What is “cowl shake”?
I went years experiencing and wondering what it was or what to call it. One day I was talking my friend Luis, who is GM mechanic, and somehow the subject came up about our 1963 Nova convertible steering wheel shaking oddly. He gave this problem a name that I had never heard before… “cowl shake”.
The “cowl” is the area of a Nova on the interior side of the firewall and consists of everything vertically underneath the windshield including the dash and steering column.
Cowl shake occurs in vintage, stock, unaltered GM convertibles when you hit rough road or some bumps the steering column and/or cowl seems to shake or move differently than the way the car is moving. This problem gives you a loose feel and that something might be wrong.
When driving our 1963 rust free, unaltered, Nova drop-top I consistently experienced cowl shake. Unaltered means that the car still has the factory uni-body and does not have aftermarket frame connectors tying it together.
How To Fix It
When you have a drop-top, the car is obviously missing one of its main structural parts: the roof. Installing our weld-in frame connectors will cure about 90% of the cowl shake in Nova convertibles. This product ties the front and rear frame sections together to increase stability. This upgrade is a welcome addition to all early Novas but is particularly helpful for convertibles.
The bottom line is if you have a nice, original, rust free Nova convertible you can probably live with little a cowl shake. But if you have a nice, original, rust free Nova convertible and you dropped in a V8… our weld-in frame connectors are an essential upgrade for added strength.