I started driving my V8 swapped Mazda around a little to break-in the engine and work out whatever little bugs it might have. I must say, I hate the location of the steering wheel. Its just to high for the seat position. I’m 5’10” and about 150 lbs …. so pretty skinny. I like my steering wheel down low. I don’t feel I should be looking over it.
My options to fix this seemed to be to find a tilt column for a B2200. Not sure if they even make one. I could raise the seat, I checked the head clearance and I have plenty. Except for the fact that I like the location of the dash. I can see fine, the wheel is just out of place. The last option I came up with was to lower the column.
Lower the column? That can’t be to hard. I see no reason why you couldn’t just put a spacer in there to drop the wheel down. I decided this was the best option for me as I really don’t like changing columns.
I started with removing the plastic trim around the column and the piece under it. Turns out, you don’t need to remove the trim on the column. You only need to remove the lower piece on the dash. This gives you access to the two 12mm (8mm x 1.25) bolts holding the column tight against the dash. After removing those two bolts, I was able to move the column up and down. Seems to have plenty of travel.
I grabbed one of the bolts and headed to the local hardware store. For $1.48 I got two longer bolts a few washers and 4 large nuts. Nuts may not look the best when used as a spacer but they work great. No one can see it so why take the time and energy to cut down a piece of pipe. Its not like it would actually work any better.
Much better… It lowered the wheel about 3/4 of an inch. I don’t feel like I am reaching up any more. I would still prefer the wheel to be tilted a little but what do you expect for 30 min and $1.48.
This created an issue on the looks side. The Mazda already had a bigger then normal gab between the dash and the column. I just went and made it bigger.
Time for a filler panel.
Looking at the dash I wonder if there is a factory piece that should have been there. It really is a large gap even before my modification.
I started by cutting a piece of card stock to fill in the gap. I then transferred that to a scrap piece of thin metal that I had stacked in the core. My guess is that it is around 22 or 24 gauge. Little to thick for metal shears. I had to use the 1/4 inch grinder.
Got that cleaned up a little, sanded and painted. I thought about a few fancy ways of attaching it. I could drill a hole and JB Weld a small bolt on it. Then use a nut to attach it to the dash. There are already holes. I could use screws but they would be visible. I took the lazy way. I just stuck a piece of double sided 3M tape on each side. It actually fit real tight and would probably stay with nothing on it. My plan is to wrap the interior in tweed and I will address this piece at that time. For now I am happy with it.