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Bob Lincoln said:
Unless you know all of the previous owners, I'm not sure how you can be certain that the column is the original. I swapped out a column once, you would never know it was not the original.

Nevertheless, consider that the lever has been pivoted too close to the column. When I visualize the linkage, I imagine it being pulled down too far, on the same axis as the column. Perhaps the linkage that parallels the column inside is displaced or moved too close toward the steering box.
Bob's right about steering wheel mismatches: many years ago I had a 1981 Diplomat with a sloppy steering column; installed a 1980 Volare assembly, everything hooked up perfectly but was unable to use the '1981' steering wheel for some reason so had to use the '1980' older unit if memory holds me correctly........
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