Incidence of Steering Failure Messages.
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    1. #1

      Incidence of Steering Failure Messages.

      I am curious to know how many other folks here have run into this issue with their Volvos (or know of someone who has).

      We have a 2006 V50 T5 with just under 3000 miles. This past Saturday as my girlfriend and I were on our way to the VCOA Boston/Merrimac Valley chapter picnic, stopped for gas.

      Got back into the car to start it, and I see a message stating that there is a steering failure and maintenance is required. Also learned about the immobilizer built into the car. Which was unfortunate as the front wheels were turned slightly to the left, and the it seems that the steering wheel also locks. And cannot be unlocked.................

      This has the consquence of the making the tow truck drivers job harder as the first one had a flat bed tow truck and was going to pull the car up onto the flatbed from the back. Since he didn't feel confident enough, he called for backup and another guy with more experience came instead.

      This guy pulled the car up on the flatbed from the front. It seems mildly annoying that the steering wheel couldn't be unlocked at least long enough to straighten the wheels out.

      Course, it didn't help either that the first guy commented on what a piece of s*** Volvo's have seemingly become due to this immobilizer chip. It made me wonder why Volvo saw fit to build this feature into the car. I believe I understand the rationale behind it, but.................


    2. #2

      Re: Incidence of Steering Failure Messages. (Capt_Hungry)

      Happened to me at about 10,000 miles. Drove to the post office one morning, was there for all of 10 minutes, came out and turned the key. "Steering failure, Immobilizer failure, Immediate maintenance required" i believe it told me. Same situation. Steering wheel locked. Was told at the dealership it would take all of 1 day to fix, ended up taking a week with the entire steering column being replaced. Thank god it was under warranty because the service technicial told me it was a $1200 fix. No problems since though. Supposedly the technicial I know said it's happened to about 6 or 7 in my surrounding area. Good luck.

    3. #3
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      Re: Incidence of Steering Failure Messages. (heil)

      Happened to me too. Exactly (?) the same codes and symptoms (steering failure, immobilizer active). Got stuck at local YMCA.

      In my case it was the steering lock motor that was broken, nothing wrong with the immobilizer or key (tried both keys at the scene, checked all fuses too while waiting the tow truck). Turns out the motor was low quality, I just hope they replaced that with a better part. My dealer also managed to fix my car by replacing the steering lock assembly only but that involved removing the whole steering column. Glad to know it is not too easy to steal the car...

      Capt_Hungry and heil, did you notice when you inserted the key, did the steering lock make the normal whirring sound or not? I'm not sure if I remember correctly but I think the steering lock made a funny noise (like a spring or something popped out) when I was parking the car at YMCA. Then when I came back, it was dead.

      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    4. #4

      Re: Incidence of Steering Failure Messages. (FinnSpeed)

      I don't recall if I remember any whirring noise............although now that I think about it, I don't think there was.

      Update on the car - just spoke with my girlfriend, seems that the entire steering assembly needed to be replaced. Can't imagine what happened that the entire assembly had to be replaced. We have the car back though.

      Think I am going to see if I can find out what happened.


    5. #5

      Re: Incidence of Steering Failure Messages. (Capt_Hungry)

      Now that I have the work order - a fault was found in the steering lock assembly.

      Good thing that this was covered under warranty.......they replaced the steering column assembly (which the lock assembly is part of, I assume). We seem to be fine now.


    6. #6
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      Steering lock broken again...

      I'm lifting this old thread up since today this same thing happened again!

      I found another old thread about the same problem but no new ones:
      http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...eering+failure

      This time I'm out of warranty of course so I'm trying to do as much as I can myself. I took out the plastic panels from the driver's side dash so I can access the steering lock module. I even tried to disconnect the module wire and that did have an effect: The error message changed from steering failure to steering locked. Putting the cable back returns the original situation.

      I'm pretty sure it is the lock again that is broken (symptoms are identical and no DTC's show up with scanner). The question is: How to replace it? There seems to be a couple of screws that hold the unit in. The problem is, those are likely shear screws that break during assembly to prevent tampering with the lock assy. Do I drill the screws out or what? Any hints, tips or tricks are greatly appreciated!
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    7. #7
      Junior Member ion's Avatar
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      There is a bit in the manual about the steering wheel lock, not sure if it applies but it might be worth a shot:

      Releasing the steering wheel lock
      If the front wheels are hard up against a curb, the steering wheel lock may be under too much tension to unlock.

      If so, the key will turn in the ignition switch but the car will not start.

      At the same time, a message "Steering locked turn wheel" will appear in the information display.

      If this happens:

      1. Remove the key from the ignition.

      2. Turn the steering wheel slightly and hold it to release pressure on the lock mechanism.

      3. Reinsert the key and start the vehicle.

      The steering should immediately unlock. If not, try again.

    8. #8
      Replacing the steering column locks when they are stuck in the locked position aka steering wheel is locked freakin sucks. Yes they are sheer bolts which hold it in place however the fact that is slides into place from the rear of the column makes it almost impossible to replace if the locking pin is stuck upright. In some cases an entire column with the lock will be required.

      Due to the issues Volvo had with this system u will notice on the later model P1 cars this feature has been removed. Between the SCU failures and the column locks was getting ridiculous having so many people required to have the vehicle towed in for replacement.
      TheRetrofitSource | 2020 Motorsports | RTernie | H&R Springs | Import Meet | Girodisc

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    9. #9
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      Thanks, Kyle - that was encouraging...

      Well, I found some pictures of a lock that had been removed by googling the part# P30776153. I see the two bolts clearly and it does look like it has been designed to slide in from the front. However, it also looks like it may drop downwards too but we'll see. I will try to dremel some grooves to the the bolt heads to open them with a flat head screw driver. If I can just get the lock out, I could at least push the car to a better position for a flat bed or tow the car to a shop.

      Kyle, an additional question to you: Do you know if the new part needs programming to get it working? If yes, do you need the Volvo tester to do that?

      Thanks for the help so far!
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    10. #10
      Oh good point, I think the column lock does require a SW reload. I will look it up tomorrow and see which SW part number it is. That may pose a bit of an issue because until the SW is loaded I dont believe the column lock will function.
      TheRetrofitSource | 2020 Motorsports | RTernie | H&R Springs | Import Meet | Girodisc

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    11. #11
      Junior Member ion's Avatar
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      It does need programming, the SW part number is 30667235, and programming can only be done with a registered VIDA setup, which most dealers and some indy shops have (but you can also get yourself for $$$).

    12. #12
      I always get the SCU and column locks confused as to which need SW. The column lock is a module and wont operate without the reload which will make driving it in for the SW an issue.
      TheRetrofitSource | 2020 Motorsports | RTernie | H&R Springs | Import Meet | Girodisc

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    13. #13
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      Thanks again! I googled a bit more and found a trick that someone had used. He drilled the bottom of the steering lock module open to be able to turn the gears by hand (or something). That way he got it to unlock at least to remove it, without taking out the whole steering column. I bet that trick could be used temporarily to drive the car to shop. Unlock by hand -> remove the lock (but leave the cable connected) -> start the car... Should work if the lock module electronics is OK.

      Then I could connect the new lock and ask the shop to do a download with Vida.

      EDIT: Do not try to drill the lock open (unless you know exactly what you are doing), you will only trigger another safety mechanism that makes sure the steering wheel is locked. I learned this while performing autopsy to the broken unit.
      Last edited by FinnSpeed; 07-21-2011 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Warning
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    14. #14
      I've never had the message pop up but at approx. 15,000KMs ('08 S40 T5 AWD) I had my car in for an oil change and the tech scanned the car and apparently the steering lock fault came up so they replaced some module.

    15. #15
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      OK, gotta love the rechargeable Dremel with cutting wheel. I made the grooves to the screw heads and after that removing them and the whole Steering Column Lock unit was a piece of cake. So apparently my car now had the new design which makes things a bit easier if the SCL fails. Still, the car will be towed to the shop tomorrow since they need to flash CEM software to cooperate with the new SCL. I could have forced the lock open to see if I could turn the gear by hand but didn't do that yet just in case the fault is somewhere else...

      BTW, my car insurance covers the towing 100%.
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    16. #16
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      OK, the car is fixed and the fault was exactly what I thought. New steering column lock unit, sw loading and one hour of labor cost me ~350 Eur which is some $480. Not happy but it could have been much worse. The service adviser was happy to have a customer who had the correct diagnosis already at hand.

      I got the old lock to myself and will perform and autopsy to see what caused it to die a premature death.
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    17. #17
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      Allright... I opened the lock and took the PCB out. Motor is OK, the direction switching relay is OK and nothing looks like it has burned. Solder connections are also in good shape, no vibration effects or cold joints. Then I checked the micro switch that detects the lock position. Yes, the lock position contact of the switch is bad. Damn, a stupid $1 switch fails and causes the car to be towed! I suppose the immobilizer program immediately disables the whole lock if it detects even once that the lock did not seem to engage properly. I bet I could fix this unit by replacing the switch and I just might do that. There's a small chance that the N-channel FET that drives the motor has suffered but it seems to be OK. Too bad the old lock most likely requires a SW reload to make it work with the car again and reset the switch fault.

      By the way, if the same happens to your car, do not try to force the lock open. It has a clever safety mechanism which secures the lock into locked position if the bottom cover is taken out by force. The best thing to do is to try to open the bolts if the car is in a bad position to be towed...
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    18. #18
      Junior Member mJrO's Avatar
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      Can you post pictures? My car seems to be suffering from this illness
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    19. #19
      Junior Member FinnSpeed's Avatar
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      mJrO, I hope you get the problem solved. I have some images but they are still in the camera. If you still need them, please contact me in private and I'll see what I can do. In any case, it looks like when the immobilizer engages due to steering column lock, you cannot avoid towing. The lock likely won't work without a software reset with Vida even if you could get the broken part in the lock fixed. This is my theory at the moment and sort of makes sense too.
      Volvo V50 T5 M6 FWD Passion Red. Premium Audio, Dension Gateway, Climate pack, Nokian Z summers, Nokian R winters, BSR Stage 1, Digital boost gauge.

    20. #20
      Junior Member destro's Avatar
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      I've been getting the same messages for about a month, month and a half. I was usually able to get it to work by moving the steering wheel slightly as I turn the key. Not this time. Haven't had any luck for four days.
      I'm getting the car put on a flatbed tomorrow and taken to the dealer (not too far from me).
      I am blaming my uneven parking spot. Gravel with a slight incline. This has only been happening to me since I moved to my new house.
      Hopefully it is a simple fix and won't involve replacing the whole steering column.
      2005 S40 T5AWD GT Black/Black, Loaded minus Nav, Eibach Pro Kit, Koni Yellows up front, SPC Camber Arms, IPD Sway Bar, Medusas, 225/40/18 Yoko SDrives, Custom Exhaust, Power Folding Mirrors, Xenons
      1998 S70 GLT GONE Silver/Black, 18" Tritons, IPD Sway Bar

    21. #21
      Just happened to my wife's S40 with 60K plus. Turned out to be a dead battery.