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More leg room for tall drivers

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ckilmer Avatar
ckilmer Callen K
Orangevale, California, USA   USA
Since I've had my car I have always been uncomfortable with the lack of room for my right leg. I have moved the seat bottom back further that stock by adding more notches in the seat rail and pushing the rollers back. At this point the seat back, slightly tilted, is touching the wheel arch. My left leg is nearly fully extended when pressing the clutch, but my right leg is still tight against the radio console and the steering wheel. I should mention that I am running the stock steering wheel, I have shimmed up the column at the dash support so the it just touches the top of the wood cut-out in the dash, and I also have adjusted the throttle pedal as low as possible to still get full throttle. I wear a size 14 shoe, so I can pretty much plant my heel and pivot between the brake and throttle, but still very tight and feels unsafe.

I decided that next step was to move the steering column to bring the steering column closer to me since I was pulling the column to put new bushings in. The total movement was about 1-3/8" and made an incredible difference. I can easily move my leg around and actually lift my foot from the gas to the brake. If you think about your leg being bent, and the fact that your knee is on the dash side of the steering wheel, your leg is angling down toward the seat. So moving the steering wheel towards the seat gives a good gain on clearance. I have moved the seat back so far that the movement of the steering wheel towards the seat is not even noticeable. BTW, I like the look of the stock steering wheel and column and tried to develop a spacer design that would go between the steering wheel and stock hub, but it would have been ugly and also require some extra work to make the horn work. If there was 100 people wanting to do this, you could probably design a new hub with the taper and splines, but a one-off would be way to expensive so I decided to try moving the column.

Disclaimer: This modification worked well for my early 1974 TR6. Although I am comfortable with these modifications, I can not guarantee that these modification do not compromise the safety of the car as designed. These are modifications to the originally designed steering system and there may be risk involved. I am explaining what I did to my car. I am not recommending that you make these modifications to your car.

IF YOU DON"T NEED MORE LEG CLEARANCE STOP READING NOW, BECUASE THIS MODIFICATION IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!
Note: After this modification the column lock will no longer work.

There are several difficulties with moving the column on the 74 and later, and probably any models that have the key switch under the dash with the column lock.
1. You have to disable the column lock capability to be able to slide the switch assembly on the column to allow it to move forwards, otherwise the lock assembly will hit the dash column mount, not allowing you to move it forward.
2. You have to remove a metal spacer ring on the column that is between the lock assembly and column dash mount. NOTE: the outer column is made of very thin aluminum so it can be easily dented or punctured, so take your time and be careful when remove this ring. I removed it while the column was still in the car, but should have waited until I had the column on the bench. You basically need to spring it open to slide it off the column.
3. Because you are moving the column further into the car, you have to extend the length of the outer column so it still reaches inside the engine compartment.
4. Also, because you are moving the column further into the car, and extending the outer column, you have to make a new notch on the inner column to mount the clamp assembly (with set-screw) that secures the inner column to the lower steering shaft.
5. An finally, you have to make an additional spacer to fill the gap for the shield collars on the lower steering shaft.
6. The good news is that my wire cover that goes under the column was just long enough to cover the wires all the way to the dash.
7. The other good news is that after I was done, unless you put two cars side by side, my car looks completely stock and unmodified.

OKAY, STILL INTERESTED IN HOW I DID IT?
Disclaimer: This modification worked well for my early 1974 TR6. Although I am comfortable with these modifications, I can not guarantee that these modification do not compromise the safety of the car as designed. These are modifications to the originally designed steering system and there may be risk involved. I am explaining what I did to my car. I am not recommending that you make these modifications to your car.

Note: before starting take pictures in the engine compartment of the column and clamp for future reference. Also, take a measurement from the back of the steering wheel spoke to the dash so you can see how far you moved it after completion.

1. Remove the column from the car (refer to manuals on removing the column). You will need to remove the key lock assembly before removing the column. This is held with shear head bolts. I have a dremel with a 90 degree attachment and was able to cut slots in the top of the bolts using a cut-off whell and remove them with a flat head screwdriver. Make sure you put towels around the work area in the dash so you don't spray metal particles into your electrical system. You will need to order new shear head bolts (or just use standard bolts, which worked fine for me). This is a good time to get new felt for the column clamps and the foam seal that goes between the column and the firewall. You will need to remove the tach and speedo, so good time to disassemble and clean the glass and face and put new O-rings between the gauge and dash when you re-install them).
2. You will need to cut a new notch in the lower end of the inner column. This is probably the most difficult part of the project. I started the notch at 3/16 from the end of the inner column and made the length the width of the clamp plus 1/8" to allow some adjustment. To cut the notch, I clamped the inner column horizontal in the vice and put a level on the existing notch and rotated the inner column until the notch was perfectly horizontal. I used the lower have of the column clamp as a reverence to mark the depth of the notch. Once everything was marked, I cut the ends of the notch using a hack saw, then cut on angles with the hack saw to remove as much of the center of the notch as possible. From there, the rest was done with files. I used my digital calipers to measure from the bottom of the shaft to the bottom of notch on the original notch. As I filed, I checked the progress on the depth with the calipers and also checked with the level to make sure I was bringing the side of the notch evenly and keeping the notch aligned with the original notch. (I apologize that I only have a picture after the assembly was back together, so I don't have a picture of the inner column with the original and new notch).
3. Time for a trip to the hardware store. Went to Lowes and was able to find a copper fitting that had the 1.25" ID to fit over the column and then reduced to an OD 1.25". It was perfect for the task. ( see pictures below).
4. I used 1/8" diameter by 1/8" long pop rivets to hold the copper extension to the outer column. To position the spacer, put the cap and nylon washer onto the inner column and attached the clamp to the inner column. Center the clamp in the new notch and tighten the two bolts enough that it's secured. Push the steering wheel towards the column until it stops, the move it away by about 1/16". With the cap placed on the end of the copper piece, push the copper piece towards the clamp until the nylon washer is sandwiched between the two (be careful to maintain the 1/16" gap on the steering when end). Using tape, mark the position of the copper piece on the column. Remove the clamp, nylon washer, cap and copper piece. My strategy was to put the holes for the rivets very close to the end of the column so that if I ever converted it back to stock, the cap would cover the holes. Mark two holes, 180 degrees apart on the copper pieces, side it back on to the outer column and tape in position using your reference mark. Drill a 1/8" hole through the copper and inner column and install the 1st rivet. Rotate 180 and drill and install the 2nd rivet. Roll a piece of paper towel and side it into the bore of the inner shaft to protect it from getting paint in it. Paint the copper piece and inner shaft black.
5. Test fit the column. If they were removed, slide the two cover pieces onto the lower steering shaft. Also slide the nylon washer and then the cap onto the lower steering shaft. Slide the steering column assembly into the car being sure to feed the lower steering shaft into the bore of the lower column. Slide the column in until the end of the out column just enters the engine compartment. It needs to be in just far enough that the clamp can rotate without touching the firewall (take pictures before removing the column for a reference). Push the cap onto the end of the column, push the nylon wash up against it and install the clamp loosely. Note: before the next step make sure the set-screw in the shaft clamp has been backed off a few turns. As before, move the steering wheel 1/16" away from the seated position then push the clamp against the nylon washer and tighten the clamp. If you push and pull on the steering wheel it should move back and forth about 1/16". While pushing the clamp against the nylon washer, tighten the set screw to lock the inner column to the lower steering shaft. Push the two tubular shields on the lower steering shaft up until they touch the bottom of the inner column and measure the gap between the lower shield and the splined clamp on the steering coupler. You will need to make a spacer to fill this gap, mainly for cosmetic purposes. I made mine from 1/2" PVC pipe and painted using Krylon fusion black paint.
6. Remove the column then re-install with the new spacer installed on the lower steering shaft, following step 5 above. Install the upper and lower steering column clamps. Be sure to check the rotation of the column before tighten the clamps so that turn signal switch arm is not tilted.
7. Modify the column lock/switch assembly. There is a boss surrounding the column lock plunger to locate the lock assembly to the steering column. Remove the lock assembly from the car by unplugging the switch, then remove the switch from the lock assembly to avoid getting metal shavings in it. Using files, remove the boss until it is flush with the rest of the clamp surface (see picture below). Clean up the lock assembly to remove all metal shavings and re-install the switch assembly. The key switch works fine if the plunger is held in the down position all the time. You can now mount the switch assembly back onto the column positioned approximate in the original position with respect to the dash. The column lock will no longer function after these modifications.
8. You can now button everything back up and drive the car

Callen

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dicta dick Taylor
Downey, Callifornia, USA   USA
I applaud your extensive work to gain a better leg angle! I too wanted this but found a simple way to do this, as shown in the attached photo. Note that using two inch spacers allowed me to retain the original horn position, but will admit that the leather pad around the horn button looks kind of Mickey Mouse. Still, the whole process can be reversed in a few minutes if the stock look was wanted, by replacing the six long bolts with the original ones. Onward and upward!!

Dick


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ckilmer Avatar
ckilmer Callen K
Orangevale, California, USA   USA
I saw your solution a while back when I was doing research, but wanted to keep the stock look of the car. If I had a metal lathe or CNC with a rotary table I would try to make a circular spacer that would mate perfectly to the stock hub and have the stock hub features on the top so everything would go together as stock and even the horn could function as stock with an extension rod. Have thought also about designing the spacer as a 3D model and having it 3D printed. Oh well, my current solution is working well, but if I ever get another TR6 I think I would go with designing a spacer.

Callen

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bbjerv Avatar
bbjerv John J
Paignton, Devon, UK   GBR
1972 Triumph TR6 "Oh Bloody Hell"
I did something similar but used a quick release steering wheel boss (Lifeline quick release boss for moto-lita steering wheels), this brings back the steering wheel about 2 inches. It also has a hollow centre that allows a wire for the horn to be used as normal. For security I can remove the steering wheel in a couple of seconds, putting it back takes only a few seconds, basically just to connect the wire. The wire in the picture is only there while I was checking things worked, the horn button does not need to be removed to make and break the connection when removing the steering wheel. I hope that makes sense!!!!!

John


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dsixnero Avatar
dsixnero Dan Colanero
Westville, New Jersey, USA   USA
Is this ED from Weelers Dealers? Why are you trying to fit in a LBSC?

bbjerv Avatar
bbjerv John J
Paignton, Devon, UK   GBR
1972 Triumph TR6 "Oh Bloody Hell"
Ed from Wheeler Dealers?.....Mr "just remove the carburettors from a fuel injected TR6!!!!! ".....................not guiltysmiling smiley))))) I feel insulted you would think I was ED lol!!)))))

As far as the LBSC goes I assume you are talking USB plugs and sockets? The only USB type plugs are to do with the Water/Methanol injection for set up and to download the log, the plug from the 123Ignition distributor, and the AFR sensor that goes into the exhaust. If you mean something else please let me knowsmiling smiley

I only joined this site yesterday so I am not sure of the terminology you use) I took some other pictures of the steering wheel today to show the connection more clearly)

best regards

John


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dsixnero Avatar
dsixnero Dan Colanero
Westville, New Jersey, USA   USA
John, the Ed joke was to the original poster who wears size 14 shoe and his legs are too long for the tr6, LBSC means little british sports car.

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bbjerv Avatar
bbjerv John J
Paignton, Devon, UK   GBR
1972 Triumph TR6 "Oh Bloody Hell"
Whoops, my mistake, apologise!!))

Thanks Dan for the LBSC interpretationsmiling smiley

John

jlmiami Jonathan Lewis
Hallandale, FL, USA   USA
Hey hope this helps. I heard very few mixed reviews but I haven't experienced any dash rattle. I'm 6'5 and removed the H bracket (who needs a radio with a Monza exhaust) and wow what a difference! I'm so much more comfortable and can tuck my right leg under the dash now! Highly recommended and Really simple

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Atl TR6 Avatar
Atl TR6 Bruce W
Braselton, Georgia, USA   USA
In reply to # 1502740 by jlmiami Hey hope this helps. I heard very few mixed reviews but I haven't experienced any dash rattle. I'm 6'5 and removed the H bracket (who needs a radio with a Monza exhaust) and wow what a difference! I'm so much more comfortable and can tuck my right leg under the dash now! Highly recommended and Really simple


Like the look, but doesn't the H bracket provide structural support? It is bolted to floor frame.
Would be nice to have that space for legs!



Bruce
1974 base TR6 Emerald Green "Emmy"
(with J-O/D added)

jlmiami Jonathan Lewis
Hallandale, FL, USA   USA
It does, but it is not that drastic. I think it just adds a bit more support to the dash for the frame

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