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Old 17-06-2006   #1
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please help! power steering failure

Hi, Can someone please give me any advice as to what's likely to be the prob. I got my W-reg punto (44,000 miles) back earlier this week having paid 400 for new head gasket and had the RAC out on thurs after I noticed the power steering light come on the dash and kept staying on despite switching engine off and waiting etc, the steering was really heavy too, anyway by the time the RAC chap got to me it had rectified itself and he said it was prob just an electrical glitch.
I took the car out yesterday and everything was fine so thought no more of it, however this morning it's doing it again and staying on despite waiting a while before turning the key. The steering light isn't on when the key is in the MAR positition but when I switch the engine on everything else goes off but the steering light comes on??
It's been about an hour since this happened and I just tried it now and everything seems ok, power steering is there, there's no lights on the dash... i don't understand!?? from reading other posts I understand my car has a computer chip ECU that controls all the electricals and that this would have to relearn since the battery was disconnected when they did the head gasket.... there's no engine management light on and she seems to be running fine now.
It wasn't a fiat dealer who did the gasket but a local garage I use for services, is it possible they've done something when they reconnected things? of could some part be on it's way out- if so is it likely to be expensive as I've just forked out a load and am thoroughly fed up with it now
I've rang my local fiat dealer and it's going in on wed for diagnosics (costing forty quid before any work done?!) as no-one else has equipment to diagnose... so I guess I'll know for sure then. thanks
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Old 17-06-2006   #2
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Re: please help! power steering failure

first of all £400 seems a lik pricey but never mind that. is it the 1.2 8v or 16v.

the power steering on these cars os electric assisted. and therefore has its own lil ecu in the coloumn to control it. this seems to be a weakness and can go. if it does inthe past you had to change the entire steering column at £400+ for part plus fitting on top of that. but was reading on here just other day that fiat dealers are now able to supply the diff parts to the column individually soo it shold be alot cheap. how ever it also appears that not all fiat dealers are aware of this and are still trying to seel whole column.

as this just happend after the having work done i was trying to think f they could of done anything but i dont think they could.

do any experts know on here?
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Old 17-06-2006   #3
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Re: please help! power steering failure

40 isn't bad price...honestly!

It's extremely unlikely anything that the garage done when you had the head gasket done...just sheer bad luck

If your lucky it might be a speed sensor fault (P0500 logged code) but it's more likely to be the column itself (the dreaded motor torque sensors) which is expensive i'm afraid.However please be aware there is a fault with your steering so drive accordinally & your sensible in getting it checked out properly.Let us know how you get on
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Old 18-06-2006   #4
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Re: please help! power steering failure

ok, thanks for that, I'll let you know what they find on wednesday. If they do say the column needs replacing I'll definately ask about the individual bits being avaliable as don't really wanna part with best part of a grand in 2 weeks for repairs if can help it. Fingers crossed for an electrical glitch as it sems to be ok again now!
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Old 21-06-2006   #5
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Unhappy UPDATE: please help! power steering failure

ok, here's the update, the car has still been fine, I've done about 150 miles since the light last came on.

took it to fiat today, they hooked it up etc and surprise, surprise told me the fault was due to the motor on the electric steering, they didn't tell me the code. anyway they quoted me 650 for new column..... I then told the chap that I'd heard that the individual parts were avaliable seperately (he didn't believe me at first but agreed to check) anyway turns out FIAT supply the motor seperate to the column now and quoted 300 for that, fitted. he was trying to selling me the lot, but I said 'well isn't the fault with the motor, he goes yes, I said well then to save 350 I might as well just have the motor repaired. so that's what I'll save up to have done.

It does seems weird that it's ok now tho..... ho hum, that'll be 800 for repairs in less than 2 weeks

thanks v much for the info, u've possibly saved me several hundred quid!!
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Old 21-06-2006   #6
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Re: UPDATE: please help! power steering failure

Quote Originally Posted by Suz359

thanks v much for the info, u've possibly saved me several hundred quid!!
must be worth a small 1% (3) donation to the running of the site eh

One further thing I was told the 'motor torque sensors' are actually in the column not the motor.I'm not 100% sure on this (will try & find out) but its worth checking especially if your error fault was 'motor torque sensors'.
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Old 28-06-2006   #7
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Re: UPDATE: please help! power steering failure

Right my sisters 2000 x reg 1.2 punto has started to have similar problems last night

coming along a road perfectly fine comes upto a slight bend so turns lightly and then the power steering light came on and steering went heavy so pulled over switched it off and waited then switched it back on and it worked, came to end of street and turned left and then turned right into the drive and same thing happened so switched it off and waited and then turned it on and drove straight in drive but as soon as turned steering light came on again



this is how my sisters just explained it to me on the phone as shes had to have the day off due to not trusting the car to get her work, now she hasnt got much money to try all the bits and certainly not enought to let fiat rip her off but i know off two mk2's in breakers near me so if anyones got an idea what it sounds like and a pic of the said item i could replace it would be of much help

thanks as always its much apreciated

wayne
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Old 28-06-2006   #8
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Re: please help! power steering failure

i remember the haynes section on the electric power steering was good.

what ever happened to good old fashioned mechanical devices, all this electical crap has nothing but problems. sensors everywhere! what was wrong with a pump powered by a belt?
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Old 28-06-2006   #9
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Re: please help! power steering failure

If you haven't already fixed your car yet, Suz359, I'd wait a few days.

I've had this problem twice, where steering has gone stiff. I was quoted 300 for a new steering pump and labour.

The car just fixed itself after a week, so I was better off 300!

If you still steer safely, i'd leave it for a few days and see what happens.
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Old 28-06-2006   #10
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Re: please help! power steering failure

Quote Originally Posted by sid23456
If you haven't already fixed your car yet, Suz359, I'd wait a few days.

I've had this problem twice, where steering has gone stiff. I was quoted 300 for a new steering pump and labour.

The car just fixed itself after a week, so I was better off 300!

If you still steer safely, i'd leave it for a few days and see what happens.
Until it happens again going around a bend with a good chance of losing control & injuring yourself or someone else.

Pretty poor advice! get it fixed!

p.s.why buy from a scrappy as your buying a unknown part? get it hooked up on examiner,get the fault determined & repaired.(column/motor/ecu are all available seperately)
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Old 01-07-2006   #11
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Re: please help! power steering failure

Intermittant heavy power steering on the Punto Mk11 is caused by dry solder joints on the relays on the motor itself,usually one of the relays do not make contact even after soldering because of dirty contacts.If you are a dab hand with a soldering iron an have lots of patience and you care about spending money then you unsolder the field coils take out the round circuit board in the motor and if you are lucky you just solder the relay from underneath and it will work.but if you test the relays one by one first,this involves desoldering one of them.you save the trouble of putting it back together and not working.
If you don't want to do any of the above because its very fidly buy a second hand or new motor ant just fit it.
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Old 01-07-2006   #12
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Re: please help! power steering failure

Quote Originally Posted by sunxemx
Intermittant heavy power steering on the Punto Mk11 is caused by dry solder joints on the relays on the motor itself
Intermittant heavy power steering on the Punto Mk11 can be caused by...a number of things....power supply/earths connection,torque sensors,internal ecu failure.
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Old 01-07-2006   #13
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Re: please help! power steering failure

Mine suffered the red steering light coming on once when I started the car so I switched off and started it again and it was gone, but it returned a few minutes later.

Having read that low voltage may be a cause and knowing that my battery was on the way out, I fitted a new battery and have had no trouble since.
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Old 01-07-2006   #14
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Re: please help! power steering failure

Quote Originally Posted by Shunter
Mine suffered the red steering light coming on once when I started the car
Exactly (as I said above 'power supply') you are correct,the steering module 'sees' a low voltage upon crank & flags a error.
Its when the steering light comes on whilst driving then its a trip to your friendly dealer
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Old 02-07-2006   #15
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Re: please help! power steering failure

Quote Quote:
Until it happens again going around a bend with a good chance of losing control & injuring yourself or someone else.

Pretty poor advice! get it fixed!

p.s.why buy from a scrappy as your buying a unknown part? get it hooked up on examiner,get the fault determined & repaired.(column/motor/ecu are all available seperately)
Sorry, Think I was misuderstood. I took it to a Fiat garage and they said it is safe to drive, just to be careful. When my steering went, I had no real problems, just took a bit more effort to park.
Of course before going to the scrappy, you would do a diagnostic and find which part is faulty.
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