The part that actually fails is a white plastic bushing inside the bearing (Figure 1). It begins to crack and disintegrate, and causes noise and unwanted play. The repair part is a slotted metal bushing that is simply driven into the top of the steering column (Figure 2). The metal bushing displaces the plastic one, and provides a permanent quality repair.
To begin, take off the horn pad. On early 4-spoke wheels, push in and turn the horn ring to disengage it. On later 3-spoke wheels, a firm tug will unsnap the horn pad; there is one snap on each spoke. Just don't pull too hard-the horn wire is connected to the horn pad. Next, take off the 27mm nut that holds the steering wheel to the shaft. Position the wheel so it is exactly level, and pull it off (this makes reinstalling it easier).
Remove the C-clip on the steering column shaft (Figure 3). Place the new bushing on the shaft, and drive it into place (a long socket works well for this job-I use a hard plastic-faced mallet to prevent ruining the socket) (Figure 4). It takes several hefty taps to get the bushing started. The socket may bottom out against the steering shaft before the bushing if fully seated. If so, use a piece of hardwood or a 1/2 inch plastic pipe coupler to tap the bushing in until its flange seats against the bearing.
Reinstall the C-clip, steering wheel, and horn pad. Now you are ready to enjoy quiet, precise steering again.
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Hope this helps,