Steering noise, vibration or judder & occasional loss of power steering. Diagnosis from a dealer is that the power steering column needs replacing. Quoted £600 from the dealer to fix it. :eek: Read on.


Allen keys or bits (3mm and 5mm)
Long skinny screwdrivers x 2
T45 Torx bit
Flat blade screwdriver or punch and small hammer
13mm socket plus ratchet and swivel
An exchange re-manufactured power steering column that matches exactly the part you have on your car. In my case Fiat Part 55701323 (6 wire).
Inspection lamp
Small mirror
Patience and time (about 4 – 5 hours including dithering)


Get the car into a position where you can work with the driver’s door wide open.
Make sure the steering wheel is straight.
Disconnect the battery and have a cuppa or wait an hour (this is to be safe when removing the air bag).

Remove Steering Wheel

On the boss of the steering wheel there is a small depression or dimple visible on either side. Using a skinny screwdriver push through the plastic and up inside the boss. There are two spring clips that you are attempting to depress that will allow removal of the horn switch and air bag assembly from the centre of the steering wheel. You will need to depress both springs at the same time whilst easing the centre of the steering wheel away from the boss. I was able to use my knees to push the spring clips whilst using both hands to ease the air bag assembly out.

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Very gently reveal the fine red/black wires that need to be unplugged from the air bag. Then you can you can remove the yellow sheathed wires which plug into the back of the air bag.

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It’s worth noting the position and routing of these wires for re-assembly.
Now disconnect the black sheathed wires from the connector at the top of the steering wheel boss.

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Using a T45 torx bit with extension and ratchet remove the centre bolt. Once this bolt is out slide the steering wheel towards you and feed the wires through the slot in the picture.

Remove Steering Column Shroud

The lower part of the steering column shroud is located by seven 3mm hex screws. Once removed gently ease the lower part away. It’s located on plastic clips, so gently does it. It is worth at this stage also removing the lower panel above the pedals. This in also on for or five plastic clips and comes away relatively easily. I also removed a black heater duct which is a single screw to remove.

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The upper shroud is attached by two 3mm hex screws below the stalks. Once removed unclip the stalk cover on the left hand side and pull back the gaiter. The shroud can then be removed over the right hand stalk.

Removing the Stalk Unit

Looking behind the stalk unit on the left hand side a single 5mm hex bolt is visible. Slacken this until the stalk unit can be slid off the column.

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I left the collar and bolt in place ready to refit.

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Ignition Security Bolts

On the left hand side are two headless bolts holding the ignition switch in place with a U shaped collar.

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Using a flat blade screwdriver or punch with a small hammer gently tap the edge of the bolt head until it begins to rotate. I found this was relatively easy. Then I simply spun them out by hand. I marked the collar top and bottom to ease re-assembly.

Do not disconnect any of the electrical wiring. I found the wiring was long enough to simply drape the spaghetti on the gear lever out of the way.

Removal of the Upper Steering Column

The upper part of the steering column slides to provide reach adjustment. It is located on two 13mm bolts on either side. Remove these and pull the column down and off the studs. Then pull towards yourself. This part is on splines and will only fit one way.

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The Prize

You can now see clearly the power steer motor unit. However it is difficult to see how it is fixed in place. Note the unit pivots on mounting to the rear. Working from underneath you can feel two 13mm bolts on either side. Using a socket and ratchet you can remove these bolts. Once these bolts are removed be careful as the unit is quite heavy and is surrounded by various bits of plastic.

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Disconnect the two plugs on the base of the steering column to the left. The third connector is part of the unit and does not need disconnecting.
There is one more 13 mm bolt to go. This connects the column shaft to the steering rack. I chose to disconnect it at the rear of the steering column. Wriggle the now loose steering column down and twist up to the right. Reach around the back behind the centre shaft and you will feel a spigot and nut which is facing to the left. A mirror would be helpful to see exactly what you are dealing with. You can get a socket on to this using a swivel ratchet. I wouldn’t say this was easy but you only need to break it loose and spin the bolt out by hand. Once done slide the universal joint off the spigot and manoeuvre the column motor unit out.

I used a bit of wire to tire the steering joint and shaft in position for re-fitting.

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Identifying Your Part

Although the more athletic may be able to get the part number off the base of steering column motor unit whilst in situ, it is a lot easier with the part out of the car.

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In my case it was FIAT part number 55701323. I believe there are a number of variations so it is important to get the correct part for your Punto. A quick search on Ebay revealed three suppliers of a re-manufactured part for about £230. You can get your part reconditioned for £150 but will obviously have to wait whilst it is done.


Remember the steering wheel, column shaft and steering shaft leading to the rack will only fit together one way.

Be careful with the wires in particular those in the steering wheel. Be especially careful and gentle with plastic fittings.

FIAT plastic is especially brittle.

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Re-assembly is the reverse of removal.

Hope this helps.:)