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Question: Steering Column Lock

Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Messages
1
Location
Bensalem, PA
Corvette
1999
Hi, new to this site, but did see many posts on this and other corvette forums on the Steering Column Lock issue. I know their are many owners that had this happen more than once and some had the bypass installed to correct the problem for reoccuring. I have a 99 stick. In 2005 the steering column locked and I had it towed to the dealer. The recall was performed and they fix it. Last week same thing happened and I once again had it towed to the dealership. The dealership called and told me the problem was the actuator motor was bad and it would cost $575 to replace and it was not covered under the recall, but there was a special recall that expired Feb 2008 that it would have be covered by. I was pissed and called GM. GM called the dealer and then called me back and said there was no special recall and the actuator is not covered. Then I called the dealership and they said sorry GM said it was not covered. I decided to do a little research since I was puzzled by this whole lock out caused by this actuator and about this other recall (if there was one another and I wasn't notified). I found that the other recall was actually another policy that stated if the steering column locked they would remove the plate so it couldn't lock anymore. It wasn't a recall, just a policy because of all the reoccuring problems. So after reading about 200+ e-mails on different forums, I got the impression (and please correct me if I am wrong or someone knows different) that the actuator motor can't actuate if the plate was removed under that so called policy and plus it states in that policy that once plate is removed it won't lock anymore. I am going to call GM back, because this whole thing seems fishy. I would think it would have been corrected the first time, plus to say its this actuator motor went bad. Why would i even need the actuator if this new policy was sent out. I never did get that either. Are they just trying to play the game, that if it happens then the policy is good and we won't make it well known. Sorry this is so long. I guess my question is----Did this actuator need to be fixed if the said policy of removing the plate was done first. I printed out over 200 pages of complaints and documentation on this. From all the info I have I was going to tell the dealership I am not paying for this and I will tell GM the same thing. Oh another thing since the car was parked on an angle in my driveway (side car) garage. The tow people had to put (dollies) under the front and lift the front to push it down to straighten the car out, so the tow could back up and lift it. What a project that was!!!!! I can't imagine having to deal with this on a reoccuring basis. Thanks Mike
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
836
Location
Colorado
Corvette
08 VR Convertible 2014 TR Coupe
There are two facts about the steering column lock, corvettes who have had the problem and corvettes that are about to have the problem. I had two recalls done before 2008 on my 02 and GM covered the repairs plus the towing. But GM does not fix the problem, so you need to purchase the CLB (I used the one from Corvettes of Houston) even tho I had the two recalls done. From everything I researched, even with the two recalls, the column could lock up again or the gas cut off could be activated. So my advice, purchase and install the CLB, it's easy and fixes the problem. The failed actuator is new to me, and I can't comment on it on it, but I believe that if the column in not locked now, the CLB will solve the problem and save you $$$. If there is any doubt, call Corvettes of Houston and talk to the parts guy; they can probably advise you. Don't wait for GM to fix it, do it yourself and save the aggrevation. Do it before it locks up again.
Good luck, and welome to the forum.
Barrett
 

bwing

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
517
Location
California
Corvette
03 Z06,66 coupe(sold),99 Porsche Carrera(sold)
I don't understand. If the dealer removed the locking plate how can the steering column lock up? Unless the locking plate was never removed.

I have heard of dealers saying they performed the maintenance on the steering columns when they actually did nothing to it to receive money from GM for supposed labor/parts charges.
 

zagger

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
468
Location
San Diego
Corvette
99 C5 Convertible
The entire column lock system is a joke, from quality of parts to function:puke
Removing the plate only makes it easer for the tow driver to steer the dead car onto his rig. The design is so bad that even small drop in voltage will cause a lock up. You can have plenty of power to start the vehicle but not enough to release the lock, all this with or without the plate. With the number of vehicles affected I can't believe GM insists on trying to bury the problem with worthless special action whatever's instead of addressing it properly. It's a clear case of accountants and lawyers running the company. The total cost to consumers must be staggering and I can't believe there has not yet been a class action against GM. Now that my rant is over, install a Column Lock Bypass and forever fix what GM refuses to recognize as a design flaw. CLB - it works, it's $50 and will make you car reliable as it was meant to be.
:w
 
2

2fast2

Guest
If you're volunteering to start a class action suit, count me in.
 

zagger

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
468
Location
San Diego
Corvette
99 C5 Convertible
I don't think CAC would like me to rally up members into some kind of legal action so I won't mention that again. However it would be interesting to find out just what some of us had to pay out of pocket for towing, etc. Personally I forked out over 1K before installing CLB. That little gizmo is a sole reason I still have my C5 as I was ready to get rid of it from the frustration.
 

muddywaters

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 25, 2002
Messages
765
Location
wilkes-barre,pa.usa
Corvette
1988 white 4+3 coupe 99 Torch Red 6spd. coupe
Are there any other sources for the CLB? My 99 shows that it was recalled twice for the CL problem. I have not had a problem with it, but Murphy is always just around the corner..............The CL seems to be an issue from all the chatter about it, might as well eliminate it before it bites me.......
 

bwing

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
517
Location
California
Corvette
03 Z06,66 coupe(sold),99 Porsche Carrera(sold)
I don't think CAC would like me to rally up members into some kind of legal action so I won't mention that again. However it would be interesting to find out just what some of us had to pay out of pocket for towing, etc. Personally I forked out over 1K before installing CLB. That little gizmo is a sole reason I still have my C5 as I was ready to get rid of it from the frustration.

zagger,

I have written to you before and you suggested the CLB which I have yet to install. When GM "fixed" my steering column they removed the locking plate. Can the steering column still "lock up"? Also, 2 weeks after removing the locking plate I started getting the "Remove Key, Wait 10 Secs" msg on the DIC. This occurred after I had left the ignition turn "on" overnight and ran the battery down. Replaced the battery about 4 mos ago and have only seen the msg 2 times. Last on about 3 mos ago. then the actuator began acting up and GM replaced that, N/C, because I have the extended warranty until 2010.

Three questions:

Can the steering lock still "lock up" with the locking plate removed?
Is it possible for the fuel shut off to activate?
Is the CLB still advised since all this work has been done?

Thanks.....Brian (I'm ready to :puke)
 

zagger

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
468
Location
San Diego
Corvette
99 C5 Convertible
Can the steering lock still "lock up" with the locking plate removed?
Is it possible for the fuel shut off to activate?
Is the CLB still advised since all this work has been done?
1- No, with the plate removed the steering will not lock.
2- YES, there are several scenarios which can cause this. Low battery voltage is one of them.
3- Yes, The fix has been proven to be unreliable. The fuel delivery still relies on the rest of the components to function as originally designed.

The problem is with the whole system and not just one component (ie. locking plate). First thing that happens when you insert the key into ignition is the locking system energizes and unlocks the steering. This happens before the engine even begins to crank over. If at that time the computer does not receive proper feedback from the system it shuts off the fuel, thus preventing you from driving off with locked steering. The idea is sound, unfortunately the components in the system are very prone to failure. The CLB is a device that allows the locking mechanism to be disconnected (in unlocked position) and provides the computer with fake signal as tho everything was still connected and functioning properly. I've asked a member of this board who is a professional corvette mechanic why he and most of the GM community does not endorse this product. His simple answer was that there has been instances where a BCM failure was attributed to a faulty CLB. As a highly regarded professional I see where he can be cusses. Having said that the only problems I heard of were in the beginning of the introduction of this device and of questionable origin of manufacture. If you purchase your CLB from a reputable dealer I would venture to say you will never have a problem. I myself use one (two years) and swear by it as do many of my friends from our Vette club.
 
2

2fast2

Guest
Poll?

Perhaps we could take a poll
1. How many owners have had this problem.
2. How many have had the GM Fix
3. How many have had the problem re-occur (and how many times).
4. How many have had the problem re-occur with the CLB installed.
5. How many have a documented case of a damaged BCM from a CLB purchased from a reliable vendor as a result of this issue.

Feel free to change and modify this poll, but I think the results would be interesting. Might even provide the basis to persuade GM to again extend the warranty on these parts.
 

bwing

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
517
Location
California
Corvette
03 Z06,66 coupe(sold),99 Porsche Carrera(sold)
1- No, with the plate removed the steering will not lock.
2- YES, there are several scenarios which can cause this. Low battery voltage is one of them.
3- Yes, The fix has been proven to be unreliable. The fuel delivery still relies on the rest of the components to function as originally designed.

Thanks zagger,

I just ordered a CLB from Corvettes of Houston for $49.95. Since GM knows about this problem you'd think they would have researched it and made it good for all us Corvette owners.
 

sci68

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
24
Location
New York
Corvette
2002 Chevy Corvette Convertible, Pewter
Steering column lock

Well, it just happened to me, so count me in.......:mad

I'm going to try jerking the steering wheel back and forth to see if it releases, if not I will either recharge/replace the battery and see if it works. If not, then I will tow to dealer, not sure if service recall was previously done. My 02 has 9,500 miles it may be the original battery or has not had the recall done.
 

o2bnkc

Well-known member
Joined
May 3, 2004
Messages
450
Location
Carson City, Nv.
Corvette
2002 M.Y. convertible
Was this problem just on manuals, or automatics too? I just purchased a 99 so I am very curious about this.
 

sci68

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
24
Location
New York
Corvette
2002 Chevy Corvette Convertible, Pewter
I believe it affected all C5 models, thought I read it somewhere. ;shrug

Anyway, I set out this morning to the dealership to see if my 02 had the recall fix performed. I did a lot of research on this and other forums about this issue and it appears the fix is to replace the battery (low voltage on a weak battery seems to cause this to flare up). So I decided that before I head out, I would check the voltage reading on DIC. I put the key in the ignition and turned it on and got the "Pull key wait 10 sec" message, which I did, restarted and got the "Steering Column Lock" message on the DIC. Well you can't read the gauges when the "Steering Lock Column" message appears on the DIC. I then pushed the reset button (located on the right side of dashboard, bottom button and, viola!!, the Steering Column Lock message disappeared and I was able to read the voltage (it was at 11.5, seems like I need to replace the battery). And, get this, the steering column now is unlocked!!! I even shut the car down and restarted it 3 more times and no issues.....:thumb

As I was driving to the dealership to find out if my 02 ever had the recall fix and to pick up a battery, I thought to myself, could it be that simple to press the reset button, shut off the car and restart and that fixes the Steering Lock Column issue? The service technician wasn't sure. I got the service history on my car and the recall was performed (harness kit). I decided not to buy the battery and instead to write this long post to see if anyone ever used the reset button and whether it fixed the Steering Column Lock. Thanks!
 

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