from lock to lock to get the air out.



I just have to finish fabricating the mounting brackets for the windscreen washer bottle and refit that and fabricate the covers for the holes in the inner wing panel to keep the steering column and box clean.  I’ll be using galvanised steel sheet for the lower column cover in a way similar to the original steering box cover (which may be used with modification) and 2mm rubber sheet over the steering box, riveted in place.

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  1. Well done on what looks like a very well executed conversion. I’m keen to sort out something along these lines for my own 200 TDi 88. I’ve seen others done whereby the column has been shortened and welded which I’ve found a bit off putting. So yours consists of unmodified Defender Upper and P38 Lower Column if the understand correctly?

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Correct. The parts haven’t been altered in any way, save for the custom hydraulic lines and brackets. The welding on the columns is where people chose to use the Series column, either because they want the standard look or because Defender parts are scarce in their location (a lot of the conversions have been done in the US), though some may be unaware of how easy it is to swap columns as long as you swap switchgear, trim and wheel too. You may have to be careful about positioning the steering box all the way forward against the inside of the front panel (I set mine relatively aft of normal), but even if you ran out of adjustment on the lower column, you could grind away the last bit of the splined section where it returns to full circumference so it has the same flat for the bolt as the rest of the splines to allow an extra 1/2″.

  3. Hi Nick,

    That’s reassuring to know. I have actually got the top end and Steering Wheel from an early 90 in readiness so have been watching your latest posts with interest. I seem to remember seeing one done where the upper column had been shortened to bring the steering wheel back towards the dash. The upper column I have looks like it would put the wheel further away from the dash but the matching steering wheel seems flatter which compensates for this. I’m quite happy with the look of the wheel as it goes. I think it is still in keeping with the interior.

    Well done once again, your work has given me inspiration and confidence that it can be done. Andrew.

  4. Thanks, Andrew.

    You’re right about the wheel – the flat profile allows for a longer column without moving the rim towards you. In my case, though, because I have been using a Metro wheel on the original column, which is also flat, the wheel will be closer. It’ll be just the same as on the Defender, though, which is fine for me. At least I have the smaller diameter late wheel for a bit more leg room.

  5. Well Done!

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