The most important bolt in the world… ever

 
This little M6 bolt is arguably the most important bolt on the Ferrari 308. It is the Steering Shaft Clamp Bolt

It connects the end of the steering column to the steering rack. If it comes loose, then the steering column can become disconnected from the steering rack’s splined shaft. At that point, the steering wheel will simply spin around, disconnected from the road wheels… A scary thought.

You normally can’t see it easily because it is tucked away under the rivetted-in fiberglass front trunk liner. It had to be accessed from the side through the wheel well or from below via an access port underneath. Since I made my trunk liner removable, I can access it quite easily from above.

The bolt lies in a groove in the splined shaft so as long as the bolt is present, it should hold the two together. My bolt was loose when I got the car but the physical connection was still maintained because the bolt was caught in the groove.
 
However, I know of two occurrences when the shaft and the steering column became detached with the bolt still in place on other cars. I suspect in those cases the shaft was not sufficiently far inside the steering column for the bolt to line up with its groove.

So for those with a Ferrari 308 (or Mondial, 328 348, 355, 360 or 430) and who are working on their steering, please check this bolt is tight*, in its groove and has the correct locking mechanism (nyloc for 308 and wavy washers for others) in place… this is not one bolt you want to loose!  
*Tight for a clean dry 10.9 M6 bolt is 11 lb ft.

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