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  1. #1
    FEP Member kingsnake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Dearborn, Michigan

    Default Steering column interchangeability

    Does anyone know what years steering columns will fit a 79 mustang?

  2. #2
    FEP Member kingsnake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Dearborn, Michigan


    I found Some excellent info on this if anyone is interested.

    Steering columns are the same for all Fox platform cars except cars with airbags. Early Fox cars 1978-82 had a splined shaft the steering wheel sits on. 1983 and later Fox cars had a non-splined two sided shaft the steering wheel sits on. If you are transferring a steering wheel from a non-tilt to a tilt column, be sure the shaft type matches up.

    Fox platform cars include:

    1978-83 Ford Fairmont - Mercury Zephyr
    1979-93 Ford Mustang
    1979-86 Mercury Capri
    1980-88 Ford Thunderbird - Mercury Cougar
    1981-82 Ford Granada - Mercury Cougar sedans and wagons
    1983-86 Ford LTD - Mercury Marquis
    1982-86 Lincoln Continental
    1984-92 Lincoln Mark VII.

    The full sized Panther platform cars also used the same tilt steering columns as Fox cars. Panther platform cars include non-airbag equipped 1979-90 LTD Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car and 1980-83 Lincoln Mark VI.

    I have found tilt columns from 1983-88 Thunderbirds and Cougars to be quite plentiful in salvage yards.

    You cannot swap a tilt column into a Fox Mustang with an airbag as this was impossible for Ford to do since the deep Mustang airbag took up the space required to install the tilt mechanism on the steering column.

    Tilt steering columns with the auto shift lever can be used but you must remove the shift lever from the column by knocking out the roll pin and pulling the shift lever out. It is also best to remove the shift shaft that goes down the column. Care must be taken on non-column shift vehicles to ensure the ignition switch interlock mechanism is retained so that it does not lock the steering column if the key is turned to the lock position.

    Most Fox cars have interchangeable steering column shroud trim. Using ones from a column mounted automatic shifter will leave an opening in the upper shroud for the original lever to come through. Non-tilt shroud trim will not fit columns with tilt as the trim is tapered behind the steering wheel to allow for a trim ring to be installed and tilt without binding/

    Most steering wheels will interchange but you have to watch for early 80's models that did not have the horn activation pad in the center of the wheel as these were mounted on the end of the turn signal stalk up to 1983. You also have to watch for 1979-82 steering wheels that mount on a splined shaft which are not compatable for 1983 and later columns.

    With 1980's era Escort/EXP/Lynx and Tempo/Topaz used modified columns that shared many components with Fox cars but they are not a direct swap. The steering wheels will definitely interchange with Fox cars. The 1982 Mustang GT and 1983 Thunderbird turbo got their four spoke sport steering wheel directly from the 1982 Ford EXP/Mercury LN7 which were Escort based cars.

    Mid to late 1980's Escorts/EXP/Lynx and Tempo/Topaz changed dash designs and steering column depth which required steering wheels with a deeper center. If these steering wheels are used on other Fox cars, it will place the steering wheel an inch or so too close to the chest even though they will physically swap in place. These steering wheels are identified with a four spoke design with what looks like an airbag installed but is not an airbag, just a large vinyl horn pad.

  3. #3

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