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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...
  #88  
By grimery on 07-15-2013, 10:52 PM
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My cable showed up so I gave this a go.

I did the following and achieved success after soldering the pin header to the emulator. I soldered the shortest pins into the emulator itself, leaving the longest pins to attach to the harness from the car.

Vehicle: 2007 335i w/comfort access. 59k miles

1. Insert key fob into ignition, ELV should unlock. I confirmed the ELV went to the unlocked state with INPA.

2. Open trunk.

3. Remove negative terminal from battery.

4. Remove steering column shroud per step 7 of the OP DIY. I did not remove airbag or steering wheel.

5. Remove three screws from lower kick panel and pull down and out of the way.

6. Locate steering lock connector and unplug (Step 15 of OP DIY). I did this by feeling for the connector and being sure to press down on the underside of the connector as i removed it with as even pressure as possible. Tight area to reach into.

7. Black steering lock connector has numbers 1-4 printed onto it. Match wire 1 to the number "1" pin printed on the emulator for proper orientation and attach. The pin header that was included with mine fit very snug. I then wrapped the emulator in a small ESD bag and tucked it away. I will likely purchase a small enclosure for the unit at some point from somewhere like polycase.com.

8. Reattach battery. Remove and reinsert key. I then verified ELV status changing from Locked/Unlocked in INPA as well as a red flash from the emulator when it was being accessed.

9. Started vehicle. The only error code I received was for Active Steering. I turned the steering wheel both directions as far as it would go, then shut down and restarted the car. No codes and everything is working properly. I then put the kick panel and shroud back together.


It's very relieving to not hear the struggling of the ELV anymore. The car works perfect again and in my case, a cable/coding software was not required but was worth it for the peace of mind before the install in case an issue did arise.
Last edited by grimery; 07-15-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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  #89  
By catertek on 07-16-2013, 11:24 AM
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hi , sorry for delay in replying to messages , i dont come on here that much! , for some reason i never got the pins with my emulator hence the reason for having the chop the old ones off and solder on, ive not had any probs what so ever and have checked with software and no errors in cas module since doing the mod so all is good, the only reason i removed the old lock mechanism was i just thought that if for any reason (hitting a huge pot hole for example) what if the plastic in the old lock was to fail and the metal locking pin was to spring back into lock the steering , i no the chance would be a million to one but i thought if i eliminated the chance of this being able to happen then it never would happen... lol

glad to hear others have had a go , deffo worth doing if your having this issue!!

Gaz
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  #90  
By bchuong58 on 07-16-2013, 04:07 PM
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by grimery View Post
My cable showed up so I gave this a go.

I did the following and achieved success after soldering the pin header to the emulator. I soldered the shortest pins into the emulator itself, leaving the longest pins to attach to the harness from the car.

Vehicle: 2007 335i w/comfort access. 59k miles

1. Insert key fob into ignition, ELV should unlock. I confirmed the ELV went to the unlocked state with INPA.

2. Open trunk.

3. Remove negative terminal from battery.

4. Remove steering column shroud per step 7 of the OP DIY. I did not remove airbag or steering wheel.

5. Remove three screws from lower kick panel and pull down and out of the way.

6. Locate steering lock connector and unplug (Step 15 of OP DIY). I did this by feeling for the connector and being sure to press down on the underside of the connector as i removed it with as even pressure as possible. Tight area to reach into.

7. Black steering lock connector has numbers 1-4 printed onto it. Match wire 1 to the number "1" pin printed on the emulator for proper orientation and attach. The pin header that was included with mine fit very snug. I then wrapped the emulator in a small ESD bag and tucked it away. I will likely purchase a small enclosure for the unit at some point from somewhere like polycase.com.

8. Reattach battery. Remove and reinsert key. I then verified ELV status changing from Locked/Unlocked in INPA as well as a red flash from the emulator when it was being accessed.

9. Started vehicle. The only error code I received was for Active Steering. I turned the steering wheel both directions as far as it would go, then shut down and restarted the car. No codes and everything is working properly. I then put the kick panel and shroud back together.


It's very relieving to not hear the struggling of the ELV anymore. The car works perfect again and in my case, a cable/coding software was not required but was worth it for the peace of mind before the install in case an issue did arise.
When my ELV struggles again, I'll need to look for an E90 ELV emulator to fix it once for all, this solution is economical and final.
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  #91  
By Fredrik_Sweden on 08-13-2013, 08:52 AM
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I am glad I found this thread, I have had trouble with the ELV on my E91 -06 for about 1,5 years. I took it apart and lubricated all parts + tacking the electric motor apart and cleaned it for about 1 year ago.

2 weeks ago it started to show yellow light again after working perfectly for 1 year

So I decided to try the emulator after reading this thread. It works perfectly!

So I thought I could share some info about how I did it:

1. I have soldered the connection pins on the circuteboard.





2. No plastic casing for the curcitboard was included, so I made on in my CAD program and printed in my company’s 3D-printer






3. Connecting it to the car was super easy, about 20min job.

- Remove the kick panel, only 3 T20 screws.
- Put key into car and check that the ELV unlocks the steering wheel.


- Disconnect the battery in the trunk


- Disconnect the ELV-cable you can access it easy from the underside where you have removed the kick panel.


- Note that the ELV-cable connection-pins are marked 1 2 3 4. Number 1 pin must be connected to the number 1 pin on the curcitboard (it is marked).




- Connect the Emulator.

- Reconnect the car battery. And insert key. You will see a small LED on the curcitboard flash when the Emulator is working.

Best regards
Fredrik /Sweden
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  #92  
By Gavin on 08-16-2013, 01:15 PM
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Very nicely presented Fredrik. Thank you.

My car is still behaving since the software upgrade, but this might come in handy should the dreaded ELV fail.
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  #93  
By Slaze on 08-29-2013, 10:12 AM
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Question Black clip from steering column

Hellow everybody!

Couple month ago I disassembled my steering column and forgot from where this plastic clip? Anyone know?



Can it be from here?



And the main cable from steering column holds only on 2 white pistons and one black clip near two jacks?


Also I was wondering what is it? It looks like fiber optic...





By the way I also use ELV emulator, working fine!
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  #94  
By bchuong58 on 09-02-2013, 02:48 PM
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"3. Connecting it to the car was super easy, about 20min job.

- Remove the kick panel, only 3 T20 screws.
- Put key into car and check that the ELV unlocks the steering wheel."

** I'm glad you got it fix, I'm waiting for the ELV emulator to do the fix, please confirm you only removed the Kick panel's 3 T20 screws without taking out the steering shroud to access to the ELV connector.
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  #95  
By Slaze on 09-03-2013, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchuong58 View Post
"3. Connecting it to the car was super easy, about 20min job.

- Remove the kick panel, only 3 T20 screws.
- Put key into car and check that the ELV unlocks the steering wheel."

** I'm glad you got it fix, I'm waiting for the ELV emulator to do the fix, please confirm you only removed the Kick panel's 3 T20 screws without taking out the steering shroud to access to the ELV connector.

You don't need to remove Kick panel ! only steering column cover.

"In essence the stock steering is held on only by plastic snaps that are pressure released. The rear "leather" section is held by 4 plastic tabs, so this is an easy job. If you plan on reusing the stock steering column again, I would just use a little caution to protect the item. I used a piece of cardboard between the screw driver and steering column to protect the plastic. Start by lifting up on the steering column in the middle as shown here."

here You can find a pic https://www.google.com/search?newwin...3%3B1024%3B749

When you will disassemble steering column cover can you find that black plastic clip? and make a pic of it I need to know from where is it.
Last edited by Slaze; 09-03-2013 at 02:13 PM.
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  #96  
By bchuong58 on 09-16-2013, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchuong58 View Post
"3. Connecting it to the car was super easy, about 20min job.

- Remove the kick panel, only 3 T20 screws.
- Put key into car and check that the ELV unlocks the steering wheel."

** I'm glad you got it fix, I'm waiting for the ELV emulator to do the fix, please confirm you only removed the Kick panel's 3 T20 screws without taking out the steering shroud to access to the ELV connector.
*** 9/15/2013: Finally I received the ELV emulator board from ecuVonix, spent half a day to look for the 4 pin header connector, wondering why the ELV emulator board vendor didn't offer a complete solution, used BT S/W to reset the ELV error, removed battery Ground terminal in trunk, removed the kick panel by 3 T20 screws, felt and pulled out the ELV connector, soldered and match pin 1 of the PCB to pin 1 of the cable, made an aluminum pocket out of a coke can, insulated inside with duct tape, connected the ELV cable and slid the PCB inside and taped the aluminum pocket to any metal Ground for ESD protection. Reconnected the battery Ground, turned it on, works, no more ELV problem.
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  #97  
By shane55 on 09-16-2013, 06:39 PM
Delighted to have come across this DIY as my car has been sitting idle for two weeks with the dreaded red lock...I'm thinking of going down the emulator road as it sounds like most permanent fix...just one question as my steering column is actually locked and won't unlock would jacking up the front of the car and turning the wheels do anything to help unlock until I get my emulator ??
Shane.
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  #98  
By waftingtony on 10-01-2013, 08:31 AM
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I too bought the emulator and had been waiting to fit it, having the amber lock appear for a few weeks. However, I only bought the car 2 months ago and had been instructed it needed a software update. Doing my homework on the emulator and taking the ELV out of the equation, I figured its a no brainer and safe to buy. On Sunday, I fitted the emulator to the ELV cable and it worked, but still with amber lock showing. I had planned to take my car to my Indy in 5 days to reset the ELV counter and CAS, and assumed that it would be ok to hook the emulator up for a few days. Or if he couldn't, there's a bmw Indy outfit 2 miles away that can reset the counters. However, the next morning, the car wouldn't start..still with amber lock. Disconnected battery, then removed the emulator and plugged the ELV cable back into the steering column. Reconnected battery and the car started - still showing amber light. Drove to work that day and all was well. Today, after I moved the car off the drive (still amber lock), then switched off... On returning half hour later I have a red lock error and the steering lock is engaged, with the car not starting at all. I had purchased a diagnostic software yesterday too, so now I'm stuck until that arrives in the post and loaded on my netbook...unless my Indy can clear the code this evening.
Quite extraordinary that this poorly made part should ever cause any consumer to pay for its replacement.. Owners all over the world have issues, absolutely tens of thousands of cars made from late 04-07 suffer at some point across a lot of the BMW range, and many breath a sigh of relief if it's under warranty. Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone hasn't challenged BMW on this and taken it further, seeing as though now many of these 5-7 year old cars are reaching private ownership. Independents are sussing this out and confirming that for the majority of cases, a software update eliminates the issue. BMW should offer this for free if you have a service with them.
Updating this later once my Indy has had a look... I don't feel hopeful though. The ELV has never struggled to unlock the column, or grinded as I've read with other owners. I can see the battery is quite new, Bosch one and whether or not it's been coded could be the reason. The car did seem to struggle first thing in the morning to turn over, not terribly but it felt like the starter motor turned 7-8 times each day. My Golf Tdi was one turn of starter and always fired into life.
BMW's are known for battery drains. One issue can turn into multiple.
My E39 530d sport never had a single issue ever for the 2 years I had it.
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  #99  
By jjezzile on 10-01-2013, 11:05 PM
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Arrow Red Steering comment

My Garage Queen is coming too her own. Car has been down almost 2 months. Did a few up grades ready for software and shell blasting. Only made a couple blocks before smoking horribly. Changed value cover gasket and battery, downpipes, custom exhaust and intake. Sideways first, second, and third can imagine car knew. I have red steering lock so paid the tax and got the ELV elimantor. Will keep you posted. Can I PLEASE ask everybody in the big E90 post "WHO DAT" say they gonna beat my "SAINTS"
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  #100  
By yanni on 10-12-2013, 03:04 AM
First of all allow me to say hello from Greece. New here and amazed with all the knowledge in this forum keep up the good work guys!!!
Allow me to do some stupid asking now:
Is it possible that something else is triggering the ELV light to come on??? We own in my family a 2007 320i E90 that for about a year now has the RED ELV on. Car went to BMW and was diagnosed with the steering column issue but not fixed due to cost. The lock all this time works flawless and car starts and runs fine every time (daily commute). I did the DIY a few days back and had the battery tested but to no avail. So i am asking once again is it possible that something else to trigger the light to come on say like the key slot or the push start button???
Any help much needed.

Yanni
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  #101  
By Gavin on 12-07-2013, 03:38 AM
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I have just installed my emulator......and it works like a charm.

Thanks to all for sharing the information on how to do the job.

Just for interest, I enclosed my emulator in large shrink-sleeve which worked really nicely.
The whole job took thirty minutes.
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  #102  
By cokewithvanilla on 12-23-2013, 03:28 PM
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I currently have the red light as well. I have never had trouble with my lock ,and it works flawlessly. I had a lot of problems happen when my water pump went out... this is one of them.

I don't think it's an issue, I am considering buying a cable and just resetting it... but the emulator seems like some good preventative maintenance...

is there a trusted source for this part?
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  #103  
By MoneyFor on 12-26-2013, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cokewithvanilla View Post
I currently have the red light as well. I have never had trouble with my lock ,and it works flawlessly. I had a lot of problems happen when my water pump went out... this is one of them.

I don't think it's an issue, I am considering buying a cable and just resetting it... but the emulator seems like some good preventative maintenance...

is there a trusted source for this part?
I did the reset a couple of weeks ago and it's still oke for now, red light is gone no other problems showing. I to considder the emulator when it's show up again.
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  #104  
By cokewithvanilla on 12-30-2013, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyFor View Post
I did the reset a couple of weeks ago and it's still oke for now, red light is gone no other problems showing. I to considder the emulator when it's show up again.
I was considering resetting it, but I'd have to buy the cable and get the software all set up and whatnot. I decided to to order the emulator for $100 to save me the pain of a possible breakdown.
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  #105  
By MoneyFor on 01-04-2014, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cokewithvanilla View Post
I was considering resetting it, but I'd have to buy the cable and get the software all set up and whatnot. I decided to to order the emulator for $100 to save me the pain of a possible breakdown.
When you have the warning light, orange or red the emulator will not solve this, still need to reset in my opinion.
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  #106  
By cokewithvanilla on 01-07-2014, 09:09 PM
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I cannot get the elv connector off... as hard as I try, it won't come off. I've broken that little piece on the end off already... nothing I do works. I pulled and pulled, pushed on the bottom, put needle nose pliers around it... it simply won't come off... what gives?
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  #107  
By cokewithvanilla on 01-14-2014, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyFor View Post
When you have the warning light, orange or red the emulator will not solve this, still need to reset in my opinion.
you are correct. I still have the red warning light, even after replacing. I will reset this as soon as I get a cable. I am driving without resetting it right now.
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  #108  
By joe__ on 03-12-2014, 08:07 AM
Maybe a basic question here but can the BT Tool reset the red elv/cas error? Considering picking one up for peace of mind.
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  #109  
By assclown on 03-14-2014, 11:15 PM
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Red face

Hi Yakev, amazing write up!

Question for you regarding Step 12 - Remove pinch bolt

"Be careful not to drop it behind the firewall!!! If you do so, you'll need to remove most of the left-side plastic underside shield to reach in and grab it."

I noticed in the picture:

there is a slight notch in the steering column where it meets the female end - can you tell me is it foolproof to re-install the column in the exact same position via the notch? (similar to how the steering wheel has a predefined notch and you cannot install it any other way?)

I'm worried if (the column can go into the female section more than one way) I'll muck it up trying to put it back in.

Just want to understand if the female part where the pinch bolt is is notched so it goes back in only in one position or not?
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