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I'm in need of some informed advice. My 64 Fairlane is an original automatic car with an automatic column shift. I'm replacing the trans with a toploader and also have a column from a standard shift Fairlane. They appear to be different lengths, not sure if it is because the auto car also had power steering.

Can I swap the internals from the columns and solve the length issue? Also, the car will now be manual steering.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I don't remember a difference in the length but there were two steering boxes used. I think one was shorter that went with the split shaft with a rag joint. The other was a one piece shaft from the box to the wheel. I had both on 64's so that may be what you are seeing. I should have documented it but I cut a piece of pvc to eliminate the column shift parts when I moved my shifter to the floor.
 

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The boxes with rag joints were used primarily in power steering cars and the one piece shafts in manual cars. However, you will find both used in both systems occasionally. Both columns will work with what you are doing. The steering ratios of the boxes are the same. However, if you change the rag joint shaft out for a solid shaft you will need to add some additional support pieces internally to the column. Go join the Fairlane Club of America and you will have an endless source of information on these cars. This particular subject is well covered with exactly what you need to do in their archives section. I did the same as you are but left the rag joint shaft and box in and just switched out the steering linkage. I had to fabricate a tapered steel sleeve for the pitman arm stud hole on the center link though. The power steering pitman arm has a larger hole then does the manual one. It is also about 1/2" longer as is the PS idler arm. If you want to convert everything to the manual steering configuration, you will need to change those parts as well. I elected not to because with the longer arms my overall steering ratio is now a little closer ratio then the factory manual setup. Also, the PS boxes are usually much tighter then the MS boxes because they have had little stress on them over the years with the PS assist. You will probably want to install a new reg joint while you have it apart as all steering force will now go through it. I found a brand new one on e-Bay for $82. Confusing. huh? Like I said, join the club, it's worth the few dollars a year it cost!
 

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Hi, Not to give a secret away byt the best thing to do unless you have a 64 Fairlane column from an original 4 speed car is to use a 65 or 66 Mustang column. I assume you have a 3 speed column that you will have to patch the shifter hole and that generally is a pain and doesn't work well. The 65 or 66 Mustang will have to be cut to fit (use a tubing cutter)and dash mount bracket will have to be drilled off the old column and welded to the Mustang column but the top is exactally the same as the Fairlane. You can even put the Fairlane turn signal wiring for a generator or upgrade to a alternator and use the Mustang wiring. Either way this is the best solution. This can work for either a steering bos with rag joint or shaft made into the box. Hope this helps. If you take your time you can usually get a 65 or 66 Mustang column for $20 to $80, be patient. A 67 will also work but you will have the emergency flasher on the column opposite the turn signal arm. Hope this helps, Dan Benson
 

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Another option to clean up the top of your column where the shifter arm is, is to obtain an early Mustang steering column tube flange. All early Mustangs were floor shift cars. The Mustang flange is a two piece part held together with rivets. By drilling out the rivets you can separate the flange and use the lower part to replace the Fairlane part that had the shift arm on it. The Mustang lower and the Fairlane upper can be bolted together and will look like factory.
 

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Or, you could just cut, fill, smooth and paint the collar that's on it now. That's what I did.

 
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