BMW E36 LSx Steering Column (Shaft) and Firewall Modifications
Some people are recommending that the steering shaft be replaced with an aftermarket shaft for header clearance.The swap can be done with the stock steering shaft.
By slotting the hole in the firewall that the steering shaft goes through, and slotting the mounting holes that hold the steering column to the firewall, the steering shaft can be move downwards and towards the driver's side to improve clearance between the exhaust header and the steering shaft u-joint.
We know of at least one person who did this because he didn't trust the aftermarket u-joints. He gained about 1/2" more clearance between the rear header tube and the u-joint by slotting the holes about 3/8" at the firewall.
Remove the welded on bolts from the firewall by drilling out the spot weldsfrom inside the car.
These are on the engine side of the firewall.
After removing the welded on bolts, the firewall will look something like shown below.
Use a die grinder and/or file to modify the original big hole so that it can accomodated the new position of the steering column.
For the LSX engine swap, move the steering column down 3/8" and towards the center of the car 3/8" as shown below
The picture below shows a hacked-up job, in part, because the car is being used for other engine swaps. For example, with the older style Chevrolet small-block, the steering column is moved in a different direction.
By moving the steering shaft down and towards the center of the car, a lot more room is created for the header, and the engine can be mounted slightly lower.
The upper steering shaft is from an E46.
The lower steering shaft is from an E36.
The E46 steering shaft is smaller in diameter, and provides more room for the header tubes that go between the frame rail and the steering shaft.
The E46 steering shaft is about 1/2" longer than the E36 steering shaft, but is can easily be modified to make it the same length as the E36 steering shaft.
Using a file and a hacksaw, the E46 shaft can be modified by filing another slot with a round file, about 1/2" rearward of the original slot, and then cutting the small tab off the front of the shaft.
If you want a little more adjustability in the shaft, you can file the slot wider.
After the modifications, the E46 shaft will be the same length as the E36 shaft, as shown above.
last edited 06/06/17