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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY: Sticking Steering Column Lock Fix



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yakev724's Avatar DIY: Sticking Steering Column Lock Fix
yakev724
02-01-2011
Below are instructions to disassemble your steering column and grease the steering column lock mechanism to prevent sticking on startup/shutdown as is a common problem with these mechanisms. For cars in the US, 06 MY E90s are affected; locking columns are replaced with non-locking columns at no...
  #44  
By sorin_nsk on 01-12-2012, 06:15 AM
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elv lock error

Hello,

I have a BMW e90 320d from 2005 with Comfort Access (keyless go) and I have experienced the same problem. After a week in the parking lot, my car got the yellow lock error and would not start for 3 days. I should mention as i think it is very important that the battery went weak and this most probably triggered the problem. I changed the car's battery and still yellow lock error. But this morning I went to have another try and the error was gone and the car started with no problem....and no error.

I I have read in this forum the problem might come back as this is a ELV locking system common issue.

I will be back with updates

Regards !
Sorin
ROMANIA
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  #45  
By sorin_nsk on 01-12-2012, 09:10 AM
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and it did, it did lock again with the same error , not able to start.....
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  #46  
By Barrique_Red on 01-13-2012, 08:47 PM
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In Step 12, is it necessary to remove the pinch bolt, OR can it just be loosened and left in the collar?

thanks,
mikey
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  #47  
By r4mejor on 01-15-2012, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrique_Red View Post
In Step 12, is it necessary to remove the pinch bolt, OR can it just be loosened and left in the collar?

thanks,
mikey
If I remember correctly, the pinch bolt does need to be removed, because the bolt sits in a semi-circular notch in the steering column. Which keeps the column from pulling out of the pinch point if that bolt ever loosens.
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  #48  
By karlw on 01-23-2012, 01:48 PM
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Hi,

I have had the dreaded red light symbol appear and my 2005 E91 330D, locking the wheel and refusing to start, the car has now been recovered to my home.

Quick question, I am considering buying a used column given these are available for 50-100.
Assuming I go for a newer column to avoid repeat of the issue, does anyone have the part code and can confirm no compatibility problems.
I would be even tempted to just remove the electronic lock and swap if they are compatible.

Thanks

Karl
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  #49  
By smassey321 on 01-23-2012, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchuong58 View Post
*** I'm new to the forum, I got the same steering lock problem in My E90.
Thanks for the Your DIY! some information I saw in the E90 electrical system...
The steering unlock procedure:
1. The CAS2 senses the detection of a valid remote control_ID trasmitter. 2. The CAS2 Enables the unlock function.
3. The ELV performs the unlocking the steering procedure.
4. After the unlock procedure is done,the unlocking status is sensed by the Hall sensor, Hall sensor status reports to the CAS2 as a feedback.
5. The CAS2 switching off ELV module power.
The steering locking procedure:
1. Lock request to CAS2.
2. ELV module switched on.
3. Locking the steering by the ELV.
4. Locking Hall sensor feedbacks from ELV to CAS2.
5. CAS2 switching off ELV control module power.

Is it possible if we disable the Lock and unlock function by coding and remove the lock, we may need to fake or delete the Hall sensor status reported function to the CAS2? Since I do not have the tool I don't know.
Has anyone looked into a relay to simulate hall sensor status? Apply 12v to relay, relay switches to simulate unlocked position. Remove 12v and the relay releases to simulate locked position. Depending on if the unlocked 12v is constant a latching relay may need to be used. Am I correct in seeing there are only 4 wires going to the lock assembly? If so I would love to see a wiring diagram.
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  #50  
By bchuong58 on 01-23-2012, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tch330i View Post
Bummer Man!

I went through the descriptive tutorial and was surprised to see the locking mechanism was not that "sticky." I cleaned and re-lubed as directed, placed the column back in, plugged in all the wire connectors and hooked up the battery. Still got red lock and car will not start, however, the wheel is not locked ???

I am wondering if the problem is the electronic board running the locking mechanism. Anybody know how to test the board or have any other suggestions?
The Wheel was not locked, but the red lock Icon memory needs to be cleared by the tool. Look for a Shop to clear the RED Icon.
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  #51  
By bchuong58 on 01-23-2012, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smassey321 View Post
Has anyone looked into a relay to simulate hall sensor status? Apply 12v to relay, relay switches to simulate unlocked position. Remove 12v and the relay releases to simulate locked position. Depending on if the unlocked 12v is constant a latching relay may need to be used. Am I correct in seeing there are only 4 wires going to the lock assembly? If so I would love to see a wiring diagram.
The Hall sensor is sensing the magnet embedded inside the locking shaft in the form of the magnetic field, not a simple low or high signal, the output from the Hall sensor is in serial coding format. The relay can't simulate it easily.
Update my status, My steering lock works great after the cleaning and re-lubed as of today 11 months even thought I had not cleared the Yellow steering lock Icon.
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  #52  
By yakev724 on 01-23-2012, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlw View Post
Hi,

I have had the dreaded red light symbol appear and my 2005 E91 330D, locking the wheel and refusing to start, the car has now been recovered to my home.

Quick question, I am considering buying a used column given these are available for 50-100.
Assuming I go for a newer column to avoid repeat of the issue, does anyone have the part code and can confirm no compatibility problems.
I would be even tempted to just remove the electronic lock and swap if they are compatible.

Thanks

Karl
Well as far as I can tell, the newer columns are just missing the mechanism entirely, so replacing your column with a newer one is similar to just unplugging your mechanism (given the lock is permanently open or removed). My car didn't like me unplugging the lock and wouldn't start unless it was connected. If my car worked with the lock unplugged, I would have posted a more "permanent" solution


Quote:
Originally Posted by bchuong58 View Post
The Hall sensor is sensing the magnet embedded inside the locking shaft in the form of the magnetic field, not a simple low or high signal, the output from the Hall sensor is in serial coding format. The relay can't simulate it easily.
Update my status, My steering lock works great after the cleaning and re-lubed as of today 11 months even thought I had not cleared the Yellow steering lock Icon.
Good deal, essentially the same thing for me. I feel that it was worse the colder it was last year, and now that it's gotten cold again mine still works perfectly.

I don't think the yellow symbol needs clearing. Maybe the red one (which I never got), but that should be relatively simple with INPA.
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  #53  
By Barrique_Red on 01-24-2012, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrique_Red View Post
Thanks for the reply. My vehicle is out of warranty for two years now and I had no chance to replace anything under warranty as I purchased the vehicle used just after the wty period expired.

At the beginning of his DIY post, yakev said: - so, that is what I am going to do. My battery's negative terminal is stamped with 3405, so my battery is now over 6 years old. I am certainly willing to replace the battery before trying this DIY. I will reply here once I complete the battery replacement.

Finished the battery replacement tonite, and registered the battery. We still have the Yellow warning for the steering column lock issue. Next up: I will go after the DIY this weekend...
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  #54  
By karlw on 01-27-2012, 02:36 PM
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[quote=yakev724;11207637]Well as far as I can tell, the newer columns are just missing the mechanism entirely, so replacing your column with a newer one is similar to just unplugging your mechanism (given the lock is permanently open or removed). My car didn't like me unplugging the lock and wouldn't start unless it was connected. If my car worked with the lock unplugged, I would have posted a more "permanent" solution


Purchased a 2nd hand column - 07 model with electronic lock (in locked position)
Installed - still showing red symbol.
Mobile mechanic friend came round with a computer coder - removed error, but came back straight away.

Going to try cleaning up old lock and plugging in whilst the new column is still in situ, to see if this resolves the issue.

Following that it will be transported to a dealer
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  #55  
By karlw on 01-27-2012, 05:00 PM
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Just stripped old locking mechanism, lubricated and rebuilt.

Unplugged connection in car, reconnected to old (rebuilt) lock and red symbol still showing,engine not starting.

Could it be the CAS unit, see link

http://www.bmwland.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=95575
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  #56  
By yakev724 on 01-27-2012, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlw View Post
Just stripped old locking mechanism, lubricated and rebuilt.

Unplugged connection in car, reconnected to old (rebuilt) lock and red symbol still showing,engine not starting.

Could it be the CAS unit, see link

http://www.bmwland.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=95575
Well the leads from the lock go directly into the CAS, so theoretically it could be that (and your steering lock is otherwise fine), though I don't think this is very likely.

I think the red symbol may need clearing before the lock may work again, so if you haven't had it cleared since it appeared (before cleaning the mechanism), you may need to clear it first.

Good luck, wish I had a better answer for you
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  #57  
By fdc on 04-21-2012, 12:24 AM
+1 so no permanent fix = remove the lock / reprogram the computer? This should be doable since dealer in some cases replaced column with new model without lock ....
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  #58  
By sorin_nsk on 09-24-2012, 03:13 PM
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Guys with comfort access , make sure your door lock semsors are OK before replacing this steering column. I replaced it and still had the yellow lock. It was because of the sensors in the door handle for the comfort access system. They were malfunctioning and the car reacted by locking the steering wheel as a protection measure against possible theft( I was explained). That is why this problem is associated with battery drain; it is because the car cannot sleep due to that faulty sensor; so if left for some time and not start the car for a while, the battery drains.
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  #59  
By dashredder on 10-08-2012, 05:22 PM
How long did this project take start to finish?

Anyone know if the BavTec scan tool can be used to update the computer if the locking column is replaced w/ a non-locking column?

Nice DIY write up !
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  #60  
By iainsaenima on 11-27-2012, 11:58 AM
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I have a question about Step 10 - Remove the rubber steering column shaft boot.

When refitting this boot, are there any clips/fasteners that hold this in place?

I have removed this boot and I dont think I managed to get it back on perfectly. I now hear some extra engine noise in then cabin than I did before I did this DIY.

(By removed I really mean - moved it out of the way, the boot never came off the steering column. )

Any tips?


First post by the way...Hi guys..
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  #61  
By zhf0rd on 11-30-2012, 08:51 AM
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Yellow Lock light

Thanks for the posts everyone, and this DIY is amazing. I walked out to my car Monday morning and was disheartened when I was greeted by the yellow steering wheel lock symbol. This was the first time I had ever seen it. I've owned the car for about a year now, and haven't had a single problem yet. My car is still sitting in my driveway with the yellow lock light, no steering wheel movement, and is unable to start. The battery is 6 years old and this all happened on the coldest day of the year so far, so i'm thinking that is what caused the malfunction. I replaced the battery with an interstate last night, and with the help of a friend, and a couple of beers, I intend to do try the DIY fix this weekend. I've been searching the web all week and was unbelievably relieved to find this thread. Thanks again!

Cheers,
Zhf0rd

-2007 328xi
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  #62  
By zhf0rd on 12-03-2012, 08:21 AM
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FIXED

For those of you about to do this, I'll list the important things I learned up top:
-DID NOT HAVE TO REMOVE STEERING WHEEL, flat head screwdriver in the seam of the trim
-Learned from a BMW tech that if you use jumper cables to connect the positive battery wire to the negative battery wire for one hour it does some kind of computer reset.
-When i started my car I had every fault code you could imagine showing up, after shutting it off and starting it back up about 3 times, they all cleared.
-Definitely not a bad idea to mark the column assembly with a little bit of paint before pulling it off so you know it is aligned when you put it back on.

So myself and a buddy managed to get the steering column off without having to remove the steering wheel. Just by using a small flat head screwdriver, we were able to pop the trim off on both the top and bottom of the column. When we eventually got the column off, I tried getting the Dremel cutoff wheel (without the flexible extender) in to grind a slot in the tamper proof screw heads. The wheel just wasn't quite big enough to get down to the recessed screws. After fighting with it for an hour, I sat in my drivers seat with the steering column half in my dash and half in my lap. Out of frustration, I grabbed a hammer and jokingly started knocking on the control unit. Sure enough when I tried the key for the last time, I heard it release.
I believe that my problem was for the most part caused by cold weather and low voltage battery, which is why I was fortunate enough to have the wheel unlock. So hopefully the problem is fixed, and I don't have to deal with it again. If not, I know now that I can easily go down to the BMW dealership and grab a new steering column for $580. To any of you debating over whether or not you want to try it, I HIGHLY suggest doing, but only with the help of another mechanically inclined friend and a few beers. Thanks a lot everybody for all the posts, saved me $1200+ right before Christmas.

Cheers,
Zach
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  #63  
By bchuong58 on 01-09-2013, 02:33 PM
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BavTec scan tool and ELV fixes

Quote:
Originally Posted by dashredder View Post
How long did this project take start to finish?

Anyone know if the BavTec scan tool can be used to update the computer if the locking column is replaced w/ a non-locking column?

Nice DIY write up !
Call Bav tech support 1/9/2013, he mentioned that we need to order the Professional version Bav tech scan tool to have this Electronic steering wheel symbol clear, and will send us a command file to perform the clear it.
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  #64  
By grimery on 01-28-2013, 04:55 AM
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I experienced the yellow icon, and steering wheel that refused to unlock after work on a cold night. The sound of the steering column unlocking/locking when inserting and removing the keyfob was not happening.

2007 335i with comfort access, 54k miles.

1. Replaced key fob battery ($10 at Fred Meyer)
2. New vehicle battery (Was original battery. Received battery icon during numerous attempts to unlock steering wheel.)

First repair shop scanned the car and said that all computer systems were talking, but that "Circuit 15" was not responding. They wanted to look for a fuse/power supply issue.

I found in a bulletin a note about "KL 15" which is an ignition switch position. When the mechanism in the column fails, the ignition switch does not advance to KL 15. I explained this to the shop and they were not comfortable going further into the problem.

Showed different repair shop this DIY. They agreed this was likely the cause of the perma-locked steering wheel.

I was quoted $250 for replacement unlocking module and $500 labor. I received a phone call a week after ordering the replacement module. I was told they were mistaken and that BMW will not sell the replacement module individually. The module they had in their hands was for a 5 or 7 series and had a metal case. You have to order the steering column. ~$1200 installed

I opted for attempt to repair the existing module. The mechanism had bound up and the plastic casing was open when they removed it from the steering column.

After cleaning and lubrication, they epoxy sealed it shut. Quoted $400-$500 for labor to do this DIY between different shops.

Sounds solid, works like new and going on 5 weeks now.

Thanks for this thread, it saved major headaches.
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  #65  
By korell on 03-17-2013, 09:29 PM
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Disconnecting the steering column lock connector?

How do you disconnect the steering column lock connector without breaking it. I've been trying for a while now to no avail. Typically these connectors have a tab to push in or some other mechanism to unlock and remove the connector, but a I have not been able to figure it out.

Thanks!
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