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Old 23-09-2015   #16
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Awesome is a word that's badly overused in English today but I feel this could be an appropriate time..... Keep up the fantastic work on this Satyr Icon.
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Old 06-10-2015   #17
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Hi Bergi,

Thanks again.

As promised, below is a reasonably detailed account of the procedure I used to replace the steering sensor on my Panda.
I will presume that any reader of this post has acquainted themselves with my previous postings and has accurately identified and obtained the correct sensor for the car they are repairing.

Also it is important to purchase an appropriate pair of circlip pliers particularly if performing this 'FIX' without any assistance or helper. The circlip which secures the upper column to the sensor housing, and thereby to the lower column, is very strong and requires a lot of squeeze to remove it. Something like this ( E-Bay Item No. 231067643979, 8 ) should do the trick. These are 300mm bent nose pliers but you may decide to use strait nose pliers but read the following text to make a decision.

THE FIX

Park vehicle on level ground with the steering in the straight ahead position. My Pandas steering locked in this position when the key is removed and the wheel is 'rocked ' a bit to engage the steering lock. It is important that there is no pre-load on the lock. An example of pre-load is when you have to turn the wheel a bit to relieve this pre-load in order to turn ignition key and start the car. It may be necessary to go through the process a few times to eliminate pre-load.

Once you have achieved this 'strait ahead position', remove ignition key. This condition where the steering wheel and upper column are locked in position MUST be maintained from this point onward. The battery should be disconnected at this point.

Once the 'upper' column is removed from the 'lower' column, the s/wheel would be free to rotate in both directions an infinite number of times if the steering lock were not engaged. More than TWO complete rotations in any direction after 'strait ahead position', will almost certainly tear the 'strip circuit' or 'clock spring' connection of the horn push and airbag from where it is soldered to its' terminals.

Remove lower Dash panel and lower casing from steering column, refer to earlier posting, and upper plastic casing after releasing the column height adjustment clamp lever and dropping the column to its' lowest position.. The two screws securing upper plastic casing are situated close to the back of the steering wheel and you will need to be upside down to see them with a torch. Replacement will require a magnetic screwdriver if you don't want to remove steering wheel.

A mild steel bowl shaped 'guard' panel secured with a 'torx' head bolt at either side of column should be visible. Remove both 'torx' and guard.

Any accessible 'plug' connectors from wiring loom to steering column should now be disconnected with the exception of the sensor plug.

The column height adjustment clamp should now be disassembled and removed complete with the bracket securing the clamp bolt to the bulkhead. Two 13mm self locking nuts secure the bracket but the long clamping bolt will need to be removed first and careful attention should be paid to how the bolt head is orientated with the clamp bracket. ( An oblong slot in the bracket is a securing keyway for a similarly shaped male key at the back of the bolt head). Take note of the sequence of washer and spring washer at the self locking nut end as well.

The entire steering column will now drop to a position where the lower part of the steering wheel will be resting on the drivers seat cushion. The 3.5inch diameter circlip securing upper and lower column together at the sensor housing should be visible. The 'ears' with the holes may be at any point of the circumference of the sensor housing. Mine were at the 12o'clock position which was a nuisance because I only had bent nose pliers big enough to compress the clip and what I needed was strait nosed pliers with the clip in this position. I had to tap the clip with a punch and small hammer to get the ears at the 6o'clock position to access the 'ears'. Spinning the clip from the 12o'clock position to the 6o'clock position at the lower quadrant of the sensor housing MUST be done in a CLOCKWISE direction only.
Removing this clip was hard work with 200mm pliers and I suggest the 300mm pliers mentioned above for this. Be warned, this clip is the Mike Tyson of circlips .

Once the clip is removed, the upper column can be removed completely and once the lower securing flange connected to it is out of the way, the sensor will be exposed. Disconnect the sensor plug from the port by prying the contrasting coloured securing wedge from the plug body first before attempting to remove the plug connector from its' socket.

Before you can slide the sensor up the splined steering shaft, a small silver wire external securing ring must be removed from the center of the sensor. This is easily done with a thin screwdriver. You get a new one with the new sensor. Once this has been removed the plastic splines at the center of the sensor are no longer gripping the shaft and the sensor can be slid upward and off the splined inner column shaft. Start at the point where the wires exit the sensor housing and lever the other side with a small screwdriver.

Your new sensor will come with a locking pin inserted at 90degrees to its' upper surface. Leave this pin in place until the sensor has been fitted in the housing. Close inspection of the pin location will reveal that the opening for the pin to pass through the casing of the sensor body is in fact oblong and about 4mm long. The exact 'strait ahead' position of the sensor is when the pin is equidistant from both ends of this 4mm slot. (( If this pin is up against one end or the other of this slot once the sensor has been fitted to the housing and pressed fully home, the self centering of the steering will be wrong. The correct position of the pin is right in the middle unless you are happy to go to FIAT and get the thing programmed. That is assuming they don't refuse to do it since you are 'cheating them out of 2000 fix'.))

To get the centre steering point fixed properly I removed the small clip ring from the plastic splines of the new sensor. This is only to make fitting and removing the sensor easier. Once the locking pin is still in the middle of the slot after pushing the sensor fully home and the sensor position has been tested by reconnecting battery and turning on ignition, this ring should be replaced since it applies pressure to the plastic splines of the sensor and tightens the association of the sensor and inner steering shaft.

The sensor is precisely 'located' in its' housing mainly by the exit lug for the bundle of wires coming from it and by the rubber grommet around that lug. The grommet must sit in the sensor housing without any twisting of the rubber or distortion.
My experience was that when the center point of the steering and the sensor fitted to the splined inner shaft matched perfectly and the locking pin was in the middle of the slot, the sensor almost fell into place with minimal force required to press the sensor ''HOME'' in its' housing. Achieving this ideal position can take several attempts. If the location pin in the sensor is at one end of the slot or the other, the front wheels must be turned left or right by hand until the locating pin is in the middle of the slot. This will involve moving the circumference of the tyre as little 4 or 5mm left or right by hand until the locating pin is as far from one end of the slot as the other. A safer way to do this is by removing and refitting the entire sensor after each nudge on the tyre and observe where the pin is after fitting the sensor again. This was the purpose of removing the small tightening ring from the sensor at the start. Never force the wheels in one direction or the other while the pin is still in the slot. Bend the pin and destroy the hole it fits into in the 'inner disc' and you may have to buy another sensor.

Do not
be tempted to move the wheels with the aid of pliers on the splined inner shaft. This shaft and its' splines are encased in black plastic and distortion of this plastic on the splines or the beveled insertion end of the shaft makes refitting the upper column very difficult.

To test the sensor position only a small amount of reassembly is necessary.
Remove locating pin from sensor.
Push the sensor plug into its' port without driving the securing wedge in.
Carefully refit the upper column assembly back onto the inner shaft splines and reconnect all loom plugs to upper column before sliding upper column fully down onto the sensor and its' housing. You do not have to replace the big circlip for the test.
Connect battery and hold steering wheel tightly in case sensor position is wrong, ( assistance will try to turn right or left if position of sensor is wrong so be ready for it). Maintain the straight ahead position of the steering wheel even if the assistance tries to turn one way or the other after turning on the ignition. If all is well switch on the engine an give a few revs. If steering stays in 'straight ahead' position when you let go of the wheel and power steering works in both directions, switch off, disconnect loom, lift off upper column.
Press the securing wedge on the sensors plug home, place thin tightening ring over splined shaft and drop it to the center of sensor and fit it over the plastic spline followers of the sensor so they grip the inner shaft.
Don't forget big circlip. My upper column flange and lower column sensor housing had felt tip pen markings to synchronize the indicator cancellation. These are only approximate and not critical.

It should be noted here that the splines of the inner shaft are offset so the steering wheel and therefore the entire column will only go back together in the exact orientation they were in when they were dismantled.

Reassemble and road test.
Be brave, the steering cannot misbehave any worse than it did before the FIX.

IF THE SENSOR POSITION IS WRONG

You will have to go through all of the above again until it works. It took me six times but I was learning with no instructions. You might get it on the first go.

The one thing that will have to be done that has not been mentioned yet is the center point of the sensor will have to be obtained again. This is quite simple.

On the upper face of the sensor at some point on the circumference of the central aperture you will see a small triangular position indicator pointing toward the centre of the central aperture. The internal splines of the sensor have one follower which is bigger than the rest and has a smaller triangular pointer on it. When both triangular pointing indicators are in line and pointing toward each other, the hole that the centralizing PIN fits into should be visible in the 4mm slot. Replace the pin and repeat the sensor fitting procedure.

All this sounds longwinded and complex but is pretty quick for an experienced mechanic. Aim for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You will spend more time absorbing the post on this FIX than actually doing it.

A final thought here. I work on a freelance basis all over the country and could be available to do this FIX for forum members. Not sure of the rules here.
My main objective as a bit of an ECO-WARRIOR is to keep perfectly serviceable vehicles from the breakers yards by breaking the strangle hold the manufacturers have over often already struggling owners. The greed and avarice of the big manufacturers is hard to measure but I for one am happy to do battle with it whenever it shows itself.

Be lucky and be enterprising with it.

Satyr Icon



















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Old 06-10-2015   #18
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Great write-up.
Thanks.
You've probably denied all Fiat dealers a big fat bonus, and helped many Panda owners fix their cars!
Well worth copying this thread and filing away for future reference.
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Old 06-10-2015   #19
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

My steering wheel red light often comes on but the power steering has never failed.
Then battery has been renewed and the problem persists.
The car (55 plate 4x4) is in for an mot at an independent garage who are talking about replacing the ECU.
They have yet to come back to me whether they will issue an mot without the problem fixed or not.
I was planning on selling the car with the fresh mot as I now have a mk2 4x4 as well.

I'll wait to hear back from the garage, but it's good to know there's a less expensive solution, even if I have to get the garage to do the work.
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Old 08-10-2015   #20
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Hi 'panda panda'

MoT testers are technically only allowed to fail a vehicle on faults that manifest themselves 'during and at the time the test is taking place'.

If however they are aware of an intermittent fault such as the one you describe, they are only obliged to mention it on the ''advice'' notice.

You can save time and money sometimes by using a FIAT diagnostic program. My own sensor problem was diagnosed by main dealer for 45 before I went ahead and purchased a new sensor.

In your situation, I would just pull out the connector plugs associated with the power steering a few times before I got involved with anything more complicated.
Even the FIAT diagnostic fee is a waste of money if the fault is not showing itself at the time they perform the test.

If the ECU was faulty I would expect other erratic symptoms to be evident.

Regards
Satyr Icon
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Old 12-10-2015   #21
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Fantastic write up Satyr Icon, awesome even..... You have de mystified a lot of stuff for those of us who like to repair our own cars. Thanks again!
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Old 25-06-2016   #22
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Re: Newbie power steering fix Torque sensor replacement

Well, finally replaced the steering torque sensor in our Panda today (25/06/2016)
Car is 2005 and has done approx. 109,000 KM
I printed out and followed the excellent write up by Satyr Icon as in previous posts. Took me about 2 hours including all tools away and a short road test.

I have posted some pictures, and some observations....
You will need LARGE circlip pliers! I bought a 250mm long pair with the blue handles in one of the photos. If you have any of the other pictured types, STOP! You will definitely need bigger ones. Don't even think of starting the job without them. I also used a zip tie to hold the handles together when the circlip was compressed to make it a bit easier. Circlip goes in with bevel facing out.

There are 2 small triangular pointers moulded into the torque sensor plastic on the upper side. A picture shows them not quite lining up at first when dismantling. A small bump on one of the front road wheels aligned the marks and then I removed the old sensor using a small pry tool.

New sensor then fitted exactly aligned and I fitted the small wire spring ring over the splines and removed the lock pin. The steering was perfectly aligned form the first attempt following this procedure.

If you are reasonably competent, this is a very easy repair! The hardest parts by far are the circlip and fiddly upside down screws on the steering column shroud.

A short internet search will show this is NOT a Fiat problem, but common to all cars using similar torque sensors. As time goes on and the mechanical parts wear inside more and more of there will give trouble and eventually fail. This is not a fault of Fiat but the nature of the electric power steering used on many makes of cars.

I hope the original guide from Satyr Icon and these observations will enable many more owners to repair their Fiats without big expense. A good serviceable car can be scrapped because of big repair costs, this may help to avoid this for some owners. All we need now is a similar guide to the Dualogic auto gearbox...... Any takers?

I am indebted to the Fiat forum for a wonderful source of help, also Satyr Icon for his excellent work and "give it a go" attitude.

Bergi.
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Old 26-06-2016   #23
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Further to the above post about my successful steering torque sensor replacement, here is the old faulty one cut up to show the innards....

As you can see it's electro/mechanical and the small copper "fingers" track around on the carbon "rings" when you turn the steering wheel. You can see the carbon "filings that have worn away next to the tracks. Easy to see how this could cause electrical malfunction and electric power steering failure...

Been 24 hours now and repair still working perfectly!

Also, for those wanting to give this very easy repair a go here is a link to someone performing a similar torque sensor replacement on a Ford. The video goes into some detail about getting the alignment right but it's not that hard...


As you can see the sensor is almost identical to the Fiat one and although in the video an alignment tool is used, you do not need one.

So, an easy, cheap repair for the seemingly catastrophic steering failure on our Fiats.
Bergi
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Old 26-06-2016   #24
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Quote Originally Posted by Bergi View Post
Further to the above post about my successful steering torque sensor replacement, here is the old faulty one cut up to show the innards....

As you can see it's electro/mechanical and the small copper "fingers" track around on the carbon "rings" when you turn the steering wheel. You can see the carbon "filings that have worn away next to the tracks. Easy to see how this could cause electrical malfunction and electric power steering failure...

Been 24 hours now and repair still working perfectly!

Also, for those wanting to give this very easy repair a go here is a link to someone performing a similar torque sensor replacement on a Ford. The video goes into some detail about getting the alignment right but it's not that hard...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubP30rSK_AE

As you can see the sensor is almost identical to the Fiat one and although in the video an alignment tool is used, you do not need one.

So, an easy, cheap repair for the seemingly catastrophic steering failure on our Fiats.
Bergi

thanks,
I don't recall seeing this thread before..

anyway.. I've only got a couple of questions;

1, is it possible with steering wheel / airbag in place

2, the "circlip" is it just a bent/end spring clip.. or actually got the 2 "eyes"?

cheers,
Charlie
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Old 26-06-2016   #25
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Hi, happy to answer your questions...
Yes, the whole steering wheel with airbag and upper column and stalks comes off as one when you have removed the large circlip.
That circlip does have the two "eyes" at the end that the tips of the circlip pliers engage in. Sorry, I tried to get a picture of it during removal but it was blurred.
The clip is big and strong because it holds the upper and lower parts of the steering column together.
As Saryr Icon and I have indicated, removing the circlip is by far the hardest part of this repair and with big circlip pliers, it's not that hard.

Bergi
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Old 26-06-2016   #26
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Quote Originally Posted by Bergi View Post
Hi, happy to answer your questions...
Yes, the whole steering wheel with airbag and upper column and stalks comes off as one when you have removed the large circlip.
That circlip does have the two "eyes" at the end that the tips of the circlip pliers engage in. Sorry, I tried to get a picture of it during removal but it was blurred.
The clip is big and strong because it holds the upper and lower parts of the steering column together.
As Saryr Icon and I have indicated, removing the circlip is by far the hardest part of this repair and with big circlip pliers, it's not that hard.

Bergi
that's perfect thanks,
charlie
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Old 26-07-2019   #27
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This thread is excellent thank you all involved I purchased a 2007 panda 1.1 with only 40k miles & its so much fun to drive! After having large suv's etc in the past ! But now the power steering is making a grumbling vibration when sat still and dry steer or when I pull off slowly so going to have a go at fixing it myself with help from this thread only thing is I cannot find any evolution3-srl. Seller on eBay and as I'm on a budget does anyone know where I could get the part cheaper than what is listed ? Thanks all in advance 🖒
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Old 28-07-2019   #28
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

You are porbably right to do the repairs but the steering is unlikely to suddenly pack up. Before you do the strip-down make 100% sure the main battery is good and the alternator is charging properly. A "wired in" voltmeter (not simply a test meter) will help you to judge if the symptoms are systemic or steering related.
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Old 28-07-2019   #29
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Thanks Dave for your reply I didn't notice it on the test drive before I purchased it ive only had it a few days thought it was the brakes at first and was going to inspect when I got her home as was told she was sat for a while and brake binding was an advisory on the mot🤔 it wasn't until researched the net and came across this owners group and thread about the torque sensor ? But thanks for your help 👍
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Old 29-07-2019   #30
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Re: Newbie power steering fix

Quote Originally Posted by Deano notts View Post
Thanks Dave for your reply I didn't notice it on the test drive before I purchased it ive only had it a few days thought it was the brakes at first and was going to inspect when I got her home as was told she was sat for a while and brake binding was an advisory on the mot🤔 it wasn't until researched the net and came across this owners group and thread about the torque sensor ? But thanks for your help 👍
If it had been sat for some time before you bought it, and the battery allowed to go flat, the battery will be weak and usually the first thing to show is power steering.

So before rushing to attack the steering, check the battery thoroughly first. After a couple of weeks it may recover enough to be ok, although it will probably give up early winter.
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