No worries Stuart and thanks for the answer.
Well I don't believe it but, after getting the pot secured with the springs etc, put the shaft housing on and yes, the shaft had collapsed without me realising it. For some unknown reason I thought if this happened the shaft wasn't usable but, once again the Forum (members) have steered me in the right direction and old threads have given me a much greater understanding of how it works. For those unsure the pins in the shaft are of a nylon like substance and I guess would have been poured into the shaft during manufacture via a couple of pin holes. These pins hold the two shaft pieces in place to aid with installation but, I believe are somewhat superfluous thereafter. Anyway so I dismantled the column again and took the shaft apart to clean it and here is a couple of pics of the internals. Having had a good look at it and noticing some marks on the shaft I believe the length of mine is 910mm FWIW. At this stage I am going to leave it a bit longer until I sort out the couplings as I may go for a Borgeson instead of the rag coupling.
I also had problems getting the split retainer back on without stretching it and impossible (for me anyway) to try to reduce it once it is on the shaft, so I decided to put a couple of tack welds on it. Thanks again to the people who have taken the time to post up threads. Without them I would not have had any clue. Cheers Ron
Edited by Cook, Yesterday, 06:49 PM.