HOW TO install the Column Lock
Install the bypass even after you had a lock up!
Many C5 (1997-up) Corvette owners have been having problems with their steering column locks. Chevrolet developed an electro-mechanical lock that took the place of the old ignition switch/lock assembly. When the ignition switch was moved from the steering column (installed on C4 Corvettes) to the dash, Chevrolet felt it necessary to provide the same theft deterrent system. Thus, the electro-mechanical steering column lock was born! Unfortunately, this device does NOT work correctly 100% of the time.
Many C5 owners complained that, when starting their C5, the lock would not disengage. Also, a message indicating "SERVICE STEERING COLUMN LOCK" would display on the DIC (Driver Information Center). There were several solutions posted to CorvetteForum.com indicating that heat may be the reason why the lock wouldn't disengage. Some folks would "beat" on the wheel in clockwise and counterclockwise directions, forcing the column to unlock while turning the ignition key. Some owners just turned the Air Conditioning on for a while, which would allow the lock to cool and disengage. One CorvetteForum member disassebled the dash of his C5 and was able to move the column lock mechanism with a screwdriver, enabling him to drive it to the dealer. Some owners resorted to calling the GM 1-800 "help me" hotline and hoped that a tow truck would arrive in a timely manner. Chevrolet requests that the car be towed back to a dealer to have the column locking mechanism (and sometimes the Body Control Module computer) replaced. Several owners have had this problem occur time and time again. GM does not seem to think the problem warrants fixing. The only recall available is to prevent the car from being driving over 2mph with a locked column. This is not a fix to the column locking problem. It prevents people from driving with a locked column.
To avoid ever getting "locked up," C5Solutions first developed the Steering Column Lock bypass and offered it to CorvetteForum members. Some folks have had trouble installing the column lock bypass. Thus, I felt obligated to assist my fellow C5 owners by providing a visual HOW TO section. I have always enjoyed working on my cars. Because of my past experience I found that the instructions were simple to follow. For those of you who have never done interior/electrical work, this HOW TO may help you get the job done more quickly.
This kit was purchased from Tom Zavada, of C5Solutions. I received word that he is not longer available via email and no longer manufactures the kit. Corvettes Of Houston now manufactures and sells the kits. Their link is below. The Column Lock Bypass kit includes the column lock bypass box, harness and connector. He also includes a 12 Volt adapter, which is necessary to disable the lock before installing the bypass box. Step-by-step instructions are also included. The folks on Corvetteforum.com are purchasing the bypass from Corvettes of Houston or Thunder Racing.
!!! If your column is locked now, read on !!!
I had a friend email me in late 1999. He got the column lock message and decided to install the bypass after getting the error. I asked him to clear the codes/computer and the MESSAGE WENT AWAY! No longer do you HAVE to see the dealer when the column locks! This is great news for anyone who had their C5 go out of warranty. You can attempt to use the column lock installation instructions and install the bypass, then delete the codes. One corvetteforum member tried this, but kept blowing fuses. If this is the case, the column lock is drawing too much current and must be replaced. But if you are successful in retracting the column lock, see the following details:
I received this question via email:
First of all, thanks for taking the time to put such great instructions on the internet. I got the bypass and installed it. However, my steering column was locked when I put the bypass in. I played around with the steering wheel and got it to unlock. I then installed the bypass. The only problem I have is that I get the "service steering column" message every time I start the car. Is there any way to get rid of this message without having to unplug everything and let GM have another shot at fixing the car? Thanks again for all your help. Save the Wave.
I have spent a lot of time on the CorvetteForum.com (and other forums) and have never seen anyone actually install the bypass after getting a "service column" message. But, if we can get this fixed, this information will be invaluable!
Before removing the bypass, which you already installed, I am going to suggest that you clear the code within the computer, first. Turn the key to the ON position, but don't start the engine. Clear any present messages (like Door Ajar, or Service Steering Column) by pressing the RESET button. Then hold the OPTIONS button down, while pressing the FUEL button 4 times. This will get you into the CODES section of the DIC.
The computer will automatically display all the codes your car is or has created. It will cycle through each code every 3 seconds. You can watch it display codes for every module in your car. If you want to write them down, go ahead. Any code that ends in H is a history code - something that has occured in the past but is fine now. The computer is very sensative and would throw a code if you turned the radio off while tuning it. You should have one code that should be your column code. It may be one of the following codes:
Once the computer has finished going through all of it's automatic codes, press RESET to enter Manual Configuration. It should start with a module and show "NO CODES" or "# CODES". If it shows a number of codes, press and hold RESET until it displays "NO CODES". This is how you reset your codes. Press OPTIONS to go to the next module. Repeat the steps in this paragraph until you have gone through all the computers. Then, I'd turn the car off and disconnect the negative cable to the battery. This will reset the computer. I'd leave it off for a few seconds while the computer resets. It does remember a lot of things, but I have the feeling that by clearing the codes and removing power, you might get the computer to forget that it ever had a column lock problem. Connect the battery and turn the key to ON. If it's still showing "Service Steering Column," I'm afraid that you have no choice but to get the car hooked back up and take it to the dealer.
Let me know if any of my suggestions worked. Like I said, this has never been tried before.
I used your method to erase
the DIC message on the steering column and it worked. The message went
away and the bypass works great. Thanks. Keep up the good work.
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