In our search for more precise steering for Project Sucker Punch, our 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, we linked up with Ididit to help find a viable solution. Without a doubt, Ididit made a solid recommendation, which we rolled with. Follow along as we show how it all turned out for the fat-fendered Bel Air project, and its overall functionality.
The Trusted Expert
“Ididit is unique in that we offer an eight-position tilt on our steering columns,” said Megan Lunsford, marketing coordinator. “Our columns come standard with not only the tilt positions, but also self-canceling turn signals, four-way flashers, and the wiring needed to connect to your existing wiring setup.”
A look at the steering column Ididit built specifically for Project Sucker Punch.
With Sucker Punch being a custom-build from the get-go, we utilized a Universal Series steering column to fit our needs. With multiple options available, Ididit consulted with car owner Aaron Hahn to determine what he wanted inside. “Offering a full line of retrofit columns for the Chevy Tri-Fives, there wasn’t a specific kit for 1949 to 1954 Chevys, thus prompting Hahn to make a few decisions before proceeding forward,” Lunsford said. “We asked him whether the shifter would be on the floor or on the column as well as which finish he wanted.”
Installation was extremely simple with the adapter and everything lined up great.
– Aaron Hahn
Dealing with a shifter setup that wasn’t optimal for Hahn, he was searching for a good compromise between passenger comfort and better steering qualities. “I really didn’t like the idea of cutting the carpet and putting the floor shifter back in,” he said. “I like the clean, open look of having the bench seat for third person seating instead of having a shifter there. The car originally came with a three-on-the-tree column shifter. Nobody makes an aftermarket automatic shifter on a column which is why I decided to roll with the Ididit column.”
“Since we upgraded to power steering with the TCI suspension, a smaller wheel was needed so I logged onto Jegs and found a wheel, adapter, and horn button that matched the Ididit column perfectly and looks great in the car,” Hahn said.
Once we were lined up with a custom-made steering column, it was time to put the unit into Sucker Punch – which had become less of a hidden punch and more like a left hook to the liver.
Piecing It Together
“The installation was fairly basic. Borgeson provided us with a vibration damper universal joint that Todd Walton of Walton Fabrication recommended for a power rack,” Hahn said. Walton also helped immensely with the build by relaying their advice to help make everything fit without hassle.
“The firewall plate, which is a fixtured part, only requires the addition of U-joints to complete the kit,” Walton said. With the 33-inch Ididit chrome tilt column (PN 1130330020) and shift cable kit (PN 2802000010), Hahn had Walton take the column and weld on the adapters necessary to make everything fit without problems
TIG welding the firewall plate to the steering column.
Walton Fabrication was quick to solve the problem for car owner Aron Hahn, welding his plate from their steering column kit in unison with the custom Ididit column.
Ididit provided the column and shifter cable as Jegs and Borgeson helped out with the missing pieces to complete the installation. Performing the installation himself, Hahn said it was fairly straightforward.
With the current shifter set-up on the floor, Hahn’s primary goal was to get the shifter back up onto the column as the original unit was. “Having the stock column and stock wheel on power steering was causing the wheel to spin too fast,” he said. “We ended up going with a smaller wheel and custom column to counter this.”
Making the proper measurements, Walton modified Hahn's steering plate to complement the build. From precise welds to relocating install points, everything turned out perfect in the end for Sucker Punch.
Walton recommended that Hahn also consider mixing the custom Ididit steering column with brackets from Walton Fabrication’s 1951-54 Chevy car steel tilt column with shifter (PN 45-9877-1). “I knew the Ididit column with Todd’s brackets would be my best bet as it would bolt right in,” Hahn said. “With a camera in hand, I headed over to watch Todd put together the column that would be going in Sucker Punch. The firewall plate that was welded to the column made this truly a bolt-in deal and only took minutes to install. With the column in, I added the Borgeson steering damper on the rack side, along with a polished Borgeson U-joint on the column side, and then connected them with the double-D shaft.”
Tight fit with the limited room in the engine bay, but the column provides the perfect angle for the double-D shaft to connect with the steering box. Notice the Walton fresh air duct covers (above and to the right of the steering column) that we used to delete the fresh air ducting without leaving a massive hole in the firewall.
In regards to driveability, Hahn said the steering before and after was a drastic change. “I no longer have to deal with the wheel zipping around,” he said. “In turns, the car is also easier to maneuver with the shorter wheel in place. Installation was extremely simple with the adapter and everything lined up great.”
Providing better overall steering, Hahn was pleased with how the steering fabrication turned out. With the help from Ididit, Borgeson, Jegs, and Walton Fabrication, he is now able to command the road with more precision and confidence than ever before. A fairly simple set-up, it took the powers of four separate companies to make it all work in the end. Sucker Punch is the epitome of custom, and this column fabrication upgrade serves as one of the reasons the car is so unique.
Stay tuned as we still have much to accomplish on Sucker Punch. Be sure to visit the Sucker Punch build thread to stay up to date with what’s going on.
This completes our custom look interior and provides exceptional steering control that was beyond anything existing in 1954.